Is GKR a scam?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by puma, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Shotokan_Andy

    Shotokan_Andy Valued Member

    Deluded is a word I'd use to describe that website.

    Can 50,000+ students really be wrong? - Well, yes they can if they've been duped into thinking it's the best thing since sliced bread and are explicitly prevented from training at other clubs!

    Cult much.
  2. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    Apparently , gokan means rape/sexual assault in Japanese.
  3. Lorelei

    Lorelei Valued Member

    Typical - I have to go and raise my head above the parapet when I'm not on UK time.......

    For the record, and to correct any misconceptions that may have arisen from my previous post,

    1) I did NOT go straight onto the STP course. I had been training as a student for a year, and I was selected for the course early, partly (I think) because I had prevous non-MA teaching experience. That wouldn't affect my ability to teach karate per se, but it DEFINITELY gave me a head start with matters such as lesson planning, class control and dealing with younger students.......

    2) It doesn't surprise me that the bit you picked up on was that we have a 4th kyu instructor in my region, rather than that two-thirds of our instructors are black belts, but in GKR a red belt has had at least 2 years training. Not everyone with 2 years training would be capable of teaching anything to lower grades, but some are......

    3) We DO do partner work and self-defence drills in class, but not pressure-testing. The gradings (kyu and dan) focus on basics, combos, kata and kumite, but not partner work. There's a bit of church-and-state going on where kumite is concerned - sparring is non-contact sport-karate stuff, and self-defence drills are taught as a separate thing. This is mainly because a lot of the self-defence stuff involves breaks and locks, which could result in injuries if done with too much speed and focus (not to mention adrenalin).

    Kumite in GKR is supposed to be non-contact (exhibiting control of technique by stopping strikes short - touching the gi rather than the flesh underneath), but in reality when higher grades are sparring (brown belt onwards) there is some contact and nidan gradings can get a bit brutal because black belts do conditioning work and are expected to be able to take a hit.

    Padwork is done in most classes, but since instructors are not supplied with pads by the club and have to source their own, it's an ocasional thing rather than a central part of the syllabus.

    4) Door-to-door selling has pros and cons - I wouldn't do it myself and I'd like to see other methods of recruitment employed more frequently than they are, but I have no control over the business side.

    5) Go Kan Ryu translates as Hard Complete School. Gokan translates as rapist. Different context gives different meaning. I have a very limited, karate-based Japanese vocabulary so I have to assume what I've been told is accurate, but I have no reason to doubt it.

    6) Puma, the ilovegkr website actually has more stuff on it than that one link to the 'GKR scam?' article - have a read. I wouldn't have added that link, but I understand the frustrations that led to its appearance......

    7) Instructors are forbidden to cross-train, students can do what they like. I'm not happy with the restriction, and I'm not the only instructor who has reservations about a blanket ban. As far as I know it was imposed as a response to some instructors teaching non-GKR material in GKR classes. When I decide I'm ready to cross-train, I'll let my Zone Director know and he can kick me off the instructor roster if he wants. If I've made it to black belt by then though, I'll still be able to train under my current sensei - only difference will be that I'll have to pay for the privilege...... :jawdrop:

    OK, next salvo........ :Angel:
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  4. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    I appreciate your efforts but the organization is a joke, the art is similarly poorly trained and selling that as self-defense is downright dangerous and you have no damn business teaching that aspect

    Non pressure tested = non effective

    The WORST example of Mcdojoism
  5. Lorelei

    Lorelei Valued Member

    Pressure-testing, as I understand it, involves creating a scenario with attacker(s) to be dealt with by verbal, non-verbal and/or physical means. I understand that JWT runs courses on this, and that to do pressure-testing effectively without serious injury requires specialised equipment which we do not have. It would be irresponsible of us to try pressure-testing without it.

    I'd be interested to know what kind of pressure-testing you do, Hannibal, and what equipment and resources you use. I know from some of your posts on other threads that you're involved with training LEOs and military - do you do pressure testing with civilian students also, and are there any differences in the teaching?

    In response to your comment that the 'art is similarly poorly trained', I would like to know what personal experience you have of GKR and its teaching. There's a lot of stuff on YouTube that doesn't accurately represent GKR classes and standards (there's one clip in particular of Kancho at a seminar just after he'd had major surgery that makes me wince every time I see it) and very little of it represents the standards of karate taught in my region.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  6. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    I think this is a genuinely huge problem. Essentially you're saying that after a year of training and a few weeks on a training course, you were allowed to put on a black (and white) belt and instruct students as their sensei. In my style, I'd barely trust someone with a year of training to their name to carry out a decent warm up without supervision, let alone teach the intricacies of the art I study.

    There are so many nuances to the early techniques that need constant correction to assist good learning, and without years of training you simply cannot reliably pick up on everything (or even most of what) someone is doing wrong by observing them.

    I started out as a lead instructor in my style about 18 months ago, and with 12 years training (probably equivalent to about eight if you ignore periods where I was off due to time constraints or surgery) I am still glad to have higher grades who visit the club from time to time and help me spot specific problems with certain techniques.

    At the one-year point in your training you should still be trying to get the basics working well for you. Nothing more.

    I would always recommend that people steer well clear of any style where someone can be an instructor after only two years training. Unless they already had high grades in a very similar style, this is a ridiculous situation.

    The only possible exception to this rule would be someone who had completed the equivalent of the Yoshinkan full-time study course - i.e. about six hours a day, six days a week of intense study for at least a year. In other words, it would have to be a really hardcore student who had put in the equivalent of several years in a compacted timescale.

    I don't believe GKR pushes anyone hard enough to qualify for that recognition in my view!
  7. Kave

    Kave Lunatic

    Defending your martial art is admirable in a way. Unfortunately for you, due to modern technology we can all look at videos online to assess the quality of instruction provided. Go Kan Ryu schools seem to be rather keen on putting videos on the internet, this shows an openness that is to be applauded but unfortunately also shows a terrible lack of effective skills. It's not just a few videos, the skill level in GKR schools seems to be universally poor.

    Are you confident that when you instruct your students in self-defence they are learning skills that are applicable in the real world, or are they being misled? From what I have seen, gaining a black-belt in GKR leaves you no more able to defend yourself than having not trained at all. The possibility exists that untrained defensive reactions may be more reliable than GKR training, meaning that your training may result in people being less able to defend themselves than when they began training.

    You are an instructor, your students rely on you to train them in a manner that makes them able to defend themselves competently, are you doing this? You owe it to your students to make sure you are not feeding them false confidence. Go against the no cross-training rule (even if you have to be sneaky about it), take up a style where you have an opponent who is actually trying to punch you in the face. Try a Knock-down Karate style like Kyokushin, Enshin or Ashihara, try Boxing, Muay Thai or MMA, try anything at all that involves using your skills while someone is really trying to hurt you. Get some experience with some hard sparring, only then will you begin to develop knowledge regarding what is and isn't effective.

    If you are lucky none of your students will ever need to use what you have taught them, but if they do are you confident with what you have taught. If someone gets all their teeth knocked out (or worse) because of poor training methods how will you cope with that on your conscience? What you are doing at the moment is the equivalent of teaching someone to ride motorcycles having read a book on the subject but never having actually ridden yourself, you could get someone badly hurt.
  8. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I think you might be missing what people are getting at.

    Thank you for continuing to answer questions.
  9. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    You can pressure test without masses of specialist equipment. That equipment just allows you to hit a lot harder without worrying about surface injuries as much. Even if you want to go fairly hardcore, a helmet and a set of MMA gloves goes a long way towards making really vicious pressure testing feasible in a reasonably safe environment.
  10. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    The problem is , pretty much everyone who tries to defend gkr (much like the chun , booj etc) claim that they train teh realz , and everyone else sucks.
  11. Kave

    Kave Lunatic

    This is very true. I pressure test my art twice a week with B-class MMA gloves, shinguards and a mouthguard (should really get a groin guard too). Safety is a major priority, but you shouldn't take protection too far. The human body is an amazingly resilient thing and the occasional bloody lip or nose tends to accelerate your learning quite considerably.
  12. Ros Montgomery

    Ros Montgomery Valued Member

    Great, so we agree then? :D

    I always smile to myself when I see people defending GKR, because I did as well for about 6 months. Then I went to an external seminar and thought 'hang on a minute...' and since changing styles realise how utterly rubbish GKR actually was.
  13. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Priceless. You couldn't make it up. :)

    Check out any other karate or martial arts associations. The VAST majority will be black belt instructors only with the occasional brown belt instructing. The ONLY reason to routinely make kyu grades instructors is to open more classes and make more ££££.

    That'd be enough to make leave even if GKR was the best martial arts style in the world. I find it very odd that a style founded on the fact that the head guy trained in multiple styles forbids his instructors to do the same. A case of do as I say but not as I do?
    I currently do 2 styles of martial arts and if either one told me I couldn't train whatever way I wanted to I'd leave in a heart beat.
  14. Shotokan_Andy

    Shotokan_Andy Valued Member


    The only person defending GKR here is Lorelei...

    What I would like to know is, if you have a 4th Kyu instructor (I can't bring myself to type "Sensei"!), how can they teach a 1st Kyu their syllabus if they've never been taught it themselves? Or am I missing something? Does this STP course teach this 4th Kyu the whole syllabus, or don't they teach anyone higher than their own grade?
  15. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I think...the 4th kyu would open a new class (bizarre to even type that) and then teach rank beginners from there. So he'd be grading at the same time as them and so stay one or two steps ahead. I think that's how it works.
  16. Shotokan_Andy

    Shotokan_Andy Valued Member

    I see. Hence why areas in the UK are saturated in GKR clubs.

    Still, I don't think someone with 1 years experience is qualified enough to teach a class of beginners. Maybe this is why the standard is so low.
  17. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    I think this depends on what you consider pressure and what environment you are testing for.
  18. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Exactamundo my friend! When you let pretty much anyone instruct if they pays their money it's very easy to open clubs left, right and centre.
    And why my style (Shidokan) is still very small in the UK as you have to be a black belt to teach regularly (lower grades can help out), have competed in knockdown to get a black belt and gone through a harsh grading process involving many rounds of modified knockdown sparring and MANY bruises. :)
  19. Shotokan_Andy

    Shotokan_Andy Valued Member

    I hold a Shodan and don't feel I have the required knowledge to teach even beginners.
  20. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    That's how most people feel once they realise how little they know. I think there's a level of Dunning-Kruger effect going on in GKR whereby the new instructors know so little they over-inflate what they do know (a kata or two) and don't actually have the knowledge base to realise their own short-comings.

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