Why has GKR been allowed to spread when it is the epitome of McDojo?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Paoquan, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    To be honest it’s a mess , there isn’t a “single” regulatory body in UK karate though the EKF seem to have some affiliation to the WKF for what that’s worth.
    I’ve had to do a bit of Googling to jog my memory to be honest as I knew there was an effort to pull everyone together , it was in 2005 by a group called Karate England it was a nice idea but , inevitably, politics and egos got in the way as some of the larger existing groups expected to walk in and run the show.
    I think there may have been a thread on it back in the day , I’ll have a look.
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Well-Known Member

    Interesting, thanks. And I’m still unclear on this, are these government agencies, or are they private industry groups who are trying to self-regulate the industry?

    If it is a government regulator, then I would assume membership and compliance is mandatory. If it is a private group trying to self-regulate the industry, I would assume membership or compliance is optional.
  3. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    Gotcha , non of them are involved with the government in any way shape or form , the worst they can do is kick you out which would void your liscencing and insurance , at which point you’d just join someone else anyway.
    The whole idea of Karate England was to pull everyone together and have some kind of sports council involvement , as I said it ended badly , there’s a thread touching on their demise here Karate England: The saga continues (to go downhill rapidly)
    Flying Crane likes this.
  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Well-Known Member

    Got it. And is it impossible to get insurance if you are not a member of one of these Groups? What is the license? Is it membership recognition, or does it affect an ability to have a business license and operate legally? Can you operate as an independent?
  5. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    You have to have 2 forms of insurance , public liability which the instructor pays for the self , and person to person liability which comes from the governing body , this is proven by a ticket that’s attached in what’s commonly called your licence book , which also serves as you grading history , and is renewed by every club member annually.It’s probably where the getting your hands registered as deadly weapons myth came from as well.
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Well-Known Member

    Ok, I can see the UK has a very different system than the US. I still don’t quite understand how it all stacks up but that is ok and is probably not easily discussed in an online forum. A face-to-face discussion would be easier. I appreciate the insights.
    bassai likes this.
  7. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    How many Karate politicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
    1 to change the lightbulb,
    4 to try and standardise the way you change lightbulbs,
    whilst 5 break ranks and go to fit a separate lightbulb because they don't like the way the other 5 are doing it.
    Mitlov and Flying Crane like this.
  8. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    They are private organisations that may, if they fulfil the criteria, be 'recognised' by the government: National governing bodies | Sport England, which provides access to a bunch of services and sometimes a bit of funding.
    You assume wrongly, it's a kind of public-private partnership which gives some advantages to those who are involved in it but is never compulsory.
    Flying Crane and Dead_pool like this.
  9. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    There is a karate NGB now actually, British Karate Federation, basically something had to be knocked together in order to select the Olympic team. Not sure to what extent this is a different faction from those previous attempts or if some of the same people are involved.

    Also a bit complicated because as far as I can tell the BKF is recognised by Sport UK and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish bits are recognised by their respective governments, but the English affiliate (EKF) isn't so far.
  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Well-Known Member

  11. PMAL

    PMAL New Member

    Firstly English is my second language so pls forgive any boogers.
    Dan Brian’s joke’s hilarious and sadly accurate in my opinion.
    I have joined this forum after reading a lot of opinions (really negative) in regard to GKR. Recently I signed up with two of my kids to GKR in England after doing some research first. We live in a rural area and GKR are the only club within reasonable distance from us. We’ve tried other clubs but in the end it was GKR or no karate due to travel time.I was extremely apprehensive about joining as I had never heard of GKR before and vast majority of MartialArt world has a really bad opinion of it.
    In pre-wife/kids world I trained shotokan for about 10 years and loved every second…still do.
    Fast forward 15 years and here I am, a white belt in GKR dojo with 2 primary school age children. What can I say, it is what it is, some things are good some are bad…just like in any other dojo.
    The good:
    1.No one came to my door trying to sign me on, don’t think they do it anymore
    2.You can’t get to 1st Dan in one year (4/5 years if you’re decent). The gkr website is not the best and “one year” refers to time lapse since your previous grading 2nd or 1st kyu
    3.We go to 4 different classes with 4 different instructors…3 are good, dedicated and thorough…one is not(my opinion).
    Each of them has a slightly different approach which I like
    4.The classes are very inclusive-kids on a spectrum, people with disabilities, folks in their 80 etc. My 10 yo has adhd and finds it hard to focus and pay attention for 2 hours but the instructors are understanding and to me it’s priceless. In my old dojo people with any issues were discouraged from long term training.
    5.For the 3 of us we pay monthly roughly half of what we’d be paying anywhere else (there is fixed price regardless of how many classes we attend)

    And the BAAAD:
    1.A regional supervisor attends some classes from time to time and during one of those classes we did some jujitsu (white belts too!!) throws because he “kinda” felt like it. It wasn’t safe, even the other instructors were unhappy but there you go.

    2. some of the black belts’ techniques are ok…ish at slow speeds but fall apart from medium pace +. The theory is that just because someone’s has coordination issues or a disability they shouldn’t be excluded from getting their belt…sounds and looks a bit belt factory…ish though

    3. Two instructors gave me two bits of advice on one of the kata…completely cancelling each other out!

    In all honesty if you see past “the pyramid scheme “ reputation, when you go to a class you train with people who love karate. Is the level in every class high enough to really excel at karate? No, I don’t think so. I train 3/4 times/week in a dojo, every day at home, and strength training 4 times a week for the last 10 years and it all comes to just enough. Would my kids enjoy my first dojo with an instructor who enjoyed twisting people’s arms during every self defence session, doubt it.
    I ABSOLUTELY LOVE KARATE which helps and so do my kids. Does style matter? Not sure. I’ve seen a brilliant gkr 1st Dan and pretty awful shotokan 5th Dan. It’s all down to one’s ability and dedication. If my instructors were all green belts with instructor’s licence I’d quit gkr after the first class. Gkr are pretty big club, there are a lot of bad apples but just as many good ones too. I’m sure you’ve seen it in your own dojos on a smaller scale…that one guy catching the karategi with his sleeve during punching for the snap effect, breathing like a sex pest during kata to show his breath control…
    As an organisation they’re too corporate for a traditional martial art club but each dojo is just a group of people trying their best.
    axelb likes this.
  12. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Welcome to the forum.

    It's great to see a review from someone who has active in it with a background from another school. A good mix of pro and con.

    Good to read that your kids are enjoying it, I imagine it's hard in a rural area to find something that fits with travel and schedule.

    Have you been through any gradings at this club yet? The common setup I see is the cost to train is cheaper than other clubs and the grading cost is higher, which goes up over grades.

    Last time i saw them doing door to door was 10 years ago, I suspect the flak they got for it changed their approach.

    How much you enjoy it plays at part in it. It's a hobby (for most) after all. Some of the experience come down to the instructor of that class.

    Do you get to spar/kumite at that club?
  13. PMAL

    PMAL New Member

    Thanks for the welcome.
    Yes, it seems to be accurate. The cost of training is lower but the grading cost does seem to be rather high. I’ll learn more this week during our first grading.
    There is kumite/sparring training at the end of most classes but only if you’re a brown belt or higher you’re required to do it. It’s difficult for me to assess the quality of the sparring yet because you’re not allowed to participate in it unless you’ve had your first grading. There is an emphasis on health and safety (mouth/groin guards etc) which I do find excessive but that’s the world we live in I guess. The club describe themselves as a no contact karate club but that would be impossible in reality. The self defence and partner work are fine. The higher your grade is the more contact you can make while sparring. I’ve seen couple of brown belts getting punched in the face by a very nimble 1st Dan but it’s not a necessarily a good thing…looked like a lack of control/retaliation hit. In my old club a black belt wasn’t allowed to really hurt a lower grade sparring partner as it showed lack of control and could end up with being expelled after 3 strikes.
    I realise we’ve only started there and it will take some time to form a solid opinion about the club. It definitely is a mixed bag. There are excellent instructors there, dedicated, experienced and aware that people are there to learn and not to listen to their life stories, previous accomplishments and grandad’s jokes but I get where the bad comments are coming from. We’ve tried a new class couple of days ago and if it was our first class with gkr it would be our last. In 2 hours we did maybe 40 minutes of karate. A story or a joke after every combination, white belts told to use whatever block “feels right” during partner work, and so much more I’ve only regained composure this morning. The whole lesson was about the instructor and his ego. My 8 year old said there was too much talking and not enough doing, she even pleaded to do some kata by herself…that was bad as she loves talking.In other classes I almost collapsed from exhaustion and left happy, bruised and wanting more but that one was just what you read in some of the comments about gkr. Once again “a mixed bag”.
    They have hundreds if not thousands dojos all over and all it takes is for someone to go to a bad one to form an opinion.
    To be honest some of the people during my last class seemed to be ok with how it went, but they have never done it anywhere else and this was karate-do they know but anyone having any martial arts experience would definitely feel cheated. I know now that some of them actively AVOID classes I enjoy because the sensei is too strict and they can’t go and get a drink whenever they want. We’re gonna put a pin in that one and move on.
    I agree with your previous post that to some maybe even most people it’s just a hobby but it stands against everything I ever thought or felt in regards to martial arts. It’s a hard one. Who knows maybe it all went very woke and politically correct since I left my old dojo, my kids don’t see it the way I do but what do they know…

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