Brian Kagen pick: “An Open Letter to Strip-Mall Martial Arts Clubs” by David Shevitz

“Dear Owner: Before I begin, I want to first say that I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on a number of things. For example, I’m more than happy to assume that you are, in fact, a skilled practitioner of some sort of martial art. I may not know what that martial art is–and you might have just made it up yourself. But I’m okay with assuming that you put in some considerable time learning what you now know. I’m also willing to assume that you’re genuinely interested in improving the lives of other people through martial arts training. I don’t even have a problem with the fact that this interest may run parallel to your interest in making money–a dojo is a business, after all. You have bills to pay just as anyone else does. I’m not even going to give you a hard time about some of your fees–when I built my dojo, I looked at retail locations. I know how expensive they are, so I would expect your prices to reflect that reality. In short, I want you to know that I’m not looking down on you. I respect you, and I appreciate the situation you’re in.

So if I can respect you, how about you showing some respect for yourself? Or, if you can’t do that, how about your students?”

Please click here to read entire article.


  1. With all due respect to Marc (whoever he might be), he did not write this article.

  2. Ah me. …and I was thinking about taking over the space just vacated by a taekwondo school… (actually, there’s no way. I have NEVER had enough following to pay rent.)

  3. This excellent article was originally attributed to Marc Abrams in error. The actual author is David Shevitz. Our apologies to both parties for the error!

  4. Very good article. Thank you. More such articles should be written. So many ignorant people get cheated by those gyuhundo masters!…
    They get bad habits that can’t be unlearned or become injured as a result of poorly taught manners and techniques.
    But as long as suckers keep being born…

    Patrick Augé

  5. I don’t think so…my 7 year old just got his black belt at are local strip mall and is very proud of it…only thing is the membership is $100 pr month.

  6. You know I’m putting you on…but some MCdojo’s do have 7 year old black belts.

  7. Clark Bateman says:

    An excellent article, but I’m pretty sure most of the self-hype instructors will think you are talking about everybody BUT them. I do wish that “Dojo Daycare” would be marketed as exactly that. Value is subjective, and a for-profit dojo has the right to charge what they wish, but also bear the risk of low enrollment if the fees are judged to be too high.

Speak Your Mind