I've heard many martial artists proclaim themselves to have "traditional" dojos and used this to justify borderline abusive behavior. Some example include making kids do knuckle push-ups on hardwood floors, refusing water to students in a sweltering dojo, and striking students with the intent of causing physical damage. Does abuse make a dojo traditional? Especially since similar conditions can be found in MMA gyms. Some people think the kind of martial arts offered decree if a school is traditional or not. However, arts such as Muay Thai still have a rich tradition and history despite being found in many MMA gyms.
Lowry suggests that it is a subtle attitude and philosophy within the dojo that makes a dojo traditional or modern. I like this notion. A traditional dojo is based off Japanese military history. One element I partially like is the emphasis on training up everyone to their fullest potential. If we look at how a military unit trains, the army is only as strong as their weakest person. Therefore, attention is equally divided amongst the beginner, novice, and advanced students.
Modern and/or sport based dojos have different goals. Unlike traditional dojos, a gym needs just a few very talented individuals to compete and do well in tournaments. A consequence of this is that students who do not already have a strong skillset or natural ability may get neglected. The attention of the instructors is not necessarily equal.
We've tried to develop a dynamic martial arts academy. While we have arts commonly found in MMA gyms, we are undoubtedly a traditional dojo. You can train here and fight MMA or get your accredited rank in Isshin Ryu Karate. You can be a naturally gifted athlete or need reminding on your left and right. Everyone here has our respect and attention.
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