My Thoughts on the Video Market

I have been asked many times about my stance on the Instructional Martial Arts Video industry.

It would appear, by reading the surface of what I’ve written over the years, that I am completely opposed to producing, buying, even learning by video. I am not. I understand that the video/DVD industry allows for quick glimpses into another’s training methods and style; one can even learn from a well-put together video! I am not denying the usefulness of video. But what I am opposed to is the fact that most of some teachers’ learning comes from the video market and seminars. Fine if you want to learn that way, but I believe it is irresponsible to teach others “self defense” if this has been your primary method of learning.

Let me qualify that first.

If you have spent the last 5 years learning karate/tkd/kung fu/etc., but your FMA training has been mostly from video and seminar, you cannot call yourself a Guro and teach… I don’t care who signed the certificate.

If you spent the last 5 years learning karate/tkd/kung fu/etc., and you trained with a group of guys who learned from video and seminar, you cannot call yourself a Guro and teach… I don’t care how much “experience” you consider this might be.

(FMA people, it is time to put our foot down and stand for what’s right. Yes, it will hurt some feelings and even offend some of our friends.)

Video training and especially video certification does not make one “qualified” to learn an art. So you don’t have a Guro near you… travel! So you don’t have the money to travel to a teacher…. you are not being trained properly. It’s not a matter of “this is your path” or “this is our culture”! Just as you cannot get an MD through a correspondence course–I certainly wouldn’t want a self-taught (which is what that is!) heart surgeon working on me or my mom… would you?

Back to the video thing, it all starts with a knowledgeable and ethical teacher. You cannot have a good video/dvd if the teacher is bogus. When people buy videos, they usually look as how popular a guy is, or how exotic the art is packaged or marketed. Put these clowns in traditional Moro costumes, Kulintang music, new fangled Tagalog terminology, pose on the cover with neat chokes and threatening poses and BAM! We’ve got ourselves the next thing in the FMA. Now flip to the back, and make up some BS history about where the art came from…. “Pacific secret combatives from the Archipelago” , Navy Seal washouts, MMA wannabes, survivor of death matches, revamped-practical-combat FMA repackaged! You too can look like the guy from Ong Bak! If the teacher on the video is looking to make money first, teach second, it’ll be obvious (though it may not be as obvious to the customer). An ethical teacher will tell you exactly what the hell he’s teaching you, and not try to rename it. For example, the big trend right now is to teach Pa Kua/Hsing Yi but call it “Silat”.

Check this out:

Titled “Ba Gua”

Then titled “Kuntao” (disabled on his site):

But you wanna see what Silat looks like IN INDONESIA?

not quite what you see in those videos, huh? But you can’t get more real that Indonesians, at an Indonesian Championship tournament.

How about Silat in the Philippines?

Sorry, but that’s not exactly put on video either. I once referred a gentleman to the INDONESIAN EMBASSY, where Silat classes have been going on (in Washington DC) for almost 15 years, and you know what he told me? Those guys don’t know Silat, they’re doing Karate. Poor guy, he doesn’t wants Silat, he wants BaGua/HsingYi dressed up by some Dutch guy who use to live in Indonesia. He wants to look “exotic”…

Back to videos (again).

The second thing is that a video has to have practical technique on there. Is this information useful? Is it something you believe the instructor has actually used? Can he use it? A well-produced video by a well-known master is pointless if the stuff he’s teaching is crap. There are very few tapes out there giving good information. Most of the people are doing what the next guy teaches: disarms, the same stupid drills, the same give and take drills, the same neat take downs and chokes with the stick, and the same Wally Jay Jujitsu techniques with a stick. Then you have the all blade guys… we don’t do stick we do only the blade. No wait, we do do stick, and empty hand. Okay, I’m digressing again. But now, we have blade “experts” who have never fought with a blade. Oh then there’s the prison guys, ex correctional officers, and ex cons, teaching their techniques. Hmm…. minus the cussing and the sloppy bellies, it looks like the same stuff on my FMA video. Oh, but this is real streetfighting, not FMA. Come on! I just want to learn some technique, good, practical technique!

After all of that, you need to practice. And here is my big beef with the video industry: it has created a generation or two of arm chair martial artists, who can demo the hell out of techniques, but still don’t know how to fight. So much that they won’t travel across town to train. So much that they can hide behind knowledge (too deadly… yes they are still saying that!) and cliches, like tournament fighting is not real fighting. We have guys who have learned so much through Youtube, that they think they know more than the ones teaching. Yuck.

Videos have their place. Those who learn by videos have their place too. As long as they don’t cross over the boundaries we’re all good. Just remember that they are not a substitute for training, and training is the key, not the side dish, to learning. I will be adding a video review section to this blog, as students and friends are always asking my opinion about youtube clips and videos they have purchased. So I thought, why not? I am negotiating with the folks over at Goldstar Video to get a deal. Soon I will be reviewing instructionals based on three things:

Is the information practical?

Is the guy teaching legit?

Is this good overall information, or just rehashed garbage for some guy’s ego and resume?

As always, I promise to give only the truth, never sell out to commercialism (even if it offends), not to sugar coat anything, and give you pure thekuntawman.

Thanks for reading my blog!


The “Ugly” Side of Kali

An exchange with a well-known Grand Master of the FMA (out of respect, I will not name him, we have not obtained permission to use his name). While respectful, it shows our Guro’s gutsy side and willingness to speak his mind, even when confronted by a well-respected GM:

Message: 1
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 08:43:12 EDT
Subject: [Eskrima] Maurice, language (Re: Eskrima digest, Vol 14 #133 – 12 msgs)


The language you used re: the discussion on the explanation of the origin of
the word kali is out of line and has no place in an intelligent discourse.
You have referred to my statement directly. The explanation I presented was on the origin of the word not on the origin of the art.

I will give you an example about the phrase you used, “They WON’T explain.” Ben Largusa of Villabrille Kali, in an interview published in Inside Kungfu, gave theories, attempts to get at the meaning of the word that only winged an explanation. If they “know but won’t explain”, how come he was not able to when the question was put to him directly?

If you say they they know but won’t explain, how come there is complete
silence from the masters I referred to? The silence is deafening.

I have pointed out the names of systems that I said could not explain the
meaning of the word: one of them is Chris (of Sayoc Kali). I know Chris
personally, and had given a few lessons in his backyard in Queens, NY back in the mid 70s when his family were still very close to Leo (Gaje Jr. whom I consider a good friend). I also mentioned Kali Illustrisimo, yet I haven’t not heard from them. (By the way, Leo and I worked out together very frequently in Queens at the Flushing Meadows Park when arnis was “Arnis, what?” in the early 70s’. When I held a stick fighting tournament in Manhattan in December 1975, only my students and Leo’s competed.)

I know Rey Galang personally. At the time Mark (Wiley) was writing his book which later bacame titled “Filipino Martial Culture”, Rey came with Mark to my backyard (to interview me) in Queens, NY. Rey is the most well known Kali Illustrisimo practitioner in the US, yet I have not heard of any explanation from their end on the origin of the word.

I started writing because I read Philippine history being interested in the
Filipino martial arts. It is said that “If you don’t read history, you are
bound to repeat it.” There was very little to read so I started writing. I did
not want to repeat what my Filipino ancestors failed to do.

I had the option to use the word kali, since in my village where I grew up
in Pambuan, Gapan, Nueva Ecija, it was a common word. My granduncles sometimes will say kalis even if they mean gulok (bolo). I decided not to use the word kali for the name of my family’s system because it has a bad connotation and linked to the ugly part of kali.

You had just demonstrated the ugly part of kali. There is an intelligent
discourse going on and you introduced a language that should not be used. I had explained the ugly part of kali which you have just demonstrated in my article in Inside Kungfu magazine.

Perhaps, heads of systems who read this will come out with their explanation of the word kali. If they have a better explanation than mine, I would like to read it.

Guro’s Response:


just like the martial arts have their own styles, there own prefernce to fighting and teaching, we FMA people have our own philosophy about this martial arts.

some people are very intellctual and very friendly, and they consider this good martial arts, or good martial arts character, i was raised differently. to me, we will give respect to a man because of his age, his skill, his accomplishments, his character, etc. etc. which i do that, but i cannot approved of disrespect to the philippine martial arts, i dont care who did it. i might go farther, to say, i only respect good skill in fighting, because in the martial arts (any fighting arts) you have no choise but to respect a man who can beat you. you dont have to like him, you dont have to respect him, but in his face, you will _always_ respect that man.

but i’m not going to say this, we all know it. i respect our educated brothers who put the FMA in the world to see and read about. it helps us all out in finding new students when more people know, what is the filipino arts, and how effective they are. many of the people i criticise are very respected in the FMA world, and some are even old teachers of mine, but when i see something wrong, i owe it to myself to be true to myself, even if it makes me look ungrateful to those heros.

(i just deleted some stuff i was going to say), because i know how thin skin some martial artists can be, but let me say this: i am from washington DC. i been fighting in karate tournaments since 1981, many times in new york, new jersey, more times than you can know. i have friends who have black belts under almost every FMA guro on the east coast, and i been around this area since 1981, so i know when those arts was still being called arnis, TAE KWON DO, etc. please dont insult me to ask me to act like my memory is wrong. many people who criticise me actually know me, but dont remember that they know me for different reasons, and i prefer it like that. because i’m the kind of guy who will show up at their school.

speaking of thin skin. my grandfather use to say, as your fighting gets better your skin gets thicker. and he’s talking about words. when you can fight well, it takes more words to make you upset or feelings hurt. when your insulted easy, it says something about your fighting ability, and this is very important to my philosophy about “martial character”. i am from a place where people are not friendly, martial artists teachers question each others skill out loud, and true martial respect exists. my school is in a place where my students cannot be cheltered from rudeness and hostile, and that is not the kind of teacher i am. when the student is wrong, i tell him. when another teacher pissed me off i will go to his place and tell him in person. i consider this to be good martial character, not to smile in his face and talk behind his back, which is how women act.

so i will apologize for sounding disrespectful to my manong. i read all your books, and you are one of my childhood pinoy heros. but i will not apologize becuase i dont believe all i hear. and i would like to say to the FMA person in america, our philosophy will not allow a person to go unchallenged if he makes claims as a martial teacher. and even though you live in america, there’s still some people here who will call you to the door on it. this is the reason why you dont have filipinos back home talking about blind princesses, robots and “secret arts finally revealed”. about the history of some masters, i think respect for our older masters is the reason we dont talk much about it. (death matches?) if somebody wants to be a FMA teacher, you must be willing to be challenged on your words and style–even on the internet. many people will hide behind reputations, popularity, big organizations, STUDENTS, and tough talk. but a person can always be reached, if he wants you.

i will give an example of a well respected FMA master who is protected from challenge because he is loved and respected: remy presas. my closest friends come from modern arnis, but you will never hear somebody say, modern arnis is mcdojo. but for FMA styles, the worst arnis people i have seen comes from modern arnis. i am the person who will say it, when nobody will. there are good fighters in modern arnis, but when we are talking about poor arnis teachers, you will find many, many unqualified teachers in modern arnis.

so which one should we respect? the guy who tells a students, oh yeah, go study from that MA guy down the street? or the one who speaks his mind and says, no you should travel to the next town over and look up that doce pares guy. as FMA, we are suppose to be the REAL world martial arts people. we cannot live up to this if we are to political to call a spade a spade.

“ugly part of kali”: the ugly part of kali, i believe you are talking about the feud. isnt this the reason why FMA is so great? was all the masters friends? i have to say, what is worst, one eskrimador challenged the story of another, cussing him, or killing him in one these “death match”? you have to agree with me, the ugly part of FMA should be killing another master, right? where are the students of these dead masters? i believe the ugly part of KALI is teachers who promote masters and teachers who cant fight his way out of a paper bag. another ugly part of KALI is to learn from a master and claim his art as your own when you dont give him credit. ugly part of KALI–lie about the history of your art. i advertise kali, karate, ect, but i dont teach those things. when the students come in i tell them, this is generic word, and kuntaw, eskrima, jow ga kung fu is what i teach. the student can leave if he is disappointment, but not after i have to de-program all the garbage he read about in the magazine and internet. now, that is ugly, me, a man who been doing FMA for 30 years, and i get called “ignorant” by some non-FMA who been reading dan inosanto articles about pananjakman and he looks down on arnis. no, i disagree with you, master marinas, my words are not the ugly part of ARNIS, they are the part of ARNIS that keeps most of us on our toes. you know from the philippines, a fight might always be around the corner if you teach, so only the best teach. but here in the US, when people are afraid to challenge and disagree? so the result is, teachers who get certified in 3 days, “Master’s exams” “tapi tapi masters” guys like “punong guro roger marsh” (google him on bullshido), study-by-clips-websites. that is ugly. people who know me, will say i am very friendly and nice guy. but if i think your talking bs, i’m going to say, your talking bs. we have great fighting arts, because masters before us stayed on their feet to improve, compare (challenged) and improve some more. how many times did those masters hear, bullshit, i’m better than you. rivalry, enemies, feud, and grudge match. this is the ture history of FMA, i dont care what the books say, we owe our arts to these things, and they are not ugly.

The Response was to this post. I’m sure it got plenty of folks all worked up:

old sources, filipino sources, etc. KALI

i was watching a television show about the history of religions, and they talked about old “scrolls” and books they found in greece, italy and some other places. people are now challengins the bible and religion because what is said there, is different to what people been believing for years. now you have two people, the ones who believe the new “old books”, and they will never believe anything else, and the ones who believe the old “old books” which was the religion already in place for years.

a scholar said, you have to be careful not to believe every document you finded is true, just because it is 1,000 years old. but you also have to be careful you dont believe everything this scholar said, just because he is historian. and you have to be careful you dont believe everything that came from greece, just because the bible is written in greece.

many historians, even the ones who are around 500, 1,000 years ago, might be wrong. you repeat a false story enough, and people will swear it is real. how many people believe the “leathernecks” story is orginated in the philippines. how many people believe all martial arts comes from shaolin? how many people believe that kenpo is really “chinese karate”??? i remember as a boy i saw a school who says that his arnis, came from lapu lapu himself…

filipinos, in the philippines, didnt have too many books and magazines to read about the martial arts 20 years ago, so they read the american books and magazines. many filipinos, even filipino “grandmasters” saw that “kali is the mother art” so they began to say, my art is the mother art. well here we are 20, 30 years later, and they have to defend the use of it. its too late to say “i read it in danny inosanto’s book”, so they have to come up with bs to support their use, even when they debate with another filipino.

to answer why some “masters” have KALI in their name, and they cant explain it. i say bullshit. they can explain. they WONT explain. in 1970 most of these ex-eskrimador, probably never heard of placido yambao’s book, but they dam sure heard of danny inosantos. book.

McDojo in the Philippines

A quickie…

i think the new “mcdojo” in the philippines is to live up to those stories foreigners think about when they go to the philippines. they are looking for dressing up in moro costumes and army uniform? what size are you.¬†they want “kali”? give it to them. they want training in the mud? train with the pigs and caribou? sure, we got that. and when you’re done….here’s your certificate, i even going to put you on my website.

its bad now, that the small old guy in the province is not respected as a master, because he never bragged to kill people in death matches, he doesnt speak good, or educated, and he doesnt have a website or foreign students.

i’m very proud that we dont have mega schools in the philippines, but i am not proud that we ‘give them what they came for”. this is for money, and fame, forget if the student really knows how to fight or not, and that makes a lot of commercialsim in the philippine martial arts.

My Prediction for the Next “McDojo”

Insightful! Guro called this one like a psychic! Think of all the new fads in the martial arts, and notice that the new trend is to deny you are teaching martial arts at all! Written a year ago….

how much you want to bet, the next art to become the new thing in video, seminars, even schools….is not going to be any rare martial arts……but streetfighting with NO martial arts, and NO boxing, and NO wrestling! they will still sell certificates (theres already some kung fu guys in NYC who teaches “52 blocks”, but they never been to prison, and they aint 5 percenters. yes, street fighting from the “hood”. but its going to be bigger than every before. streetfighting experts from the streets of buffalo new york or youngtown ohio, you can beat any UFC fighter with these secrets! crips and blood streetfighting tactics! learn to stomp somebody ass into the ground, 3 on 1!

the thing about the martial artists, is, he never grew up from 12 years old. he’s still searching for “secret” styles and techniques nobody can beat. he still belives in the “supersuit” that gives you superpower (we call this muay thai shorts or bjj uniforms), straight from the temples of suburbs and internet websites. the 12 year old kids who use to buy karate posters and 10 page course from the comic book, he is teaching, still in “10 easy lesson”, except now its called “intensive no-nonsense training camp!” look at his resume. the dates of his “certification” will be exactly 12 months after important martial arts storms: like: van dam movie “kickboxer” (muay thai), jason scott lee “dragon” (JKD/wing chun), jeff speakman “perfect weapons” (kenpo), bjj/etc (after the UFC, and release of some bjj video), “ong bak” (ancient muay thai), eskrima, noo excuse me, kali (after the hunted, and cable TV specials like fightquest), you get it. but look all the way back when he was 13 years old, his first black belt is from a shopping center karate (or maybe a real school), but that master is not on his website….

the martial artist, is afraid to prove what he has. that is why he lets his friends promote him. this is why he says he doesnt like tournaments. he teachs boxing, but he never been in a boxing gym. we have guys who watch zulu stick fighting on pbs, and now, they teach it! i wonder how long they studied before the zulus “certified” them. you know, even after bravehard, and 300, and troy, we have guys who abandon there karate, fma, and other asian style to teach “gladiator style fighting/wma”. yeah, okay. one guy came to my place who says he knows a roman stickfighting. what he showed to me looks like kendo. well, maybe the samurai stole it from the romans.

this is why many people do not take the martial arts seriously, because we have so many clowns who study an art 10 years, and he is not courageous enough to stand by his learning, and defend what he learned. we dont take our own training serious, this is why we are forever trying to learn something else that makes us “confident”. why is this? because our teachers fail us when they “certify” us and we are not the best he can produce. i know this is true, and so does the seminar guys who targets not the beginning student, but TEACHERS and EXPERTS. you can make a lot of money from another man insecurity. the truth is, most black belters, did not work hard to get it, and he does not have the confidence that he can really back up his certificate, and even there teachers know this is true, but everyone keeps doing it….so anyway, beginning of this week, i am going to start my “combat streetfighting classes” at my school. this is not martial arts base, but only the most effective fight skills proven by a selected few bangers and thugs know the secrets. you can learn them all in one day, and i guarantee that you can beat any mma guy on the “big yard”…the streets! lol

What Makes an FMA “McDojo”

i think what makes our FMA water down, is not the fat that it is taught in a school, or money is paid for the classes, or that we fight in tournaments. i dont know about most of the filipinos on this group, but tournaments, is a very FILIPINO thing. rules? oh come on, everyone has rules, even in “no rules fighting”. if there really is no rules, then i will bring my knife to the next one. people who dont like tournaments, usually is scared of fighting in them, and you know he aint fighting in the street.
but when many of us complain “mc dojo” we are talking about the quickness that some people get to be considered an expert, and how easy it is to be considered “expert”. we have people who complain that there is no teacher in his town, so he must go to video and seminar to learn the art. but what if you want to become a lawyer and there is no law school in your city? how bout if you want to become a doctor? you travel. i know i am not getting my divorce by some guy who is too lazy or too not committed to travel to learn his law. and yet, some of us, trust our lives in the hands of a teacher who did not thing is important enough to travel to learn from a qualified master.
how many of us, have slept of the floor of an arnis master to learn his style, or catch a bus to learn a new style, or save his money to travel to study under a great master. in this country, where money can be made everywhere, people dont want to spend $200 a month to learn from a qualified master, but he will spend $75 for two hours of learning in a seminar, or $200 to learn from a video tape. mc dojo.
last year, when i had a conversation with a teacher, who is a member of this forum, who told me, the “black belt” is the beginning. really? since when? when you are a black belt, you are an expert. supposed. but it is not for a beginner of the art to wear, which is the attitude, and this is why we have 7 years old 1st degree, 14 years old 4th degree, and lost interest by age 21. what makes our FMA a mc dojo? too many beginners with no skill who now have rank to teach. who will take FMA serious with black belters who cannot fight? we have too much of that.
then the last part, is we have liars in the FMA. they lie about history, they lie about who they learn from, they make up words and styles and give fake histories, even created new things in our culture. and its not about money all the time, lost of time, its about a small butok, who tries to act like a BIG butok. they use stories, and tough talk, and fancy names, youtube demos, and big words to describe what they do. they teach cops, military, wear army uniform, go to isreal, take hundreds of foreign students, make nice websites, put out videos with rock music and rap, etc. but people forget the most important thing, can you fight? and this is filipino….can you fight. screw the drills, and fancy disarmings, forget the neat tricks and cool locks and throws. i dont care who you train with, or who certify you, or if you use to shine bruce lee’s shoes. can you fight.
i always say, its the one who can’t fight, who talks politics, rank and gossips. he must distract you so you dont notice, that he cant fight.
mc dojo, is the one who is so far from tradition, he becomes like mc donalds of martial arts.

Don’t Teach the Saudis

We haven’t spoken about this post, but I can tell that he was pretty upset when he wrote it. Good reason, too. Something for all of us to think about… before we speak, before we act, but it is relevant to all of us.

“I am concerned for several reasons. Yes, they are allies. However as everybody knows, 19 of the 9/11 highjackers were from Saudi. Several of them trained at a martial arts school in Florida. I work in a field where it is possible for me or a coworker to encounter such a person. The knife techniques of Filipino martial arts in the wrong hands is a scary thought. I believe the utmost oversight is called for.”
(Author unknown)

i want to say something racist about this, statement, that watch out if you teach the saudis.

the attacker of the oklahoma bombing is a white christian guy, who was a member of the US Army. using the “dont teach the saudis” idea, dont teach a white man, dont teach a christian, dont teach a military man, oh, he was a man right, dont teach men. that is an ignorant way of selection.

how about padilla, he is a mexican, so we shouldnt teach a mexican either right? no wait, he is a US citizen, so again, dont teach an american.

the DC sniper, he was military too right? no, he is american, and he is black, so lets dont teach a black american who was military.

and they are muslim so dont teach a muslim. forget that some of this art, came to you from a muslim.

the unabomber, he is american, he was a white man, and he hated america. skin heads out here in california, they hate the US government, which oppressed the white man. so who is the real enemy?

the enemy of the FMA is commericalism. teach as many people as you can, with no commitment from them, for a short amount of time, teach them through your videos, your seminars when your in a country for three days and boom…your out to the next state or kenpo school. who cares the background of these guys, or even if they can fight good enough to represent your style, or if they can fight good enough to save his family members or his own behind. some of us (not me) have students who are certified as teachers and cant even fight his way in a paper bag, and i would say that you know it, but the truth is, you really dont know, because the method of teaching the FMA is very unpersonal, and the real grandmaster around here, is the man named “dollar bill”.

dont worry about if the guy you teach is going to kill a bouncer in the club, or hijack a plane or stab a group of teenagers after you have beat them up. yes, we all regret it if our student hurts another person with the skills we teach him. BUT the real problem is, you gave up the most dangerous of your style and you dont know this guy. there is no commitment from the student because there is no commitment from the teacher. he is making bucks and building websites to sell certifications. students spend less than 200 hours a year with you, you cannot get to know them well enough as a martial student to train them and get to know them well. so what will you do? run “proverify”? check finger prints? call his old teachers? the teacher-student relationship have become a business-customer relationship. this is the reason why your art gets to the wrong hands. but a student can always turn bad, but the way is being taught, anyone can get this art.

if you look at a mans religion or his country, that sir, are a racist. tell you want, dont go to the middle east, go to europe. they have lots of young, christian, white bald headed young men, who will make very strong students for your FMA.

Absorbing All of an Art

somebody said you cannot learn in a short time what part of an art to leave out, and what part to keep in. i agree with this. its not needed to learn a whole art, if you can use what you have, but it will take some time and dedication to learn the art good enough to use it before you start saying “this is trash, this is useless, etc.”

you can learn a few words of a language, well, you can learn a LOT of a language, and still dont speak it. either you speak it, or you dont. if you only know some words all you will be good at doing is to impress people. you can say the same about martial arts. there’s lots of people who learn basic–how to slip a punch, or bob and weave–but all they can do is demonstrate it, not USE it. why is this, because people never really learn to box. they dont even go into a boxing gym. most people learn “boxing” from a guy who never been in a ring, or they learn from a guy, who leared from a guy, who learned from a guy, who watches a lot of boxing. but i can tell you, you cannot learn to box, unless you box.
so my point is, the question is not how much of an art you learn, but can do you do this art, and how well do you know it. every week in my school i meet guys who comes from tae kwon do, and to impress me as a new students (sometimes they just dont know better) by saying, i tried tae kwon do, but it does not work. my answer is always, how much training did you have, and how did you train. see, there are people out there with TKD black belts who will destroy you. but most people think about tkd people as, they are just kiddie karate mcdojos. but there is good tkd, and a very small number of people will know how to do this. you have people who know a little about an art, but then you know people who know an art very good. when you know some art good enough to fight using only that art, then it is useful to you. if you only know a few techniques, then you are like the old man who goes around telling everybody hello and thank you and good-bye in anothe language, good for nothing but showing off and impress people.
but if the question is, can you teach somebody to defend himself in a few classes, even ONE class, in a style? well, i hope the answer for all of us is, yes. if you can show a man how to ball his fist and punch a nose and jaw and throat _with power_, then you can teach him to defend himself. but if you are talking, teach a man who wants to defeat most of his opponents on the street, or to become a teacher of the martial arts, or to “add” to his style, its going to take a lot much more to bring him up and give him good use of your style.
one of the reasons people “dabble, dabble, teach” is because the teachers do not have much knowledge to pass down. many times the teachers do not have the skill to test the guys he is teaching so there is no “test” (read, fight) to see if this guy really learns what you showed him. so the desire, is not to learn the art enough to use it, but to learn it enough to demonstrate it and “teach” other people how to demonstrate it.
i “teach” tae kwon do, and i can fight tkd style. i “teach” jow ga, eagle claw and white eyebrow kung fu, and i can fight with it. i “teach” boxing, and i can box. i “teach” kuntaw and eskrima, and i can fight with it. in my opinon, you dont need the whole style to add to your fighting skill, but if you want to teach it, you better know how to fight with it.