What is MojuKai?
MojuKai is a combination of two words: Moju and Kai. Moju translates into "Fierce Animal" and Kai means a group, family or society of people.
Renshi Darby chose this name to represent how he wants his students to approach their karate, like fierce animals...because animals, especially those in the wild, do their best to avoid conflict, attacking only when necessary. However, when an animal is forced to fight, they fight with everything they have and they fight to win...this is the essence of karate and self-defense - use it only when necessary, but when necessary be successful.
There are other topics discussed below that help define MojuKai, or you can use
the following links to take you to the associated pages.
Why we're different.
MojuKai is different from any other martial arts or combat school in both Enterprise and Troy because it is the
only TRADITIONAL karate-kobudo system in town. Traditional karate utilizes a specific system of techniques through which power is generated by using the body as a whole. As students learn how to use their bodies as a coordinated unit, they are developing techniques for avoiding attacks, deflecting blows, blocking, creating angles, and building powerful strikes. Unlike most martial arts schools in the area, we are more concerned with the successes of our students instead of simply receiving their money. We do not want students to later need martial arts skills only to find out - too late - that what they have been told would work really does not. Also, some schools may promote themselves as "traditional" while also claiming to be "Mixed Martial Arts" or a combination of both. This violates the concept of traditionalism and confuses people as to what is truly offered by the school.
We are not Tae Kwon Do!
Tae Kwon Do is NOT Karate! As detailed in the 'History' page, Karate originates from Okinawa / Japan - Tae Kwon Do is from Korea. Karate is a Japanese phrase (actually two words), kara, which means "empty" and te, which means "hand", therefore meaning "empty hand". Tae Kwon Do is a Korean phrase and loosely means "foot- hand way". Any school that advertises "Tae Kwon Do Karate" is either misleading, lacks knowledge, or is embarassed to be TKD. American Tae Kwon Do is not of the same caliber as the Korean version; it has been watered down and softened to appeal to American students who want the illusion of skill instead of investing in the work to develop true skill.
McDojos and False Ranks
In the culture of martial arts a "McDojo" is a school that provides subpar instruction and weak training regimen. They do not require their students to work hard and truly learn the art. But, they convince their students that they are learning well. Many McDojos offer the opportunity to advance in rank every couple of months, sometimes monthly, and associate belt rank with skill...this is simply a fraud. No one can attain legitimate black belts skills in a year - not even two years. Giving belt ranks away to students who cannot demonstrate real abilities provides a false sense of achievement. When promoting competitions, these schools recommend 'closed' tournaments to their students, intentionally diverting them away from other styles so as not to expose the weakness of their training. Often they will claim that 'open' tournaments cheat as an excuse as to why their students do not win. In reality, they teach poor skills and their students' losses expose this.
MojuKai gakusei (students) must study and prepare a minimum of four months between each kyu rank (under black belt) until Brown Belt then there is a minimum six month training period between advancement. This provides the student sufficient time to not only learn the techniques required for each rank, but to build true proficiency. Review of the testing requirements in the 'Belt Ranks' allows one to follow the path through gradually ascending abilities. If the student does not become adept at skills in one level, they will not be able to perform the required skills at the next level. It takes time to become capable; anyone who promises otherwise is simply taking your money and wasting your time. Be willing to earn your rank.
Be wary of schools that advertise themselves as "Mixed Martial Arts". Most schools who do this are ill prepared for teaching a single system, much less several different styles simultaneously. And, as stated elsewhere, it is unlikely that any single instructor has developed the proficiency to effectively instruct in more than one system. Unless the school that you are considering as an MMA option has several instructors that teach different methods, consider them with caution.
No Religious Undertones
One of the few deviations from tradition in MojuKai is the removal of any semblance of Shintoism. Most Okinawan / Japanese systems require for their students to begin class by "paying respects" to instructors (both living and deceased) by performing seiza rei (kneeling bow), a ritualized demonstration of fealty. This is not done in MojuKai. While we recognize the traditional line of Japanese masters of karate, a line descending from Master Funakoshi, Dr. Chitose, and Kaicho Yamamoto (see the 'History' page), we do not bow to show them honor because most of our students are Christian and are opposed to doing so. Instead, we honor those who have come before us by giving them credit for their accomplishments. We show respect for them in the manner which we practice the art that they have passed down. This means demonstrating good citizenship, being respectful to the process, striving to achieve excellence, and exhibiting humility - as well as having Bushido (Warrior's Way).
Bunkai (pronounced "boon-kigh") means "dissection" and refers to breaking down techniques so that the student learns how, why and when they should be applied, not only what they look like. It is one thing for an individual to be able to DO a thing, but completely another for them to be able to thoroughly EXPLAIN it. Any instructor who teaches exclusively by demonstrating and then expecting replication is minimally effective. Many instructors who invest in the effort to bunkai techniques believe that it is necessary only for advanced techniques. This shows impatience for "simple" tactics. This means that they have forgotten what it was like to be a young karate-ka (karate practitioner). It also means that they have forgotten the most important techniques of karate - good basics. Renshi Darby begins bunkai with the most basic elements of karate (how to make a fist, how to turn the shoulders, how to use the hips, and even how to breathe) because these are the most fundamental elements to the process of developing real karate abilities. And, as emphasized, it is not possible to learn advanced techniques unless the essential basics are thoroughly developed. If you consider a martial arts instructor who does not explain techniques thoroughly, be suspicious of their depth of understanding.