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gazrichards
gazrichards's picture
McDojo or legend?

Hi all, 

a little help is required please. 

There is a guy in my local town that has suddenly appeared and opened a number of classes in the last 2/3 years. 

He is teaching in local schools and community centres. This isn't a problem at all, whilst it may be competition for me and my dojo I am pretty open minded to about this stuff and have no problem with good MA clubs opening up in my local area. 

here lies my problem. He is claiming to be a 8th or 9th dan (can't remember which) in an art called judan Okinawan karate. 

Now I am familiar with the main karate styles (I'm a shotokan practitioner but train in wado, goju and Shito ryu when I can) but am not clued up on the original Okinawan arts or even a lot of the more modern off shoots. 

A google search brings up nothing on either the art or this person (a 9th dan should have some sort of internet presence I'd have thought). His clubs have no website either. No one I know has ever heard of him but he is Irish so maybe just moved here and he could be well respected at home?

basically is anyone familiar with this art or style? 

I went to watch a class and I'll be honest he is crap. He said he doesn't do any kata "it's a waste of time"

i dont want to publish his name for a few reasons but will if I have to. 

If he is a chancer I'll just wait till he gets found out but if he is genuine then I want to be training with him!

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi,

never heard of Judan Okinawan Karate. Does that translated mean 10th level Okinawan Karate? (Just guessing because I don't know which Kanji are used). Just ask him who his teacher(s) was/were. He must have some kind of lineage.

To me it sounds like he invented his own style and ranked himself to such a high grade. An Okinawan style of Karate without Kata? I really don't think so.

Just my 2 cents.

Regards Holger

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

I agree with Holger (Ky0han)

Okinawan Karate is all about Kata, to say its a waste of time as such a high level is a complete contridiction

Please remember, Kalma sends you the students that should be training with you. I have a Fresstyle Karate/Jujitsu Youtube-do guy who has a classes near me, he doesn't work so has the time to do the flyers etc I'm not bothered as his stuff is mix match he doens't have a complete syllabus as I've seen it He also doesn't practice Kata as he says they're a waste ot time too but that's because he has no understanding of them other than a dance.

Concentrate on WHAT makes you different to everyone else, for me I teach Full Contact Karate, This is how I sell it. For you it could be Bunkai etc.

leave him too it as they'll find out soon enough. I think the guy near me is still signing on for income support too but that's for the authorities to find out.

gazrichards
gazrichards's picture

I'm not in the slightest bit worried about him taking students/business from me. I have plenty of students and I am more than confident and capable of getting more if and when I want or need them. 

I just wanted to be 100% sure that he was what I thought he was. Like I said, I visited his dojo and even if he is a legitimate 9th dan he is still crap and runs bad lessons. 

The disappointing thing is that I also doubt he has insurance etc and I can't really go around to the schools re teaches in and tell them other wise and I suppose that also raises the question that if he is teaching rubbish, made up karate but he has adequate insurance, why would the school care. If he pays his bills and the customers are enjoying themselves then I guess it's all fair game.

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

The thing is its not compulsary for any Club to be a member of an NGB, this I think should be compulsary. But I think that there should be specified criteria for "creating" and NGB etc.

I still think he's an "Independent" GKR instructor.

Shoshinkan UK is an Okinawan Karate specialist, maybe he might be able to put some like on the topic

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

I don't care what others do or what rank they claim.

All we can do is make sure our own/our clubs standards are high.

Charlatans keep the flies off the rest of us.

Gary

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:

I don't care what others do or what rank they claim.

All we can do is make sure our own/our clubs standards are high.

Charlatans keep the flies off the rest of us.

Gary

Well said Gary,

I totally agree, you could be an 8th Dan if you added your grades together hehehehe, but you're far from being a Charlatan

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

Kind of you to say.

I was a competitor, not a tough guy, but I earnt my grades the hard way, I'm sure of that.  

Other people claiming fancy grades or titles is up to them.  When people ask me about local clubs that I know to be rip off artists I just decline to comment.  Why bother?  I'm not an MA policeman.

wink

Gary

Gavin J Poffley
Gavin J Poffley's picture

I am pretty sure the "gentleman" in question is not part of any legitimate Okinawan organisation. "Judan" could have several possible meanings in Japanese but none of them make any sense as a lineage or organisation name (incidentally the meanings are "10th level", "bullet" and "longitudinal segment"!). 

For those not familiar with the major styles that remained on Okinawa (as opposed to the Japanese mainland ones) they are basically:

Shorin ryu (further split into Matsubayashi, Kobayashi and Shobayashi but also including a few other offshoots like shorinji ryu)

Goju ryu

Uechi ryu

And the more minor ones:

Motobu ryu

To'on ryu

Kojo ryu

Isshin ryu

The comment about not doing kata is a dead giveaway as others here have noticed but even if the guy had a cast iron legitimate lineage, the fact he is crap and cant teach is the only thing that matters here! 

gazrichards
gazrichards's picture

Ok, I think enough factual knowledge has been shed on this and my suspicions have been realised. 

I didn't want to name names in case he is legitimate and wouldn't want google to throw up this thread in future years when prospective students google his club. 

But......his name is Leo John Armstead and he is teaching in the Milton Keynes area. 

(I completely understand if this has to be deleted but you never know, someone on here may know him)

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

Hi Gaz

I didn't post it, for the reasons you mentioned, but I did a bit of digging on your behalf and found Leo Amstead's facebook page etc. He seems to be part of Wayne Otto's organisation The Academy of Uechi Ryu Karate...

But, and this is the reason I didn't post, he seems very young... to claim 9th dan etc and therefore I assumed I had gone down a blind alley and had found a different Leo Amstead - even though his facebook page was associated with the Uechi Ryu organisation, which is based in Milton Keynes at the same address as Judan Okinawan Karate and Leo was based in Milton Keynes..)?!?

all a bit weird

Tom

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

Well there's nothing about his school other than the generic basic additions in the free search engines.

just see it as one thing, Karma, it will sort itself out soon.

gazrichards
gazrichards's picture

I've done all the usual google, facebook etc long ago. Also asked all my local karate ka buddies if they knew him and all sources drew a blank. 

If even his style seems to be a mystery amongst the collective knowledge on here and no one seems to know his name (could be that the style name he uses is the name of his school but he teaches something fairly generic - many of us do the same thing) it's quite obvious to me that he is pulling a fast one. 

swmirsky
swmirsky's picture

You write: "I went to watch a class and I'll be honest he is crap. He said he doesn't do any kata 'it's a waste of time' . . . but if he is genuine then I want to be training with him!"

If he really is "crap," as you put it, who cares what his lineage or credentials are! Nor would either of those justify training with him. Your answer is in your initial assessment.   

Leo W Armstead
Leo W Armstead's picture

Hello all, my name is Leo W Armstead, son of the aforementioned Leo J Armstead.

I feel the need to put things straight, although my father is now nothing but a money driven cowboy he never used to be that way. Before he cheated on my mother and left our house broken he was incredible. He truly cared about his students and he was always trying to learn more so he could teach better. I trained with him 5 days a week and learnt so much about karate and myself.

However when he met his other woman (who he has graded to blackbelt in under 2 years might I add) he changed completely and now scams all his students. Those that were still friends with me and my mother he simply bullied out of his club. He isn't insured and neither are his students, he still charges them for it though. He is not associated with any organisations, but still uses FEKO graphics on his advertising.

To answer a few questions, he trains in Uechi Ryu karate but also with an element of a Kung Fu style gained from a sensei he trained under, although I forget the name. He was based in London and died quite a few years ago. He was a sixth dan when he left 6ish years ago so for him to be claiming he is a 9th dan both makes me laugh and surprises me very little. The reason he doesn't train kata, despite knowing them; is that he used to when younger until attacked. All he had done was kata and it didn't help him in the least - he got mullered! To him they are nothing but a dance, he will teach them if people ask for them but doesn't bother otherwise.

He is a hollow shell of the sensei he used to be and I believe he is truly harming his students, some of which I used to train with and were friends. It upsets me massively to see what the club I loved so much has become. It is responsible for making me who I am and now is just a scam. A mcdojo if you will.

I must also stress that I am in no way affiliated with him. I run my club to help out a few ex students of the Judan Okinawan Karate Institute (his club). The approached me and asked me to help them so I did. Now I run a very small and semi successful club thanks to those members :)

If it is me you think crap Gareth, then any pointers would be welcome, I am only young and have only been teaching a very short amount of time. I've been training for nearly 17 years but I've had little practice teaching. I am always open to a little constructive criticism, no matter how good you are there are always those who are better.

To summarise: he is a waste of time, but he never used to be.

Any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Leo (jnr)