Home > Concepts & Principles > McDojo Typical Class Structure

McDojo Typical Class Structure

As I have previously stated a typical class for adults in a McDojo is an hour. While there are different formulas for structuring classes a typical one is broken down into four fifteen minute sections. The first two sections are normally divided into 2 sections as well.

The first 15 minutes in normally calisthenics and Stretching. This is to get the blood moving and warm up all your muscle groups before practicing skills. This helps prevent injuries and also provides some basic conditioning. This portion is typically broken down into the first half  being calisthenics, the second half stretching. Things like push-ups, sit-ups, leg-lifts, etc. are broken into 10 counts. Normally you will do 30-50 of each, though it can very from time to time to provide variety. This helps prevent boredom and also allows people to test themselves from time to time to see their improvement.

The second 15 minutes is normally spent drilling fundamentals and consists of punching and kicking drills done in place. Normally everything is broken down into a sets of 10. The first half of that 15 minutes focuses on hand strikes, the last half of that 15 minutes focuses on kicking. Since you only have 7 and a Half minutes for kicking you will normally end up with 30-50 of each kick done on each side once you have most of the kicks taught in the system. The first 10 are low, the next 10 are solar plexus or chest high, the last 10 are head high. You may also throw combination kicks.  As students progress over time they will be able to do the highers kicks and combinations more easily, and their punching and kicking speed will improve. Most McDojos have mirrors in the front of the class so students can see themselves. This also allows them to see how they are performing and how they are performing compared to the rest of the class. This can both motivate and give them a sense of accomplishment.

At this point you would be half way through the class (30 minutes in) and you started cold and worked your level of intensity up until you have been sweating and breathing hard for some length of time. You have for all practical purposes accomplished an aerobic routine with ever increasing intensity. The main difference is that you have also worked on some basic skills that can help you for self defense or for a competitive sport version of a martial art.

The third 15 minute section is normally spent working on something the students already know. This could be drills up and down the floor of various kinds, forms, one-step sparring techniques, self-defense techniques, etc. This helps them get better at skills they already have and can be also used as a method to give them goals for self improvement. It can provide a reality check on where their level of development actually is.

The last 15 minutes of the class is where you want to teach them something new. This is were they want to razzle-dazzle the student. You want to show them something they don’t know. You want to to get them excited about learning more. Then end the class and send them home. knowing they will come back to learn more.

Now if you are running 20 or so classes a week finding something new to teach all the time can be a challenge. The easiest way to do that is to teach the students what you are working on for your own development. If you are part of a big organization you may have Instructor classes or Black Belt Classes on a regular basis that you attend as the student. The top guys will teach the Black Belt Belt Classes the same way you teach yours and leave you with something to work on. You can also attend seminars with different instructors if you are not with a group that won’t allow it. In the old days before the Internet and Youtube people used to buy VHS tapes and DVD’s  to learn more. I remember buying tapes of Joe Lewis, Benny Urquidez, and Bill Wallace. I spent countless hours/days/months watching practicing and teaching what I learned from these tapes.

In the end a McDojo is a business that is successful only if it meets the wants/needs of it’s customers. For many this may be exactly what they are looking for. For others it won’t be. In the end it is up to the student to do his/her due diligence to find the school that is the best fit for them.


Mike Murphy




Categories: Concepts & Principles
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