Created By: KaeozCrimson on June 17, 2012 Last Edited By: Desertopa on January 28, 2013
Troped

Thug Dojo

Where Arrogant Kung Fu Guys Learn Kung Fu

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"Welcome to Poison Snake Way, where we practice real martial arts! None of that sissy stuff like questing for enlightenment or martial pacifism here. What we teach you is how to violently decimate anyone and everyone who stands in your way. Inner peace? That's for losers. Here, you'll learn how to rip people apart until anyone who picks a fight with you is left only able to scream for mercy through their broken teeth and bloodied lips while they stare in horror at your foot coming down on their face over and over again."

The Thug Dojo is essentially a mass production facility for the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy. While it may be effective in producing proficient martial artists, what it is also producing is thugs and bullies who mercilessly pummel anyone weaker than them. Unlike most dojos, which discourage the use of martial arts in anything other than self defense or fair competition and expect their students to never raise their fists in anger, a Thug Dojo enthusiastically endorses the use of extreme physical violence on anyone, anywhere, for any reason. While in a competition, expect them to use prohibited moves including groin attacks. Expect them to use training methods that would fit in nicely with Training from Hell, The Spartan Way and Teach Him Anger to get results.

Subtrope of Rival Dojos. See also Deceptive Disciple, who may open one of these after leaving a more upstanding mentor. The Defector from Decadence may be a dropout from here. Compare Opposing Sports Team and Academy of Evil.

No Real Life Examples, Please!. We don't want to give any such school publicity, or smear a decent dojo by accident. ---

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Historys Strongest Disciple Kenichi features two examples. One of them is simply a dojo that teaches low down dirty fighting techniques, the other is the partnered organizations of Yomi/Yami, a group of masters and disciples who follow the philosophy that the martial arts are simply a tool to kill people, and teach their students accordingly.
  • The Crane style master from Dragon Ball has this kind of dojo. His top students defect after they're defeated by the good guys.
  • The Shiryu-kai Karate organization in Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru (which, as the head of the organization acknowledges, is not so much a karate school as a school of MMA,) fits this to a T. Their training is stripped down to almost nothing but working out and fighting, all the time, and a practitioner receives their black belt when they can beat at least six black belts out of ten in consecutive fights. In the words of the head teacher, "If you want to train your spirit, you're better off becoming a monk." He has no reservations about describing his school as "a factory" to produce strong fighters.

Film
  • Cobra Kai from the first two The Karate Kid movies is probably the most famous example of this trope to Western viewers.
    • Karate Kid 3 and The Next Karate Kid movies also featured this. The main antagonists in Karate Kid 2 were closer to a mentor relationship than a classic dojo but fit most of the qualifications.
  • A gym/dodgeball version of this trope appears in Dodge Ball A True Underdog Story. The Globo Gym has a Jerk Jock mentality when it comes to fitness training and this extends to their ultra-aggressive form of dodgeball, contrasted against the heroes' nice guy personas.
  • The 3 Ninjas movie has the children kidnapped and dragged to a dojo like this, in order to hold them ransom to blackmail their grandfather into teaching the ninjas. Considering the 'ninjas' at this school are not only highly visible ninjas but also beaten up by 3 little kids with only a summer of training one can understand why their leader would be going out of his way to find a better sensei.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies depict Shredder's training of Foot soldiers in this manner.

Literature

Live Action Television
  • On Soap Jodie's search for his infant daughter and Baby Mama leads him to a kung fu fortress in California, where they plan to raise her as a kung fu princess using this method. They put Jodie and Maggie (his PI/girlfriend) in the dungeon and plan to execute them; they meet another prisoner who has been there for 20 years.
  • Kickin' It has the Black Dragon dojo. Yep, a dojo full of thugs.

Video Games
  • The Shadow Dragon Cult in Lunar: Eternal Blue kidnaps children and puts them through hellish and abusive training in Shadow Dragon Karate, according to their leader's belief that to forge someone into a great martial artist, you must teach them to be cruel and ruthless. Shadow Dragon Karate is stylistically identical to Blue Dragon Karate, and is only distinguished by encouraging its students to be evil.
  • In EverQuest II, once Lucan D'Lere took over the city of Freeport, he gave the monks of the Ashen Order two choices: Either comply with his will or leave. They packed up and moved out, but a few less honorable students stayed behind to form the Dreadnaughts, a guild of thugs who believe in inflicting pain, fighting dirty, and just embracing street fighting in general. Just like actual thugs, Lucan D'Lere employs them to rough up citizens who fail to pay their rent and protection money, among other things.

Western Animation
  • The entire Fire Nation is implied to be degrading into a nation-wide version of this. The dragons (no not that kind) reveal to Aang and :Zuko that the Fire Nation has forgotten the true motivations/focus of fire bending and twisted it to being about anger and rage only.

Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • June 17, 2012
    randomsurfer
    See also Rival Dojos.
  • June 18, 2012
    JonnyB

  • June 18, 2012
    Arivne
    If you have to be familiar with a specific work to understand what a trope's title means, the title is a Bad Trope Namer.

    So, Needs A Better Name, hopefully one that gives some idea what the trope is about.

    Thug Dojo? Evil Dojo?
  • June 18, 2012
    Bisected8
    Maybe Arrogant Kung Fu Dojo or Dojo Of Evil (to fit with Academy Of Evil)? Maybe we should give it a name which brings to mind the martial art they're practising rather than a specific institution (since an Evil Mentor could do the same without an actual dojo), like Corrupt Fu or Blood Knight Fu?
  • June 18, 2012
    JonnyB
    I like Thug Dojo.
  • June 18, 2012
    Earnest
    Ooh, see also Deceptive Disciple. The Defector From Decadence may be a drop out.
  • June 18, 2012
    AP
    • A gym/dodgeball version of this trope appears in Dodge Ball A True Underdog Story. The Globo Gym has a Jerk Jock mentality when it comes to fitness training and this extends to their ultra-aggressive form of dodgeball, contrasted against the heroes' nice guy personas.
  • October 23, 2012
    Damr1990
    bump?
  • October 24, 2012
    Chabal2
    The Crane style master from Dragon Ball.

  • October 24, 2012
    SonofRojBlake
    'nother vote here for Thug Dojo
  • October 24, 2012
    rolranx
    as an update to the Karate Kid section
    • Karate Kid 3 and The Next Karate Kid movies also featured this. Karate Kid 2 was closer to a mentor relationship then a classic dojo but could arguable be included as part of this trope.

    • The Three Ninjas movie has the children kidnapped and dragged to a dojo like this, in order to hold them ransom to blackmail their grandfather into teaching the ninjas. Considering the 'ninjas' at this school are not only Highly Visible Ninjas but also beaten up by 3 little kids with only a summer of training one can understand why he would be going out of his way to find a better sensi.

    • The entire Fire Nation is implied to be degrading into a nation wide version of this. The dragons (no not that kind) reveal to Aang and :Zuko that the fire nation has forgotten the true motivations/focus of fire bending and twisted it to being about anger and rage only.

    if my memory serves me here, not certain if I'm getting movies or tv shows mixed up but..

    assuming this trope is to include mentor relationship and not just dojos...

    • All Sith are raised in this style.

  • October 28, 2012
    aurora369
    ^ Not only Sith, there were Dark Jedi academies in the expanded universe that fit the trope. The Sith themselves, before they adopted the strictly master-apprentice approach, made use of the Korriban Sith Academy, as depicted in Knights Of The Old Republic.
  • December 31, 2012
    randomsurfer
    On Soap Jodie's search for his infant daughter and Baby Mama leads him to a kung fu fortress in California, where they plan to raise her as a kung fu princess. They put Jodie and Maggie (his PI/girlfriend) in the dungeon and plan to execute them; they meet another prisoner who has been there for 20 years.
  • December 31, 2012
    Desertopa
    Count another vote for Thug Dojo.

    • The Shiryu-kai Karate organization in Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru (which, as the head of the organization acknowledges, is not so much a karate school as a school of MMA,) fits this to a T. Their training is stripped down to almost nothing but working out and fighting, all the time, and a practitioner receives their black belt when they can beat at least six black belts out of ten in consecutive fights. In the words of the head teacher, "If you want to train your spirit, you're better off becoming a monk." He has no reservations about describing his school as "a factory" to produce strong fighters.

    Also, I'd suggest tweaking the description. "Violent thugs and merciless bullies who violently and mercilessly pummel anyone weaker than them" is redundant, but not redundant in an amusing way.
  • December 31, 2012
    Antigone3
    Thug Dojo sounds good to me.

    While there are real-world versions, should we perhaps put a No Real Life Examples on this? This type of "instruction" doesn't deserve the publicity.
  • January 1, 2013
    Desertopa
    I'd suggest changing the Blatant Lies pothole in the opening of the description. Some of the examples are schools that give genuinely good martial instruction, and while some practitioners will consider schools that encourage unreserved violence to not be practicing "true" martial arts, I don't think that's our judgment call to make.
  • January 2, 2013
    TheHandle
    We could call it Satsujin Ken or Killing Fist Dojo. ^^Thugs are not necessarily bullies; see assasins, hitmen, and soldiers.
  • January 2, 2013
    Earnest
    Compare Academy Of Evil.
  • January 2, 2013
    Desertopa
    ^^ "Thug" is not a term one would normally apply to assassins or soldiers. The dictionary definition is "a common criminal, who treats others violently and roughly, often for hire." Connotationally, it suggests someone who is dimwitted and brutish.

    Satsujin Ken is unlikely to make sense to most of our readers. And both that and Killing Fist Dojo imply that the schools actually encourage students to kill, which in the case of examples in modern settings, is unlikely to be the case.
  • January 2, 2013
    SKJAM
    Edited YKTTW to show new provisional name, add and sort examples. Please check for accuracy.
  • January 2, 2013
    Desertopa
    Definitely an improvement. I tweaked it a bit further (added articles to instances of "thug dojo," edited out a "violently," since it's pretty much impossible to pummel someone nonviolently, and changed a "prohibit" to "discourage," since not all schools are as strict with students who abuse their teachings. While some schools might kick out a student suspected of abusing their martial skills, others would keep the student and try to exert a more positive influence on them.)
  • January 2, 2013
    TheAnswer
    Kickin It has the Black Dragon dojo. Yep a dojo full of thugs.
  • January 2, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • The Hume Lake film Many Return of Honorable Grasshopper Fighting features the Shamurai, whose philosophy is based around "look[ing] and sound[ing] so deadly you don't even have to fight." Since the volunteers for it only want the prestige of karate and not the actual discipline, the result is that the Shamurai are all trash-talking thugs, who are easily felled by a true martial arts master.
  • January 3, 2013
    Desertopa
    ^ That sounds like a separate trope, albeit one possibly worthy of a page in its own right. If we don't have that one already, we might call it Sham Dojo.

    The formal distinction would be that a Thug Dojo tends to produce arrogant kung fu guys, whereas the Sham Dojo tends to produce boisterous weaklings. There are several examples of these in the town of Horam in Lunar Eternal Blue. On the other hand, only one school in that game is an example of Thug Dojo.

    • The Shadow Dragon Cult in Lunar Eternal Blue kidnaps children and puts them through hellish and abusive training in Shadow Dragon Karate, according to their leader's belief that to forge someone into a great martial artist, you must teach them to be cruel and ruthless. Shadow Dragon Karate is stylistically identical to Blue Dragon Karate, and is only distinguished by encouraging its students to be evil.
  • January 18, 2013
    Desertopa
    Bumping for examples and hats.
  • January 18, 2013
    DRCEQ
    • In Ever Quest II, once Lucan D'Lere took over the city of Freeport, he gave the monks of the Ashen Order two choices: Either comply to his will or leave. They packed up and moved out, but a few less honorable students stayed behind to form the Dreadnaughts, a guild of thugs who believe that inflicting pain, fighting dirty, and just embracing street fighting in general. Just like actual thugs, Lucan D'Lere employs them to rough up citizens who fail to pay their rent and protection money, among other things.
  • January 27, 2013
    Catbert
  • January 27, 2013
    SKJAM
    I will if it's not launched by somebody else in 24 hours from--mark. But is there anyone who hasn't had a chance to launch a trope yet who wants to try?
  • January 27, 2013
    Desertopa
    What indexes are we adding it to? Should probably go on the This Index Knows Kung Fu and Foil indexes, anything else?
  • January 28, 2013
    TheAnswer
    No just launch it.
  • January 28, 2013
    Desertopa
    More than 24 hours have elapsed since SKJAM's comment. I was going to leave this to him to launch, since I think he contributed more to the description than I did, the original sponsor hasn't been attending this one, and I've already launched plenty of tropes, but I'll wrap this one up around midnight if he doesn't do so before then.
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