Thug Dojo

"I'm not positive, but I think Bas Rutten has made the first self-defense instructional video for the bad guy. Which is troubling news because it's much, much better than the ones for the good guy. So I guess the only thing I've learned is that when a bar fight ever breaks out, you're going to die. And if Bas Rutten ever breaks out, we're all going to die."

Where the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy learns martial arts, possibly through a Sensei for Scoundrels and very likely an Evil Mentor.

"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 brutally destroy anyone and everyone who stands in your way. Inner peace? That's for losers. Here, you'll learn how to rip anyone who pisses you off apart, until they're able only 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."

While the Thug Dojo 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 Real Life Eastern martial-arts schools, 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.

In works with Rival Dojos, the one that is the heroes' most serious enemy will usually be one of these. 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.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple features two examples. One of them is simply a dojo that teaches low down dirty fighting techniques, the place being a very typical Mc Dojo stereotype. The other, more plot-significant one is YOMI, which espouses using martial arts for killing and has become a powerhouse in the world's criminal underground via lots and lots of killing.
  • 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. The teacher also encourages students to commit fouls in competition if they can get away with it, and he won't hesitate to protest about the rules of competition the moment they become inconvenient for his fighters, even if he devised those rules himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Karate Kid movies:
    • Cobra Kai from the first The Karate Kid (1984) is probably the most famous example of this trope to Western viewers (almost to the point that it was discussed about making it this Trope's Trope Namer).
    • The Karate Kid Part III and The Next Karate Kid movies also featured this. The main antagonists in The Karate Kid Part II are never seen training in it, but their mentor Sato — the movie's primary villain — owns a dojo, so it's safe to assume Chozen and his toadies are students there.
  • A gym/dodgeball version of this trope appears in DodgeBall: 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.
  • In the Star Wars universe, the Sith fit this role. While there are usually only two Sith at any given time due to the Rule Of Two (there used to be Sith academies like the Jedi but Sith philosophy meant that they usually degenerated into bloody internal feuding) the master-apprentice relationship works the same way. The Sith philosophy means that a successful Apprentice must surpass his Master and then kill him to take his place, if he doesnt, it means he has failed.


    Live-Action TV 
  • 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, a dojo full of thugs and very much an Expy of Cobra Kai.

    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.
  • The Black Leopard School in Jade Empire is host to a martial arts civil war - half the students favour Master Radiant, who stays shut up in his room, while the other favour Master Smiling Hawk, who is suspected of harming Radiant somehow. The twist is that Smiling Hawk did indeed poison Radiant...successfully. Radiant is a ghost, so he waited until someone who wasn't afraid of that (like, say, the Spirit Monk) came along to denounce Smiling Hawk.
  • The Shadow Warriors from the Double Dragon series.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: 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.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had the Slash For Cash Dojo, although the sensei and students were a joke; Shredder called the "clumsy fools", even thought they worked for him.
  • Parodied on American Dad! when Snot joins the Joe Biden Dojo run by a man named Sensei Tom who trains all his students to embrace their inner rage and get into constant fights outside the dojo. Not only do all his students get into constant trouble for fighting in school (Snot and Steve are directed to the dojo by one of his students, who's been expelled from school so many times he doesn't know the whole alphabet), Sensei Tom is portrayed as a loser who has to live in the dojo and steal Wifi from the Korean restaurant next door. He's so poor Steve managed to bribe him with twelve dollars.