One would think that the convicted “Grandmaster” of a martial arts franchise exposed as a cult would sink his martial arts franchise. Strangely enough, it didn’t.At least not completely. Chung Moo Doe schools — also known as Chung Moo Quan and now going under the name of Oom Yung Doe still operate in the Seattle area.
And while they may have distanced themselves from their cult-like ways, they still appear to be more than happy to separate you from as much of your money as possible.
In 2005, local Seattle news station KING 5 reported on UW student Mike Rothwell, who spent roughly $20000 over the course of a single year on Oom Yung Doe classes, camps, and seminars. Here are some excerpts from that report (you can read the full report here):
Twenty-six-year-old Mike Rothwell is studying the time-honed movements of Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese art form.
But last year, the Seattle resident belonged to another martial arts school called Oom Yung Doe, a bone crushing form of self-defense.Rothwell says all it broke was the bank.
“Let me add it up real fast. Roughly $9,000, plus $8,000, that’s $17,000. I took seven seminars that averaged $500 dollars,” Rothwell said.
All that money gone in about a year of training. “I’ve lost at least $20,000,” he said.
Another former student – who didn’t want to give his name – says he lost $30,000 in months. His payments included $9,300 up front for a black belt program, $9,000 more for a master intern program and a $1,000 testing fee.
doing this maneuver off “the equivalent” of an 11-story
building. (Yeah, you’d have to be in a cult to believe
Rothwell says he was told he was an exceptional student, capable of reaching Grandmaster Kim’s level of spiritual enlightenment and physical prowess if he paid for higher levels of training.
“I literally was signing contracts after some of the hardest physical training of my life. Literally dripping sweat as I’m signing across the dotted line,” Rothwell said.
Sound familiar? That particular tactic — telling students they’re ‘special’ and ‘destined for greatness’ — especially after a taxing workout — and then getting them to sign up for more, ‘better’ training (for thousands of dollars) is clearly described in Herding the Moo.
Consider this Oom Yung doe pricing page, which states:
- Oom Yung Doe offers a 2-Year 1st degree black belt program that teaches you invaluable skills and abilities, and extremely improves your condition. For the time you give now, you gain much more toward your life.
- The 2-Year program prices are between $4,500 and $6,500.
$4500 per year equals $375/month — plus any seminars, test fees, camps, and merchandise all for the low, low price of… how much did you say you have, anyway?
By way of contrast, the typical monthly rate for martial arts instruction at a commercial school in the Seattle area generally tops out at around $150/month, with a median price of around $100/month. Go to a YMCA or city recreation center, and the costs are even lower.
Whether you read Herding the Moo or not, my advice is to definitely stay away from Chung Moo Doe / Oom Yung Doe schools. The money you save could be your own!