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GKR Karate


Con artists

Complaint Rating:  46 % with 69 votes
46% 69
Contact information:
GKR Karate
United States
GKR Karate is nothing but a pyramid scheme. It encourages people to give up their jobs to go knocking on doors to recruit new members. The Karate is sports based and very watered down but they sell it as teaching you self defence.

I know several people who have lost theis marriages because of these people. They get you to do more and more promising you the earth but the truth is the only people who earn are those few at the top. I lost my house because of these people.

They lurk outside job centres to recruit people to go door knocking. Please don't get fooled by these con artists.
Complaint comments Comments (96) Complaint country United States Complaint category Sports & Recreation
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N  13th of Jan, 2012 by    +2 Votes
hi concerned mum of 1

I am an sdc and no gkr will not take any payments at all apart from the agreed £23 sign up fee which pays for your insurance to train and help pay for the venues and i am experienced ...1st kyu next belt is blacl :) and i am sure you will enjoy it ..dont listen to these lot saying it is a scam ...if it is a scam why would there be more than 50, 000 students just in the uk and have been running since 1987 ..i hav met the founder of gkr (kancho sulivan) who you bow to at the begining of every class ..i am positive this will help your son it helped me i was a total prat when i joined just wanted to mess around ..and it wasnt fun because they will not be happy if u disturb other people and he will soon learn there are times to prat around (FUN) and that is when you /sensai ses

Hope you enjoy your karate
N  27th of Jan, 2012 by    -4 Votes
How does the fact that 50, 000 people have signed up to it not make it a scam? That just makes it a successful one. If all cons, scams and pyramid schemes failed to have any success it would not be a problem and we would not even be discussing it.

If anyone wants proof of how bad it is take a look at the videos of self appointed kancho Sullivan sparring on YouTube, he is so useless you worry about him going out on his own. When the founder and head of a martial art has self graded himself at least 7 dans more than he has ever achieved then you know something is not right.

Concerned mum of 1, you have to ask yourself if you would rather waste £25 now by not bothering with pretend karate or waste a couple of hundred qiuid by giving it a chance until you realise it is a load of rubbish.

Take your boy to Boxing or a reputable martial arts club, just dont throw money away on a pyramid scheme called GKR.
N  1st of Feb, 2012 by    +3 Votes
I work for GKR and it doesn't promise anything but the possible benefits that COULD be gained through hard work, no one has to leave their jobs, it is purely down to each individual persons' choice. I have trained with GKR for a while and i love the instructors and i love recruiting new members for our club, it helps to create a positive state of mind which not many people would know much about obviously. I hope you all have fun with all your other clubs, however GKR is for me, not to mention it IS the LARGEST TRADITIONAL karate club in the WORLD. To the concerned mother above, no we don't take out regular transactions, only the once to cover the fee in which you know you are paying for, understandably there maybe a bit of mistrust but you can always check your account details at your bank.
N  4th of Feb, 2012 by    +3 Votes
There have been several Boxer's in my family, but some clubs teach boxing as the 'sport' and others take a more traditional view.
It's the same with Karate. I have seen GKR karate in practice, I have also seen other styles and can't say that either one was better than the other. We train very hard and that pays off. There are so many GKR clubs that I cannot garantee all are at the same high level of commitment and quality as my region and local Dojo but I suspect that most are. I also know several ex army marines who seem to think it's pretty good. £5 for one and a half hours with a great instructor - who can complain about that. My son upgraded his £25 trial membership to full lifetime membership a few weeks back for free!. Hardly a con. He combines Karate with his regular Gym routines and maybe he will take up boxing someday too...
D  9th of Feb, 2012 by    +4 Votes
Every day people get sold on something, whether the product is manufactured by asda, or argos, or whether your friends are trying to sell you on why you should go to the pictures to see a film, the point is that it is an everyday human technique. what most people on here are trying to say is that GKR is selling people false promises, no they are not, GKR is simply 'selling' the option of doing karate, as a person everybody knows what they want in life... right?, so as a person and as a fully competent human being, everybody has the EQUAL opportunity to decide whether or not they would like to do karate, it is FULLY your own choice, as an SDC i know that for a fact because i ask the same questions everyday and i quote '...what we are doing for those people who are interested in finding out a bit more about our classes is dropping off some information sheets and timetables, WOULD YOU LIKE SOME INFORMATION ABOUT OUR CLASSES?' as an SDC i quote this phrase a hundred times a day, at that quoted point YOU as your OWN person have the CHOICE to say yes or no, so what is the problem? i have not yet made a promise that i haven't kept. if someone has said yes they would like some info, i have done exactly what i have promised, i have gone around to that individuals house with my info and explained it to them, its is their choice and THEIRS alone whether or not they wish to continue onto joining our club.
D  9th of Feb, 2012 by    +3 Votes
LOL Just because we train on beaches i can assure u that there are no pyramids there hahahahahahaha
D  16th of Feb, 2012 by    +2 Votes
I don't know what experience holdsteady had with GKR, but any club that has 50, 000 ACTIVELY TRAINING members can't be all bad. He makes out that they have all been conned, but they would soon see through it once they start training if it was as bad as s/he claims it is. The karate can't be that bad if our members are beating people from all other styles in world competition.The sad fact is, some people are whiny little losers, and when life is not handed to them on a plate, they ### and moan and blame others, rather than taking responsibility for their own lack of success. I see it so often. People join and think they will be the next Bruce Lee, then they discover it takes long-term effort, and suddenly they are full of complaints. GKR is on a par with most karate styles - better than some, worse than others. If you have a membership, get down to class and make your own decision, rather than letting this whingy liar put you off a great thing. I've been training in the UK for 11 years, and it's the best thing I ever did.
D  28th of Feb, 2012 by    +1 Votes
I joined GKR a few month ago and i feel i its the best thing i ever chose to do. I can feel my fitness improving along with my confidence. Theres a lot of this "scam" crap being said but id say 99% of it is from people who couldn't be bothered to put in the effort OR some who had a bad experience in their first few classes and quit. Its a great club and for £50 lifetime membership + £6 a session its far cheaper than gym membership!
N  10th of Mar, 2012 by    -1 Votes
matb how much are you making out of GKR? You seem very defensive of it so I guess its a fair bit. I will say it again, having lots of members does not make it an effective form of self defence, a good style of Karate or a well run organisation (for its members benefit). How many of those members stick around for long? Not many when they realise that it is a big joke ie being taught by someone who has only been doing it six months longer than you.

You choose to insult me (a usual tactic of GKR) for pointing out facts about your pretend style of Karate when these same facts are apparent to anyone who has ever attented a few lessons or has searched for ten minutes on the internet.

You claim that GKR defeats different styles yet has anyone from GKR ever taken part in a MMA competition? How can the largest martial arts club in the world in the world not have any representation in the fast growing sport of MMA? Oh wait its because this highly effective art would be of no use against some who knows what they are doing, or being brutally honest doesnt have a clue.

Con Show Sullivan describes the pretend martial art he invented (and how does it feel to waste your time learning a Karate style made up by a man with very little knowledge or even ability at Karate?) as a family friendly martial art and uses this as a selling tool. How can a martial art (look up what martial means) be such a thing? Does that not ring alarm bells with you? Its Karate lite with the guts ripped out of it, thus rendering it pointless (other than for making massive money for con show and his cronies)

I look forward to being insulted by you or any other gkr cult members for pointing out the truth, paticularly enjoyed mat calling me gutless from behind his keyboard. Being a keyboard warrior is probably the safest option for a GKR follower anyway.
D  12th of Mar, 2012 by    +1 Votes
It really depresses me to hear people keep on attacking something which a lot of people enjoy, just because they have had a bad experience. It’s important to look at the facts, with an ‘open mind’ and ignore people with an axe to grind.

Lets examine a few points.

Q: Is it a con?

A: Hardly . No contract, lesson are cheep, no pressure to buy their products or ’join’ the organization.

Q: Is it a real form of Karate?

Yes. Follows traditional techniques and training methods, but reviews it training to keep up to
date. Does not make any claims to be the perfect interpretation of Karate, but works hard to
give people real Karate without compromising it’s key aim of Karate for everyone.

Q: Is it an effective form of Karate?

A: Yes, it’s important to remember it’ a Martial Art, but it can be a sport, a way of life, or a keep fit program. It’s up to you how you interpret it or use it in your day to day life.

Some people aren’t happy with a Martial Art unless they are spitting out teeth every week.
Don’t confuse pain with skill or practical appliance of the techniques. You can practice Karate 7 days a week, and condition your body to take damage, but that’s not realistic for most people.

Q: Are it’s teachers qualified to teach Karate? Why aren’t they all Black belts.?

A: Some instructor are Black belts, some are not. All go through a 9 week training course to find out if they are ‘good teachers’ . They don’t get a class straight away, but have to learn the ropes as an assistant teaching lower grades. They help out in the class and cover other duties. Haven’t met one yet who pretended to be anything else.

Other Karate schools may have only Black belt’s as teachers, but belt colour was never a good indication of teaching skills. Traditional Karate has always been taught as a hierarchy; with each belt asking the one above for guidance. The senior instructor isn’t superhuman and can’t be everywhere.

Q: Training in School Halls and Church buildings.

A: Guilty as charged.! They’re cheep and perfectly suited to the task. All the equipment you need to practice Karate is a large room with a good floor. If you want the trimmings get them yourself for practice at home - maybe the family will join in! Almost all the Non-GKR Karate schools I know do exactly the same thing. I suspect the few who DO use more charge heavily for the privilege, and guess what, I bet most of it hardly sees the light of day. It waste’s to much class time to get it out often, or costs to much to replace, and health and safety blah blah blah……

Q: Why does GKR not participate in MMA etc..

A: Why should they?. GKR trains people in Karate . It‘s up to individuals to decide what they want to do with their skills.

MMA is a Sport. It’s practitioners are professionals who train very hard to win but have to study several forms if they hope to do so. No single style works for long, as they always have to adapt to the current winning trend. This makes them very good at what they do. However even MMA has rules that you have to abide by. Real life is not always that clean and simple. Sometime you might be called upon to defend your life, other times your might have to fend off a friend who’s had to many drinks. GKR Karate gives you the right tools to do the job.

Q:Lastly, Is Kancho Sullivan really good enough?

A. Sacrilege!! (only kidding!)

He deserves respect for the organisation he has created to promote Karate and the enjoyment it brings to many people. However I am pretty sure that he hasn’t been to a training class of mine recently so I don’t really care. He has provided a large number of very well trained and patient staff who do train and support me, so that will have to do. I suspect that even though he is getting on in years he could still beat the crap out of many…

To end this little rant.. GKR may have faults, but I thinks that’s just as much to do with peoples high expectations. It’s a large organisation and people sometimes mistrust that. But that’s not a bad thing, at least it keeps them on their toes…
N  19th of Mar, 2012 by    0 Votes
Hi concerned mum of 1. Just to add my bit, I've been taking my two kids (9 yr old lad an 7 year old girl) to GKR for just over a year in Sheffield, UK, and I'm really happy with it. All these scam and pyramid accusations don't make a single bit of difference, especially not to the kids. We go because it's fun, it's cheap, it's accessible to us all and it does teach the kids really valuable lessons on setting (and achieving) long term goals, perseverance, discipline, tradition, and, God forbid they ever need it, smacking bullies where it hurts. I was attracted to GKR because all the other local dojo's charged a monthly rate, whether you trained or not which I thought was more of a rip off. GKR only charge if you train, so going away in holidays or missing the odd class is cool. That said, we're now enjoying it so much that we don't like to miss a class, and actually try to sneak in two a week or more when we can. The kids have done swimming pool sessions which were brilliant fun, we met Kancho (the founder) who taught for about 2 and a half hours in Leeds, and so far have been to 3 different dojo's in Sheffield, each of which had great sensei and sempai (assistants). While I'm here, for what it's worth, anyone who is saying that the founder has "very little ability in karate" has probably never seen him fight. I'm sure there's plenty to say about Kancho Sullivan, but this is just not true and makes me doubt the rest of what's been said. He was truly inspirational. So no, if you're experience is anything like ours has been for the last year you've not been conned at all. Sure you and the kids might want to practise other martial arts one day as you develop or get curious, I think my boy might go for other kinds eventually, but as a solid start, with good techniques, strong dojo etiquette and an emphasis on fitness and technique GKR has been great for us all.
A  18th of Apr, 2012 by    0 Votes
ok ive actuly worked in the GKR (australia) mob and i would have to agree that its a con i was there for a day and they where very evasive towards training i had to fork over $90 for my uniform and another $30 for my bussness package ( a DVD) and under the day the manager wanted me out door knocking i asked what my payment is ( i have a kid to feed) he said it %30 of what i make on the 1st 150 successful applicants would be given to me and he basicly tryed to pay me off with $150 if i got 50 aplicants when i said i cant do this due to me bing socaly awkward (autisum) and he wanted the bussness pack back and i get renbursted $10 (btw i havent given the the dvd) as some one that went out and studied martel arts GKR is the far most worst in the art of combat it quite disorgernised and also there is no real sparing and exstreamly basic karta and blocks it more a light exersise dictatorship and a socal club.
A  3rd of May, 2012 by    0 Votes
Whilst I have no issues with any karate organisation attracting members... at the end of the day it is really up to them as to if they join, or continue their membership, I do have concerns over the way certain people within the GKR conduct themselves when placed under the microscope. The fact that it does have so many members is more a reflection of their effective sales technique as opposed to their karate abilities. The fact that, in my experience, these sales techniques included savage criticism of other non GKR clubs does more to demonstrate how far removed SOME GKR are from the true spirit of the art.
I notice here that a common defence used by SOME is to launch into a personal insult tirade/offensive in front of the widest possible audience but then to slink away before a response is possible.
If people enjoy their karate through the GKR, then that is great. But I think SOME of their instructors do the GKR a great disservice when they take well founded and genuine criticism and point to it as being evidence of some great conspiracy against their organisation by other karate clubs...
D  6th of May, 2012 by    0 Votes
Ive been working for GKR for a while and every time i read all this crap it winds me up, because none of it is true, i am an SDC and i do work on commission, so take it from me if you're no good and cant make the job work for you then fair enough, get out while you can, but just because you're all pissed off about failing, it doesn't mean you should derogate the club, and for those of you who maybe did get fired, what are you complaining about, because yes, maybe you didn't get enough members but would you have wanted to stay in a job that wasn't suited for you? No, you wouldn't, that is why you are complaining about it, it works for some people and it doesn't for others, its just like any other job, but one thing that this club isn't and that is a scam, or a pyramid scheme or a false and nontraditional martial art.
GKR works for so many people and i don't just mean SDC's, but it depends on what you want to get from it.
As an SDC if all you want from it is money, money, money, you WILL fail every single time, i know from experience, there needs to be an understanding of what YOU want, what YOU need and what YOU want to achieve.
It is the same for the students, if you ask our students why they joined, they will give you a reason such as, because they were being bullied at school for been overweight; Our students will know why they joined our club, and what they want to gain from joining, so in the end we are getting members, and building our club, and our students are benefiting from whatever it is that they want, and the best part about it, is that we are probably the cheapest and most renowned traditional karate club in the world.
N  8th of May, 2012 by    0 Votes
Just a quick note. Menapian raises a good point. NO Martial Arts organisation or its staff or members should lower themselves to criticising others. Each to his own, live and let live etc….

If you have a grievance then take it up with the people concerned, and if you want to make people aware of any genuine problems then put a reasoned argument and the facts, but take a long hard look at your own behaviour first before casting stones.

To date I have met a lot of GKR Sensei’s, students and a few SDC’s I have NEVER heard any remarks belittling other organisations. If I ever do you can be sure I will set them straight.

I have been on a lot of other Martial Arts sites, and I must say that most seem to conduct themselves well, but I have come across a couple which should know better. These seem to be organisations that feel threatened by GKR moving onto their ‘Turf’. That’s sad, but if they feel their livelihood is threatened you can understand it. But have they every tried speaking to GKR? Guess not….

Whatever you do, train hard, have fun and take responsibility for your life and actions. If you follow that advice you should live to a merry old age.
A  10th of May, 2012 by    0 Votes
It's pure scam. GKR people are not professional. They just want to make money ... that's it. Sansai are inefficient and only run agter those students who buy things from GKR ... RUBBISH ... RUBBISH ... TOTAL RUBBISH
N  17th of May, 2012 by    0 Votes
Someone came to my house yesterday from GKR and was there for about two hours so I eventually agree to sign my children up. i said i had no money so they said they would take joining fee when i got paid in two weeks. I have decieded I really cant afford this and there are cheaper classes in my area with no joining fee. Do i have the right to cancel this ?
N  23rd of May, 2012 by    0 Votes
I'm a former SDC and I was lucky enough to leave quite amicambly and would go back and train with the club if it weren't for now working shifts. I do think that the teaching of the club is quite good and I never encountered a Sensei who was any less than a 2nd Kyu, who normally would teach a class with younger children in it. There's a huge amount of pressure when you're an SDC to perform well especially if you don't have any money behind you when starting. You'd be be better off starting with some money behind you so that while you train and get used to how to recruit members you don't feel the pinch. I personally was able to recuit around 15 members per week in my region with with 40 members starting and regularly attending within my second month, however I reached a point where I felt I couldn't sustain what I was doing with too many disappointments, thus I opted to return to a regular job. I never attempted to scam anyone and I did have several cases where I felt I had genuinely helped someone who was shy or being bullied start doing something social. If you feel apprehensive about using your card to pay ask them to make a copy of the payment sheet for you so you have evidence of what you've agreed to. For me personally it was great while I was out of work to make some money doing it and also made me very aware of keeping positive in my working environment and of Personal Development. However unless you are able to emotionally seperate the rejection of the product and yourself being very different it's not worth starting.
N  1st of Jun, 2012 by    0 Votes
GKR is a scam. It's all sales trickery and leading donkeys by dangling a carrot in their view. I was an SDC, the training is rubbish, they told me and the other guys it would be 20k a year minimum. This is standard for sales jobs in my area so I thought it genuine. I'd advise any students to find a better and safer style of karate to practice, or of course an alternative martial art. They have instructors that are yellow belts, orange belts and green belts, this isn't appropriate and makes a mockery of itself. Kancho is a con artist, he claims to be 8th dan but in reality he's not really a black belt, my other instructors would tear pieces in him or any other of these pumped up GKR muppets. During training to becoming an instructor, my regional manager mocked all other martial arts, regularly bragged about injuring young kids at gradings and couldn't deal with me landing a strike. He broke a guy's ribs during 'non-contact' kumite. The Regional managers all have the same garbage stories about how hard they worked to become regional managers. They claim to be equivalent to master Yoda on the Jedi Council but are more like the actors that play them. The SDC role has left me in a bad financial situation, but at least I'm out, fought the brainwashing, pushed the carrots away from my view and focused on reality instead of the deluded mumblings of my regional manager and the endless promises. Do not work for these idiots, it's not traditional Japanese Karate, the regional managers often scam you out of the card payments they process. We bumped into various ex-GKR employees on our canvassing times and we found that the regional managers often scam SDC's out of thousands of pounds a year.

Across the region there are various levels of these con artists. The SDC's are the newly initiated and have to endure humiliation, brainwashing and altering their training script(into a hard sell format) though this is not on paper. The guys that do well are hard sellers. Old ladies and families with bullied children are the focus of these people, not because they are genuinely concerned with their wellbeing, but because it's easiest to hard sell to people through guilt and fear. ''So what do you guys do as a family?'' ''Have you ever been attacked?'' ''what would you do to stop me punching you?''

Look up all of the information on the internet about a martial arts organisation before joining. If they don't let you attend a class before parting with your hard earned then they are ripping you off. Their competitions are rigged, they get torn to pieces in real martial arts competitions so rig their own for marketing purposes. Google GKR in bullshido forums and all of the other knowledge bases of martial arts before attending. Do not buy at the door, don't let them back in. Some of the guys used to work hard to make people pay them, just to get them out of their house and to leave them in peace. These people are not safe, not all CRB checked, not experienced enough and not really a martial arts organisation at all, they just want your money. What kind of business makes it's staff pay to see the boss? Well GKR karate does, £40 to see Kancho and why? so he can buy a new rolex? stay in the Hilton and eat entirely from the mini bar? So you buy into the con and feel far too much of a fool to argue against it?
N  4th of Jun, 2012 by    0 Votes
OK………. Lets try reason

To repeat myself:-.

“It really depresses me to hear people keep on attacking something which a lot of people enjoy, just because they have had a bad experience. It’s important to look at the facts, with an ‘open mind’ and ignore people with an axe to grind”

I was going to write a blow by blow response to the last post but what’s the point. It would bore the hell out of most people. Please have a read of my previous posts for the truth. By true I mean with a small “t” rather than a big “T” I write only from my own personal experience, based on what I have seen and heard. I do not have any axe to grind, nor am I brainwashed or brain-dead….

Statement :“They have instructors that are yellow belts, orange belts and green belts, this isn't appropriate and makes a mockery of itself“

Most instructors are Black belts with some Brown belts. The rest are Sempai (assistants) but even so they undergo a 13 week training program, written test, first aid course and security check. They then have to help out at an established Dojo.

Statement :“The SDC role has left me in a bad financial situation, but at least I'm out, fought the brainwashing, pushed the carrots away from my view and focused on reality“

Come on really… take responsibility for your own choices. Being an SDC is a hard job, with
I suspect a high turnover in staff. Selling and learning Karate! Its either a dream or a nightmare

Statement :“Do not work for these idiots, it's not traditional Japanese Karate“.

Oh yes it is… do your research on the web. Traditional Karate, traditional methods, modern teaching.

Statement : “The guys that do well are hard sellers. Old ladies and families with bullied children are the focus of these people, ”

Last week we had a new student start with us as a White Belt. He watched the 1st lesson then signed up and came back the following week. I believe he was a Black belt 2nd Dan in Shotokan, as well as Judo and has tried several other styles. Seems like a nice guy and willing to learn all over again. Now that’s the right attitude.

Statement : “If they don't let you attend a class before parting with your hard earned then they are ripping you off“.

…think I just answered that one..

Statement : “Their competitions are rigged, they get torn to pieces in real martial arts competitions “

See the websites below and make up your own mind….

Statement :“Google GKR in bullshido forums and all of the other knowledge bases of martial arts before attending“.

Yeah please do…. There is some sense in this, I did. But I looked for the facts not hearsay…
Remember GKR have 1400+ Dojo’s while most other single schools of karate can’t even muster 10..

Statement : “What kind of business makes it's staff pay to see the boss? Well GKR karate does, £40 to see Kancho”

Can’t remember what they were asking for the last Kancho trip but it was nowhere near £40!
and you DON’T have to go.

If you have a genuine complaint then go to the proper authorities. Give the facts, dates and times etc…

If you are not sure about GKR go to the following websites and take a look :


Then try looking at other Karate Schools. There are plenty of other good schools out there, but you can see why some are scared of the competiton . I think most people can make a sound judgement.

Try GKR (there is no contract.. and it does not cost that much ) and make up YOUR OWN MIND. If it’s not the one for you then try another and don’t give up.!

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