• Report: #852225
Complaint Review:

Mateo Academy of Self Defense

  • Submitted: Sun, March 11, 2012
  • Updated: Sun, November 11, 2012

  • Reported By: TheOutnumbered — Apple Valley California United States of America
Mateo Academy of Self Defense
14725 Seventh st Ste 100 Victorville, California United States of America

Mateo Academy of Self Defense Sam B Mateo , Tina Marie Mateo Not only is your money not safe...neither are you! Victorville, California

*Consumer Comment: Not a fair way to report problems!

*Consumer Comment: truth about the mateo academy

*Consumer Comment: Mateo dangerous

*Consumer Comment: There 2 sides to every story

*Consumer Comment: Best Martial Arts Academy You Could Ask For!

*Consumer Comment: The Honest Truth

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: TO MY F3LL0W STUD3NTS

*Consumer Comment: The context.

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Not only is your money not safe here..neither are YOU! If you have any ounce of self respect-DO NOT JOIN!  It may sound like an easy 30 day trial with 175$ at stake,but dont come expecting to use their equipment!  Ask to see the list of equipment they expect every student to purchase to train there.(About 600$ to begin with). They dont take kindly to even the NEW students using their own school equipment. 

Mateo Academy is financially struggling and behind on their rent. They got an eviction notice Jan 2012; and the students bailed them out !! If you want to waste your time on stupid drama ,this is THE place to be! Teacher is mentally and verbally abusive to everyone-including the parents!! When I joined, I was told by senior students "Never disagree or question ANYTHING the teacher says-it'll be worse! Even if you disagree- dont say anything! "-which pretty much sums up the dark atmosphere this school really is.

When the parents of children are present-the teacher keeps his ranting to a bare minimum-but when they leave-watch out! Dont be fooled by the "Christian" masquerade they use as their marketing tool. I never once saw anything that even remotely comes close! As a student, you are expected to memorize Bible scriptures and display a FULLY SUBMISSIVE (I mean absolutely no rights as a human submissive ) attitude-while at the same time, the staff is accountable to NO ONE. The teacher (Sifu youre supposed to call him) , constantly challenges his students to fight saying he "will demolish them",speaks of killing people,(yes) and "cutting off their heads"... (especially the students that dont stay--they are referred to as "disloyal").

Obvious this guy is completely out of his mind- and its no wonder they lost half of their students last summer 2011. They profess a comfortable training environment and a family atmosphere, but I saw NOTHING that would  make me feel remotely safe about bringing my kids here to learn self defense!! Not only is the teacher a psycho,but the advanced students or those that have been there for some time- refer to themselves as his disciples. If thats not weird , I dont know wth is!! LOOK ELSEWHERE!!! 

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/11/2012 05:11 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/mateo-academy-of-self-defense/victorville-california-92395/mateo-academy-of-self-defense-sam-b-mateo-tina-marie-mateo-not-only-is-your-money-not-sa-852225. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Not a fair way to report problems!

AUTHOR: Bickerboys3 - ()

To start my Name Is John, I have been a long time student of Sifu Sam Mateo. My two sons have been longer students of Sifu's. We have been in and out of the Studio for over 9 years coming up on 10 years. I think I have a pretty good understanding of how the Mateo's opperate and what kind of people they are.  

The first thing I will say about them, is that I have been recieved like a family memeber, and who doesn't fight, argue or at times hold ill feelings towards your family members.  Sifu views his studnts as children and younger brothers. If you have Chidlren or little brothers you know that not every encounter is going to be a pleasent encounter.  And while the Mateo's try and operate a business around Sifu's Minisrty of faith based self defense, he would rather not charge anything money at all and all everyone to train for free. But no one can do that.  

You will not find a better martial arts istructor in the High Desert, I don't think even in the SB County, but look first and try. The Mateo's charge a very minimul fee for their services. and remember that it is the family business. An Adult getting the same training with a MMA gym up here is going to Learn Less and Pay 2 or 3x the money from the studio.  

Can Sifu be rough around the edges, sure. Is Sifu Mean to his students, yes. when he has to be. The point of the academy is to be able to defend yourself against 1 or more opponents, combat, if you will. If you don't train hard you won't survive being attacked in the real world. If you cant handle his rough nature then how will you handle some thug or drunk who is harrasing you or your family in public.  He is rough and tough so you can develope Character, so you can develope a better Cultural influance around you, and that you maybe be an reflection of the perfect Christ.  

I really don't like the negative comments that came without identifications: I think its kinda of a cheap way to demean someone without risk of being proven someone who didn't give the studio enogh time to see the true nature of the studio. 

I have and known people that when they fell on hard times continued to train for free, not just one person but whole families.  It was said directly to me, we would rahter see you here training, than sitting at home being unhealthy.  

That is why the academy struggles for money sometimes, some people pay their dues on the 1st, some pay it on the 15th. all the studio's bills are due on the 1st. They run the business as a Ministry of Love for People and Martial Arts.  

Some days are going to be bad days, some times your going to make a mistake you shouldn't have made and you will be told about making mistakes. I correctly my sons constanlty and sometimes I forget my Christiian Ministry of Fatherhood and I come across as rude and Harsh, well so does our SiFU (our Father In Gung Fu). (Simo Mother in Gung Fu) These terms are not american their Chinesse and they have meanings. You can ask your Sifu a question, you do not question your Sifu it all about respect, give respect to the studio, understand what you are getting in return and you will have a great time with the more advanced students and the Mateo's. Don't give respect, fail to understand what you are being taught and you will not gain anything but bad memories of your time with us.  

There are always more advanced students around that will help you when you have a question or problem. I am one of them!

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#2 Consumer Comment

truth about the mateo academy

AUTHOR: kd - (United States of America)

This response goes out to all of you who made negative comments about the mateo academy. Obviously none if you can handle old school martial arts training. This academy is for those who can take constructive criticism and tough love. It is not for spineless, gutless people who are looking to be babied and coddled. Since I have been a student here I have learned more than I thought possible and have been treated like family by the mateos. It is clear that you do not have what it takes to be called mateo students. So, since you are looking to be treated like babies go suck on your bottles elsewhere, we dont want your types at our academy. Advanced class is on thursdays.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Mateo dangerous

AUTHOR: Anonymous martial artist - (United States of America)

Sam Mateo is a gifted martial artist. Unfortunately those with complaints read previously are correct, he is high drama. If you are another religion, you will be shamed. If you are female and attractive to him, he is flirtatious at minimum. If you are weak, especially weak in martial arts he will make you feel bad about that.
Sam Mateo puts down others schools and styles of which guro Dan inosanto would be ashamed.
It's unfortunate that someone with so much potential in business, is gifted in martial arts, has created so much unneeded drama and pain for others and himself.
Therapy comes to mind for him, but before you would take advantage of that you would need to see and admit that you have a problem first. His pride and delusion block any chances for him to grow farther as a person.
I feel sorry for Tina, she is so kind and hard working. Lost respect for Mateo, it's sad.
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#4 Consumer Comment

There 2 sides to every story

AUTHOR: Walk On - (United States of America)

Wow!! I have to say that there are different interpretations of every situation! This report is a complete JOKE!! "The Outnumbered" is completely delusional! 

I have done some training at different studios with different forms (Ninjitsu, Shotokan Karate) over the past 15 years and was quite unsatisfied with the schools that I had joined. I moved to the high desert in 2003. I was looking around for a good school to join. I came across this one and was impressed right from the beginning, but I was skeptical since I had some not-so-favorable experiences in the past. All of those worries were put to rest right away. 

I was offered a free all access trial period. Which I respectfully refused. I started right away with the beginner's package. I had just the basics because I could not afford anything more at the time. I took as many classes as I could. Muay Thai, Filipino Martial Arts, and Jun Fan Gung Fu JKD. Each class required different equipment. Sifu let me borrow his spare equipment until I could get my own. Which took months!!What I found was that the others in the class would share there own gear during training. 

Sifu is not in the business of paying for all of your gear!! Any other sport you get yourself into costs YOU money!! As examples; Football, golf, hockey, mountain biking, auto racing, etc. Any one of these other sports would cost you more money to start up than going to the Mateo Academy. I am wondering if there are other schools that are providing gear for their students in the high desert? With this attitude it is no wonder they have trouble keeping the doors open!! It is a small business. He offers a lot material for a relatively small amount of money. If you go to class, try hard, pay attention,  and take notes you will get a world of information that is undiluted as he is certified under Dan Inosanto, the only person to be certified by Bruce Lee himself to teach JKD.
I was pushed in class to rise above my self-imposed limitations but Sifu would recognize if I was having trouble and give me a short break showing that he was concerned for my safety! Others in the class had modified movements due to past injuries and he would take the time to offer an alternative strategy for those people. The rest of the class learned from the alternatives as well. Does that sound like someone who is abusive? True to the form of JKD. Use what works.

To the statement about not disagreeing or questioning the teacher, I questioned him a lot. I needed clarity on different techniques before I could understand them. The others in the class would get irritated before Sifu a lot of the time. Sifu would take the time to demonstrate the answer to the questions that the class had. In fact he encouraged questions and would completely modify his class to answer a 'good' question. He is no more abusive than an average parent is to their children that they want to succeed in something.

Fully Submissive???!! WTF?! I have a different religious belief system than Sifu does and never felt that I was being forced to agree to or take part in something that I did not believe in. I also NEVER heard anyone say that they were his disciple. Now you are just reaching for something to say.

While I was there, I never heard Sifu challenge a student! Never! The only time that I heard him talk about the violence was to state that the techniques that he was teaching us were to be used as self-defense not as a sport. "Be careful when training with these techniques, we don't want anyone getting hurt."

I feel that the school was getting talked about a lot and people from other martial arts schools would come in to check it out. Only they didn't seem to empty their cups. They came in with a chip on their shoulder and thought that they knew more than Sifu does. In fact, I witnessed a couple of students come in for the free classes and talk a bunch of garbage to the other students that were there after class. When this would happen, the next class that this person was in would be the basics and nothing else. Then we would never see them again but we would get word that the person was spreading poison about the school without justification. It is ridiculous the way that people go out of their way to slander someone. You should be ashamed of yourself.

2 years ago I moved out of the area. I would still be attending the classes if I had not moved. The only thing that I miss about the high desert are the few friends that I made and the Mateo Academy. In my opinion this report is completely fabricated and is unjustified. This is probably someone who could not hack the classes and left with a bad attitude.

 I would recommend this school to anyone who wants a real martial arts training program in a family setting. Don't believe what you are reading here without doing some research of your own. Ask around. Don't let one bad apple spoil your chances of getting an excellent education.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Best Martial Arts Academy You Could Ask For!

AUTHOR: Honesty is best! - (United States of America)

I am not even sure where to begin. I have known Sifu, and I have no problem calling him that out of respect, and his family for a while now, 5 years to be exact, and not only do I love the academy and everything it stands for but my family thoroughly enjoys training there. I believe people such as The outnumbered and SolusSnow are former students who could not handle constructive criticism. I dont believe Sifu rants and raves, he has a lot of passion in what he teaches and he hopes to pass that
passion on to his students. My family has never had to learn one bible verse.  Yes it is a Christian establishment and he firmly believes in Character, Culture & Christ but that is the extent of what you have to learn. I have spent many days and nights in the studio and never once heard Sifu challenge anyone!! My husband is an advanced student and he has never referred to himself as a disciple so I find that statement a complete joke!  As far as being told by senior students "Never disagree or question ANYTHING the teacher says-it'll be worse! Even if you disagree- dont say anything! "that is also a joke.. Sifu
encourages you to ask questions, especially if you dont understand something, but I dont think you should go to a martial arts studio to learn self defense and martial arts and then argue with the instructor about what he teaches you.

I also have seen many of the advanced students spend a lot of their personal time just to help out new students. When you sign up, they do supply you with the equipment you need and no you dont have to spend an additional $600. I have spent an additional $20 for my daughter and I dont think that is too much to spend when you are talking about self defense.

I also would like to ask The outnumbered and SolusSnow if they struggle financially. I know that I do and when my
husband lost his job my family trained there for FREE for a couple months because it was more important to the academy that we continued our training and self defense then it was for them to make money. Dont you think if it was about money to them they would have asked us to leave?? And if they were being evicted I would do everything I could to help them stay open. My husbands job transferred him to a different state and we have spent 3 years trying to find an establishment like this one3 years and 3 different states and nothing compares to this academy, not to mention they charge twice the amount for
tuition. You pay one price to learn all that Sifu has to offer. We actually looked at one academy where you paid $200 a month to learn 1 art, not 5. I have never met a more caring and giving family then this one. Sifu is NOT psycho, bipolar or a racist, one of his long time students is a black man. I HIGHLY recommend this academy!! I love the Mateos and I love this academy!! 

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#6 Consumer Comment

The Honest Truth

AUTHOR: Keeping it Real - (USA)

I would first like to start with giving credit where credit is due. The material taught at this academy is definitely unparallel in the high desert. JKD is definitely a practical self defense method and the Sifu at this studio is very well versed in this art as well as Muay Thai, Filipino Martial Arts and other arts that he teaches. There is a lot to learn here. The Studio is a great size and is very clean and well organized.

That being said, I would have to agree in part with all of the above 3 individuals. From my experiences I can honestly say that I too have witnessed a lot of the ranting and raving. There are times that the Sifu here has made comments that have been threatening, demeaning, and although I dont think he is  a racist, he often will make racist remarks, mostly towards blacks. In my observation, I have noticed that, even with his longest students, he feels free to tell any of your personal business to a full class and will not hesitate to talk bad about you when you are not there. I have witnessed it.

This studio is founded on Christian beliefs and they do bring that up a lot. I think that is great if you actually follow that. Although the Sifu is greatly knowledgeable in the bible, his actions, words, and the way I have seen him treat peolpe, are not in line with his beliefs.

You will see full families that train here. Then you will see them dissapear. I have personally seen several families (husband, wife and kids) whom I am sure paid a lot of money to train here, suddenly stop training.  * Opinion* I have heard the gossip in the studio about this family and that family and the reasons why they are gone. I dont really know why they go, but I could only imagine, based on rumors, that it would have something to do with the level of drama here.

From what I have heard the Sifu say, they do struggle financially. That in its self is something that most small business go through and I dont think is a major downfall here.

In closing, there is good and bad in most things. It is up to you on how you see it. Although the training is excellent here, the drama and negativity was too much for me. Most of the students are very friendly, as is the Sifu untill you cross him. The price is a bit steep but you get what you pay for. In my opinion, if they could somehow minimize the drama and negativity, and speak to people the way that Jesus would want them to (since it is Christian based), they would be rich. The Mateo Academy has a lot to offer but the negative things drive the people who would stay for years, away. (There are a handfull of people who have been there for many years..I dont know how they do it). 

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#7 UPDATE EX-employee responds


AUTHOR: SolusSnow - (United States of America)


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#8 Consumer Comment

The context.

AUTHOR: SeekingTheTruth - (United States of America)

I am a student of this martial arts academy that would like to respond to this posting. I first and foremost greatly appreciate the username chosen by the individual that posted the above report. The outnumbered is absolutely appropriate as you can see that there is only one post of dissatisfaction of this martial art studio for the 10+ years it's been open. The above post appears to be one of a former and dissatisfied student, but it seems that this former student's report fails to include context of the information. 

 I like to respond first to the statement of equipment. Training equipment, yes, is costly, but so is martial arts training. You get what you pay for. If you don't wish to invest in your own training equipment, that is absolutely fine. My question though, is how do you expect to get a job done without the necessary tools? $600 is a bit of an exaggeration. In a student's upfront cost, basic equipment is provided. (This is the $175 the original poster mentioned, which also covers your first month of training.) While you are encouraged to invest in equipment, is not initially necessary as new students will initially train with an experienced student. During this time, the experienced student will offer the new student to use his or her equipment ( this includes punching mitts, Thai pads, etc.). Experienced students do this as we remember that we were once new students, and we attempt to make a new student's initial training as comfortable as possible.

That said, in response the claim that the students are not welcome, I do recall sacrificing my own time and training during a seminar that I paid for to assist a new student. I, and all experienced students, do this as we encouraged to help each other grow. Is it required? No. It's done because we value the training we receive.

Again, the studio has been open for 10+ years. Never has this studio utilized a contract, EFT, or any other sort of means to retain students. Their retention of students is achieved through satisfaction with their service. Yes, this is a Christian-based institution. As such, Christian principles are taught at this school. I do believe the foundation of this website is the right to free speech, so it would seem that the head instructor of this school should have the right to teach what he wishes. But as with all teachings of religion or faith, the recipient is free to accept it or reject it.

And on that note,  I will close this rebuttal. Anyone is welcome to his or her own opinion. Remember, however, that an individual's opinion is based on that individual's interpretation of the situation. It is not my place to slur or slander any individual, but in MY experience, each and every member the Mateo Academy has demonstrated love and care to the studio's students BECAUSE it is a Christian institution. If the original poster would care to comment, was he or she ever challenged to a fight? The bottom-line is that the Mateo Academy is the ONLY school authorized to teach Jun Fan/JKD in the High Desert, and to my knowledge, in all of the IE. If anyone wants to receive quality materials handed down directly from Guro Dan Inosanto, this is the place to be. If you want to grow as a person and member of the community, this studio can help you with that, as well. Please see the studio website or contact any of the students for more information. www.mateoacademy.com
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