Parents - 'Armchair' Martial Artists

The article below is reproduced with kind permission from GE Swift, 8th Dan Kyoshi and worth considering when choosing the right club for your martial arts training.

Gary writes:

To me a ‘Professional’ is someone who is profoundly proficient with his subject matter in every aspect. His knowledge should be encompassing and almost limitless. He may make a living out of his art, but he doesn’t ‘sell-it’. He would be modest, honest, well educated in his art, and concerned about his students as individuals, rather than that of £ coins entering his Dojo. He would also be the sort of person that would be dedicated to his students, his art, and also to himself to insure that he had the best possible tuition for his own progression and development.

Someone who is ‘commercially’ motivated would be very unlikely to know his subject matter as he should - He is the ‘armchair’ martial-artist. He would be very reluctant to attend training sessions and courses to expand his own knowledge. He would also plan numerous ‘money making’ ventures at every opportunity. Very likely would have a ‘glitzy’ attitude about what he is trying to ‘sell’, and make attempts at all sorts of ‘eye-catching’ ways to entice new students into his money-making factory. Gimmicks and enticements are the name of the game for the ‘Commercial Entrepreneur’.

This ‘cowboy’ attitude is in complete opposition to our traditional martial-arts, and has been the bane since the start - But how can we protect beginners who are unaware? It is up to us, as instructors and students, to make people aware and to pinpoint the clues. Very often these schools are 'stand-alone’, which means the school itself would be teaching a 'hybrid’ or ‘base’ version of the style they are promoting, so they are restricting the student’s development to move further than the club itself.

Firstly, a beginner would need to know if the school is part of a National Organisation that teaches the exact same style. Ask the instructor who he trains under and how much training he does under his own Chief Instructor. Does he teach more than he trains? If he is a 1st to 3rd Dan instructor he would need to be training under instruction at LEAST three time a week - so check this out.

If we are to attempt to learn and promote ‘real/traditional’ martial arts, and move on to find the ‘real professionals’, we must be able to recognise, and avoid, these commercially motivated schools and treat them for what they are. They are only concerned with one objective - making money for themselves! “Commercialism is the cancer of Professionalism.”

"He who is unaware that he is walking in darkness, will never seek the light!"

Gary E Swift, 8th Dan, Kyoshi.

Chief Instructor to the British Wadokai Karate-do Federation. British Wadokai Karate-do Federation

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