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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ban The Bottles

Many martial arts clubs make a bold claim that they will help form children into more responsible and respectful people. Most clubs try to do this through a strict adherence to authoritarian structures. I have a few thoughts on the "Yes Sir" culture many Dojos try to develop but for today I would like to focus on one rule you can implement in your Dojo that will help your students be more responsible; ban plastic bottles.

To some the proposal to ban plastic bottles may seem radical and to others it may seem like common sense. Whichever side of the fence you are leaning on I beg you to take a moment to think about the implications this one simple rule could have.

One of the main reasons people join the martial arts is to improve their personal health. People want to get out with a group of people, kick, scream, and roll around on the ground while panting and sweating, a few times a week so that they can feel they are doing something to improve their current health.

Banning the use of plastic bottles maybe one step in helping your students become more aware of their health habits. It may also deter them from consuming harmful chemicals. Students may question your motivation for banning plastic bottles. If I were you I would stick to claiming that it is part of an effort your Dojo is making to be more sustainable. You may also make the claim that plastic bottles may leach into your water, though there is much controversy around this claim. In the end I personally choose to error on the side of caution.

The banning of plastic bottles will also make it harder for your students to bring pop or sports drinks to class. Both of which are pumped full of sugar and strange chemicals. When it comes to energy drinks very few recreational athletes are likely to be working hard enough to need an energy drink. Most people who are consuming sports drinks are doing so because of clever marketing rather than a metabolic needs.

Finally if you are a bottom-line kinda guy, perhaps you are running a wonderful and wild McDojo, which is fine as long as your students are getting quality training, you may look at the movement to ban plastic bottles as a marketing opportunity. You could order your own costume designed stainless steel bottles and sell them to all of your students, if your really nice you could throw them a free one just for signing up.

Once your student has their fancy new bottle they will take it everywhere they go, to the gym, school, work etc. Their friends may ask where they got the bottle and there you go next thing you know you have ten knew secretaries and collage freshmen walking in your Dojo door.

Well that is it. I don't know what more I can say. I hope I have given you a few things that are worth thinking about. I hope that I may have inspired you to make a real change in your Dojo. One that could have important impacts on your community and will help your students become more responsible individuals.

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