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Friday, August 2, 2013

McDojos are Bull Shit and BJJ is the Ultimate Martial Art

Style bashing is all the rage in the world of Martial Arts. Every one wants to know "which martial art is the best?" Once some one has cast their vote they will draw up incredible bodies of anecdotal and dogmatic evidence to support their argument. But these feuds do little to strengthen ones personal practice or the Martial Arts community as a whole and it is time to make a change.

Wasting your time explaining why what some one else is doing is wrong only detracts from the time you spend training. This means every time you complain about another style you slip a little closer to becoming what you despise. So rather than complaining about what others are not doing I propose it is time that we all start leading by example and working together. And that is why below I have outlined five simple steps that will help you and your Dojo to contribute to building a stronger Martial Arts Community. Rather than one filled with complainers.

5.    Share
Back in the 70’s and 80’s when the martial arts were rather new in the western world having secret black belt clubs and secret this and that may have been a great way to intrigue students with a taste for exoticism but the bubble has burst and it is time to stop pretending there are any secrets in the world of martial arts. It is time to share, start a blog, a podcast or a vlog. Now don't get too excited and go out and start all of these things right away. Take your time build it up and try to make sure everything you release is of the best quality possible.

4.    Connect
Connect with your surrounding community. Don't get stuck only engaging with the community you are paying dues to (insurance and association fees) but with every other club in your area. Invite instructors from across town to come and teach a class in your club. This will offer your students a new perspective. 

*You may want to invite instructors from far enough away to insure your students don't jump ship but if you really believe in what you are doing you shouldn't have to worry.

3.    Connect
Host seasonal camps that bring together clubs from both within and outside of your association. Try to use these camps as a chance to train with reputable instructors who you may not usually get to associate with. Make sure you keep these camps fresh, they should be a time to open new doors and develop a deeper understanding of one’s chosen art even if that means exploring a seemingly different style. 

Yes this is for the MMA clubs as well. Get out there and give a more traditional art a try. Heck even just try training with a different MMA group you might be surprised by what you learn and Traditional martial artists take a risk, go play in the wonderful world of MMA. Remember it is Mixed Martial Arts. MMA should be a forum not a brand.

2.    Respect
Don’t style bash. It is a waste of time. There is someone out there in every style making a mockery of their supposed art and you don't want to get lumped in with them. Focus your energy on doing the best you can rather than complaining about how someone else isn’t.

My Karate Sensei Andrew Holmes always gives great praise to Sensei Peter Stoddart because as he says "he has never heard Mr. Stoddart say a bad thing about anyone." From what I can tell Mr. Stoddart focuses on doing a good job of what he does and it has paid off. He is currently instructing a Wado Club at Hollyburn Country Club in North Vancouver, where he gets to hosts some really great seminars from time to time. One of his seminars focused on Kata from multiple Karate styles including Wado, Shotokan and Shitoryu, it was one of the better Kata seminars I had ever been to. 

1.    Share
Finally my last tip, like my first is share. Actually share your students. If you have a Karate club that runs Monday, Wednesday then see if there are any other clubs in town that run on off days. See if those clubs want to make a deal on offering a reduced tuition to students who are interested in cross training. You may want to limit this offer to your more advanced students as a reward for their years of dedication and not to burden other clubs with your clumsy beginners. Cross training will help more advanced students push their personal limits and strengthen not detract from their current training.

So there you have it a few key concepts on how to build a better martial arts community, share, connect and respect, with five ideas on how to really engage with these concepts. Now don't get overwhelmed there is no need to move forward with all of these ideas today. Hopefully you have already started a few but for those that you are lacking in it is time to draw out a game plan and start moving forward one step at a time.

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