WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE by Master Michael Hadsall
I would like to point out that teaching Martial Arts to the general public and making a profit from it, can be a noble profession. I would also like to say that we all know of the McDojos down the street, and that “Academy” in the next town, that cranks out more stripes on their students belts then there are M & Ms in a large bag. Those folks are a lost cause. But teaching legitimate Martial Arts and making a profit is often a noble effort. How can that be? Well, it’s all in the “How you go about it” that makes the difference.
Alright what separates the “Lost cause” from the Noble effort? First things first. You are well trained and totally qualified to teach others your Brand of art right? ( of course you are – or you would be in the catagory of the “Lost Cause”). Prospective students can visit and observe a class or two. They can also track your training at least 2 or 3 generations back to historically recognized legitimate beginnings. But what do you do to actually make a difference in both Martial Arts, and local “civilian” communities. How you make a difference in the martial arts community is totally dependent upon how you are perceived in your local community. It is a given you need to make a profit to stay in business, but what have you done FOR the community you live and work in. Do you make any provisions for those less fortunate financially, to be able to take classes? A few scholorships maybe, or picking up some of the costs that all students encounter when beginning their training? Some of those are not costs you incur but if you picked up some, they would make all the difference to those that otherwise couldn’t attend. Do you have any program at all that can be called an “OUTREACH” to those in your community that just might have the greatest need for the skills you want to teach? I am not talking about the same business hooks that so many schools use to attract students, I mean real meaningful outreach to the community. After All, isn’t that what you are really supposed to be doing in the first place?
Making a difference and being a role model in the community, also makes a difference in your heart. We all know a giver gets more then the receiver. You, weather a Grand Master, Master, Instructor, or School owner have a responsibility to protect yourself, your family and also those that do not have the skills to protect themselves. Thats why you learned your art in the first place, thats why you teach it to others.
A great example is our Dojang in Belize. We charge “NOTHING” to bring Taekwon-Do and Close quarters Combat tactical skills to the Military and Police in this country. We shoulder the cost for the entire program, from uniforms to promotional fees, to videos produced for their benefit. What do we get in return? We get their free labor one day a visit. We load 15 or 20 into military trucks and take them to local families that need their homes repaired, or their roofs that leak fixed, or pipe up water where there is none. They get to participate in “Community service”, in their own heighborhoods, in exchange for the free live saving skills we teach them. On our last trip, the Base commander told us; “We have U.K. for years but could not get it, now we have it from you. You can have as many soldiers as you need every time you come”
You can make a success of your martial arts school in many ways. Sometimes the biggest success comes from no profit at all. What a novel idea. You can make a difference in so many ways in your local community. Be an example for others to follow, give a bit of yourself in the effort, and your rewards will be greater then you can imagine.
We had one student, a special forces LCpl. that had an encounter one day and a domestic tried to take his M-4 away from him. He had to break both of the mans feet to stop him. Three days earlier he was on site with us building a set of steps over water to a poor families house so the KIDS could get in and out. I would say that was a fair trade wouldn’t you?
Use your imagination, make your Martial Arts school a Win – Win for everybody. Find a way to make an outreach to your community. The rewards will be much greater then just monetary. Make a real difference.
If you need help making a difference in your community and want to teach your martial arts to more people without becoming a McDojo or selling out the join the World Martial Arts Media Program for all of your martial arts business consulting needs.