January 24, 2020, New York, USA
Running martial arts schools, dojos, are a challenge. Like any small business there are bills to pay, rent, utilities, insurance. The owners need to find ways to retain their students and bring in more students. Some schools rent out their space during quiet hours, for Yoga classes, or mid day fitness workouts.
I have seen the advertisements directed at small school owners: Add a kickboxing fitness program to your martial arts school and see many students walk in your door. The fitness program will bring in much needed dollars plus students who might consider trying out your regular martial arts programs. All you need is a quick certification and you can become one of our happy affiliates. (I have seen one day Kickboxing certification programs, i.e. aerobic Kickboxing)
I have seen the same advertisement used for Krav Maga: Looking to add new students? Join Krav Maga of America (fictitious sample name), come for a one day training, and open a Krav Maga program in your school next week! Fun, easy and exciting!
Yes, more or less, this is what it sounds like. And I have seen the results. (it goes without saying how worthless these programs are, to the gullible who sign up, not for the school owners, they make a pretty penny, and of course the association grows rich).
But it is about something else I want to comment, the idea of Krav Maga as an "Add On" program. I understand the need to make money, but how would you feel going to a brain surgeon, who is really a handy man who took a quick course to do some brain surgery on the side, for some extra cash. No need to answer.
I want a plumber, electrician, who loves their work and is devoted to it. I have a friend who does such repairs. As he is doing his work he explains everything in great detail, probably more than most non technical people need to know. He actually quizzes me the following visit to see how much I understand about air conditioning! But I love the fact that he loves his work so much that he wants to share the exciting process with this clients.
If someone is teaching Krav Maga, I want him to be totally devoted and committed to Krav Maga. I want him to be passionate. I want him to understand that we are in the business of saving lives. I don't care to see it as an Add On for extra money or a Come On for his other martial arts classes. This does not mean he cannot have another job or a family, or other interests. It does not mean he cannot have a Taekwondo school, or BJJ. It means he should not have a Krav Maga class as an insignificant, extra money, quick certification, course. I can always see the difference.
Is he active in his Krav Maga training? Does he seek new knowledge? Does he host and attend Krav Maga seminars? Is he working to improve his skills or does it not matter since he knows enough to teach "the basics" to the ever revolving student body? Does the instructor treat Krav Maga as a "Calling", as being on a "Mission from God" to quote the legendary Blues Brothers, or as a quick money making add on from some corporate Krav Maga conglomerate?
Can a student contact the head instructor, the grand master, to ask a question? Is the instructors' home open to his students? (contact me below, you are invited over for a cup of coffee).
Adding Krav Maga to your martial arts program is indeed a great idea. But you must be sincere. We all need to make a living, but don't join a quickie certification program. Train seriously and have the joy and satisfaction of enhancing people's lives, saving lives. This is what it is all about.
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