People join professional associations for all sorts of reasons; to network and gain professional contacts, to have a sense of belonging, comraderie, and to gain a sense of legitimacy. A union certified electrician seems like a better bet than some guy who says he can fix anything. Credentials matter.
Some organizations, such as unions, bestow specific advantages for their members, others bestow rights and privilges. To be a member of a union means you are recognized as legitimate, and you can charge accordingly, gain insurance and have professional backing and support.
But why do people join martial arts associations? What do they hope to gain?
There are the advantages of networking, comraderie, weekend training retreats and seminars. There is also the hope of gaining legitimacy although here the matter gets tricky. The people you are hoping to attract usually can not tell one organization from the other. What is the World Black Belt Bureau? Is it like the Better Business Bureau, is it a part of the government? No one knows. What is the difference between the World TKD Federation and the International TKD Federation? I don't know.
Most martial arts organizations have powerful sounding names, World Federation of this or that, World Wide this or that, but the truth is those names mean absolutley nothing, nothing at all. There is no regulating body, no one checking if the name suits the group. Anyone can use any name they want. Buyer beware.
I would ask the following question; does the organization continue to learn, to train, to develop and to share techniques and knowledge? Are they at the cutting edge of martial arts, of self defense?
We at IKI strive for just that, we are about learning, training, growing. Patches and diplomas, fancy uniforms and titles, not an even a distant second in our order of priorities.
Lets keep training, honestly, realistically. Let's keep caring about people. Let's stay real!
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