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, equipment etc. The owners need to find ways to provided a steady in-flow of payments. They need to find new and innovative ways to retain their current students and bring in new students. Some schools rent out 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 new students walk in your door and register for classes. 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 (from us of course) and you can become one of our happy and successful affiliates. (I have seen one day Kickboxing certification programs, i.e. aerobic kickboxing, you become a certified instructor, qualified to teach others, in one single day).
I have seen the same advertisements used for Krav Maga: Looking to add new students? Increase cash flow? 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! Krav Maga, Fun, easy and exciting for the whole family!
I am not joking. Yes, more or less, this is what is out there. I have seen the advertisements and I have seen the results. (It goes without saying how worthless these program are, to the gullible students who sign up, not for the school owners, they make a pretty penny, and of course the association grows rich).
I want to comment on something else, not just the low quality of such training and instructors, not just the deception involved, it is something else I want to comment on, the idea of Krav Maga as an "Add On" program.
Would you like to be an "Add On" friend? 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 up a quick course to do some brain surgery on the side, for some extra cash. If you are able to read this article, no need to answer.
I want a plumber, an electrician, who loves their work and is devoted to it. I want someone who chose this career and is not doing it only because they can't find anything else. 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 repair process with his clients. He is not doing air-conditioning as an "add on" to some other job.
If someone is teaching Krav Maga, self-defense, I want him to be totally devoted and committed to this task. I want him to be passionate about teaching and saving lives. I want him to understand that we are in the business of saving lives. I don't care to see it as 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, Add On, course. I can always spot 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 Krav Maga conglomerate?
Can a student contact the head instructor, the grand master, to ask a question? Is the instructor's 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 and does not conflict with teaching other martial arts. 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. That is what it is all about.
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