Support your martial arts school.
Students pay the bills. The electricity. The water. The insurance. I didn’t get into the business of running a school to become rich…but, I like eating. Running a school plus a part time satellite location is a good thing because it reaches so many kids that wouldn’t have an opportunity to learn a formal system of self defense. We are the least expensive martial arts school in this area. Most schools charge double what I charge and that doesn’t bother me. Reaching someone and having a positive impact on the youth is what drives me. As such, equipment should be purchased from the school. Uniforms, shoes, belts, breaking boards, patches, bags, and kick shields help the school grow. The money made goes back into the school. It helps the school keep on keeping on. One of the other benefits of ordering equipment from your martial arts school is you wont pay shipping costs. This is also one of the things that helps us keep monthly membership costs as low as they are. I order from the two of the bigger suppliers (Century Martial Arts and Tiger Claw) in the industry so you get a high quality at a fair price.
The low cost doesn’t mean low quality. I came from a school in the bustling mecca of Louisville where I taught for 11 years. My instructor taught me the value of qualified instruction in the arts and I try to honor her with every class I conduct. With the lower monthly fees comes commitment. Seasonal sports are a good thing but to commit to the journey to black belt requires dedication. I’m not saying you cant do both and I have some that do, but you have to be able to put in the work. When students first begin, everything is brand new. After a few hundred miles the newness wears off a little. For the Kempo student its around purple or purple with a black stripe. This is where you must dig in and push it over the hump or plateau. It can be extremely difficult but anything worth having is worth working hard for. However, there’s a reason why only 1 or 2 in 10,000 make it to black belt. Its work. I’m not saying the black belt is the end all be all, but is does say something about you. Were you determined? Did you persevere? Did you sacrifice? Were you focused? If you made it to black belt at an established school then the answer is : Yes! I’m not concerned with how well you could beat up another person or 10 people for that matter. What did you do to get there? Are you humble? Did you exude confidence? For a lot of us who have had the bb for years and are involved with regular belt rank testing we consider these questions. Fighting is only a small portion of having that colored fabric around your waist. Its a piece of the puzzle that means you didn’t give up. It’s a matter of are you dedicated or did you settle? The future black belt will put in the time when no one else is around. The fair weather student practices during class time only. Which one are you?
One side note…the black belt used to be a rare thing. Recently I visited a Chinese restaurant in Louisville, Ky. The Oriental House on Shelbyville Road is insanely good…especially for the price. Small plug. Anyway, after speaking with one of the staff about martial arts he explained to me that in his system it takes 8-10 years to get a black belt. Seems reasonable to me. That’s some serious dedication. A lot of folks will speculate the material and learning along the way and maybe that’s where the time frame comes from. Some will say that the old masters hold on to the old ways and make it difficult to advance(more on this in a future blog). I can understand both. The belt requirements can be layered and honestly if it took me years and years, which it did, to earn something I might not be in a big hurry to just give it away freely.