Friday, October 20, 2017

Questions from Quora: What are fake and real martial arts?



Quora is a leading internet site where questions get asked and answered by people from all over the world!  As you can imagine, lots of questions get asked about the martial arts.  "Questions from Quora" shares a question I find interesting, and my answer to the question.

Got a martial arts question you want me to answer?  Send me an "Ask to Answer" on Quora, and I just might!

What's YOUR answer to today's Quora Question?  Let me know in the comments below!


Read Jackie Bradbury's answer to What are fake and real martial arts? on Quora

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Martial Arts Instructor Bill of Rights

Recently I wrote The Martial Arts Student Bill of Rights.

Today, let's look at it from the Instructor's side.


Me, teaching a class.

Yes, martial arts instructors also have some expectations in training, from their students and from people who work with them in the process of training students.  The student/teacher relationship is absolutely a two-way street.

Here's some reasonable expectations a martial arts instructor should be have:

GETTING PAID

No martial arts instructor should be expected to teach the martial arts for free.

Keep in mind that many martial arts teachers DO teach for free on occasion.  They'll have "scholarship" students, or they'll volunteer to teach in certain charity situations, or they'll offer free classes in self defense or an intro to their style.  Some even train folks for free all the time, just because they wish to.

But they are NOT obligated to offer any free content whatsoever.



There is no reason to expect that people who have put many years and thousands of hours into becoming experts in what they do to share that information free of charge.  If you wouldn't expect free services from other professions - doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers, plumbers, etc. - don't expect it from martial arts instructors.

Additionally, financial obligations to a martial arts schools are just as much of a "real' debt as it is to anyone else.  If you promise to pay for a specific period of time, guess what, buddy, that's a contract, and you have abide by the terms of the contract.

Just to be clear: this does not necessarily apply to people acting as assistant instructors or junior instructors UNDER a main teacher.  These folks are sometimes getting free/reduced training fees (but sometimes not) in exchange for teaching, and it's not uncommon for this to be a requirement for a rank level.

SETTING THE RULES IN TRAINING

Martial arts instructors have the right to set the rules for training. This includes:
  • Content
  • Class structure, frequency, and location
  • Safety rules
  • Etiquette rules
  • Designate what kind of equipment to be used, and where to source it from
  • Rank requirements and promotion process
  • Uniform requirements
Martial arts instructors are usually open to suggestions but the final decision rests with them.  If a student does not like what the instructor decides, the student should seek instruction elsewhere.



ACCEPTING STUDENTS

Martial arts instructors do not have to accept every person who shows up to learn as a student.

Martial arts instruction requires a lot of trust between teacher and student. As a consequence, it's not reasonable to believe that a martial arts instructor can or should develop that trust relationship with any given person off the street.

Given the content of what we teach - it's violence, folks - if a martial arts instructor does not want to share that information with an individual they aren't sure will use the information wisely, that's okay.

STUDENT OBLIGATIONS TO TEACHER/SCHOOL

Students should:
  • Let the instructor know when they won't be attending classes.
  • Follow the rules established by the instructor for the school while training.
  • Practice the content they are being shown outside of class
  • Respect and follow the rules for safety.
  • Respect and follow the cultural/etiquette rules for the school.
  • If there is a challenge or doubt about what's being taught, discuss with the teacher privately, versus challenging it in the middle of training
So there you go, that's what I think martial arts instructors have a right to expect in their schools.  Did I miss anything, martial arts instructors?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Week in Stick Chicktivity - 10/14/17

Here's how my week of training, writing, teaching, and miscellaneous Filipino Martial Arts-y goodness went.

What have you been up to this week?

THE WEEK DAY-BY-DAY:

Saturday:  Kobudo and Arnis class. A normal, relatively sedate Saturday for a change!  I've been getting in a lot of kobudo practice and that's been very helpful.
Sunday:  Chores, kobudo practice, and another Chiefs victory (undefeated and feels GREAT!)
Monday:  Took the day off.  Kids had the day off so I actually stayed home and hung out with them.
Tuesday:   Took younger daughter to class at Hidden Sword, and practiced kobudo. 
Wednesday:   Arnis class at Hidden Sword.  Worked on some applications out of some of our anyos (forms), and did some disarms we haven't done in a while.
Thursday:   Took younger daughter to class at Hidden Sword. Kobudo practice.
Friday:   Friday night stick fighting at Mid-Cities Arnis, plus I got in a lot of kobudo practice.

I'm gonna get ya, kid!

BLOGGY GOODNESS:

Here's the new posts or reshared older posts I sent out this week:

MondayThe Myth of Wasted (Martial Arts) Time
TuesdayIf Dis, Den Dat, or DAT!
WednesdayThe Martial Arts Student Bill of Rights
Thursday: The Joy of Newbies
FridayQuestions from Quora: Unfit Girl Has Concerns About Starting Martial Arts Training

OTHER STUFF THAT I SAW/DID:

I would be thrilled if my kid got ninja throwing stars for good grades.


That WOULD be a problem.

If you haven't subscribed to Datu +Dieter Kn├╝ttel's YouTube channel, you should.




Nice article about some older ladies studying Tae Kwon Do.  A common question asked on Quora and in other places is "Am I too old to start training in martial arts?".  This is usually asked by people in their 20's.  Heh.  Golden Girls: Lawson, Hodges prove martial arts has no age limit

And here's this week's video from the world's best martial arts channel, "Enter the Dojo":





If you run across cool martial arts stuff you think I should see, please do post them in the comments!

FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK:

Mr. Chick is out of town at a seminar this weekend. So not only am I managing children, I'm also practicing kobudo and arnis in the morning, then this afternoon I go to my last formal kobudo class before next month's black belt test.

Yup, I'm getting nervous about that now.

So what did YOU do this week?  What did you train? What did you teach?  Did you see any really cool martial arts stuff online?  Let me know!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Questions from Quora: Unfit Girl Has Concerns About Starting Martial Arts Training



Quora is a leading internet site where questions get asked and answered by people from all over the world!  As you can imagine, lots of questions get asked about the martial arts.  "Questions from Quora" shares a question I find interesting, and my answer to the question.

Got a martial arts question you want me to answer?  Send me an "Ask to Answer" on Quora, and I just might!

What's YOUR answer to today's Quora Question?  Let me know in the comments below!



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Martial Arts Student Bill of Rights

Beginning training in the martial arts, especially as an adult, is pretty difficult.

There's a lot of misconceptions out there about what it entails.  Some of that is due to how martial arts training is portrayed in popular media, but it's also due to poor communication from the martial arts community as a whole.

This post is my attempt to clarify to potential and new martial arts students what I think they have a reasonable right to expect in their training.

DISCLOSURE OF ALL FEES

This includes tuition, "mat fees", equipment fees, costs associated to required equipment (cost of gis, martial arts weapons, etc.), testing fees, belt fees, and the estimated costs of tournaments if they are a required part of training.  This disclosure should happen prior to the beginning of training, and if there is a contract involved, fees should detailed in the contract that is signed.



Speaking of a contract, if there is one, then the fees and process for ending the contract before the term is up need to be clearly defined before the contracts is signed.

DISCLOSURE OF REQUIREMENTS FOR RANK ADVANCEMENT

A student has a reasonable right to know what is expected of her in order to earn rank.  This does not include any kind of guarantee, such as "You'll earn such-and-such rank in 6 months". It just means that it's reasonable to expect to have an outline of what a student needs to learn in order to gain rank, including if participation in tournaments is required.

REASONABLE PRECAUTIONS FOR STUDENT SAFETY

Students have a right to train in an environment where precautions for student safety are taken into consideration. 

This is a highly variable term so it's hard to say exactly what this looks like for each style.  But, this includes:
  • Using equipment in good repair
  • Making sure the training area is clean and free of debris or other items that could cause injury
  • Using safety equipment when it's available (such as training weapons)
  • Having in place training rules for student safety (such as not allowing horseplay or not allowing people to swing around weapons when they are not actively training with them)
  • Not allowing students to be harassed, bullied or abused by anyone associated to the school.
Safety first.

THE STUDENT/INSTRUCTOR RELATIONSHIP

A student has the right to know what ranks and/or instructor certifications a martial arts teacher has legitimately earned.  Instructors should not claim rank not earned or lie about their qualifications to teach.  An honest 2nd Degree Black Belt instructor in a single style is better than a dishonest Grand Master in 7 different styles.

A student has the right to have a method to contact the instructor outside of class, and to have phone calls, emails, or text messages returned within a reasonable period of time.



A student has the right to expect the training schedule to be clearly communicated and adhered to. Classes will begin on time, end on time, and not be changed at the last minute outside of extenuating circumstances (such as sudden illness, accident, natural disaster, etc.).

A student has the right to know if he or she will be trained by other students, and not the instructor. This is actually not uncommon; there's plenty of martial arts schools where higher ranked students work with lower ranked students, and the instructor might not be directly training individual students every class. Students should have the right to know if this is something that is normal in the school they attend.

So what do you think? Are these reasonable things a student has the right to expect from an instructor?  Did I miss anything important?  Let me know in the comments!