Friday, April 15, 2016

FACE-OFF FRIDAY: Organization, or Independent?

It's FACE-OFF FRIDAY!

Let's talk about martial arts organizations.

I'm particularly interested in how this applies not to individuals, but to schools.

Some schools are members of larger organizations.  They pay a membership fee, and for that fee they get a sanctioning body for their ranks, a curriculum which they must follow, and often, permission to participate in organization-only events and awards.  It's not unusual for organizations to require member schools to teach a specific way and to offer a specific curriculum, and to require a specific fee schedule for rank testing.

Other schools are independent - they pay no fee to an organization, can have whatever curriculum they want, market however they want, and charge what they want for rankings.

There are pros and cons to each - a huge advantage of an organization is a larger sanctioning body "certifying" ranks (specifically black belts and rank advancement higher than black), relatively consistent curriculum (and quality control), and often, tournament participation. But the downside is the loss of freedom of the individual school, the expense (usually passed down to students), and often, organizations can be awfully political - which is why so many schools end up as independents.

So I want to know what you think.  What would you prefer, if you are (or want) to have your own school - or as a student?

MARTIAL ARTS ORGANIZATION MEMBER SCHOOL, OR INDEPENDENT MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL?