I struggled A LOT!! With this article- not whether I should write it but should I publish it on our website. Then the desire to be transparent to our members and future members influenced me- so here we are. As I was working on it, I realized it was fairly large so it was recommended to me to put it into parts. Which makes sense so here is
Part 1- Little History…
Several years ago back in the ‘80’s I was hitting my stride in competitive Martial Arts. Without a doubt it was a huge focus. Along with that our school was pretty reputably known throughout Arizona. We had some pride in creating several state champions and international champions. In October of 1987 for those of you who remember; the stock market took a pretty nasty hit and 3 major companies in my area; Honeywell, Intel and Digital had major layoffs and eventually moved their locations. Several of my students were dramatically affected by this and membership dwindled. Time and time again, in exit interviews – I was told that it wasn’t the cost of training that they couldn’t afford it was the cost of competing that they could not budget for.
To me it was an easy solution- “Fine, let’s not compete.” However, most of them stated it just wouldn’t be the same.
I was mortified! I couldn’t accept that I had “misled” my membership. They valued competing and wining over quality martial arts and self-improvement. I was for the most part devastated to the point I pretty much phased out all aspects of competing.
Yes, part of it was a financial “insult.” I had members paying on the average of $50-$75 dollars a month for unlimited training. I came to find out because of tournaments and related expenses they were spending on average $300-$400 per month. They were supporting the school with about 25% of what they were willing to pay for the “Martial Arts” and when their income was jeopardized it wasn’t as “important.”
So I spent the next 20 years “cleansing” my training methods from the competition side of the martial arts to really focusing on practical self-defense. I began teaching in community centers, after school programs, privates, etc. primarily focusing on the art and practical aspects of Kenpo and the Martial Arts. I surrounded myself with opportunities to work on the self-defense aspect and avoided the competitive side.
Coming Next… Part 2- A New “Excitement!”