I said it ... MONEY
The ruin of martial arts, may be, maybe not.
Before I rant about martial arts and money I think I should define money.
So what is money? Well? Come on what is money? (don't leave me to do all the work its only my blog).
Yes I know its bits of paper or small bits of shiny metal but I can buy a ream of 500 sheets of A4 size paper
with a small single sheet of paper as long as it has the queens head printed head on it( feel free to insert the head of state or other notable as you see fit for your part of the world).
So its not the paper is it, so what is money?
Ok I'll give you my two penny s worth (see what I did there?)
Money is the representation of value, in the old .... no the very, very old days if you wanted a hole fixing in your roof you asked a local chap who came and did the job, may be if you kept chickens, you gave the roofer a couple of chickens for the work (the value of the workmanship and the materials used ).When the roofer wanted a new axe he gave the Axe maker a chicken in return. You see the chicken had a value, an amount of work or a product. There was a problem, you needed very big pockets to carry around all these chickens.
So some bright spark called Barclay or Lloyd or even a Fannie Mae had a bright idea, what if they created something that meant "a promise of a chicken" written on paper or in the form of a coin. much easier on the pocket and just as important, much easier on chickens, the chicken liberation society were delighted.
So there you have it, Money equals Chicken .... ah hang on, I'll rephrase that...
So there you have it, Money equals a measure of value, in the case above the amount of work or contribution given equivalent to one chicken.
Now Martial Arts!
Well, strangely in martial arts world, and in almost no other part of civilisation, this value concept is replaced, by many, for a calling or duty. A wanting to pass on skill and emotions to others for free the reward of teaching alone being reward enough.
Now I get that, I have that desire in me as well, and I do have a number of students who train and I teach (for various reasons) for free, but unfortunately my mortgage company don't have the desire to see me live in a free house which they build for me. My free car doesn't run on free fuel and my food isn't delivered to my door free of charge by my wonderful local farmer and if I was not fortunate enough to live in the UK (which I do) I may even have to pay for a Doctor or Nurse to visit should I become unwell.
So in order earn enough money to live in the 21st century, I can go to work for 40 hours a week or more in a factory, then offer to teach my hard earned, valuable and paid for martial skills to others for free (as long as the venue is gifted to me) and feel good about myself or, I can become a professional martial artist work hard for 40 hours a week at my craft and become expert the teaching of it, and charge others to learn what I know so the can gain the same value from it as I have.
Martial Arts has more than one thing to offer, more than one value.
I know many martial artists who think the public can be fooled by charlatans and I am sure some members of the public can, but "you cant fool all of the people all of the time".
Martial Art schools who charge the public and are successful, are able to do so not because they are Mc Dojos ( the most successful brand on the planet) but because they offer a consistant value proposition to the public and their customers, in return for the money.
That value offer is "you get this (whatever it is the school teaches) in exchange for X number of chickens a month.
The is a value might be, the feeling students gain from belonging to a group, or the feeling gained from attending competitions or cage fighting or performing dance type extreme katas, or the feeling of self protection and confidence and if the value the student gains from the club, is less than than cost in chickens the student is asked to pay, the student leaves.
If the student gains more out of the activity than the cost to them in chickens the student stays.
The values held by the successful club down the road may not be the values you hold, you might not even agree that those values are right, but you arn't the one training there.
You only think you're right and even if you are, at best, you might only be right for you, and you're definitely not right for every one.
You are free to spend your chickens as you see fit, and the public arn't stupid enough for long enough to spend there chickens in a way which doesn't reward them and their individual needs wants and desires.
Do I charge for my lessons? Hell yeah,
Am I expensive? Only if you don't hold the same values as me.
Am I proud of what I do? Yes.
I am a Professional Karate Instructor.
I have studied continuously for over 30 years, I dedicate my every waking moment to what I do.
Should I be well paid?
Just a final thought:-
Please stop worrying about money changing hands .... its only chicken.....and remember as they say...
"Why? Because you're worth it"
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