Closing shop...

Discussion in 'Wing Chun' started by geezer, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Well, I finally made the decision to stop teaching. This will be the second time for me. I left my first sifu after a dozen years or so back in the 90s. After a long time away from martial arts, I came back to Wing Chun in the fall of '07 ...about the same time I joined this forum. At the urging of my instructor, in 2009 I began teaching again with a small group at a YMCA. Then we added weekend classes at a local park, and finally begin renting space, first at a dance studio and then at a nearby boxing gym.

    Well, It's been fun ...mostly, and I did bring a few guys up through the ranks to instructor level, but as enrollment stayed low, and rent, insurance, and association dues kept going up, a lot of the joy faded away. Meanwhile, the workload at my day-job has increased (though not the pay -- I'm a high school teacher). So this month I moved out of the gym, stopped paying the association dues, and stopped accepting new students.

    I'm still training a couple of the core group of guys privately, and I'm thinking about trying to find time to do some other things in my life too. I'll be 64 this summer, and maybe it's time for some younger guys to shoulder the burden and carry the torch for a while.
     
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  2. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    Wishing you the best.

    I often think as martial artists we tend to shoulder all the responsibility for a school and teaching. I feel this is a mistake. I have been associated with 2 schools that when the teacher stopped and closed up shop, the students carried on. These schools have been on their own for 20 to 30 years now with help of course from associations and such. But I feel as teachers we could set up schools that will out last us. The dojo should be it's own living entity as long as people show up to train.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I hope this takes you to good places, Geezer. I expect it wasn't an easy decision, but I hope it's the right one for you. I think forward to this situation for myself, from time to time, and Hoshin's comment fits what I hope for. If my program keeps going (hopefully with a few more students now that I have what appears to be a permanent location), I hope to get some folks to a level where they can help me teach. The Hobbit already can (in spite of a relatively low rank in my curriculum, she has more than 10 years of training in the art), but it's neither a passion for her nor a help to our schedule if she's the only one who can help.

    Anyway, my point is that I could see myself reaching a point where I'm not as committed as I am now - when I want to open up my schedule again for more travel and such. I'm hoping I'll have some students who are interested in carrying things along, contributing to and growing the program in situ, so I can keep being part of it without it becoming a drain on me.

    Good luck, man.
     
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  4. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well Geezer, if you are still teaching a couple of core guys then you will still enjoy the teaching experience just in a new way. Think of it more as a transition to a new experience that can benefit you and your core group. Not having a commercial Training Hall can be a blessing in a lot of ways! Plus, if you have some other interests you can pursue them and enjoy the ride! ;)
     
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  5. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    high school teacher... Cool.
     
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  6. yak sao

    yak sao Master of Arts

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    Geezer, the martial arts world in general, and the WT world in particular will be poorer for this.

    Have you considered just chucking the whole association thing and just teaching what and how you want?
    If you want to come to Ky it would be an honor to exchange ideas and concepts.
    Organizations???? We don't need no stinkin' organizations!!!
     
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  7. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Disappointed to hear this. The wing chun community needs more good instructors. Hope you are able to keep your core group, the will help the keep the wc gene pool with good practitioners.
     
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  8. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    Shhhhhhhhhh! Such an idea would never occur to me! ;)

    But seriously now, I have been thinking about travelling more, and before I get too far over the hill, I would like to have the time and freedom to be a martial arts student again ...in something completely different.
     
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  9. yak sao

    yak sao Master of Arts

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    I've thought of starting over numerous times.
     
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  10. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    That sounds like a good run but I always hate hearing of someone shutting down. MA just keep contracting it seems like. Life can definitely get in the way. It happened to me in the mid 90's. If you have some younger guys trained up with your same level of experience I would say it is a reasonable thought process. But if you are the brain trust, they need your knowledge and experience. Can you go back to the Y and forgo some of your overhead and make the numbers work?
     
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  11. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    Just kidding Bro. Good luck![​IMG]
     
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  12. wanderingstudent

    wanderingstudent Yellow Belt

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    I don't think students appreciate or understand the sacrifices teachers go through, until they become teachers. Good luck, as you transition into this next chapter of your life. It doesn't seem so much as retiring, but downsizing.
     
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  13. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    @geezer, I wish you all the best in whatever you decide to do.

    Only you know what is best for you.
     
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  14. Eric_H

    Eric_H Black Belt

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    Best of luck in future endeavors, Steve. Being a Kung Fu Sifu really is a grind.
     
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  15. ST1Doppelganger

    ST1Doppelganger Brown Belt

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    You might be closing up shop but sounds like you won't be quiting the teaching aspect since you still have a core group. Wish you the best of luck on this new chapter of your martial arts voyage.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 XL using Tapatalk
     
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  16. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    Not for nothing, but I wanted to share this with you. When I was about to graduate high school I wanted to be a teacher. But in the part of the country that I lived, (north east) there were no teaching jobs and a bootload of college students who were studying to be teachers.

    Since then, I've been teaching Martial Arts for a long time. But I consider myself a teacher. That's what I do, teach.

    Also, I believe school teachers are the single most important job this country has. They should be the highest paid, not brat athletes.

    AND - you may end up teaching Martial Arts again. Every time I think I'm not going to be, it ends up the same way, teaching somebody else. I guess time will tell.

    But you are a TEACHER. Rock on, Geezer.
     
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  17. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Excellent post, I wish I could agree and like and high-five it.

    Regarding the bolded portion, I will add to it: not hedge-fund managers and lawyers
     

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