If I was opening a Jow Ga Kung Fu school in your area what would you....

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by JowGaWolf, Dec 24, 2018.

  1. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I need some honest answers. I have my first-aid kit ready for any answer that I may not like. I need some honest answers no matter how uncomfortable it is for me.

    If I were to open a new school in your area. What would be some of the questions you might ask me in regards to the school or classes that I offer. Feel free to think of it even from a curiosity perspective even though you knew you weren't going to Join. Or think about it as a serious inquiry about looking for a martial arts to train.

    Feel free to base your questions on what you know of me or if you don't know of me.

    Thanks in advance.

    Here's the Scenario.
    I'm opening a Jow Ga Kung Fu school 5 miles from where you live or work. Which ever works out best for you, and you decided to see what it was about. What questions would you ask me?
     
  2. Hanzou

    Hanzou Grandmaster

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    1. Membership fees. Contract? Recurring fees? etc.
    2. Price of uniform/equipment.
    3. Class times (especially kid classes).
    4. Competition oppurtunities.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd ask two of the questions Hanzou does (I wouldn't think to ask about competition, though I'd be interested, and I've never thought about uniform cost).

    I'd probably ask for a description of the art. I don't think there's much of a useful description for true beginners (I usually just settle for "We teach punching, kicking, throws, and ground defense from a self-defense perspective.") but for anyone with some knowledge, being able to give them some perspective can pique their curiosity.

    I'd want to know something about testing and ranks, and progression. In arts where there's no rank (and often no testing), there progression becomes more important to me. If there's rank and testing, that usually gives me some idea of what to expect. For me, what I'm looking for is speed to application, which I can usually suss out from the testing.

    And I'd definitely ask (now - didn't in the past) about sparring/resistance.

    The rest I'd want to see in class, because the answers are all from a subjective frame of reference.
     
  4. paitingman

    paitingman Purple Belt

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    1. What is Jow Ga?
    2. Prices and schedule
    3. Any community or crosstraining? Or not even that, but just networking and training with others outside our small location.
    It could be your elder somewhere, a former student who has a small group, a muay thai friend you have, or going to a competition now and again. A thing I love about training is community and meeting new people and being exposed to new teaching styles and techniques. I love learning new, little things from each practitioner I meet, even if I had to figure it out for myself.
     
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  5. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Who taught you? What is your lineage?
     
  6. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    For me it's essentially what hanzou said, but instead of asking about competition, I'd be more interested in seeing you or a student of yours spar. And instead of how much does the uniform cost, I'd ask what is the uniform. Since it's a CMA, I would also ask what the ranking system is, and (I wouldnt ask this next part but a lot would) how long it takes to get to black belt, shifu, guru, whatever.

    I would also not directly ask but be looking for what makes your style different than other styles I would find, and if it looks effective to me. I would not ask, but you should be prepared for the question, of why you're opening a school/do you still train at your old school and (if you're teaching by yourself) why you dont have any students or other instructors. If you're alone I can see that coming up, if you have other instructors or high ranking students, that's less likely to be a thought for people.

    Edit: Also, I'd love to hear a bit about what jow ga is, and where it came from. I probably wouldn't ask, but would enjoy the info.
     
  7. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    How will you be able to help your students to remember your class material?

    At the end of all my classes, I'll record the information that I have taught in that 2 hours on clips (from 2 different angles). Students then share those clips among themselves. This is why I have over 1000 MA clips on my computer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
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  8. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Green Belt

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    Based on what I've seen you post on this forum I'd have 3 questions:
    1. When can I start?
    2. What's the schedule?
    3. How much does it cost? (I'd drop this question if I weren't in between tech contracts and money is tight)

    Assuming I knew nothing about the instructor this is what I'd be trying to find out:
    1. Tell me about Jow Ga - what are the base principles, how does it approach power generation, defense, footwork, etc.? Are there a lot of high kicks or movements that are going to require me to have more flexibility than I did when I was in my 20's? What do you find exciting or special about Jow Ga?
    2. How does training work at your school, what are the classes like? How much focus on fitness vs. forms vs. martial application? Do you spar? If so, how long before that starts? What is it like, how hard is the contact, what sort of protective gear, etc.? How do you address the bad habits that sparring can introduce for self defense application? If you don't spar, how do you address the problems that not sparring can introduce for self defense application? Who's teaching the classes, you, an advanced student, some random dude you hired 6 months ago with a black belt in TKD (I'd be more polite than that but I'd want to know)? What's your/their background and qualifications to teach Jow Ga? Who will I be training with? Kids? Other beginners? Some mix?
    3. What's the schedule? Work can be unpredictable, is it acceptable to show up late?
    4. How much does it cost, including testing fees? (I'd drop this question if I weren't in between tech contracts and money is tight)
    5. Do you offer private lessons and how much do they cost? How flexible are you about the structure of your private lessons (I'm probably the only person that would ever ask this)?
    6. I'm borrowing # 3 from @paitingman Any community or crosstraining? I'm going to ask this a lot in the future. It's something that I've always just kind of allowed to come out organically but I think this is a fantastic question to address directly!
    7. What sort of school culture do you promote? Formal, relaxed, club like or very commercial? Do you try to place restrictions on who I train with or what I study outside of class?
     
  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Are you asking potential students or other dojang/dojo owners? As an owner, in my ilk I would not be overly worried as there is quite a lot of difference in styles. I would hope you already thought enough of my experience and reputation to come in, introduce yourself, and set up a meeting or lunch to talk and strategize. If you did not, it would make me even less worried, but I would take the initiative at some point to meet with you to understand your plan. I have had it go both ways; the first being the school who thinks they are going to drive everybody else out of business which never happened, and ones that just didn't have a lot of business sense and appreciated me reaching out. So what is your business model and how to you gel or plan to deal with competition?
     
  10. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    1. What is Jow Ga Kung Fu and what is the main premise of the system? Realistic Self defense, Historical keeping of training, Competition, something else?
    2. What about Jow Ga training is different or significantly better than other training methods?
    3. Is there a ground training aspect as well as standup?
    4. Are there aspects of the system a student will be required to perform that if having a physical disability will preclude them from attaining the higher levels of the system or will the training be modified for such?
    5. Is the training more on practicality or on formality and what will be the formalities of the school?
    6. Being that I train in other systems already what is your policy on training with others?
    7. What will it cost to get setup to train and what are any additional costs?
    8. How much training is available? How many sessions weekly?
    9. Do you have a trial program in order to experience the training first hand? If not, may I pay for a few drop in sessions to experience the training?
    10. Will there be open sparring or open training sessions available?
     
  11. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    What makes you duffdiffe/better than the 8 other schools within easy drive of my house? Particularly when the TKD guy says that there are hundreds of schools and easy portability of rank if I should move? Or the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school says that they are the popular thing right now? Or the MMA School says they teach great self-defense and points to UFC ad proof?

    Basically, it's a buyer's market. What makes you stand out?

    Peace favor your sword (mobile)
     
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  12. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I’d do it person (it’ll be obvious why in a second) asking what Hanzou asked, then add these...
    How long have you been teaching
    How long have you been training
    Where and under who do you train
    How often do you train under him/her

    I’d stay and watch class, looking for all the things I watch for. That would be the most important part, barring anything weird in your answers.

    Edit: I wouldn’t be hung up on competition though. It would be an added bonus, but I’d ask. If it was all competition, I would be weary.
     
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  13. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    1. Do you like sheep?
    2. Do you drive a 4x4?
    3. Can you understand Yorkshire accents?

    If you can't say yes to any of them you won't be able to open anything where I am! :D
     
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  14. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    It's not as funny a post as you imagine, to open a martial arts school where I live (I'm retired so not near where I work) you'd need the 4x4 to travel the lanes and tracks to the nearby villages to hold classes in village halls and pub rooms, there's no permanent place here for you to have a school. There are more sheep than people, there's also no fences to keep sheep off the lanes, roads and tracks so you spend a ,lot of time with sheep. People up here speak very broad Yorkshire, it's hard to know what they say half the time.
     
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  15. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    If I'm a new student, I'll ask what

    1. entering strategy - how to move in,
    2. finish strategy - how to finish a fight,
    3. combo - how to use move A to set up move B,

    that you will teach me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
  16. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Any questions I ask, I'm not interested in what your answer is, but how you answer it.

    If I get the feeling you're selling the art like a used car salesman, or I get the sense you don't have a lot of confidence in your answers, I will probably skip.
     
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  17. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Green Belt

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    I mostly agree with this, but for me there's also the matter of whether or not the school is a good fit. For example, when I first encountered modern wushu about 20 years ago I didn't know what it was. I talked with the instructor on the phone and he definitely passed the "not a used car salesman" and "very confident in his answers" tests. I came in and watched a class and talked with him some more and determined that A) the guy was an amazing, dedicated, and qualified instructor and a really nice guy that I'd normally have cut off an arm to study with and B) I have no interest and probably no capability to do modern wushu.
     
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