I'm Free Labor - But I Get Paid

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Bill Mattocks, Nov 10, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,581
    Likes Received:
    2,585
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Michigan
    When I work, I get paid. My employer pays me for the work I do, and if they stopped paying me, I'd stop working for them. I need to be paid - I have a mortgage and a family and bills to be paid and food to be purchased. I am not wealthy; I cannot work for free.

    I am also an adult karate student, and I pay to be taught by an expert. I've been doing it for well more than a decade now. Twice a week, every week, I'm sweating and hurting and (hopefully) learning in the dojo, and I pay for that.

    I also volunteer my time to help teach the kids and the beginning adults. On rare occasion, I teach the entire set of classes on an evening, kids, adults, advanced adults, etc.

    So yeah, I guess I'm 'free labor'. However, my status as a student would not change if my circumstances changed and I could not volunteer my time anymore. Or if I just decided I didn't want to do it. No one would expect me to do it or think less of me if I could not or chose not to. It's something I am happy to do. I'm not the only one. Some don't teach; some simply come in early or stay late a few minutes and help clean and organize. Some purchase supplies from time to time. Some don't teach in a formal way, but they jump in and help when they see a student struggling.

    However, although I am a volunteer, I get paid. Not in money.

    From my students, I learn many things.

    They point out my weaknesses by imitating everything I show them. When I do something poorly, they do it poorly, in exactly the same manner. I look at them and see the flaws in my own techniques. Because I do not want to be the person teaching them poor techniques, I am forced to fix my own mistakes.

    They are all individuals. They learn at different rates, in different ways. Some need information to be doled out a drop at a time; some want large chunks of information all at once. Some are easily distracted; some are easily upset. They are, after all, children. But they teach me to remember how we adults are all different too. I learn from my students how to interact with them in the way that works best for them; and this informs how I interact with adults outside of the dojo as well. We're all different. We all have our own unique ways of processing information and reacting to stress, and if we look for the ways to best provide that for each other, we can interact much better, understand each other, get things done, avoid misunderstandings.

    They have gratitude. They have joy. They haven't learned how to pretend not to have those feelings, as we adults have. I see in their eyes and hear in their voices that they are eager to learn, that they enjoy learning; and I get the benefit of being able to be part of the reason they are happy. This is the purest kind of reward I can imagine; making a child happy.

    I get to see them grow. For those students who have kept training, I get to see them sprout up, become young men and women; good people, strong people, confident people, competent people. They are not bullies; they are not thugs. They are not criminals or delinquents; they are what society needs most. I didn't cause that to happen; but maybe I was able to be a good role model at a critical time in their lives, and if that's true, I am grateful for it.

    They are, in some small way, a legacy. I have fond memories of mentors and role models I have had in my life; even if they are now gone, I hold their memory dear. This is the ultimate hubris, but if someday, some former student thinks of me with fondness, I am gratified. I don't have anything else to give; this is all I can offer the future, but I offer it gladly.

    The world is often transactional. We work, we get paid. We need something, we buy it, or we do without. It's all about what can you do for me, how much does it cost, what's the bottom line.

    But not everything in our lives has to be transactional. Sometimes, we can simply give of ourselves, and in so doing, get something in return that far exceeds anything we could have contracted for or expected to be paid for.

    Do I get paid? You bet I do. In ways that money cannot touch. I am grateful for the opportunity.
     
    • Like Like x 8
  2. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,785
    Likes Received:
    1,159
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    Very well said. I fully agree with the satisfaction of investing into others. It is an opportunity that is found in many 'sports' but is and should always be more virtuous through the MA's. Whether traditional or not, there is an opportunity for mentorship that is not usually found in our day to day life's.
    I get a strong sense that your dojo/dojang environment is a healthy one. Where no one is taken advantage of and everyone understands what is expected of them from the git-go. A place where issues are proactively dealt with. This does not sound like the environment in another recent post about getting paid to teach.
    It is a consistent theme in most every school/system I have ever been in that high color/low BB's are expected to teach. It is a quality part of the maturation process for many people. But they should not be put in too much of a leadership role too soon. It can backfire from either side. A person can get to where they resent the responsibility and become a bad seed, spreading that resentment. Or they could become over-confident/cocky and that creates it's own set of issues.
    Students teaching students is a fundamental part MA's. It is seen in many, many professions such as education (GA's) and skilled trades (apprentice/journeyman). It is a common practice. But it should never have the indentured servant feel to it.
    Can this be caused from either the teacher or the student? Sure. But the stories where the teacher is never there when a high ranking student shows some undefined level of competency are way out of bounds and sullies all MA's.

    It sounds like you are thankful for your school and it's practices; and you should be. It is great to hear a good story about what is largely the norm for Martial Arts schools and not just the occasional red herring.
    Great post.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2019
    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    176
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    When I was a blue belt and still in my teens, I would teach beginner classes and my great sensei would pay me, generously. I would have taught for free, as even at that rank I understood how teaching could only make my karate basics better. I felt I was overpaid, but would clean the dojo and take care of his dog on Saturdays. He had little money, himself, but didn't seem to care much about it, content with a studio apt. and brown rice.

    He was a great role model for all us young guys and rewarded those who trained seriously and helped care for the dojo. His rewards were not just money, but in extra training or sharing insights of Chinese philosophy. I didn't pay any fees after blue belt and was trained for free thru my early black belt ranks. Not being in other sports and having no girlfriend, the dojo was my home away from home. He eventually produced over a dozen very loyal black belts, and also had the respect of many of the top, well known, sensei's in Los Angeles' early karate circle.

    He didn't know the kata oyo, as many did not in those days, but he was a fearsome competitor and reeked with power. Yet, he had less ego than anyone I knew. He never lorded over or abused students. He had no need. He exhibited many of the virtues of a true martial artist.

    So, money is good. Its needed for survival, and can be used for many other purposes. It has its place in the MA. What place depends on the instructor, and his relationship with his students. (I know I got a little off track here, but excuse the ramblings of an old-timer about the/my good ol' days. It was a good opportunity to pay respects to my late sensei)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,621
    Likes Received:
    955
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    I'm not sure of the point your making, lots and lots of people volunteer to help what they think are worthy causes, because they have time on their hands, they are lonely, it gives them a sense of reward that they can help others etc.

    but context is everything here, who exactly are you helping ? the students, who are paying for 'expert instruction' or the guy running it for profit or a guy that's running it at a loss as his hobby to kill time etc.

    I had some time free on a Sunday morning, so I volunteered to help out in a charity shop, it wasn't quite selfless, as it gave me first dibs and discount on the new stock. but it was largely giving back to society for the many blessings I had received.

    after a couple of weeks it occurred to me, I wasn't being treated as a kind person donating my time for free, I was being treated as an 'employee' I was told off if I was a few minuets late, told to stop talking and get back to work, { both of which I would have objected strongly to if I was being paid} had to ask to leave when I got bored etc etc. the final straw was when she had given me incomplete instruction on some petty rule about the colour of cloths hangers for different displays, which resulted in me hanging 200 things on the wrong colour hanger, she said I would have to stay late to put right her error, I just llaughed at her and went early

    added to which the manager was being paid, quite well and a large % of the shops taking were going to pay her salary and not for helping the destitute old people that was my objective. All in all I was getting up early on a Sunday mostly to help pay her mortgage and run that nice car she had and the cheap jeans I sauced was Not compensating me for that.

    So I took my time to another disserving cause, and did some time in a food kitchen for the homeless,

    which would be the point id make to people volunteering to teach ma, there are very many better ways of helping people that teaching them MA, if you actually care about peoples well being, get some soup and go and feed the rough sleepers
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019
  5. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,120
    Likes Received:
    2,230
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Jobo, you cantankerous killjoy! Here Bill writes this heartwarming post about the rewards of volunteering to instruct at his dojo and you have to rob us or all that warm, fuzzy feeling. You really are a curmudgeon.

    ...So why do I enjoy your posts so much? You must reach my inner ...er ...evil clown, man! :D
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    9,747
    Likes Received:
    6,202
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Maui
    Bill, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hope you keep all your posts and write a damn book.

    Don't be a selfish old bastard and keep all this stuff just for us. Martial Artists need books like the ones that would be born of your writing. Seriously.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,785
    Likes Received:
    1,159
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    I can't disagree that helping out at a charity store or the food kitchen are very good things that we all should do. But if we spend all our time judging what others are doing while we are doing our "good deeds" it is pointless and completely misses the idea of helping our fellow man.
    I agree, you are a curmudgeon.
    Something I tell people are to not be a "yeah but" person. Listen, watch, and try to think about things from others perspective. We are often hard to understand, emotional creatures. Summarily deciding the other person is in the wrong because you are looking at something thorough a very narrow lens is, well, being a bigot.
    No wonder you are cantankerous.
    Frankly, I don't have a clue what the point of your post is.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,621
    Likes Received:
    955
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    a bigot ? that's a bit harsh,

    Im pointing out that giving a long self congratulatory post on what a good person you are for teaching ma to the privileged for free, isn't really helping people in the normal sense of the word, its certainly not doing much to address societies imbalances. and if at the same time your feeding your obsession for all things martial then there's not much self sacrifice there either.


    is that judging ? possibly a bit, its not that i want to tell him how to spend his time. But really if you want to spend your time helping others there are far far better ways to do it. The only person he is helping is the guy who runs the dojo. The kids would learn ma anyway at that dojo or another, Its not making any difference to them at all

    If he was saying he went into the inner city to teach street kids who are on the edge of criminality then perhaps there's something of note in his actions.

    Which coincidentally is what i do from time to time, but i've not felt the need to write an
    essay on what a good person i am
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  9. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Senior Master

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    2,033
    Likes Received:
    853
    Trophy Points:
    253
    Location:
    Australia
    ...... wow....... just.............. wow................


    Bill, good on you, a very heartwarming post.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,581
    Likes Received:
    2,585
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Michigan
    I don't know enough about you to say that. But I do think you're a jerk and a troll. You're on my ignore list for that reason. I only read and am replying to this because I saw the replies to you, and you've managed to tick me off. I guess that's the reaction you're after, so congratulations.

    You know virtually nothing about me or my dojo. Far from being privileged, the vast majority of students we teach do not come from wealth. Some struggle to pay for training, some cannot pay, but we don't turn them away. Any money left over from paying the bills at the end of the year is donated to charity.

    I posted not as a pat on the back to myself, but as counterpoint to the several threads about asking to be paid for teaching.

    Since you know so much about me, you must also know about the time and effort I put into giving to veterans charities, counseling veterans, helping them find employment, and oh by the way, I'm limping today because I blew my calf out again marching with and taking photos of the Detroit Veterans Day parade, and donating my photos to them, as I've done every year since 2007. Downtown Detroit inner city enough for you?

    Every Memorial Day I'm in the national cemetery paying tribute and taking photos to donate. This year I was able to raise hundreds of dollars for the Movember organization for men's health via the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride, which I hope to do every year going forward.

    I'm nothing and no one special. Others have done far more and I claim no title to any virtuous character. If anything, I'm barely scratching the surface of making up for all the evil I've done in my life.

    Now kindly sit down, shut up, and don't speak to me again. I've had enough of your poison.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2007
    Messages:
    6,120
    Likes Received:
    2,230
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Perhaps you should.;) Just so people don't get the wrong idea.

    As for myself, I just find myself wondering why two guys who both seem to be doing more good in the world than I am ...are arguing and calling each other names. :confused:
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  12. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,785
    Likes Received:
    1,159
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    I don't like this post.

    I LOVE THIS POST!!!

    Thank you sir for your charitable spirit in and out of the Martial Arts circle. I am not a rah, rah guy at all but this post is inspiring.

    Our GM had a long spiel about the spirit of MA's and learning it first and the physical second. A very hard thing to do for most people. I love the premise of Martial spirit and have worked had to dive deeper in my older, less physically able years.
    Again, thank you.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,785
    Likes Received:
    1,159
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    This will sound like I am crowing and for that I apologize to everyone else, but @jobo you need to hear it since you have already pre-judged someone you know absolutely nothing about.
    Our first Dojang opened in 1986. Since 1988 we have worked with our local department of children and human services and our law enforcement organizations and school systems providing FREE class to displaced children and people of all ages. It took two years just to establish the program.
    Yes, we are a for profit business but we give back an average of %33 of our after taxes profits.
    I think this is the first time I have ever published the latter.
    It is not at all important, nor am I, but your efforts to downplay peoples good deeds to somehow feel better about your small life is frankly disgusting.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2017
    Messages:
    6,621
    Likes Received:
    955
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    I have quite a large life ? what good is ma to a displaced person, couldn't you do something useful for them ?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  15. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Messages:
    14,581
    Likes Received:
    2,585
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Michigan
    • Like Like x 1
  16. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Messages:
    3,785
    Likes Received:
    1,159
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Southeast U.S.
    Yeah, that is just petty bait to try to lull someone into your rapidly getting smaller life. Go piss on someone else's wall.
     
  17. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    6,148
    Likes Received:
    1,816
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    THREAD LOCKED PENDING STAFF REVIEW.

    William H

    @kempodisciple
    MartialTalk Moderator123
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page