Speaking To The Head Honcho

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by PhotonGuy, Nov 18, 2020 at 10:14 AM.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

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    I've posted before about speaking to the top instructor at your dojo if you're unsure about something, if you're unsure about how the dojo is run, requirements for promotion, how a technique is done, etc, that its best to speak to the top instructor, the head honcho, to clear up any misconceptions.

    Some people have replied that you shouldn't have to speak to the head honcho, that you should be able to speak to other students and/or assistant instructors so there would be no need to speak to the head honcho. I have this to say in response to that, why would there be any problem with speaking to the head honcho? Why should a student not speak to the head honcho if they're unclear about something?
     
  2. Rusty B

    Rusty B Blue Belt

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    If you're a cashier at Walmart, and you have a question, do you go track down one of the Waltons and ask them?

    If you're a fry cook at a corporate-owned McDonald's, do you track down the CEO if you have a question?

    You gotta follow the chain of command.
     
  3. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    That's a huge leap. It's much more like being a fry cook at McDonald's and tracking down the manager for a question, instead of the head cook or someone who's been there a bit longer. And in that situation..sometimes it's easier just asking the guy that's next to you, but it's perfectly fine to do if the question is one that only the manager can answer.

    Your comparison would be like if I trained silat and went looking for Dan Inosanto to answer my questions.
     
  4. Rusty B

    Rusty B Blue Belt

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    Maybe, but the other instructors are there for a reason.

    The OP's question is something that doesn't just apply to MA clubs. This is something that applies to all structured organizations. If you have a question about something, the first person you should ask is the lowest ranking person that you believe is qualified to answer it. And then you move up, if they can't answer your question.

    Again, that's standard protocol in any organizational structure.
     
  5. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    And sometimes the manager (or head instructor) is the only person qualified to answer it. In the other threads he's referring to, most of the discussions was about what the individual is lacking for their next belt. That's not something that I'm asking the more advanced student or even an assistant instructor, since I already know that they're the ones who aren't going to answer the question.

    Even in work, I've often gone to the person who makes a policy to ask them about it, because I know that talking to whoever's above me will just result in them saying that's the rule with no real logic/reasoning. I've only had one person ever get annoyed by that, so long as it's done respectfully and not 'going over their head' it's not an issue.
     
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  6. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    That really depends on the nature of the question or situation and the size and culture of the organization. Many martial arts schools aren't structured like large corporations. In my experience they vary a lot.
     
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  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    but seems remarkably time consuming for all involved.

    you are a payibg customer after all, not an employee, you should asked the one thats gives you the correct answer soonest, not have to mess around goibg up the chain of command ( command? its not the fliiong army)
     
  8. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    No, there is nothing wrong with it. That said, it may not be necessary and much easier to judy ask the person next to you or the person leading class.
    Like others have said there usually isn't a huge chain of command at the average MA school. If you are asking about talking to someone at your systems corporate level that could get delicate and perceived as stepping on toes if not done in an appropriate manner.
     
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  9. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Brown Belt

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    Nowadays, especially in the West, it should be OK to go right to the top in the dojo hierarchy if the dojo is not too large with several levels of higher ups. If the head instructor is way up there in rank, going to the senior student (often a mid level black belt) would be the traditional way to go. This is more true if the question is about money or proper etiquette. It is the customary role of the senior student to act as the master sergeant or XO to field most issues and keep the school running smoothly. In most cases, the school is not large and headed by a lower ranking blackbelt, so there should be no reason not to ask him most any reasonable question.
     
  10. KenpoMaster805

    KenpoMaster805 Black Belt

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    Ya you can ask anybody as long as they are the instructor or assistant instructor
     
  11. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    I think it depends on the size of the school and whether the head honcho is actually around.

    A lot of martial arts schools are mom & pop businesses where the school owner is also either the main instructor or running the business end of things, and you see them around and build a rapport with them over time. So if you have a concern, you probably feel comfortable approaching them about it (unless they're an overbearing kind of person, I suppose).

    But at some schools, the owner is more distant. I used to take BJJ at a big MMA gym where, in a year-ish of training there, I never saw the head of the school outside of the photo of him they had hung up. I think he taught some advanced classes for the instructors under him, but he didn't teach any of the beginner classes I attended, nor was he around working in the school at that time. In that case, I think, speaking to the manager or to one of the instructors who I saw every week would have been more appropriate, unless the issue was really very major.
     
  12. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    Back in the day, I knew an Aikido school that was like a Saturday Night Live skit. You couldn’t converse with the Chief Instructor, you had to go through channels. If the Chief Instructor was standing next to one of his guys and you were four feet away - you’d ask a question - the guy would repeat the question to the Chief Instructor - who would then answer - and the guy would then repeat the answer to you.

    Apparently, if you wanted to speak directly to him, you had to join the school.

    It reminded me of the old SNL skit about "News for the Hard of Hearing.
     
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  13. Rusty B

    Rusty B Blue Belt

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    Okay, a scenario where you're a paying customer: when you walk into a store, do you jump straight into asking for the store manager, without even bothering to speak with a sales associate from that particular department first?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020 at 11:11 PM
  14. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Ask the head instructor if...
    • You need the best answer
    • You've asked a junior instructor and are not sure of their answer
    • You've asked a junior instructor and they're not sure of their answer
    • You've been given what seems like conflicting information from multiple junior instructors
    • The request is sensitive, and you would like to limit the number of people who know you made it
    • You know that the decision that would be made about your question needs to be made by the owner
    • You don't trust the junior instructor for whatever reason
    • Your head instructor is the most accessible at the moment
    Ask the junior instructor if...
    • You just need a "good enough" answer
    • You need an answer now, and your head instructor isn't easily accessible at the moment
    • The question falls into their area of expertise
    • You know (or think) they know the answer to your question
    As to the specific situations you bring up in the OP:
    • Unsure about "something" - gonna have to be more specific what "something" is
    • Unsure about how the dojo is run - I'm going to assume that you mean you try the dojo, and there's something that raises a red flag for you. In this case, bring it up with the head instructor. If there's something that isn't right, he needs to know. If it's his idea, then you need to go. (Alternatively, he may explain why you shouldn't be worried. For example, if you expect to spar starting at white belt, but they start sparring around 6 months in, that's not bad. If they start sparring 5 years in, that's bad.) Alternatively, you can ask the person who gave you the red flag (deal with it one-on-one) or ask the other students/staff if that situation is normal.
    • Requirements for promotion - this depends on how subjective promotion is. At my school, you can ask me the requirements, because they're consistent curriculum items. At other schools, you may need to ask the head coach, because his opinion is the only one that matters. Some schools it's bad manners to ask.
    • How a technique is done - in general, ask the closest instructor. You don't want to ask another student, because they may give you wrong information. If you're not sure of what the instructor says, or if different instructors give you different ideas, then go to the head instructor for his opinion.
     
  15. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Then why do we need any courts except the Supreme Court? They overrule all other courts, so why bother with a city court, then county court, then state court, then federal court, then supreme court? I should just take every case to the supreme court.

    In your example, if every customer did that, then the person at the top of the chain of command would be dealing with customers all day (instead of whatever other duties they had), the line to talk to them would be a mile long, and none of the other employees would be doing anything.
     
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  16. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Possibly, if the person you're talking about is a "Karen"...
     
  17. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well if ive got a complaint i need dealing with, yes i do, that is if it doesnt get resolved at the first time if askibg i ask for the manager, if its the sales person im complaoning about i go straight for the manager, if thats doesnt get prompt results i go for the managers manager, pretty soom i end up with the ceo
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020 at 4:06 AM
  18. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    the court have set up a process thats difficult to bypass, lits of peopkex skip intermediate steps if they have money to burn,

    im a customer, my time is more valuable than their, there paid to resolve my issues, im not paid to resolve theirs, what the manager should be doing is making customers happy, lots of buesnesses loose sight of that
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020 at 4:08 AM
  19. Rusty B

    Rusty B Blue Belt

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    Right here, you've stated that you ask for a manager AFTER already having dealt with the sales associate. In other words, you don't go straight for the manager from the beginning.
     
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  20. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    i cant get a manager with out speaking to a sales associate ,, i cant speak to a ceo with out speaking to his secretary first,, they just dont answer their own phones, id generally rock up at customer servives and taje ut from there, igg i considered it a serious matter, id go straihht to asking for a manager, im going to end up there anyway, why waste time going round the houses with people who cant make decision s123
     

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