Tracy's Instruction Style

Discussion in 'Tracy's Kenpo' started by Spartan, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Traditionalist

    Traditionalist Orange Belt

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    I was wondering where you guys get all the time for these private lessons. Do you have outside jobs or is your martial arts school your source of income. I was just wondering because private lessons is rare in my school. My instructor feels your one on one time is when you are paired up with him in class or paired up with a black belt in class. We use group (class) teaching and then you're suppose to take that knowledge and build on it at home. And just to add on the Tracy's subject: we have one in my town and its just a cash cow. I'm definitely not saying they all are like this I'm strictly talking about this one. The guy that runs it make you sign a contract and it runs about $130 a month, which is outrageous where I live. He only does private lessions. If your school offers private lessons and they're built into the price then take advantage of it.
     
  2. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    If he is making enough money to be considered a cash cow, then his method obviously has value for lots of other people.

    I have an outside job, and a 3rd black and two 1st blacks help with the teaching. We don't charge as much as the guy that you mentioned, and we offer groups with the privates. But, I have had people take daily privates and pay as much as $150 a week. Special cases though. Specific reasons to learn that way, and specific stuff they wanted to learn. All I am saying is that value is a relative term.
     
  3. Traditionalist

    Traditionalist Orange Belt

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    Yes, because the more money you make the more value you have in martial arts.
     
  4. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    Not sure I understand your point. My point is that you may consider his fees outrageous for your area, but, if he has a bunch of students willing to pay that fee, then they must feel that they are getting value from what they are learning that is at least equal to the price they are paying.

    It is subjective.
     
  5. Danjo

    Danjo Master Black Belt

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    I think that one reason that the term "client" seems odd in the martial arts, is that it has a connotaion of one keeping a professional distance from the customer. We tend to see and think of each other sa family in Kajukenbo. Ohana.
     
  6. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    How do you seperate the client vs. the student? Above you said:

    I suppose that everyone is free to use the terms as they choose in their own school. I have to agree with the others, especially Dans last post. The word 'client' seems to be more of a strictly business setting. Ex: You come to me for a service. I charge you, you pay me, period. Nothing more. One may wonder that while it may seem on the surface, that there is sincere desire in the persons best interest in learning the arts, that deeper down, its more about getting paid. Sales tactics also seem to hint that the seller is more interested in making the sale, regardless of how the buyer feels. I went to a dealership one time to buy a car. I specifically said that I did not want a red car and I wanted an automatic. The first thing he showed me was a red, standard and stated that he could show me how to drive it in 20min. Needless to say, I left and went elsewhere! That proved to me he could care less about what I want, and that he was only interested in making a sale.

    The seller or person offering the service should give the buyer what they're asking for...not something else.

    Student has more of a friendly feel to it, or as Dan said, Ohana.
     
  7. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    I agree, to a point. But there are professional fields where the client relationship is held to a very high, almost sacred standard.

    I am thinking particularly of the lawyer/client relationship and to some extent the doctor/patient, although client is not used.

    I think of it as everyone who calls or walks through the door is a client or potential client, and as such, deserves my professional best.

    Clients eventually evolve into students, however, one of the things that Mr. Tracy always taught us was to always remember that your students, your students who have become friends, your employees, etc., are all still clients and therefore deserve to be treated with professionalism.

    Often, I get students from other schools who had trained for a number of years, only to get taken for granted. Their lessons overlooked in favor of newcomers, their workouts cancelled if they were the only ones to show up. Their status as student allowed the instructor to become complacent, because "they would understand."

    Clients, in my opinion, do not get taken for granted.

    I guess what I am trying to say in such a roundabout way is that the word client is a reminder to me that everyone deserves a high level of professional service, no matter who they are.
     
  8. Danjo

    Danjo Master Black Belt

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    I've seen John Bishop hold class for one child student paying the standard group sign up fee for six weeks because no on else signed up for that session with him. You have to understand that John Bishop currently only charges $45.00 every six weeks and only raises the rates when the Recreation Center tells him he has to. (It's only gone up $5.00 in the past two years)

    So clearly, we're talking about the instructor's ethics when it comes to what the student is going to get. I see the martial arts as a life long thing and in Kajukenbo, I know I'll be family for life even if (God Forbid) something should happen to me that made it impossible to train anymore. They take the Ohana thing very seriously. Like Sijo Emperado once said in an interview, "I'm like the father with my kids! Good boys, bad boys all kinds you know?"
     
  9. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    The family atmosphere is very important. A good example of what I am talking about happened last night. My senior students and I meet on Sunday evenings for a black belt workout. Last night, the only one who could make it was my senior instructor and manager of my studio. When I got there, we began talking about a variety of things, from his wedding to my son's birthday. This particular student has been with me for 14 years, since he was 12 years old.

    At some point, though, I reminded myself that we were there to train. See, he is a long time student, and a friend, and an employee. And as easy as it would have been to sit around and talk about whatever, he was there for a reason, as was I.

    Another example is sick days. As a studio owner, when I had no assistant instructors but alot of students, I knew that if I was sick, I could just go hang a sign on the door and go home and sleep it off. My students would understand. But what would potential clients think? What would their first impression be regarding my professional commitment to my business?

    "Client" really is more of a mental box that I place students in, if that makes sense. More than a label for my students, it is a term that causes me to think more like a professional, and to continually try to "up my game." It is a reminder to not allow the instructor/student relationships to become too comfortable. Think of it in terms of the "hat analogy" where we all wear the dad hat, the school teacher hat, the lawyer hat, the student hat, etc.

    The way I see it in the Tracy system, and I can't speak for Doc LaTourette, just myself, is that "client" reminds us that even when we are teaching our spouses, children, siblings, best friend or his family, that we should be conscious of providing quality, professional service, and that on the mat, the service we provide supercedes the relationship.

    It really boils down to our differing inferences regarding the connotation of the term client.
     
  10. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Dave,

    So, in your opinion, what is the difference between a client and a student? Above you stated that clients eventually evolve into students. Maybe I'm not following you on this. Of course, by all means, treat those students kindly. :) I just find it interesting because thruout all my years of training, I've never once been called a 'client', but instead a student. I don't know...theres just something about the word, that doesnt seem fitting for use in the arts. Likewise, when I see the words "sales tactics" that also doesnt seem fitting. Again, it seems that the main goal is to do whatever it takes to get the cash.

    I guess thats when schools can be divided into two groups...one that is primarily concerned with the cash flow and the other that is concerned with student developement.

    Mike
     
  11. JadeDragon3

    JadeDragon3 Black Belt

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    I live in Lexington Kentucky which is where Tracy's main headquarters is located. I went to check out his school and it's classes are taught in privates as well and you can attend as many group classes as you want. I don't remember the price but I am thinking its pretty expensive, like $120/month. Around my area the average cost for martial art lessons is anywhere from $60 to $80 a month. So I found Tracy's to be on the pricy side. The drawback that I see is that if you take privates then you don't get the experience of sparring a mix of people. You get used to sparring only one person. After a while your going to be able to know what he/she is going to do when sparring. While privates does have thier advantage they also have some negatives as well.
     
  12. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with what you said about the private lessons. However, I believe they (the privates) are in addition to the regular classes.
     
  13. Danjo

    Danjo Master Black Belt

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    I think that's correct. BJJ out here is around $150.00 per month on average, and the USSD starts off at around $185.00 per month, so Tracy's sounds sort of in the middle range.
     
  14. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Still interested in hearing what seperates clients from students, and how a client evolves into a student.

    Mike
     
  15. JadeDragon3

    JadeDragon3 Black Belt

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    IMO a client is a prospective student. Once they put their John Handcock on the dotted line then they become a student.
     
  16. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    Hmm, I posted a rather lengthy response. I wonder where it is?

    Client implies a business relationship. A business relationship (to me) implies a certain amount of professional service, a minimum, if you will. Students are clients that have been around long enough to have developed a relationship outside of or beyond business. They have, through their training and work, etc., earned it.

    However, everyone is at least a client. That is what I am trying to get to. On days when I am sick, tired, stressed, busy, whatever, all of my students deserve the best I have to offer, the same as any other client in any other business deserves.

    It is not a money thing, and to me, a client does not become a student immediately upon signing on the dotted line. I hold clients in high regard. I am a client in many businesses many times a week. I pick and choose who I do business with by the service and product I receive from them. Considering my students clients constantly reminds me that if the service and product I offer is not superior, then my clients or students may choose to do business elsewhere.

    I use the term to constantly remind myself to offer the best of what I have. Some of you guys seem to think the term is derogatory. I disagree.
     
  17. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Hmm..could this be it?
    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showpost.php?p=918092&postcount=47

    Guess I should've taken a bit more time to read through your reply eh. ;)

    Dave, anyone is free to use whatever term they want. I just find it odd because I've never once heard any teacher refer to someone as a client. And looking at some other replies here, I'm not the only one. Client to me, have the 'big business' feel to it. A lawyer has clients. To me it just seems that everything is strictly business all the time, no exceptions. Even Dan said the same thing in a reply to JLT.

    And the people I would teach would always get courtesy and professional instruction from me. Just because I didn't call them 'clients' does not mean they get any less. :)

    Mike
     
  18. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    That covers it, but there was another one that is out there somewhere...

    I understand. I sat in a seminar listening to Mr. Tracy talk about it, thinking, at first, how impersonal. But, I don't refer to my students as clients, out loud. It is a mental designation that I use. I have students who are lawyers, surgeons, bankers, housewives, kids and everything in between.

    When I walk into an office where I am a client (bank, doctor, lawyer) I expect to be treated a certain way because the amount of money I am paying demands it. Yeah, I know, business. But, because of the professionalism both paid for and expected, our relationship starts at a fairly high level. I try to achieve the same thing in my studio.

    It is similar to the way you dress affecting your attitude or the image that you portray. Try this...if you have a job outside of kenpo, and that job does not require you to wear a coat and tie to work, do it anyway one day and see if it affects the way you deal with...clients...and even the other people in your office. I do it regularly, and oddly, for no apparent reason, I feel more "on" on those days. Maybe it is only a feeling, but I like it.

    So, go a step further. Show up to teach kenpo in a coat and tie. See if it ups your game at all. It may, it may not.

    My point is that in a business, clients feed you. And, in a martial arts studio, there are bills to pay just like any other business. At the very least, everyone gets client treatment. I set the client bar very high in my mind, so, to me, that sets my minimum standard way up there, and it keeps me on my toes.

    But none of my students has ever heard me use the term client, unless they have undergone instructor training.
     
  19. Twin Fist

    Twin Fist Grandmaster

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    Wow,
    maybe I am old fashioned, but that seems retardedly overpriced to me.

    Maybe rent is more expensive in California that most places, I dont know. But then again, Most of the schools I know are not full time jobs, so they only have to turn a LITTLE profit.

    YMMV
     

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