Brown Belt
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Nov 27, 2001
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The 7th layer of Hell. Wisconsin, to the rest of y
Some schools will have contracts. Some have rather abusive ones, some none at all save for an insurance waiver. My school has certain stipulations. One is not competing in other tournaments without the permission of our Sabunim, nor attending any other events without their permission. Now, I personally view this as somewhat abusive. My question is, how do others view these restrictions? What other restrictions would be viewed as too heavy?
I see that as a bit intrusive but if it's a sports martial arts school I can imagine them thinking of you as on their "team". As to just attending, well, I don't get that.

I once signed a contract saying I wouldn't open up a martial arts school within a 50 mile radius--I didn't like it but options were scarce and luckily I knew I'd be moving before too long.
Not really worth the paper they are printed on. It's more of a guideline as to what the school expects from you as a student.
Contracts are generally a waste of time, and the worse a school is the larger the contract they want. That way you still keep paying long after you have realized that you are learning anything. The contract is the main tool ofthe Mc Dojo. Waiver's are a nice little psychological tool, it has no real value. It is a legal fact that a waiver no matter how well it is written up doesn't hold up in court.

I know of several schools that make contracts mandatory and they get by on their 40 students because the instructor doesn't have to teach that often. Most people paying are not in the class.

There is a school in my little city that, has people sign a 15 month contract for adults and a 24 month contract for children. You are guaranteed in writing to be a Black Belt by the end of your contract. Surprisingly he he has several 2nd degree Balck Belts running around but on a few 3rd or higher. Your second contract is for 36 months. These people think they know something, even though it is nothing but a sport school. In time they realize how little they know and then find a school that offers some substance.

Contracys are usually evil when it comes to the martial arst. tey are designed to protect the school owner and fleece the student.
I recently signed a 6 mo contract for a bjj school. I've only been around a couple weeks, but I can tell its no McDojo. I'll be psyched if I earn the first color rank (blue belt) before I graduate from grad school in approx. two years.

The limitations of the contract (that I noticed) are:

1. I am not allowed to claim I am a student of the school in a commercial setting.
2. I am limited to an average of 3 classes per week. I could pay more and get more classes, but this is all I have time for due to other commitments.

They will let me break the contract if I am injured or move away.

I don't like the idea of contracts since they only limit me, the consumer. But when a school is the best at what they do in the region you don't let it get in the way.

I really don't have many limitations with mine. The only things I'm not allowed to do is go to other tournaments or events without my Sabunim's permission. I'm given unlimited classes, and two private lessons a month. I just don't like that I'm not allowed to attend seminars and stuff like that without permission. Oh well.

That doesn't seem like a bad contract at all. I have always had it that students could not attend tournaments without my permission. I have been around long enough to know who has a good tournament and where they would recieve unfair treatment. And from a business stand point, your instructor has to look at as a hurt studenis usually a n on paying student.

As fro seminars, I always encouraged my students to get more knowledge. I notice you call your instructor Sambunim, what korean style do you study.
If you haven't, I'd ask why? I'm curious on the answer.

My guess is its to help prevent confusion in new students.

Not in my opinion, but I'm not familiar with TKD, so couldn't say.
Originally posted by deadhand31
I study Tae Kwon Do, Ji Do Kwon Style.

There is a thread in the TKD forum asking about the different styles of TKD. Could you post something there about the history of the Ji Do Kwon style or what distinguishes it from other TKD styles?

Not being allowed to attend seminars seems a bit controlling, but perhaps control of what kind of martial artists he produces is what your instructor wants. This was widely accepted I think for a long time, and cross-training was actively discouraged. The ethos is changing on that however (at least here in the States).
deadhand31 - where are you at in your training? (time you've spent training)?

My -guess- is in most cases, requiring students to not overly expose themselfs to other training at the earlier stages may be intended to prevent confusion. I've got limited cross training in Kenpo, Wing Chung, JKD, Arnis and Tai Chi. I've got to say, it helps you see the similarities, but man, does it get confusing keeping them straight in your head. Its part of why I'm focusing on the Arnis for now. (Still want more sword training...bloody day job) :)
Well, Ji do kwon is more of a militaristic art. While Moo Duk Kwon tends to emphasize keeping the enemy at bay by mostly using kicks, Ji Do Kwon tries to exand on that, by also emphasizing moving in on your opponent, as well as close defense. One problem that my instructor sees in way too many students is practicing Tae Do. Tae means means feet or kicking, Kwon means hands or punching, Do means "Way of". Basically, he sees more people using only half of their natural weapons, their feet.

Oh, by the way, I study at Cho's in Southeastern wisconsin. I'm currently Blue Belt, (7 of 12 on the way of black belt), and I've been training for 13 months.
Not being allowed to compete in other tournaments is fairly reasonable. Not being allowed to attend (not compete in) other tournaments or seminars makes my alarm bells go off. To me, that signifies that they're afraid of losing you to another system/school, which means they aren't confident (conciously or subconciously) in the material they teach. But, that's just my little monkeyboy opinion, which is worth about $.02 (US).

Contracts can be good to help retain students by giving them a reduced rate for committing to a certain period of time. However, the student must be allowed to get out of the contract under certain circumstances (injury, death in the family, work relocation, alien abduction, etc.), and perhaps also have an option to pay some sort of early release fee as another way out of the contract. Other than that, I don't believe a contract should place any other restrictions on the students, especially regarding attendance of tournaments and seminars. Again, I can see disallowing competing in other tournaments, but I don't like disallowing attendance of same.

My instructor, just for poops-n-giggles, signed up for a TKD school while he was stationed here while in the U.S.A.F. He ended up hurting his knee at work pretty badly. Took a letter from a base physician to the guy running the school, basically saying that he shouldn't be goin' around kicking things. Guy wouldn't let my instructor out of the contract. That, my friends, is pure, unadulterated BS.

Now that I think about it (goin' stream of conciousness here, out!), there would probably be some stipulations I'd put in the contract. If a student is unable to attend because they've been arrested for a felony involving physical violence, I'd say they are still entitled to pay off the remainder of the contract, but won't be allowed to train (if not in jail) during the contract's duration and is effectively expelled from the school. Maybe have something (as I think was mentioned in this thread) saying that a person can't make money off the school/system until a full teaching certification/rank has been reached (JKD instructors, take note :)). Fighting with other students results in expulsion along with payment of the remainder of the contract. Causing trouble with other schools results in the same punishment. Ideally, these punishments would never have to be enforced.

But I love making people pay for their stupidity :)

As I said before contracts are tools of evil intent. I have had to sign a contractor two in my time. Luckily they were created by a putz. On the other hand an instructor with a great program still has to protect himself at times. It is the peope who have these warped contracts that get under my skin. Sign it for 5 yrs and you are guaranteed this belt. Before you do something like that go to Century and buy the belt, it ill be just a little cheaper but you won't feel as dirty
Originally posted by Cthulhu
But I love making people pay for their stupidity

On the one hand, yes. On the otehr hand, with no contracts you don't need all thoe clauses--you can cut them off at any time for any reason.

I'm not offended by instructors who use contracts to control their own revenue flow--to provide stability and an ability to plan--within limits.
Rob, your last post reminds me of a story from Moving Zen by C.W. Nicol(sp?). The author went to train in Japan and ended up at a karate (JKA) dojo. He innocently asked how long it would take to earn his black belt, and (possibly due to language problems) the instructor got angry, grabbed a belt from his supply, threw it at the author and told him to leave. Luckily, the matter was settled calmly and all issues were resolved.

If somebody asks me how long it would take to get a black belt, I'd probably reply rather flippantly, "From here? About 20 minutes. Just drive over to so-and-so...". Now, how long it takes to earn a black belt is another matter, and it's a question not easily answered.

But back to the topic, a guarantee of a black belt by the end of a contract is utter crap. If I ever see that in a contract, I know it's a sure bet to leave immediately. That's like guaranteeing (man, that word looks odd) a college degree at the end of a contract. Colleges don't do that (at least the respectable ones don't). If a student doesn't put the work in during their 4/5 years, then they don't get the degree. As far as I'm concerned, a student signs up to learn something, not gain rank. If gaining rank is their primary goal, send them to a CMD school. With enough money, they'll have a black belt in no time.

a little less grumpy, but grumpy still
Actually I would send them to my worst competitor. That type of student usually eats away at the fabric of a school. If I ever went into a place and I saw it in a contract tat I was guaranteed a rank I would have to becarried out because I was laughing so hard.
First of all, needing "permission" to do anything is ridiculous. I can see asking your students to talk to you about it first so that you can give them your advice, ie - on fair tournaments etc etc but to ask permission? No. I can't go for that.

Second, who is it exactly who has ripped through 7 belts in 13 months? How much are you paying per belt?
Well, like I said before, we test every other month. I don't like it either, in fact even my instructor doesn't like it either. I'd like to see testings every 4 months or more. In fact, starting last promotion, I've begun intentionally opting out of every other testing from now on. If I had gone in to test, I would be High Blue now instead of blue. Most people in my branch of the school system will slow down when they hit red. In all cases, we never test for black until our instructor feels that we're truly ready. Personally, I'd like to see my instructor (Posabunim) run his OWN school. I'm sure that he would actually run it in a less lenient format.

Oh, and testing is $40. Deputy black belt testing is $80, and black belt testing is around $100. It's $200 for first degree testing.

As for guaranteeing black belts, that's stupid. My school doesn't do that, but our contract states that we have a six month minimum, and that there is no maximum time to test for black belt.

Just a side not, here's my school's belt hierarchy: White, High White, Yellow, H/Yellow, Green, H/Green, Blue, H/Blue, Red, H/Red, Deputy Black, Black.

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