How much experience required?

ralphmcpherson

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I know this may vary from one martial art to the other but Im curious to get some feedback. I was discussing with a friend of mine how much experience is required to start your own club while maintaining credibilty. Would you train at a school where the owner/operator has had 10 years of martial arts training? Or 15 years? I know technically you could start a club after a couple of years training, as Im sure some shonks have done over the years, but Im thinking more along the lines of a reputable club. Also from a non martial artists point of view, would the average joe on the street join a club where the instructor has 10 years experience and feel that his instructor is adequately trained. Im not about to ever start a club myself, but Im curious on feedback because Ive discussed this with a few people and have got answers ranging fro 5 years through to 30 years. Thanks in advance.
 

harlan

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Must know all the material, be able to teach it, and be able to test students up through first dan. To my mind, that means 3rd dan or higher and a bare minimum of 10 years solid training, and STILL training with their teacher (or others senior in experience).
 
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ralphmcpherson

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Must know all the material, be able to teach it, and be able to test students up through first dan. To my mind, that means 3rd dan or higher and a bare minimum of 10 years solid training, and STILL training with their teacher (or others senior in experience).
Thats similar to my way of thinking. In the system I train in it would take about 13-14 years of full time training to get to 4th dan and thats about the point I was thinking would be credible to another martial artist. To the average guy on the street I would imagine 8-10 years would probably sound impressive considering a uni degree or apprenticeship is usually about 4 years so their way of thinking would probably suggest 8-10 years would be ample.
 

Bruno@MT

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It depends :)

My sensei has about 6 or 7 years ninpo / jujutsu experience within Genbukan, and now has 2nd kyu. He started teaching us 2 years ago when he had 5th kyu. We operate as a sattelite dojo from our 'mother dojo' so to speak. We are still under the supervision of the head sensei (20+ years, 5th dan) who teaches once per month to keep an eye on our progress and form. He also conducts the exams. Once our sensei gets his shodan, presumably he will be able to conduct the kyu exams himself. I don't know.

Now, since our club started with all beginners (and the sempai and I are the only ones who remain from the starting group), the difference in level was theoretical. When everybody knows nothing, 5 kyu levels head start is more than enough for anyone to teach, as long as he keeps ahead of the class by the same difference.

I think the more important questions are: is the teacher mature enough to teach, does he have the personality to teach, and do both the students and the teacher have a continuing growth path.

For example: I know a nth dan teacher in a different style who cannot hold on to any students. He just likes to train too much, to the point where in a training with him, he doesn't teaches, as much as he trains himself, and the rest trains along with him and he uses them as training partner. It just doesn't work with him. And no matter which dan level he has, as long as he does not realize that being a trainer is different from training yourself, his dojo will remain empty.
 

harlan

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Agree on the bit about teaching after a few years, as long as under direct supervision of another. But on going out on one's own, starting one's own school at 6/7 years at 2nd kyu (around brown belt), I'd still say 'no'.

It's kinda like my own situation: 7 years, brown belt and I can 'show' kobudo kata. Train with others, and 'teach' in a limited sense. But only under the supervision of my teachers. Starting my own school at this time would seem like the ultimate in hubris. :0
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I know this may vary from one martial art to the other but Im curious to get some feedback. I was discussing with a friend of mine how much experience is required to start your own club while maintaining credibilty. Would you train at a school where the owner/operator has had 10 years of martial arts training? Or 15 years? I know technically you could start a club after a couple of years training, as Im sure some shonks have done over the years, but Im thinking more along the lines of a reputable club. Also from a non martial artists point of view, would the average joe on the street join a club where the instructor has 10 years experience and feel that his instructor is adequately trained. Im not about to ever start a club myself, but Im curious on feedback because Ive discussed this with a few people and have got answers ranging fro 5 years through to 30 years. Thanks in advance.
Let me start by saying that ten years experience in anything is, frankly, plenty. No other industry places expectations of fifteen to twenty years on its members in order to open their own shop. Does it help? Sure it does. But a decade should be enough. I'd say I'd watch a few classes and see what I think.

Having said that, some of it depends on the capacity that the person starting the club intends to serve. Take a guy or gal who is second dan. Are they the owner/operator with more qualified instructors (say 5th dan or higher) working for them? In this case, lets say that the second dan is a very good manager who has the skills to operate the business end of the school. This makes him or her 'qualified' by virtue of having a more experienced teaching staff and him/herself handling the part of the business that they are actuallly more qualified to handle.

Now, if the second dan is the top dog in the school, I'd be wary of it, though again, I'd watch a few classes to see what I think. Now, this is assuming a second dan who is second dan because they haven't been doing it long enough to be third. A second dan who has trained continuously for a decade after getting his second dan would be a different story (and would raise a different set of questions).

Another question is the nature of the club. Since you say 'club', if the club is simply a group of guys and gals getting together to train with no pretense of having 'master' instructors, then I'd say ten years is more than ample; five years is probably plenty.

If it is an MMA club or a sport-only TKD club, I'd be judging the club on what I see and the success of its members in competition.

I don't feel that there is a hard/fast rule of time vs. qualified. A great deal depends on the art (15284 techniques or 100) and in many cases, the individual. Some people just get it. Also, some with decades of experience are still lousy teachers. So the guy has time in grade and can do his kata with zen like calm. Can he communicate the material effectively to his students? By effectively, I mean more than just 'do like I do' and hope that the entire class is comprised of visual learners. Can he handle a class that isn't picture perfect? How does he handle students who don't 'get it' like he did?

There is a whole skillset that goes with teaching that is separate from the skill set that one needs to practice it. Not to mention a whole skill set that goes with running a club/school. To open his own club, he has to be a black belt in his teaching and administrative skills as well as a blackbelt in his art. If not, then he is not qualified, regardless of his credentials.

Daniel
 

jks9199

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Let me start by saying that ten years experience in anything is, frankly, plenty. No other industry places expectations of fifteen to twenty years on its members in order to open their own shop. Does it help? Sure it does. But a decade should be enough. I'd say I'd watch a few classes and see what I think.
Depends on how you count the time. College plus med school plus an internship... Depending on the specialty, that can run 10 to 12 years or more.
Having said that, some of it depends on the capacity that the person starting the club intends to serve. Take a guy or gal who is second dan. Are they the owner/operator with more qualified instructors (say 5th dan or higher) working for them? In this case, lets say that the second dan is a very good manager who has the skills to operate the business end of the school. This makes him or her 'qualified' by virtue of having a more experienced teaching staff and him/herself handling the part of the business that they are actuallly more qualified to handle.

Now, if the second dan is the top dog in the school, I'd be wary of it, though again, I'd watch a few classes to see what I think. Now, this is assuming a second dan who is second dan because they haven't been doing it long enough to be third. A second dan who has trained continuously for a decade after getting his second dan would be a different story (and would raise a different set of questions).

Another question is the nature of the club. Since you say 'club', if the club is simply a group of guys and gals getting together to train with no pretense of having 'master' instructors, then I'd say ten years is more than ample; five years is probably plenty.

If it is an MMA club or a sport-only TKD club, I'd be judging the club on what I see and the success of its members in competition.

I don't feel that there is a hard/fast rule of time vs. qualified. A great deal depends on the art (15284 techniques or 100) and in many cases, the individual. Some people just get it. Also, some with decades of experience are still lousy teachers. So the guy has time in grade and can do his kata with zen like calm. Can he communicate the material effectively to his students? By effectively, I mean more than just 'do like I do' and hope that the entire class is comprised of visual learners. Can he handle a class that isn't picture perfect? How does he handle students who don't 'get it' like he did?

There is a whole skillset that goes with teaching that is separate from the skill set that one needs to practice it. Not to mention a whole skill set that goes with running a club/school. To open his own club, he has to be a black belt in his teaching and administrative skills as well as a blackbelt in his art. If not, then he is not qualified, regardless of his credentials.

Daniel

Otherwise, I'm generally in agreement.
 

dancingalone

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10+ years doesn't sound unreasonable to me given the actual training hours. When we say 'x numbers of years experience' in a given profession, the assumption is that at least 40 hours a week are spent in direct application. In a given martial arts school, this could mean as little as 2 classes a week at 1.5 hours each session.

My senior student who has been with me for about 11 years now is opening his own dojo soon. I think he's only has been 'ready' to teach on his own for about a year now, although I know he's been throwing around the idea for longer than that.

What makes him ready aside from the requisite physical skill?

  • a certain physical maturity to not only be able to perform the martial art credibly but to be able to project authority and expertise to any onlooker
  • lots of patience & people skills
  • a readiness to teach lessons in a combination of visual, audio, and tactile methods so that different types of learners can connect with him
 

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I have read of stories that in Okinawan after the war, that a couple of men (forgot their names) started teaching Karate after they were mistaken for karate men, due to stopping some thief or something like that. People came to them thinking the were karate experts. So as the story said they would go and take lessons from the masters in the morning and then teach their students at night what they just learned.

I had a teacher for welding years ago at a welding school that was just one chapter ahead of us in the book. He taught us for about 3 months before the school found out and fired him. It turned out he was very good, just a natural at welding, always staying one chapter ahead of us. We all did real good for some reason compaired to the other classes.

But I would rather have a teacher that knows the whole system and has been in it for a while.
 

K-man

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I know this may vary from one martial art to the other but Im curious to get some feedback. I was discussing with a friend of mine how much experience is required to start your own club while maintaining credibilty. Would you train at a school where the owner/operator has had 10 years of martial arts training? Or 15 years? I know technically you could start a club after a couple of years training, as Im sure some shonks have done over the years, but Im thinking more along the lines of a reputable club. Also from a non martial artists point of view, would the average joe on the street join a club where the instructor has 10 years experience and feel that his instructor is adequately trained. Im not about to ever start a club myself, but Im curious on feedback because Ive discussed this with a few people and have got answers ranging fro 5 years through to 30 years. Thanks in advance.
Being Australian, you would be familiar with Bob Jones' Zendokai Karate. ZDK recently celebrated the 40th aniversary of its formation. Bob broke away from Goju Kai after about 4-5 years training and established one of the largest karate organisations with over 1000 schools in Aus and NZ and branches in other countries.
I don't see any reason why a committed Shodan-ho could not establish a great school as long as they have a good appreciation of their style and continue with their own development.
 
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ralphmcpherson

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Being Australian, you would be familiar with Bob Jones' Zendokai Karate. ZDK recently celebrated the 40th aniversary of its formation. Bob broke away from Goju Kai after about 4-5 years training and established one of the largest karate organisations with over 1000 schools in Aus and NZ and branches in other countries.
I don't see any reason why a committed Shodan-ho could not establish a great school as long as they have a good appreciation of their style and continue with their own development.
Yes, being australian Im very aware of zendokai and its history. The point you make is a good one as Ive known quite a few practitioners of zendokai and it is a very good martial art formed by someone who didnt have decades of experience behind him. I would not mess with a black belt in zendokai.
 

bluewaveschool

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and then there is my situation, being out of continous training for years, coming back to my school and having to take on the mantle of Head Instructor after 4 months. my own BBs under me were likely worried about how things would go. I think I've gained everyone's trust that the school is going to be just fine at this point, but I'm sure the idea of a 2nd Dan that had been out of the art for years would worry some. Hell, prolly worries a few of you.
 

Ken Morgan

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I may be moving to a new town in a few weeks, if that works out I will start teaching iaido, jodo and niten shortly after I get myself set up. I've been training almost 12 years and have my 4th dan in both iai and jo. This would be more then enough experience to start teaching on my own, in fact I find in some ways i get lazy when my Sensei is around, I don't have to remember anything, he'll do it for me! I expect my skills and knowledge will actually improve with my teaching on a regular basis.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Being Australian, you would be familiar with Bob Jones' Zendokai Karate. ZDK recently celebrated the 40th aniversary of its formation. Bob broke away from Goju Kai after about 4-5 years training and established one of the largest karate organisations with over 1000 schools in Aus and NZ and branches in other countries.
Not to mention that teaching and running an organization require skills that really are not developed in the martial arts simply by showing up to class. Some people are excellent teachers. If they know the material, they can teach it. Part of being a teacher is effective communication skills. Same would go for running an organization.

Four to five years is certainly enough to be proficient and to be more than able to defend yourself. That coupled with good communication and organizatinal skills can make an excellent school owner.

And most adults have had years, sometimes decades, to spend developing organizational and communications skills. It was remarked by my GM that I was very good with people back when I was still in kumdo geub grades. I had been in sales, customer service, and retail management for close to twenty years by the time I started training at his school. So, while I was not highly ranked, I had many years of working with people and communicating with people. All of that has served me as an instructor and home studio owner.

Daniel
 

Blade96

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I know this may vary from one martial art to the other but Im curious to get some feedback. I was discussing with a friend of mine how much experience is required to start your own club while maintaining credibilty Thanks in advance.

You have to be a sandan in our MA. Only then are you deemed capable of teaching and grading people on your own. Even then most still won't do it. We have sandans, yondans, and so on who don't want their own club. They just want to train. There was only one I know of who actually did that, got his own dojo, a few months after getting sandan. and that was the evil sandan I had all the trouble with.
 

clfsean

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Depends...

Many people after a lifetime of training aren't capable of teaching a basic punch, yet are more than proficient martial artists.

Many are not only more than proficient martial artists but are gifted teachers as well & pass on traditions & trainings that we could all learn & benefit from.

Then there are the others at the opposite end of the spectrum... a few years of training only yet have an innate ability to process information & pass it on in a competent manner after acid testing what they have learned.

Then there are those final few that have a few years of training & couldn't work themselves out of a wet, torn paper bag, yet have hooked into the "good ol' boy network" & are being supported by huge belt rankings or multiple belt ranks psuedo-Asian named "arts" & have plenty of people buying the chuff.

The trick is to find one of the top three (#2 preferably) and hang on for dear life & get the training you're really looking for.
 
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