Martial Arts Organizations, where they go right and what they do wrong.

KempoShaun

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I'd like to take the stirring stick for a moment if I may. I was wondering if anyone here is part of an organization that allows anyone from any style to join, and what benefits or drawbacks you see such an organization having. If there was something you would like to see in such an organization, what would that be? Seminars? Long distance certification for people who have no access to a school or who's school has closed making them a "Martial Arts Orphan"? Yearly gatherings? Newsletters with columns from well known practitioners? Bring it on, let's hear some ideas! Tell me where other orgs have failed, and what they should have done to succeed. Just to satisfy my own natural curiosity. Thanks all!
 

stone_dragone

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I am a member of an multi-style organization that has been disparaged much, USMAA. I joined more for the opportunity to interact with multiple other styles at the yearly seminars (my current location makes the commute a little more challenging).

I reviewed the Assn's purpose and principles and found that they are in line with my own beliefs.

They are often called a "diploma mill" or "rank farm" and I can agree that there are those who have abused the association's rank recognition policies to promote themselves. I wholy disagree with the practice and would like to see more investigation or testing prior to recognition or promotion. In their defense, they do have testing procedures in place which I haven't had the time to participate in yet. Once I do, I will provide the forum with a personal assesment of the process and any feedback that I may have.
 

Fluffy

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I just did a quick google, and this is what I found:

http://www.angelfire.com/ma/imaf/

Is this something you are interested in? What I would be afraid of would be the cross-grading, a 1st Dan in TKD is not the same in Kempo or Shotokan - and I have heard stories about that happening.
 
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KempoShaun

KempoShaun

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Oh, there are thousands of such organizations Fluffy, I'm just looking to see what members HERE have experienced or would and would not want in such an organization. Basically like Stone Dragone's post. Just the type of input I'm looking for. Thank you both for your feedback, it is much appreciated!
 
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KempoShaun

KempoShaun

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Still looking for more feedback on this. Let me put it another way. Imagine you get to be on the ground floor of a brand new martial arts organization that wishes to preserve and teach the old ways, help bring in the new, and promote the Martial Arts to the public as a whole. What ideas and or suggestions would you make? I'm just really trying to get a sense of what some of the members of the internet's premier Martial Arts Forum would do :asian:
 

Kacey

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I martial arts organization needs to provide for the needs of the members. That could mean a lot of things, but IMHO, it needs to provide for consistency in training/technical standards, and opportunities for all students to attend events that allow them to experience things they cannot experience in their classes - interact with students and instructors they don't normally have the opportunity to interact with. How the organization does that - seminars, tournaments, camps, special classes, etc. - is up to the needs of the students and the ability and availability of the instructors.
 

exile

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Still looking for more feedback on this. Let me put it another way. Imagine you get to be on the ground floor of a brand new martial arts organization that wishes to preserve and teach the old ways, help bring in the new, and promote the Martial Arts to the public as a whole. What ideas and or suggestions would you make? I'm just really trying to get a sense of what some of the members of the internet's premier Martial Arts Forum would do :asian:

Well, if I could determine the form and direction of a new MA organization in North America, I would try to construct something that was as much as possible like the British Combat Association: a kind of loose network, not quite tight enough to be a federation, of MA schools, programs and, for want of a better term, research groups, that focussed on realistic applications of TMA forms, using live training and emphasizing efficient CQ techs, and the exchange of information amongst a variety of MAs and combat systems to help people interpret their `base' arts in the most street-competent way. I would set up such an organization so that rank within the organization, if any were given, was based on such competence as an expression of the capabilities built into the base art, and with tournament competition, foot tag, and point-scoring completely absent from the agenda.

If you want to get a more detailed sense of what I'm talking about, here is the BCA site:

http://www.peterconsterdine.com/bca/index.htm

And for what I think of as the seedling bed for a North American analogue, I would urge you to explore Brian's site at

http://www.instinctiveresponsetraining.com/

As you'll see, they aren't exactly the same thing. But I believe that BvC's IRT approach will one day lead to a NACA fully comparable to the BCA...

...well, you asked! :wink1:
 

Xue Sheng

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Imagine you get to be on the ground floor of a brand new martial arts organization that wishes to preserve and teach the old ways, help bring in the new, and promote the Martial Arts to the public as a whole.

Sorry, but I tend to feel that the bottom-line to most big and small martial arts organizations is money and tradition (old ways) be damned if it gets in the way of that.
 

Touch Of Death

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I'd like to take the stirring stick for a moment if I may. I was wondering if anyone here is part of an organization that allows anyone from any style to join, and what benefits or drawbacks you see such an organization having. If there was something you would like to see in such an organization, what would that be? Seminars? Long distance certification for people who have no access to a school or who's school has closed making them a "Martial Arts Orphan"? Yearly gatherings? Newsletters with columns from well known practitioners? Bring it on, let's hear some ideas! Tell me where other orgs have failed, and what they should have done to succeed. Just to satisfy my own natural curiosity. Thanks all!
You need look no further than Martial Talk.:ultracool
sean
 

Flying Crane

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I wholy disagree with the practice and would like to see more investigation or testing prior to recognition or promotion. In their defense, they do have testing procedures in place which I haven't had the time to participate in yet. Once I do, I will provide the forum with a personal assesment of the process and any feedback that I may have.


I would certainly be interested in knowing how they might handle such a thing. How does an organization give promotions to memebers who have studied a wide range of arts, under a wide range of teachers? It's entirely possible that any members of a testing board would have NO experience in the art for which they are giving a promotion, and would have no idea if the candidate is displaying competency. And how does a testing panel even get established? Who decides who gets to set the standards?

I guess this is one of my biggest points of contention for such organizations. In many cases, this stuff just doesn't translate well from one art to another. I believe rank, if used at all, should only be given directly from teacher to student. That may still be under the oversight of an organization, it may include a testing panel made up of individuals who the teacher trusts and respects, perhaps even includes the teacher's teacher, but it should still come directly from the teacher/student relationship, and it's pretty hard to justify anyone else's claims who might want to give rank to someone else's students.
 

Flying Crane

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Still looking for more feedback on this. Let me put it another way. Imagine you get to be on the ground floor of a brand new martial arts organization that wishes to preserve and teach the old ways, help bring in the new, and promote the Martial Arts to the public as a whole. What ideas and or suggestions would you make? I'm just really trying to get a sense of what some of the members of the internet's premier Martial Arts Forum would do :asian:


I think that any formal attempts to organize such a thing are almost guaranteed to miss the target. I tend to agree with XS, money takes over and all else suffers.

I will outline what I think any "affiliation" should look like.

First, on the level of the individual school, it should be small enough that there is a real relationship developed between teacher and student. This doesn't have to be intimate in any way, like a father/child relationship, nothing like that. But the teacher needs to work directly with every student, so that the student recieves quality teaching and isn't just a face lost in the crowd. The teacher needs to actually know the student, what he has learned, what he needs to improve in, what he is already skilled in. The relationship should be close enough that the teacher has a good sense of this at any given time. If the class is too big, and this kind of relationship is not developed, then the students are probably not getting the best instruction that they could.

Second, I don't believe in empire building. I do believe that there is nothing wrong with schools that create offspring schools teaching the same art. As students grow to a level to become teachers, if they wish to do so, they should begin guiding their own students. There will always be a relationship between the new teacher and his old school and his teacher. This is natural. But I don't like seeing five or six schools that are all "Master Jack's Karate", and the impression is that Master Jack is teaching everyone, when in reality he is just the administrator and the business owner, and he hasn't taught anyone in 10 years. In this case, nobody is Master Jack's student. Rather, they are the student of Sensei John, Sensei Fred, and Sensei Julie, who were students of Master Jack back in the days when Master Jack still got off his lazy butt and did some real teaching and training once in a while. Keep it real, keep it honest, be up front about the student/teacher relationship.

Third, I think any larger organization, one that is inclusive of multiple styles, should be entirely informal. They should be made up of regional schools where the teachers know each other, and RESPECT AND TRUST AND SUPPORT each other. So if I am teaching kung fu, and someone walks in my door and says he wants to study Shotokan, then I say "well, go on over to Jeff's school on the other side of town, he teaches Shotokan, he is a friend of mine and he's great, he'll give you the best and everything you need in Shotokan." And if someone walks into Jeff's school asking for Kung Fu, Jeff sends them to me, with the same positive recommendation. And maybe once every few months we all get together and have an informal competition; judge each other's forms, maybe discuss the forms a bit so the students from other schools get educated a little bit about what they are watching and what the form should demonstrate and why the demonstration was good or poor; let our students spar a bit; and then go get pizza and beer together when its over. So we all get to know each other, the students get to test themselves against each other, but we keep it real and keep it informal, and make it a learning experience and a chance to make new friends and make old friendships stronger.

There should be no formal administration, nor ranking among the affiliation. This is an entirely informal relationship, people should get rank from someone they have studied with, and no other. If the organization becomes big and formal with administrators, then it will just get in the way of a good thing.

I guess I'm an idealist. This kind of arrangement will probably never happen.
 

IWishToLearn

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I am a member of an multi-style organization that has been disparaged much, USMAA. I joined more for the opportunity to interact with multiple other styles at the yearly seminars (my current location makes the commute a little more challenging).

I reviewed the Assn's purpose and principles and found that they are in line with my own beliefs.

They are often called a "diploma mill" or "rank farm" and I can agree that there are those who have abused the association's rank recognition policies to promote themselves. I wholy disagree with the practice and would like to see more investigation or testing prior to recognition or promotion. In their defense, they do have testing procedures in place which I haven't had the time to participate in yet. Once I do, I will provide the forum with a personal assesment of the process and any feedback that I may have.

I'm with Mr. Wiley on this one, we're both IKCA members as well.
 

Carol

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Personally, I think there are plenty of orgs out there that legislate rank. What a black belt is. Who gets to crown themselves grandmaster. Who must recognize which rank. There plenty of organizations that will gladly charge you a fee in exchange for a $2.00 patch and marching orders that say how to run your school. There are plenty of organizations where one can indulge their need for a fancy title and call themselves the Supreme Worldwide President of the XXXXXXX Martial Arts Organization.

I guess my choice for an organization would be more like the anti-org. :D :D Something that wasn't an organization at all...but more of a consortium or guild...of folks that could share each other's ideas about training, or running a school, working out, or simply network and find like-minded people. :)
 

exile

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I guess my choice for an organization would be more like the anti-org. :D :D Something that wasn't an organization at all...but more of a consortium or guild...of folks that could share each other's ideas about training, or running a school, working out, or simply network and find like-minded people. :)

Yes, this was exactly what I was trying to sketch in my post above about the BCA and Brian's IRT network. I think that's what the arts need,much more than large top-down structures. I've posted this link before, but it seems completely apt for the question at hand, so I'll do so again :) :

http://www.24fightingchickens.com/2006/02/05/the-totalitarian-politics-of-karate/

I for one find Redmond's reasoning absolutely sound (here as elsewhere, for the most part. Outstanding site, the best karate site I've seen yet).
 

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