MMA-trained delinquents beat a kid to death

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
20,378
Reaction score
5,318
Yep, so I have heard. There are also reports of organised group fights between hooligan factions. The nexus between soccer hooligans and extremist groups/organised crime is pretty well-known but it would be interesting to look at these groups' involvement in martial arts.


There is also a gang in Timor? That are all martial artists. P24 or something.

East Timor bans martial-arts clubs as gangs wreak havoc on island

Straight out of King fu hustle pretty much.
 

Cynik75

Green Belt
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
116
Reaction score
40
...The nexus between soccer hooligans and extremist groups/organised crime is pretty well-known but it would be interesting to look at these groups' involvement in martial arts..
Some of football hooligans in Poland train martial arts, some of the fights in MMA/boxing/MT, some just lift weights. If you want to be a part of football street gang and fight other gangs it is better to be skilled and strong. During my 15 years adventure with boxing, judo, bjj I have met and trainded with many of them, but I know hooligans with zero connection to MA or any sport at all too. It is a private matter.
 

lklawson

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
4,377
Reaction score
1,113
Location
Huber Heights, OH
In this case, the guys had been convicted for battery and drug dealing. I'm pretty sure it's considered unethical behaviour in your culture as well.
You're missing the point. "Ethics" is something that doesn't have universal agreement.


That part is a bit misguided. It has nothing to do with my own political opinions (that you don't know ;) ), far-right extremism is widely recognised as one of the rising threats to global security. No need to refer to recent incidents, just ask Europol (Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2019 (TE-SAT) ) or the UN (https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/wp-conten...Trends_Alert_Extreme_Right-Wing_Terrorism.pdf ).
And so is far-left extremism. You're missing the point. Politics is verboten on this forum.

You sounded like you knew something about it. Frankly, I had hoped for a better answer.
Frankly, I'm under no obligation to tell you what little was told me. I will, again, tell you what I was given (more or less) permission to repeat. The Italian Mafia had (has) a tradition of knife training/fighting coming from Italy. Just because they were living in a new nation doesn't mean that they stopped. It's foolish to think otherwise. This is all pretty much public anyway.

So, anyway, back to your question. I'll be (more) blunt. No, there's no way to police who you think should or should not get martial training from anywhere or anyone. Thinking you can is like thinking you can hold back the tides with your palms.
 

ShortBridge

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Feb 9, 2015
Messages
911
Reaction score
629
Location
Seattle, WA, USA
That's interesting, how do you run your school? Do you have some kind of disciplinary policy?

High-Level:
I only teach adults.

Our kwoon has no street presence, so it's not possible to "drop by". It's also not possible to join on-line.

I ask people to contact me if they're interested in training and we work through what they are looking for and why. I almost always recommend other clubs and styles depending on what they say. If they are interested, then I invite them to visit and join us for a class. We agree that at the end of that class, we'll each thank each other and part ways amicably. If they want to train with us, I ask them to contact me again and let me know why, that way no one is on-the-spot on the night of their visit. If they plan to visit x other clubs, then there's no time limit on getting back to me (within reason). If I don't think that I can support their objectives or if I think they would disrupt our club, then I don't invite them to join, but normally if they've made it this far things work out.

When they visit, I alter things a bit to give them a view of what a normal class might look like combined with an overview of our system, what we do and why. I never explain why we are superior to anything else, but I do tell them why I chose the system and why I think it works for me. We always have tea at the end of the night and they get a chance to talk to the other students and ask whatever questions they may have. I make the point that the best way to judge a teacher is by their students, so I encourage them to touch hands with everyone ask them questions about their experience and training.

We're a club, people are in or they are out. There's no coming and going. 5 years in, we have a near 0% attrition rate. Occasionally someone will move away or something, but people don't disappear and then show back up months later with an expectation.

If they are in, they are expected to come. Of course, people have jobs and get sick and take vacations, but there is an agreement to not take soft nights off. Communication is mandatory.

Dues are simple and they are due by the last class of the previous month. I don't advertise what they are, but I will tell people when they visit or maybe when they call if I think they are for real.

We don't do much bowing and uniform wearing and stuff, but there are a few protocols and observances. For the most part, the senior students pass those on to new people. When we have visitors or visit other schools, which we generally do once a month, things are a little bit more formal and if visiting, we observe the traditions and rules of the host, of course. Once a year or so, I might have to stop class and tell them that the floor is dirty and we're not going on until it gets cleaned, but for the most part, the students self-police.

Generally, I would estimate that:
About 1/2 of the people who call get invited to visit. With people who email it's closer to 20%. Those who text...lower still.
Of the people who plan to visit, to keep the math easy, I'll say about 1/2 of them show up.
Of people who show up, maybe 70% get invited to join. Most of those accept. Probably about 20% of those who accept back out before they start.
Once people start, they tend to stay. In 5 years, a few people have moved away or something, but that bi-lateral selection process has helped avoid problems like ones we've been discussing and I feel like people know what they are getting into, there's no surprise.
Generally senior students and/or people who work harder are clearly better. There's not a lot of mystique sold about it, so people start with the understanding what progress looks like and what their role in that is.

I do take input from my existing students on accepting a new student, but ultimately it's my decision. Rare problems get dealt with pretty directly by me or the class. We don't let things linger.

Of course, all of this is pre-covid. My students and I are all in touch with each other and have seen each other a few times for back yard cookouts and things. They have keys so people have gone in to train on their own, but I haven't held class or collected dues since March. I expect that not everyone will come back and we'll have some decisions to make when the world returns to normal, but that's how things have generally run in normal times. There's a bit more, but if I publish it on the internet it will lose it's effectiveness when people participate in real life.

The short version of all of that is that I carefully chose who to train and I encourage them to mindfully chose us if they join and then commit, though I don't require any kind contractual commitment. We are all protective and respectful of what we have and we've done a good job of avoiding any real problems.

EDIT: Oh, and a big one - No posting anything on the internet about what we do. No YouTube videos, no style or lineage debating. I participate here, of course. I could lift that for a senior student, like my SiFu did for me, but we are generally private about our training beyond a certain point and respectful of other people's. A few of my students spar or train outside of the club, but they are transparent with me about it and we bring their successes and failures into our work. Generally, no one would be encouraged to do that until they had reached a certain point in their training and only with full disclosure and on-going dialogue with me.
 

JowGaWolf

Grandmaster
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
9,890
Reaction score
3,149
It seems that there is an assumption that martial arts is honorable by default. Historically I think it may be the opposite. I think we confuse the system with the people. The reality that bad people train to fight shouldn't be shocking
 
OP
O

O'Malley

Blue Belt
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
292
Reaction score
141
You're missing the point. "Ethics" is something that doesn't have universal agreement.

No need for universal agreement, though. You can agree at the federation level about the standards that you want to uphold and suspend athletes that don't comply. It happens in other sports. The problem is enforcement, as said by other posters here.

Frankly, I'm under no obligation to tell you what little was told me. I will, again, tell you what I was given (more or less) permission to repeat. The Italian Mafia had (has) a tradition of knife training/fighting coming from Italy. Just because they were living in a new nation doesn't mean that they stopped. It's foolish to think otherwise. This is all pretty much public anyway.

I work as an analyst on organised crime matters in Italy, I know a bit about mafia. Apart from a book mentioning a group in Hillsville, USA, I found no sources (in Italian or English) on any form of knife training among mafiosi. I can imagine that in some cases newbies have had to prove their worth by fighting with a knife but it's not even common, and there's certainly no tradition of knife training. The mafia's methods are pretty well-known but I have yet to read an antimafia report mentioning that. That's why I'm very skeptical about your comrade's statements.

So, anyway, back to your question. I'll be (more) blunt. No, there's no way to police who you think should or should not get martial training from anywhere or anyone. Thinking you can is like thinking you can hold back the tides with your palms.

I agree that it's impossible to enforce completely and that it's ultimately up to the coaches to decide who they'll teach. That said, I was curious about the mechanisms that gyms and federations use to deal with this kind of people. ShortBridge has a pretty thorough screening system, for example.

High-Level:
I only teach adults.

Our kwoon has no street presence, so it's not possible to "drop by". It's also not possible to join on-line.

I ask people to contact me if they're interested in training and we work through what they are looking for and why. I almost always recommend other clubs and styles depending on what they say. If they are interested, then I invite them to visit and join us for a class. We agree that at the end of that class, we'll each thank each other and part ways amicably. If they want to train with us, I ask them to contact me again and let me know why, that way no one is on-the-spot on the night of their visit. If they plan to visit x other clubs, then there's no time limit on getting back to me (within reason). If I don't think that I can support their objectives or if I think they would disrupt our club, then I don't invite them to join, but normally if they've made it this far things work out.

When they visit, I alter things a bit to give them a view of what a normal class might look like combined with an overview of our system, what we do and why. I never explain why we are superior to anything else, but I do tell them why I chose the system and why I think it works for me. We always have tea at the end of the night and they get a chance to talk to the other students and ask whatever questions they may have. I make the point that the best way to judge a teacher is by their students, so I encourage them to touch hands with everyone ask them questions about their experience and training.

We're a club, people are in or they are out. There's no coming and going. 5 years in, we have a near 0% attrition rate. Occasionally someone will move away or something, but people don't disappear and then show back up months later with an expectation.

If they are in, they are expected to come. Of course, people have jobs and get sick and take vacations, but there is an agreement to not take soft nights off. Communication is mandatory.

Dues are simple and they are due by the last class of the previous month. I don't advertise what they are, but I will tell people when they visit or maybe when they call if I think they are for real.

We don't do much bowing and uniform wearing and stuff, but there are a few protocols and observances. For the most part, the senior students pass those on to new people. When we have visitors or visit other schools, which we generally do once a month, things are a little bit more formal and if visiting, we observe the traditions and rules of the host, of course. Once a year or so, I might have to stop class and tell them that the floor is dirty and we're not going on until it gets cleaned, but for the most part, the students self-police.

Generally, I would estimate that:
About 1/2 of the people who call get invited to visit. With people who email it's closer to 20%. Those who text...lower still.
Of the people who plan to visit, to keep the math easy, I'll say about 1/2 of them show up.
Of people who show up, maybe 70% get invited to join. Most of those accept. Probably about 20% of those who accept back out before they start.
Once people start, they tend to stay. In 5 years, a few people have moved away or something, but that bi-lateral selection process has helped avoid problems like ones we've been discussing and I feel like people know what they are getting into, there's no surprise.
Generally senior students and/or people who work harder are clearly better. There's not a lot of mystique sold about it, so people start with the understanding what progress looks like and what their role in that is.

I do take input from my existing students on accepting a new student, but ultimately it's my decision. Rare problems get dealt with pretty directly by me or the class. We don't let things linger.

Of course, all of this is pre-covid. My students and I are all in touch with each other and have seen each other a few times for back yard cookouts and things. They have keys so people have gone in to train on their own, but I haven't held class or collected dues since March. I expect that not everyone will come back and we'll have some decisions to make when the world returns to normal, but that's how things have generally run in normal times. There's a bit more, but if I publish it on the internet it will lose it's effectiveness when people participate in real life.

The short version of all of that is that I carefully chose who to train and I encourage them to mindfully chose us if they join and then commit, though I don't require any kind contractual commitment. We are all protective and respectful of what we have and we've done a good job of avoiding any real problems.

EDIT: Oh, and a big one - No posting anything on the internet about what we do. No YouTube videos, no style or lineage debating. I participate here, of course. I could lift that for a senior student, like my SiFu did for me, but we are generally private about our training beyond a certain point and respectful of other people's. A few of my students spar or train outside of the club, but they are transparent with me about it and we bring their successes and failures into our work. Generally, no one would be encouraged to do that until they had reached a certain point in their training and only with full disclosure and on-going dialogue with me.

Thanks for this great answer.

It seems that there is an assumption that martial arts is honorable by default. Historically I think it may be the opposite. I think we confuse the system with the people. The reality that bad people train to fight shouldn't be shocking

I don't disagree. That said, in a modern society, martial arts have the potential to train strong, reliable and righteous people that contribute positively to society. But yeah, it's impossible to keep all bad apples from training.
 

Ivan

Brown Belt
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
420
Reaction score
144
I certainly don't think that MMA gyms encourage criminal behaviour. Not the ones I know. However, I wonder about the place those gangsters train at.

I don't know what kind of systemic measures are in place in MMA federations and gyms to ensure that fighting skills are not taught to gangsters and psychopaths.

I just know that a well-known criminal was allowed to run amok and still fight as a pro. I also know that he'll be, at least for a big part of the general public here, the face of MMA in Italy fro the next weeks. I just wanted to hear your thoughts on this. How do you deal with bad apples? Should anyone be allowed to train? Any similar experiences?
The places gangsters train at? Look no further than my place of origin. Eastern Europe. Specifically Bulgaria. It is seen as a sort of boast to train MMA. And there is also the stereotype of built gym lads, usually the ones who have trained in at least one combative sport, to go out looking for trouble in groups. And stereotypes are usually there for a reason.
 

lklawson

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
4,377
Reaction score
1,113
Location
Huber Heights, OH
No need for universal agreement, though. You can agree at the federation level about the standards that you want to uphold and suspend athletes that don't comply. It happens in other sports. The problem is enforcement, as said by other posters here.
In the U.S., it was once considered a career ending offense for a public worker or civil servant to have an extra-marital affair, while at the same time it was considered common in many other European areas. There was no agreement about sex outside of marriage even among cultures from the same linage. What constitutes an "under-aged" sexual partner? How big a deal is "theft?" Do you want to use Moslem standards for ethical norms; they represent a huge percentage of the world's population? What about Christian standards? Catholic or Baptist? Is caning a reasonable punishment? In a Dojo, is it OK for a Sensei to whack students with a Shinai?

Maybe you can get the IOC to agree about doping but it's gonna be hard to enforce the IOC's Ethics document on [fill in the blank dojo] or MMA school. Heck, you can't get the Gracies and the Machados to agree on whether or not it's BJJ or GJJ.


I work as an analyst on organised crime matters in Italy, I know a bit about mafia. Apart from a book mentioning a group in Hillsville, USA, I found no sources (in Italian or English) on any form of knife training among mafiosi. I can imagine that in some cases newbies have had to prove their worth by fighting with a knife but it's not even common, and there's certainly no tradition of knife training. The mafia's methods are pretty well-known but I have yet to read an antimafia report mentioning that. That's why I'm very skeptical about your comrade's statements.
OK. Maybe I was lied to. Maybe the person who showed me some stuff was lied to and he was honestly perpetuating it. Maybe it's just stuff that criminals aren't willing to talk to antimafiosa cops about. Whatever. The end point is that I was told by someone I trust not to lie to me that there is an living and oral tradition.

No, I don't really remember anything about the specific techniques except that they seemed basic, solid, hi-percentage techniques which fit the stiletto well and could reasonably be believed to trace to the Renaissance weapon of the same name based on the recorded material of that weapon. It worked and looked like any other knife fighting associated with a narrow-ish thrust oriented blade not exceeding 8-9" or so. <shrug>
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
do you think we have a systemic issue within MMA and martial arts where we are training criminals and endorsing their criminal behavior? If not, I don't get the point.

My minimal experience with some different styles leads me to believe most schools teach their students not to engage in fights if it can be avoided.

That said, for a very long time in Korea, "Judo School Dropout" has been a euphemism for a gangster thug. They would study Judo to a high level but never test for belt levels. That prevented charges against them in Korean courts.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,226
Reaction score
7,536
Location
Maui
High-Level:
I only teach adults.

Our kwoon has no street presence, so it's not possible to "drop by". It's also not possible to join on-line.

I ask people to contact me if they're interested in training and we work through what they are looking for and why. I almost always recommend other clubs and styles depending on what they say. If they are interested, then I invite them to visit and join us for a class. We agree that at the end of that class, we'll each thank each other and part ways amicably. If they want to train with us, I ask them to contact me again and let me know why, that way no one is on-the-spot on the night of their visit. If they plan to visit x other clubs, then there's no time limit on getting back to me (within reason). If I don't think that I can support their objectives or if I think they would disrupt our club, then I don't invite them to join, but normally if they've made it this far things work out.

When they visit, I alter things a bit to give them a view of what a normal class might look like combined with an overview of our system, what we do and why. I never explain why we are superior to anything else, but I do tell them why I chose the system and why I think it works for me. We always have tea at the end of the night and they get a chance to talk to the other students and ask whatever questions they may have. I make the point that the best way to judge a teacher is by their students, so I encourage them to touch hands with everyone ask them questions about their experience and training.

We're a club, people are in or they are out. There's no coming and going. 5 years in, we have a near 0% attrition rate. Occasionally someone will move away or something, but people don't disappear and then show back up months later with an expectation.

If they are in, they are expected to come. Of course, people have jobs and get sick and take vacations, but there is an agreement to not take soft nights off. Communication is mandatory.

Dues are simple and they are due by the last class of the previous month. I don't advertise what they are, but I will tell people when they visit or maybe when they call if I think they are for real.

We don't do much bowing and uniform wearing and stuff, but there are a few protocols and observances. For the most part, the senior students pass those on to new people. When we have visitors or visit other schools, which we generally do once a month, things are a little bit more formal and if visiting, we observe the traditions and rules of the host, of course. Once a year or so, I might have to stop class and tell them that the floor is dirty and we're not going on until it gets cleaned, but for the most part, the students self-police.

Generally, I would estimate that:
About 1/2 of the people who call get invited to visit. With people who email it's closer to 20%. Those who text...lower still.
Of the people who plan to visit, to keep the math easy, I'll say about 1/2 of them show up.
Of people who show up, maybe 70% get invited to join. Most of those accept. Probably about 20% of those who accept back out before they start.
Once people start, they tend to stay. In 5 years, a few people have moved away or something, but that bi-lateral selection process has helped avoid problems like ones we've been discussing and I feel like people know what they are getting into, there's no surprise.
Generally senior students and/or people who work harder are clearly better. There's not a lot of mystique sold about it, so people start with the understanding what progress looks like and what their role in that is.

I do take input from my existing students on accepting a new student, but ultimately it's my decision. Rare problems get dealt with pretty directly by me or the class. We don't let things linger.

Of course, all of this is pre-covid. My students and I are all in touch with each other and have seen each other a few times for back yard cookouts and things. They have keys so people have gone in to train on their own, but I haven't held class or collected dues since March. I expect that not everyone will come back and we'll have some decisions to make when the world returns to normal, but that's how things have generally run in normal times. There's a bit more, but if I publish it on the internet it will lose it's effectiveness when people participate in real life.

The short version of all of that is that I carefully chose who to train and I encourage them to mindfully chose us if they join and then commit, though I don't require any kind contractual commitment. We are all protective and respectful of what we have and we've done a good job of avoiding any real problems.

EDIT: Oh, and a big one - No posting anything on the internet about what we do. No YouTube videos, no style or lineage debating. I participate here, of course. I could lift that for a senior student, like my SiFu did for me, but we are generally private about our training beyond a certain point and respectful of other people's. A few of my students spar or train outside of the club, but they are transparent with me about it and we bring their successes and failures into our work. Generally, no one would be encouraged to do that until they had reached a certain point in their training and only with full disclosure and on-going dialogue with me.

I just love this post.
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
Better? By who's definition of "misbehave?" If you want to make sure an authorizing federation yanks credentials for people who are doing things you think are bad, then you can either be influential in whatever fed credentials them or start your own. IOW, join the MMA federation and get important enough with them to be able to throw your weight around and get what you want done.

Sure it'd be nice. If everyone could agree on what constitutes "terrorizing."

Sure it'd be nice. But first we all have to agree, across multiple cultures, what constitutes "ethical" behavior.

I'm unconvinced.

Nothing. Governments have been working for centuries to try to keep corruption and vice out of various sports. They have to power to bring lots of heavily armed men and kill you or put you in prison for ever. But even they haven't been able to keep organizations "clean." You want a clean organization, then you have to either try to work from the inside to clean it up or get out of it.

"the rising threat of far-right extremism?" Oh good gravy. Leave your politics and bias out of this shiz before a dozen other people start posting examples of "the rising threat of far-left extremism" and this whole thread turns into a sh*t-show then gets locked. Let's just agree that there's plenty of violence to go around, both associated and associated with, literally, any and every political or religious ideology and every ethnic background.

I very briefly trained with a guy once upon a time who told me of an oral history. Outside of that, there are numerous similar sources making such claims.

But, like the criminal misuse of the Slungshot, I rather doubt anyone from that culture wrote a history book or martial manual contemporary to the time period.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

Ref underlined: The way it seems to work, is that if there are problems or just perceived problems, and if the organization/federation doesn't change them, the government likely will make some hopefully well intended, but actually all totally screwed up attempts to fix the problems. Including problems that do not exist.
 

Rat

Master of Arts
Joined
Jul 11, 2018
Messages
1,506
Reaction score
183
We had a guy come in once who said he wanted to learn defense against drive by shootings.


It takes all kinds.

Funnies thing about that is, you would get that in a tactical shooting class. they generally cover cover and concealment or should cover it.


Also taking a paraphrase from the anarchist cook book: "this book serves as a guide for civilians should they need the skills, as the XYZ group(s) have their own manuals and training programes etc and dont need this book." No idea if its relvent, but i still like that one.
 

JP3

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2015
Messages
1,388
Reaction score
696
Location
Houston
I think, if nothing else, it's a cautionary tale to never assume your opponent knows less than you.
I'd agree with that. Never underestimate your opponent. It's good sense.
 

Hanzou

Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
6,265
Reaction score
974
This isn't something that is unique to MMA. You're just seeing MMA nowadays because it's the most popular MA around currently. Back in the day, you had Karate and Kung Fu gangs in the US and other countries that would fight in the streets, in back alleys, and rooftops.

Additionally, you have youtube which is loaded with hundreds of thousands of instructional videos on how to potentially kill someone. I don't think it's a good idea to put out youtube videos instructing people how to choke someone or snap their limbs, but that is the world we live in.
 

lklawson

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 3, 2005
Messages
4,377
Reaction score
1,113
Location
Huber Heights, OH
Additionally, you have youtube which is loaded with hundreds of thousands of instructional videos on how to potentially kill someone. I don't think it's a good idea to put out youtube videos instructing people how to choke someone or snap their limbs, but that is the world we live in.
The genie is out of the bottle and there aren't any "secret techniques" any longer and no way to keep them secret if one were want to do so.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

Rat

Master of Arts
Joined
Jul 11, 2018
Messages
1,506
Reaction score
183
wouldnt stop orginsied groups, the groups themselves would make/have training programes. Pretty much every serious/semi succesful group does this.

Hell, some gangs have ex or current military in them to teach firearm skills and ****.
 

Hanzou

Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 29, 2013
Messages
6,265
Reaction score
974
The genie is out of the bottle and there aren't any "secret techniques" any longer and no way to keep them secret if one were want to do so.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk

I agree. The only issue I have is with teaching certain chokes in such a public way. Some of the chokes from submission grappling are disgustingly simple to pull off once you have positional dominance. Further, unlike headlocks and the 10 finger choke favored by rapists and thugs, submission grappling chokes are a lot harder to counter.
 

Ivan

Brown Belt
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
420
Reaction score
144
High-Level:
I only teach adults.

Our kwoon has no street presence, so it's not possible to "drop by". It's also not possible to join on-line.

I ask people to contact me if they're interested in training and we work through what they are looking for and why. I almost always recommend other clubs and styles depending on what they say. If they are interested, then I invite them to visit and join us for a class. We agree that at the end of that class, we'll each thank each other and part ways amicably. If they want to train with us, I ask them to contact me again and let me know why, that way no one is on-the-spot on the night of their visit. If they plan to visit x other clubs, then there's no time limit on getting back to me (within reason). If I don't think that I can support their objectives or if I think they would disrupt our club, then I don't invite them to join, but normally if they've made it this far things work out.

When they visit, I alter things a bit to give them a view of what a normal class might look like combined with an overview of our system, what we do and why. I never explain why we are superior to anything else, but I do tell them why I chose the system and why I think it works for me. We always have tea at the end of the night and they get a chance to talk to the other students and ask whatever questions they may have. I make the point that the best way to judge a teacher is by their students, so I encourage them to touch hands with everyone ask them questions about their experience and training.

We're a club, people are in or they are out. There's no coming and going. 5 years in, we have a near 0% attrition rate. Occasionally someone will move away or something, but people don't disappear and then show back up months later with an expectation.

If they are in, they are expected to come. Of course, people have jobs and get sick and take vacations, but there is an agreement to not take soft nights off. Communication is mandatory.

Dues are simple and they are due by the last class of the previous month. I don't advertise what they are, but I will tell people when they visit or maybe when they call if I think they are for real.

We don't do much bowing and uniform wearing and stuff, but there are a few protocols and observances. For the most part, the senior students pass those on to new people. When we have visitors or visit other schools, which we generally do once a month, things are a little bit more formal and if visiting, we observe the traditions and rules of the host, of course. Once a year or so, I might have to stop class and tell them that the floor is dirty and we're not going on until it gets cleaned, but for the most part, the students self-police.

Generally, I would estimate that:
About 1/2 of the people who call get invited to visit. With people who email it's closer to 20%. Those who text...lower still.
Of the people who plan to visit, to keep the math easy, I'll say about 1/2 of them show up.
Of people who show up, maybe 70% get invited to join. Most of those accept. Probably about 20% of those who accept back out before they start.
Once people start, they tend to stay. In 5 years, a few people have moved away or something, but that bi-lateral selection process has helped avoid problems like ones we've been discussing and I feel like people know what they are getting into, there's no surprise.
Generally senior students and/or people who work harder are clearly better. There's not a lot of mystique sold about it, so people start with the understanding what progress looks like and what their role in that is.

I do take input from my existing students on accepting a new student, but ultimately it's my decision. Rare problems get dealt with pretty directly by me or the class. We don't let things linger.

Of course, all of this is pre-covid. My students and I are all in touch with each other and have seen each other a few times for back yard cookouts and things. They have keys so people have gone in to train on their own, but I haven't held class or collected dues since March. I expect that not everyone will come back and we'll have some decisions to make when the world returns to normal, but that's how things have generally run in normal times. There's a bit more, but if I publish it on the internet it will lose it's effectiveness when people participate in real life.

The short version of all of that is that I carefully chose who to train and I encourage them to mindfully chose us if they join and then commit, though I don't require any kind contractual commitment. We are all protective and respectful of what we have and we've done a good job of avoiding any real problems.

EDIT: Oh, and a big one - No posting anything on the internet about what we do. No YouTube videos, no style or lineage debating. I participate here, of course. I could lift that for a senior student, like my SiFu did for me, but we are generally private about our training beyond a certain point and respectful of other people's. A few of my students spar or train outside of the club, but they are transparent with me about it and we bring their successes and failures into our work. Generally, no one would be encouraged to do that until they had reached a certain point in their training and only with full disclosure and on-going dialogue with me.
This post is why we need a WOW react
 

Latest Discussions

Top