Need help selecting good MA gift

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Hi,

This is my first post here. In a few weeks my instructor will be honored and I would like to give him a nice, small gift to commemorate/congratulate him. I am relatively new in martial arts (only in about a year) and so don't know whether it is okay to give a gift in a situation like this, and what would be a good one. I don't want to come off as being a smarmy, cheesy suck up, I would just like to let the instructor know that I am happy for him and respect the heights he has attained. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

GisanOx

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What art does he teach? That would be a semi-determining factor in gifts, ya know. Otherwise, Ip Man on dvd would be cool. Perhaps a Journey CD. Bowl of fruit. Flowers, you know because some guys like gettin flowers.
 

Sukerkin

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Buka

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Hi,

This is my first post here. In a few weeks my instructor will be honored and I would like to give him a nice, small gift to commemorate/congratulate him. I am relatively new in martial arts (only in about a year) and so don't know whether it is okay to give a gift in a situation like this, and what would be a good one. I don't want to come off as being a smarmy, cheesy suck up, I would just like to let the instructor know that I am happy for him and respect the heights he has attained. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I'll bet your heart is in the right place, and I salute you for it. But a gift from a one year student usually comes off just as you surmised - as a smarmy, cheesy suck up. Oh, sure, as an Instructor we smile, slightly bow and give thanks, but inside it's "Hey, kid, just train for a decade and get a clue."
But keep smiling, bro, and keep going to class, that's all the thanks your Instructor ever hopes for.
 

Carol

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I agree with Buka. Its great that you think highly of your instructor, and you must be thrilled to hear about how he will be honored! :)

Keep going to class with a great attitude and putting effort forward. Your actions will speak louder than any words or material gifts.
 

NSRTKD

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We tend to prepare a home made meal for our instructor and include the students in the invite, or make a whole school book of our photos and favorite things about classes, etc, rather than individual gifts. See if other school members would like to pitch in for a gift certificate from everyone, perhaps?
 

Cyriacus

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We tend to prepare a home made meal for our instructor and include the students in the invite, or make a whole school book of our photos and favorite things about classes, etc, rather than individual gifts. See if other school members would like to pitch in for a gift certificate from everyone, perhaps?

In some ways, I can see that being quite nice.

In others, im trying to visualise how youd go about inviting the Instructor.
:)
 

NSRTKD

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Ummm... we say "ma'am, we are all eating at so-and-so's (house or restaurant or backyard). Do you have other plans or are you able to join us?"She hasn't said no yet... worst case scenario we would eat without her lol. Our sahbumnim works two jobs and is usually quite grateful to have the cooking done for her. *shrugs* maybe this only works for a close knit family school, but I thought it was worth suggesting anyway.
 

MikeBielat

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Handmade stuff goes a long way. I remember giving my sensei a framed martial arts inspired drawing of mine back in '96 and he still has it in his office today. I believe it was a Christmas gift however.
 

Kenpo5.0Hawker

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I like Buka and Carols advice. But if your relationship with your instructor is deeper than normal (Friends outside of the school/small family atmosphere at the school) than a gift might not seem too inappropriate or presumptuous.
 

RTKDCMB

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What you could do instead giving a gift from yourself is to get the whole class to chip in and give him a gift from the class as a whole. With everybody elses input you may be able to come up with a more appropriate gift. If you wanted to make something you could make something out of some of the boards that were broken in class.
 

Mauthos

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I tend to agree with some of the previous comments where if you don't want to be seen as smarmy etc, then maybe discuss it with your other students, all chip in and get something for you instructor that comes from the class, or at least the vast majority rather than just yourself.

More than likely it will be appreciated either way but also opening it up to your fellow students means that you may get some good gift ideas from people that perhaps know him/her better than you do at present.

Hope that helps.
 

Koshiki

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I think it definitely depends, and you can probably tell better than the rest of us. The martial artists I know, both within and without my school, are people first, before they are Shihan/Sabumnim/Kwan Jan Nim/Sifu/Sensei/Soke/Renshi/whatever.

For example, the "head" of my particular dojo, (not the highest ranking in the dojo, but the owner/manager) and I go back quite a ways. She has a few years in the style on me, but she failed some tests and such, and I flew through some ranks faster than I would have liked, looking back, and so we came up through probationary, 1st, and 2nd degree together. We have trained together ad naseum, I know her family, she knows mine, I know where she lives, she knows where I live, she remembers when I weighed 65 pounds and I remember when she wore prescription goggles to class. I dated her little sister in high school, so on. Suffice it to say, I feel pretty comfortable giving her a gift for christmas/b-days, or just for kicks.

Now, if you take the head of our school system, who trains 10 miles away, whom I see mainly at events where the schools get together, whom I call "shihan", not Bob, whom I respect and am respected by, but with whom I am not especially close, I would feel pretty out of place giving a congratulatory gift. And he's known me for over a decade.

I use though two examples to illustrate that, unless you have some form of VERY strict dojo hierarchy and such, completely remove the ranks, titles, teacher-student positions from the equation. Look at your personal relationship. So, if you were NOT his/her student, but had the same level of personal relationship, would a gift be out of place? I think there is where your answer is. You should have a relationship close enough with the guy/gal that neither one of you is going to worry that the gift looks like or is an attempt to schmooze. That's how I'd approach it, anyway. Maybe something in there is helpful...
 
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