Relationships with schools in your area

SahBumNimRush

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Do any school owners have a good working relationship with other styles/schools in your town/area? If so, what does it entail?

I am taking over my branch school in a couple of weeks (my sahbumnim is retiring), and we haven't had any interaction with other schools in our area in years. Mainly because our instructor says that our school is a harder style than any of the others around here right now.

That being said, I would like to develop a good report with the local traditional schools in the area. The advice against it from my instructor comes from our Kwan Jang Nim: "If you train with others too much, you end up teaching them." If the caliber of the other schools are below the standard of our school, then I could see how this could be true. But the only way to find out is to develop a relationship with them first.

Just curious if any school owners work with or have a professional relationship with other schools in their area, and to what affect it is.
 

clfsean

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I try to get out & meet other instructors to just say hello & such. A very few of them I will work out with & such, but mostly it's just a polite "Hey, how are you doing" kinda thing.
 

dancingalone

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I am good friends with or at least on friendly terms with most of the schools in my area, both commercial and 'garage or backyard-based'. This is in large part due to an intentional building of relationships on my part. When I first moved back into my home city, I was living in an apartment and I did not have a good place to workout in. One of the dojo heads generously let me train at his school anytime I wanted and after a while he even gave me a key to the studio. I've never forgotten his kindness even though he no longer has a school and I try to do the same when I can.

Typically, when I hear of a new martial arts school, I make it a point to stop by and introduce myself and ask to learn a little bit about themselves and what they teach. I also offer to show them a bit of what I do myself. This way we can offer referrals to each other when a prospective student comes in and we can't give them what they want or need. Most studio owners are generally happy to have some type of reciprocal relationship like this.

Over time, you get to know each other better through things like friendship tournaments or combined seminars or even informal study groups. We have an all-styles workout group that I helped put together that has been active for over 5 years now. Asking others to be part of a testing panel or to be part of a multiple martial arts demo (the Lunar New Year is a good time) is also a good way to build friendships outside of your style.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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I am good friends with or at least on friendly terms with most of the schools in my area, both commercial and 'garage or backyard-based'. This is in large part due to an intentional building of relationships on my part. When I first moved back into my home city, I was living in an apartment and I did not have a good place to workout in. One of the dojo heads generously let me train at his school anytime I wanted and after a while he even gave me a key to the studio. I've never forgotten his kindness even though he no longer has a school and I try to do the same when I can.

I like that approach.

Typically, when I hear of a new martial arts school, I make it a point to stop by and introduce myself and ask to learn a little bit about themselves and what they teach. I also offer to show them a bit of what I do myself. This way we can offer referrals to each other when a prospective student comes in and we can't give them what they want or need. Most studio owners are generally happy to have some type of reciprocal relationship like this.

I like the idea of this, but alot of the schools around my small area offer such similar content, I'm not sure how well that could work. The only school I could foresee a referral system with, is an Aikido school. But the couple of demonstrations they put on did not impress me, in fact, my knowledge seemed to be atleast on par of what they were demonstrating. Most of the schools are traditional J/O/K striking styles. I believe there is now a BJJ school in my area, which I think COULD be a great source of referrals, but I have to go check them out and see.

Over time, you get to know each other better through things like friendship tournaments or combined seminars or even informal study groups. We have an all-styles workout group that I helped put together that has been active for over 5 years now. Asking others to be part of a testing panel or to be part of a multiple martial arts demo (the Lunar New Year is a good time) is also a good way to build friendships outside of your style.

We have never been invited or participated in local competitions. This past Saturday I was invited by a local Shorin Ryu Sensei to his local tournament. I went by myself to compete, as I wanted to see what it was like before I brought any of my students. I came away with the Men's overall Grandchampion, which I feel I basically bought since there was no real competition there. The way the tourny was run was great, very traditional and similar to our current tourny circuit. The difference was the size and caliber of competition. I don't want to sound big headed, but our students would wipe the floor with the schools that showed up on Saturday. So I have to ask myself, do I want to support this tournament in the future as a "confidence builder" for my students? Or do I want to distance myself from schools of this caliber?

It's difficult for me to put this into words without sounding like an elitist. I just want to develop relationships with schools that have a similar caliber of instruction and students as our school, and the few I have checked out thus far have fallen short of this standard. I haven't given up, I'm going to continue to search out other schools, because I want to develop these relationships.

It's obvious that I would distance myself from schools that throw ethics out the window.. . But do you distance yourself from schools that are respectable but lack the physical skill standard that you uphold in your training hall?
 

shesulsa

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I'm trying to do that right now in a couple of ways - liking facebook pages of nearby schools and commenting on their pages in a positive manner, and hosting a fundraiser event.

I'm trying to get as many schools in my area of various art persuasions to come participate as possible.

Interestingly, the area by me is saturated with Tae Kwon Do and, as one master put it, they are all highly competitive with each other and would hardly be able to be in the same room with one another without many problems. Those schools are *not* invited.

Various masters are volunteering to give mini-seminars throughout the day on a donation basis to keep things interesting and hopefully lay the seed for future events in the Pac NW.

So far, I have representations from Pung Wol Kwan, Shotokan, Kuk Sul Won and possibly traditional Karate.

I'm hoping we can create a brotherhood of sorts in the area and learn to share and appreciate in the interest of learning our individual arts better and understand each other better.

We'll see how that goes.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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I'm trying to do that right now in a couple of ways - liking facebook pages of nearby schools and commenting on their pages in a positive manner, and hosting a fundraiser event.

FB is how I first got in contact with the local Shorin Ryu school. They are very respectful, and I see possible postive outcomes with a relationship with that school. Similar to what you are speaking of.

Interestingly, the area by me is saturated with Tae Kwon Do and, as one master put it, they are all highly competitive with each other and would hardly be able to be in the same room with one another without many problems. Those schools are *not* invited.

I'm from a relatively small area, and I think we have the only traditional TKD school, I believe there's another TKD school around but I've only heard of it once.. .

I'm hoping we can create a brotherhood of sorts in the area and learn to share and appreciate in the interest of learning our individual arts better and understand each other better.

We'll see how that goes.

That's what I'm looking for! Again my concern is the "two way street pay off." I don't want to be giving more than I'm getting and arming my potential competition with more knowledge.. . I would, however, love to develop a relationship with schools of similar caliber in other styles to foster a respectful environment for working out and exchange of knowledge.
 

dancingalone

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We have never been invited or participated in local competitions. This past Saturday I was invited by a local Shorin Ryu Sensei to his local tournament. I went by myself to compete, as I wanted to see what it was like before I brought any of my students. I came away with the Men's overall Grandchampion, which I feel I basically bought since there was no real competition there. The way the tourny was run was great, very traditional and similar to our current tourny circuit. The difference was the size and caliber of competition. I don't want to sound big headed, but our students would wipe the floor with the schools that showed up on Saturday. So I have to ask myself, do I want to support this tournament in the future as a "confidence builder" for my students? Or do I want to distance myself from schools of this caliber?

It's difficult for me to put this into words without sounding like an elitist. I just want to develop relationships with schools that have a similar caliber of instruction and students as our school, and the few I have checked out thus far have fallen short of this standard. I haven't given up, I'm going to continue to search out other schools, because I want to develop these relationships.

It's obvious that I would distance myself from schools that throw ethics out the window.. . But do you distance yourself from schools that are respectable but lack the physical skill standard that you uphold in your training hall?


The trick to making and staying friends is to find your own niche and allow permit others their own little corners of expertise if necessary. I can't comment on your situation, but I can relate my own.

I have a friend who teaches point sparring as a primary activity in his own school. They practice it a lot and his students do very well in the point tournament circuit around here. Guess what? I could do the same if I wanted as this too was something I did a lot when I was a kid and I won many trophies myself then. But I don't. First because my interest lay elsewhere these days and secondly because I do not want to compete with my friend for students and dollars. I'd rather work with him in partnership and I do - I teach Okinawan kobudo to his Master's Club members. It's a win/win situation. I make a tidy fee while spreading authentic kobudo (instead of what typically passes for weapons work in a TKD school) and he gets a starred selling point for his business.

As for associating with schools that don't meet the same level of quality you offer... well, it all depends on what you mean by associate. It's evident that the TKD students who take my kobudo class do not usually approach the same competence as my own students do, but that's hardly surprising given the main focus of their studies. As a large, mass market school, the average level of martial skill there is lower than what I would like too. But, I understand they are trying to do different things than I do. They have an abundance of children that are benefiting from exercise in a positive atmosphere, and that's certainly not what I currently offer at my private studio. Good for them, good for me.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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As for associating with schools that don't meet the same level of quality you offer... well, it all depends on what you mean by associate. It's evident that the TKD students who take my kobudo class do not usually approach the same competence as my own students do, but that's hardly surprising given the main focus of their studies. As a large, mass market school, the average level of martial skill there is lower than what I would like too. But, I understand they are trying to do different things than I do. They have an abundance of children that are benefiting from exercise in a positive atmosphere, and that's certainly not what I currently offer at my private studio. Good for them, good for me.

My comment was referring to the martial skill.. . Stances, power, snap, enthusiasm, the basic techniques.. . For the kids, that's not a big deal, because as you said they are offering a form of exercise in a positive atmosphere. I like the idea of a weapons expert teaching weapons to a school that does not, and a point sparring coach to schools that do not focus on it. I suppose the only way to figure out if these opportunities are available is to continue to speak with and get to know the other schools in my area. Thanks for the input, as usual!
 

K831

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Had some success with it. Here are the things we have done with some success;

1.) Host "gatherings" ie instructors and students come out, put on a demo of techniques, maybe discuss a little bit about the history of the art etc. Kind of a meet and greet/demo.

2.) Host seminars. Basically, if we feel an instructor / style is competent in a particular area we invite them to teach a brief "seminar" on a particular subject. We did one where my school covered several "Kenpo" type topics, we had a Krav guy and his students do gun disarms and some ground stuff, and a couple of FMA guys do some knife stuff. We did this after we knew the instructors and everyone attitudes and competency.

3.) We have hosted / participated in small tournaments/sparring. You really gotta know the temperament of those involved.

The negatives we ran into are the following;

1.) Martial artists tend to be competitive and combative by nature
2. It's easy for people to feel threatened, competitive etc and it can be hard to keep everyone happy. This is particularly the case when one or more schools are commercial, and feel that a good demo or seminar by another school could take students away.
 

ajury

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Can you say where you are in the Pacific North West? Maybe your contact information? I attend a traditional Tae Kwon Do school and would be interested to see what you folks do.

Thank you for your time.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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Can you say where you are in the Pacific North West? Maybe your contact information? I attend a traditional Tae Kwon Do school and would be interested to see what you folks do.

Thank you for your time.

I am on the West Virginia/Ohio border.. .
 

Blindside

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Do any school owners have a good working relationship with other styles/schools in your town/area? If so, what does it entail?

I moved to the area just a couple of years ago and it quickly became apparent that there was a pretty good network of martial artists around. There are at least four schools that have long (30+) year histories in the area, though head instructors have naturally changed over time. This has led to several guys, now mostly instructor levels who have either trained in those other schools or simply have made the contacts over time.

In my case I started working out with a local Kenpo school and they (generously) offered me free time and space in their studio to get my Kali group started. I also wound up with several instructor level practitioners from other schools in my Kali group and this has immediately opened up avenues and connections for both me and them. I often wind up referring students to those other groups if they are looking for something different than what I provide.

We have been kicking around the idea of a "seminar of the month" for instructors in the local area to participate, and while it really hasn't gotten off the ground, I am hopeful.
 
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SahBumNimRush

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I moved to the area just a couple of years ago and it quickly became apparent that there was a pretty good network of martial artists around. There are at least four schools that have long (30+) year histories in the area, though head instructors have naturally changed over time. This has led to several guys, now mostly instructor levels who have either trained in those other schools or simply have made the contacts over time.

In my case I started working out with a local Kenpo school and they (generously) offered me free time and space in their studio to get my Kali group started. I also wound up with several instructor level practitioners from other schools in my Kali group and this has immediately opened up avenues and connections for both me and them. I often wind up referring students to those other groups if they are looking for something different than what I provide.

We have been kicking around the idea of a "seminar of the month" for instructors in the local area to participate, and while it really hasn't gotten off the ground, I am hopeful.


That sounds like a perfect situation for you. My dilemma is that most of the schools around here offer "similar" arts. Various Karate schools that teach similar approaches to martial arts as my MDK TKD school. There is a Kung Fu school, an Aikido school, and a BJJ school in the area, but I am not familiar with any of these schools YET. I think that they could possibly offer a good avenue for the type of relationship you are talking about.
 

Blindside

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That sounds like a perfect situation for you. My dilemma is that most of the schools around here offer "similar" arts. Various Karate schools that teach similar approaches to martial arts as my MDK TKD school. There is a Kung Fu school, an Aikido school, and a BJJ school in the area, but I am not familiar with any of these schools YET. I think that they could possibly offer a good avenue for the type of relationship you are talking about.

The group schools that seem pretty friendly are Kempo, Aiki-jujutsu, Judo, Goju-ryu, Shudokan, and now my little group. Most of them (4/5) are not very commercial, sure they charge money to pay rent and keep the lights on, but nobody is trying to make a living off of it. This and the diversity of offered systems probably helps reduce any competitive attitude between the groups.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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The group schools that seem pretty friendly are Kempo, Aiki-jujutsu, Judo, Goju-ryu, Shudokan, and now my little group. Most of them (4/5) are not very commercial, sure they charge money to pay rent and keep the lights on, but nobody is trying to make a living off of it. This and the diversity of offered systems probably helps reduce any competitive attitude between the groups.

Yeah, we aren't a commercial dojang either.. . We all have day jobs, and don't expect a paycheck from teaching martial arts; just enough to keep the lights on. Wow, I'm jealous you have such a diverse martial arts community in your area!
 

searcher

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I live in a fairly remote area, so there are not a bunch of other schools in my immediate area. Of the ones in my area, I am very good friends with the instructors minus 2. I make it a point to keep on speaking terms with them so my school does not come off as arrogant or conceded. I have trained with many of them for my own personal growth, I do NOT expect them to reciprocate. If they do, great. If they do not, great. I want our school to stand on its abilities and not be the school that gets students by talking trash on the other schools or their instructors.

As far as one of the schools I mentioned, I am not sure it even counts as a school. It is run by a guy who has bounced around to several different school and claims to bea jujitsu guy(he has no formal rank). He runs it out of his barn and talks the local Y into letting him use the wrestling room for his "classes." Him and his guys show no discernable level of skill, but they like what they are doing. So, I guess that is alright. The onlyproblem I have with them is the trash talk they spread around about other schools and the instructors.

The other one I mentioned is the school I established at the Y and had yanked out from underneath me. The "instructors" are former students of mine and are happy with stabbing people in the back. Before I established the Y school, they were ata the commercial school I was teaching at. After I left to start the Y school, they got expelled from the commercial school for starting trouble. I should have known better than to allow them into the Y school. Live and learn I guess.
 

Kittan Bachika

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Had some success with it. Here are the things we have done with some success;

1.) Host "gatherings" ie instructors and students come out, put on a demo of techniques, maybe discuss a little bit about the history of the art etc. Kind of a meet and greet/demo.

2.) Host seminars. Basically, if we feel an instructor / style is competent in a particular area we invite them to teach a brief "seminar" on a particular subject. We did one where my school covered several "Kenpo" type topics, we had a Krav guy and his students do gun disarms and some ground stuff, and a couple of FMA guys do some knife stuff. We did this after we knew the instructors and everyone attitudes and competency.

3.) We have hosted / participated in small tournaments/sparring. You really gotta know the temperament of those involved.

The negatives we ran into are the following;

1.) Martial artists tend to be competitive and combative by nature
2. It's easy for people to feel threatened, competitive etc and it can be hard to keep everyone happy. This is particularly the case when one or more schools are commercial, and feel that a good demo or seminar by another school could take students away.

Completely agree.

Forgot which magazine and some details but awhile back there was an article about a well known martial artist from the old days who opened his first school in Ed Parker's neighborhood. When Ed Parker heard about it, he showed up with some chairs to lend to this martial artist.

Then the complete reverse happens. Of course everyone knows the famous story about the welcoming committee of sifus who showed up at Bruce Lee's kwoon when they found out that he was teaching.

There are a lot of groups of different types of martial artists working together in exchanging ideas and sharing resources. Sometimes it works out. Everyone gets along and helps each other out. Everyone is cool with each other. I know one teacher who is more than happy to allow different masters to do seminars in his school. Even at the risk of losing students. Of course the is teacher is already on friendly terms with them.

Then there are the disasters. Not sure if this still happens, awhile ago when a friend of mine first started training at his school, his master told him a really messed up story. There used to be another school of a different style nearby where the students of that school would harass his master's students.

After it happened one too many times, his Master called the other master up. It wasn't really a gong sau, but his master told the other master that if his students did not cut it out, he was going to have to teach them all a lesson in manners. After that, nobody bothered the master's students. The other school ended up closing down because no one was paying the rent.

It is great that martial artists want to get together and learn from each, but they should not be offended if other martial artists decide not to join in. Some people just want to be by themselves, which is cool. They should also keep in mind that they may not get along even if they do have a common bond. In fact they might hate each other.

Which reminds of me of this story.
http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1276939&postcount=35

Can you imagine these two guys meeting in real life?
 
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