Martial Arts School Owners: A Lesson in a Kind of Martial Arts That is Essential –or Non-Essential
In the Western World, and most places on the planet, learning to read is seen as an essential skill. Likewise, learning to swim is a skill most, if not all, children are taught, both for enjoyment and basic survival skills. Basic math is an essential skill, as is learning basic personal hygiene. There are a number of other skills almost everyone learns, but at the moment martial arts is not on that list.
Learning the martial arts is, for the most part, along the lines of learning to play the guitar or learning to play chess, both are non essential skills that are interesting and maybe have the potential to alter the course of a someones life, but they fall better under the category of cool things to do if we have the time and/or the interest.
Learning the martial arts is, however, in a position, unlike learning to play the guitar or chess, to become an essential skill. By essential I mean one that every parent wants their child to learn. The martial arts sit in a position where it could become something that everyone should, or must, participate in, at one time or another in their life.
What are the key components, the changes, which could take the martial arts from a non-essential skill to an essential one? This rests on what martial art instructors teach, how they actually live, what their objectives are, how they communicate, and what their students learn to DO with the skills they impart.
To Be an Essential Skill a Gap Must Be Filled
For the martial arts to become an essential skill, it will have to fill a gap that currently exists in the educational world. It will have to provide some kind of essential life skill education that is not being covered in public and private schools. For the martial arts to become an essential skill it will have to provide something to people that the Government cannot provide, and that parents cannot provide either.
This should not be too hard, as the educational system is forever paring down its subjects, it is now designed to give young people the absolute essential work skills they will need to survive in today’s marketplace. Music programs are being cut, art is being cut, and physical education (PE) is being cut, and in many cases, any effort to include some kind of spiritual or philosophical education becomes such a minefield of controversy that it too is left behind for more essential subjects. This is OK, as the private sector, martial arts schools, can help public education become more focused on things it can do very well.
Here are 3 things, suggestions, to help school owners and instructors to begin the process of making the martial arts an essential skill:
1. Every instructor should be an example of perfect fitness, along the lines of Ernie Reyes, Sr., Rickson Gracie, Dan Inosanto, and Jhoon Rhee. They should live the way of health, and in doing so teach it.
2. Instructors should be living examples of how to cope with stress and how to deal with unhealthy anger and conflict. They should live the way of mental self discipline and control, and in doing so teach it.
3. Instructors should be some of the most proactive and involved community contributors. They should live the idea of out of the dojo, and into the world, and in doing so teach it.
To take the martial arts from non essential to essential, we the teachers of the martial arts, must show the world how important health, attitude, and action are to the martial arts. We must live the philosophy that shows people how the martial arts can help build a better and more peaceful world. It is not fighting like a black belt champion that is most important, it is in living like a champion. This is essential to our long term success.