I am NOT a fitness instructor! My martial arts are NOT a fitness class!
Recently, I found a posting for a Martial Arts Instructor position with a major fitness center. The requirements were listed as: (copied from the job posting listed today – 6/4/2014)
– High School diploma or GED preferred
– Six months to one year of martial arts experience
This seems to be just a bit degrading. If the fitness industry can promote programs with this little knowledge and experience, what does that make our society believe the martial arts are? How can the core principles and concepts of the martial arts be taught, developed and understood when the instructor barely has enough knowledge to do the techniques? This is one major worry that I have about how the martial arts are presented…continued…within our society.
Another major worry is the plentiful list of schools who do “business” well but don’t have any real knowledge of their arts. The acceptance by our society that “if they’re a Black Belt, they must know what they’re doing” is a horrible trap that will ruin the martial arts. The number of schools who play upon this as a method of convincing students and recruits is huge. The business of the martial arts recognizes the need for an increasing student base to earn money. The “Black Belt is a Black Belt in Everything” allows new programs learned by watching DVDs and reading books to be added to the school and bring in more money. An easy way to watch out for this is to ask the instructor about his lineage. “Real” teachers will tell you without hesitation. The others will have replies such as “it’s a secret or special program” or “why does lineage matter”.
My biggest fear from these items is that people will not understand that the one bad experience is not the whole of the martial arts. Once they have a bad experience, they’ll never try again. A different teacher of the same art or trying a completely different art may be completely skipped. In a society that argues Chevrolet or Ford, Domestic or Import, Harley or Honda, how can we NOT be losing some of the greatest potential and world changing leaders because of fraud and ego.
I have felt that working within academia is the best way to change the fitness industry flaw. Creating the degrees that truly represent the work that illustrates our efforts. The myriad of educational subjects that non-martial artists never understand or see such as anatomy, biomechanics, history, philosophy, conflict & crisis studies, problem solving and personal development (emotional & social).