I think that I’ve got a company that has motivated people who have found inspiration in the challenges of my curriculum – official and unofficial. In fact, they can’t get hired into my company without a very long audition that demonstrates their motivation. Their inspiration feeds their motivation to make a wonderful cycle of personal growth. Another quote is to “Hire character. Train skill.” (Peter Schutz) as skill can be taught but character can’t be. I only want people of character to join me in working on these skills.
Yes, I will use this analogy of working for me because my whole brand and success is based upon how my students present themselves in life. The skills that they develop in my martial arts classes are not so much about learning personal protection as they are about learning about themselves.
This is an important distinction. Until recently, the past two years, I hadn’t been presenting my teaching well. The martial arts classes teach a system that has developed over time that focuses on specific techniques taught for a specific purpose (use) with acknowledgement being given to the lineage that created it.
This is not the same as a personal protection program. These focus on violence and how to survive it. They teach things that can keep you safe in an ugly world. My martial arts classes can teach the concepts and, even, some strategies for violence but it isn’t the same thing. The benefit of a martial arts class does come from being able to apply the martial arts principles, strategies and concepts into daily life.
The daily life applications help show these motivated people that there are things bigger than their job to believe in. The students as a group find ways to serve each other and the school, which then leads them to seeing how they can serve within their community (including other special groups that they belong to). I truly believe this as very few people decide to just “quit” our classes. They have life issues that get in the way. Many find their way back but it isn’t as important as them taking these applications with them.
Last year around this time, I received a graduation announcement from a student who hadn’t been in class to five years. It had an extra little handwritten note from both him and his mother asking me to stop during the party. I went without expecting much and learned that he had left class at 13 years old to focus on music and academics. He used the principles and concepts from Taekwondo, which are really the same in all martial arts just with different words, to reach his academic goals. His success had lead him to starting an engineering program.
I also have a student who is gone during the school year as he works on his Bachelor’s degree in physics, which is changed from his original idea of engineering, and returns for the summers. The chaos of life settles for a bit when he gets to train in Taekwondo again. I just don’t think I want to be around when he and my 2nd Dan Haidong Gumdo PhD candidate in Astrophysics have a conversation.
I have students from a wide range of skills and careers. They all come back and continue training because they see how much it helps their world beyond the physical fitness. I greatly enjoy investing in students. They don’t always see it but their effort and development is also their investment in me.