I hear this statement from time to time and I think its important for your students and parents to know exactly where their money is going. Often I hear Martial Arts compared to team sports, gymnastics, YMCA memberships, etc.. If you are comparing Martial Arts lessons to any of these activities you are making a fundamental mistake. Lets examine a typical Martial Arts Program, in this case the Active Martial Arts Program, for a moment so you can understand exactly what you are paying for.
Martial Arts is not a “sport” or an “activity”, its a lifestyle. For thousands of years entire civilizations and cultures have lived by and continue to live by the values our program is based on. Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Courage, Honor, and Community. Yes some aspects of martial arts have been taken a made into a sport, but that is not what our lessons are about. That is called a tournament and is completely different. We don't attend “practices” we attend lessons or classes. We don't have “games” we have testings. The entire purpose of our program is higher education. This is not a game, and we aren't just another afterschool "activity". To compare our program to something like swimming or gymnastics is like comparing a car to a roller skate.
What are the biggest concerns in our society right now?
1.Lack of Confidence and Self Esteem
2.Lack of Discipline and Self Discipline
3.Protecting yourself or loved ones
5.Poor role models
6.Obesity and poor health conditions
7.Lack of respect for others and one's self.
This is a very bold statement, and I challenge you to prove me wrong.
Our program is the only program in the world that address all these concerns in 2-3 lessons per week in 1 hour or less.
Go ahead, pull out the yellow pages or google and see what you can find. The only thing that comes even remotely close is the Military which is not an option for children and is a far greater commitment than a few lessons per week for an adult.
Lets now focus on the benefits of martial arts and exactly how we accomplish this because you deserve to know exactly what you are paying for:
1. Our reward/ranking system improves self esteem. Every time you earn a new belt, stripe, etc.. you know you have worked hard for it and it wasn't given to you. Through board breaking, sparring against larger classmates, and performing in front of others you will learn to handle stressful situations without relying on teamwork or others. Martial arts is all about YOU. We make the weak strong, and the strong even stronger! Nobody sits on the bench in our program and there are no star players.
2. Our class structure teaches Self discipline. For the past twelve years I have had parents coming to me at least once a week thanking me for doing what they have the most difficult time doing: making their child sit still, making their child listen and follow directions, setting boundaries, sticking to them, and holding them accountable for their actions. We train students to have self discipline. Discipline is where I tell you to do something and you do it because I said so. Self-Discipline is when you do something on your own because you know you should. See the difference? “Mr. Molley how do you get him to listen! I don't know how you do it!” Well, I know how I do it. Spending years studying child development and social dynamics, and practicing every day through Martial Arts Teaching.
3. Our program teaches you Self Defense skills that could save your life. I will repeat that: Save your life. I have had more than one student placed in a life threatening situation and thank me personally for giving them the skills/ and or confidence to protect themselves. Words cannot describe how I feel when a parent comes to me to tell me how their child stood up to the bully at school. The words many of them used were “Priceless Training”. Don't take my word for it, watch one of my students who fought off an armed attacker in a home invasion last year in Monroe. Read the news.
4. Our program teaches you to deal with stress in a healthy way. Stress is normal, and we teach you to manage it in many ways such as proper breathing, relaxing, learning to handle a failure/defeat, and confronting problems before they become huge problems. In fact, one of the reasons we bow when entering the training floor is to symbolize emptying the mind of all the problems going on outside the training floor. Forget your issues and focus on the here and now because that is all that matters.
5. We provide positive role models. We don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Our instructors undergo criminal background checks and are selected based on character and not simply skill. We are not professional athletes paid millions of dollars to play a game. We are professional life coaches and role models for the students. I take this very seriously and have removed some of the most physically talented martial artists from the program in the past because they did not meet our standards. I don't care if you can fly through the air and break bricks with one finger, if you can't follow the tenets you will not be an instructor, and I may not even take you as a student.
6. Our lessons will get you in great shape, and educate you on how to take care of your body for the long term. We do not develop short term athletes such as Football, UFC fighters, etc.. Our program is designed to develop lifetime martial artists. In fact a university study was done on our specific style of Taekwondo (which our striking program is based in) with years of research into body mechanics and hip/posture alignment. Many traditional methods can cause injuries over time. We have improved upon these techniques and have a program that is designed to be safe throughout your lifetime. I have had black belts at my family's school that were in their 70's and have even trained students in their 90's. My original Taekwondo instructor is in his 70's and is still in amazing shape looking decades younger than his age. The most dangerous and hardest contact you will receive in our program is if you trip and fall on the ground, and you can do that just walking to the mailbox. I doubt you have 1.5 inch olympic grade Judo padded training mats by your mailbox.
7. We teach respect for others and respect for one's self. From the moment you walk through the door and are greeted by an instructor (by name) and are expected to say “Hello sir/mam!” to the moment we end class by bowing to the instructors and saying “Thank you sir/mam!” you will realize how much respect is a part of our lessons. We bow to partners and others as a greeting and mutual sign of respect. When I was training in Korea I watched an entire elementary school line up in attention as they got on the bus, even bowing to the bus driver! A complete stranger commented that one of my 4 year old Wolf Pup students was on the playground and helped her daughter down the slide because she was afraid. He looked her in the eyes and shook her hand with a polite greeting that is part of our curriculum. Again, nothing can match our lessons of respect.
8. You will enjoy training because its fun! Why not surround yourself with others who are living healthy lifestyles, improving their lives, and having a great time. In the children's classes it may look like they are just playing a game but I assure you it has an important purpose that will be the subject of an entirely different post.
So again, I challenge you to find something that matches what we do, period. There is no comparison. I am not even talking about the price. I remember my first semester of College cost me $600 for books. Just the books! That's almost 6 months of tuition in our program! I have asked a question to the hundreds of black belts I have trained and their parents. It is the same question my instructor asked me. I am getting teary eyed just thinking about it...
“If I were to give you $100,000 dollars, but everything you have learned throughout your training was forgotten, and every single memory of the journey disappeared. Would you do it?”
When he asked me this it took me 5 seconds to say, “No sir”. Then he upped it to $1,000,000. I really thought about this for a while because that's a lot of money. Eventually I said “No Sir.” That was a defining moment in my life. The moment I realized that martial arts training was priceless.
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