Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What can a large organization do for you?

Pretty much whichever martial art you get into, there is the potential for you to be affilitated with some large regional, national, or international organization or 'governing body.' Generally, you don't get to pick your affiliation when you first get started - you start working out with whatever instructor is local and convenient and agreeable to you, and if you want to keep working out or ranking in that club then you join whatever organization that club is affiliated with.
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But then again, after you have been in an organization for a while and gotten a good dose of the ego and politics involved (Like anything, there are ups and downs to organization membership), you might be on the lookout for some other organization to get involved with.
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I thought I'd give you a list of the things (off the top of my head) that an organization might provide - potential benefits to belonging to a martial arts organization.
  • standards, curriculum, and examples of best practices
  • rank validation
  • connections to other instructors and students - networking
  • connection to a tradition
  • educational resources
  • seminars
  • a source of guest-instructors to teach at your club
  • legal protection/advice
  • insurance
  • teacher training/certification
  • validation for the way you do things
  • economies of scale
  • a common culture/band of brothers
  • competition format/structure
  • business model/training
  • advertising
How about you guys? What benefits to organization membership have I missed? How many of these benefits would it take to make it worth putting up with the inherent disadvantages to martial arts organizations?
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5 comments:

  1. I am not in an organization.

    Sorry to be contrary Patrick.

    rank validation - no one excepts your rank except you, your teachers and students anyhow.

    networking - there is also the internet, phonebook..etc

    connection to a tradition - if you train you are already part of a tradition.

    educational resources - like??

    seminars - I go to all kinds of seminars

    a source of guest-instructors to teach at your club - there are lots of ways to find those.

    legal protection/advice - Sure maybe

    teacher training/certification
    - the only one who accepts your certification are you, your teacher and your students.

    validation for the way you do things - That is silly. Efficient motion validates technique.

    Walk in Peace friend! You are now part of my online dojo organization!

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  2. My experience with organizations is that they seem to work best for whomever is at the top. Personally, I'm in favor of the one teacher/one school sort of arrangement.

    There's a LOT said about organizations at 24 Fighting Chickens!

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  3. That's cool, Strange, contradict away - I'll either clarify or retract... Regarding some of your comments...

    "rank validation - no one excepts your rank except you, your teachers and students anyhow... teacher training/certification
    - the only one who accepts your certification are you, your teacher and your students."


    You're sorta right - kinda. But who in the judo world would not accept a Kodokan-trained black belt (for instance) at their dojo? There's a lot of problems with both organization and certification, but on theface of it, I don't think that it would be an especially bad thing to band together into a group where one of the benefits was being taught how to teach better.

    educational resources - like??

    Well, for one thing, videos of a certain instructor. If only org members can get those videos then that counts as an educational resource and a benefit of membership.



    validation for the way you do things - That is silly. Efficient motion validates technique.

    Efficient motion, while nearly the holy grail for you and me, certainly does NOT validate our practices. If it did, then people would watch our videos and magically fall in love with what we're doing. Efficient motion does work in our context but there are other kinds of validation - like social validation. joining an organization where a lot of people that you like and respect are members lends social validity to that organization's practices.


    BTW - I enjoyed our phone convo last nite - sorry I was terse but the wife was calling me to supper and my phone was dying...

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  4. How about points in a contest? Or even getting to go to certain contests?

    The political nature of the arts can't be denied. I wish it weren't that way, but not only being in the organization but having yourself or your teacher highly ranked in it can make a difference.

    If you're "in" then your abilities are vouched for to a certain extent. If you're "outside" then who knows who you are?

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  5. I agree with a lot of pat's and eric's comments -- personally, i think folks just naturally clump up -- for better or worse-- its a instinctive tribal thing that often suffers from overthinking and high drama -- if ya feel like clumping , clump, if not don't -- i'm sure it works well either way

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