Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What membership doesn't do for you

The phenomenon of martial arts organization membership is kinda funny to me. Some folks see organization as this official recognition thing, where you pay your dues and thereby earn the right to use the organization's good name in your advertising.
Others see organization as this loose, organic affiliation thing where you might work out and talk more with members from clubs A, B, & C more than members from clubs D, E, & F until it suits you to avoid club B people and hang out some with club D people.
To folks that think more organically, the other folks sometimes seem like kool-aid drinking cult members, while the kool-aid drinkers often see the other folks as disloyal opportunists.
Funny thing is how organizations separate people rather than uniting them.
Off the top of my head, here are a handful of things that being a member of a martial arts organization does NOT do for you.
  • It doesn't make you any cooler (except in the opinion of the leaders and perhaps some members of that organization)
  • It doesn't make you any more "official" to call yourself a "Gracie Barra" school or an "Aikikai affiliate", or a "USJA club" or whatever...
  • It doesn't make your practice any more authentic. Either you practice and get better or you don't.
  • It doesn't make you any more skillful. Martial arts is not something that someone else can do for you, and even if they could in some sense do it for you, they couldn't sell it to you in the form of a certificate or license.
  • It doesn't allow you to tap into the skills or wisdom of some long-dead instructor, founder, guru, or practitioner
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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