Change is the rule. You live long enough, you get your nose rubbed in that fact. The recognition that change is inevitable should lead to a reasoned, calm, and effective response to it. Griping just doesn’t get much done…griping doesn’t make change!
Take for example transitioning from a Martial Arts Club of 25 to 30 people to one numbering 170 or more.
As groups of people sharing an interest grow in numbers, there is a tendency to expect others to do the work that makes the organization function. When small, people step up and chip in. When large, the same people who step up are insufficient to manage all the necessary jobs. Costs increase at an alarming rate, so does the complaining.
So, a different order must be imposed. Systems put in place, needs & responsibilities determined and assigned. Curricula and instruction must become more uniform and consistent. Such change will conflict with existing notions of “How things ought to be”, and “We’ve always done it this other way”. The alternative is to be a storefront Dojo with high membership costs and limited hours with few programs.
Furthermore, costs and actions that have been invisible to members/students are not appreciated. Consider the follow few examples;
Black belts cost $60 and rank belts (red & white ones) cost $ 90, kyu belts $7
Most Karate Schools charge for each test, and charge hundreds of dollars for each Dan test! NIMMA has not charged for tests.
Traditions such as the presentation of a katana upon reaching Sandan can cost $ 300 and more.
Mortgage, electricity, heating fuel, taxes, supplies, employee salaries (the owner is often not even taking a salary!), maintenance costs, are all invisible to the average student. (Though one expects the Dan holders to have a glimmer.)
Fortunately there is a strong ethic of responsibility among the Black Belts of “giving back” and “paying forward” by teaching and passing on what they have learned. This is a vital glue that helps bind together a Martial Arts community such as ours. Just think of all the unpaid teaching hours donated to the dojo by all the Black Belts from high rank to the shodans.
So, when it seems that changes are upsetting and you feel put-upon, when you struggle to accept the changes gracefully, remember all that goes on behind the scenes to make a great Dojo like ours possible.
If you have a gripe, take it to the top. You know that you’ll be heard.
Forget the gripe and get a grip!
Brian Dillon What do You think? Let us know!