One thing for sure in Martial Arts plus Health and Fitness is scam artists and a$$holes. When your customer tends to be somebody looking for answers to personal confidence, weakness, body image, etc… you get predators. A$$holes are like sharks that sense blood in the water. They are going to set up shop, create a great pitch, sink their teeth into a victim, then provide an inferior product but make their members think they are getting elite access.
This is the way of the world. To combat this nonsense we have to get real info out about our industry. Fighters don’t mean a school is legit, black belts are not always good teachers, and lots of members doesn’t mean the school is good. Good marketing and knowingly deceiving people tends to pack most schools.
The old way of doing things was to create an organization that was exclusive. BJJ still does this in lots of circles but for the most part, exclusive has gone covert. Exclusive means that you can’t train with anyone else once you join a group. The penalty used to vary from group to group. Some would kick you’re a$$, others would just close the door and not let you back in and some did a bit of both. I grew up in that system and I fell prey to it as a trainer too for some time. But then I woke up and realized that this is America, we are free to make choices, and that adults can do what they damned well please. I now look at it like this; if I do a good job and treat my members fair – they will stay. If I slack or screw them over – they will go. Most people are going to come and go regardless of what you do. It is the nature of the beast. If you were good, most will come back down the line.
The covert way most guys try to pull off an exclusive is to simply badmouth all threats. It is the “They suck, we are better” philosophy. If I tell you somebody sucks, I believe it. I am not scared of you leaving me for somebody else. We aren’t dating, we are training.
I have had relationships with other schools that needed my help training athletes. When they felt they needed me, I was amazing. Once they got to a point where they thought they figured out was I was training for themselves, I all of a sudden sucked. Again, it’s the nature of the beast. Black belts and certifications tend to come with egos and attitudes.
It would be nice if everyone could just do their own thing well and have some confidence in what they do. This would take away the petty attacks and leave the competition in the marketplace and on the mats.
I am good at what I do. I know it factually. My track record for success is sound. I know what I am good at and I know what others are better at. I am pretty honest and straight forward about it. I pitch what I do and how I do it. The consumer can make a choice between me and anyone else. I am cool with it.
What is the point of all this? Cut thru the nonsense and get down to the basics of where you want to train. Forget about fighters unless you want to be one. Don’t get mesmerized by rank and certification, watch these people do work and do some research. Realize that lots of members tends to mean less attention. If you want to get lost in the shuffle and just be able to associate with a particular crew, go to the big box and have fun buying the t-shirt.
Lastly, know that Crossfit, TKD, BJJ, Muay Thai, Karate…. They are all just names. It is the coach, sensei, trainer, teacher, etc…. that matters. You are paying to be taught by a person not a style. Make sure the person is somebody you want to learn from and that they represent something you agree with.
Back to work….
Killer B Combat Sports Academy