Monday, September 21, 2015

Free Martial Arts...

Greed or Quality Control?

That was going to be the title of this post at first.  Or Altrusism vs. Pettiness

I have a martial conundrum.  

I was recently approached by a very well meaning martial arts instructor who wanted help in developing/designing a self-defense class for his martial arts school (where he is a lead instructor, not an owner).

I agreed to meet with him and see what ideas he had.  I firmly believe that the 'end-game' in martial arts should be to help others, and in many ways, that should be reward enough.

I met with him and we sat down to chat about martial arts, specifically self-defense.  

This instructor is very skilled in his chosen martial art.  I had to give him credit, he knows his stuff.  Just as importantly, he also knows what he does not know. He had very little idea where to start with a self-defense specific class.  He wanted to draw on my experience and skill set to help.   

After chatting for the better part of an hour, a couple of things became quite clear.

1. He really did have no idea where to start.
2. He wanted me to provide all the material.  

So, when I say he wanted me to provide all the material, I mean just that.  He wanted to do design, develop, and maybe even deliver the product once.  Or show him how to deliver it.

So what's the problem?

I find myself struggling with how to handle this. 

On one hand, I want to help people learn how to defend themselves from real violence.

On the other, I don't want to just give away all my material to someone and walk away.  I've spent a long time working on researching violence, selecting and tweaking effective techniques and developing teaching methodologies to put together what I believe to be a realistic and effective program.

This is still a work in progress but the major 'guts' of it already exist.  

To this instructor's credit, again, he was interesting in having me deliver the program the first time, and not for free.  He wanted to watch and then take over teaching it from that point on.

I'm uncomfortable with this.  I don't know him that well and I have concerns he wouldn't deliver it in the way that I would.  A good self-defense program is reliant not only on techniques and concepts, but in the instructor's ability to deliver it and have the lessons 'stick'.  If you can't retain what you've learned past the lesson, it's of no value.

Am I being petty?  Greedy?  Have I lost sight of the true meaning of the martial arts?  

Or am I just concerned about people not receiving training that they could actually use to save their lives or protect them or their loved ones from injury?

I don't want a watered down version of my material being delivered.  

Long term readers of this blog will know that I've often pondered whether or not it's ok to make money from the martial arts.  In the spirit of openness, I would like one day to be able to supplement my income somewhat through teaching self-defense.  

So, in some ways, this could be an opportunity to show my stuff, as it were, in an established club. But...

Luckily, I have a bit of time to decide what to do.  The instructor in question didn't really even know who the target audience was, how long the program would be, if it would be an ongoing thing every week or a program with a start and end date, for example 6 weeks, once a week etc.

The target audience changes the way in which a program is delivered.  I would take a different approach teaching seasoned martial artist than I would people who have done little or no training at all.  

I've left it that he needs to put together a shell of what he wants to deliver, and to who, before I could really weigh in on it.

This much I know.  I want to help, in some capacity.  But should I turn over the keys to the kingdom? (wow, I'm being dramatic...).


Should I just say no?
Should I consult on his material only?
Should I give him my whole program and hope for the best?
Should I deliver it once but not turn over the supporting material and hope for the best?
Should I give a one day seminar and see if they want to hire me for the rest?

Or are there other options?

Should I copy-write my material?  Register a business?  Develop a train-the-trainer program?

Am I losing sight of the big picture?  Am I over thinking all this?