Thursday 28 June 2012

Wicklow Martial Arts Project

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to train in martial arts this is your opportunity. Thee are lots of martial art, schools  , clubs, teachers, and groups in our community. All are doing good work. Each art ,any of them ,will have some thing good to offer. While saluting these groups and their work. I’d like to offer you another perspective on martial arts.
You see there are a group of martial arts teacher ( leaders) who inspired by individuals such as Tom Callos ,  promote and develop martial arts in a very holistic manner.
Most of us have heard that martial arts are not just about kicking or punching right? What then , do they (the arts) also offer ? Well , you might have seen martial arts  advertised as offering confidence , self esteem , fitness , real self defence. Usually,in terms of children’s lessons one might see added to the blurb the following : anti - bullying , discipline , respect , healthy eating. Really ?
Next time you make inquiries into martial arts lessons for yourself or your child do ask the instructor what they mean when they say they teach or offer the above benefits. Perhaps you might ask them to show you examples of their work.
My point is this. If you commissioned a painting wouldn’t you want to see some of the artist’s work ? Would you allow a contractor to commence work on your home without seeing the plans ?
By examples of work I don’t mean photographs on the wall portraying teachers/students clutching trophies. Nor do I mean a parade of  pre pubescent junior black bets. Nor do I mean a display of their martial prowess or that of their students.
Can the teacher show you how he/she has inspired the students to attain , live, understand and be educated in the benefits that the school advertises. Could the teacher explain to you how he/she has encouraged students to become leaders in their communities. Perhaps you might ask how the teacher has engaged with and actively become involved with the progression and development of each student.How does his curriculum allow for this? Can you see evidence.Real proof.
The martial arts community, with a few notable exceptions, has failed to live up to its billing. Yet it still bills its students. The  yearly tuition cost  in the average martial arts school here in Ireland ranges from € 600 - € 1500 . This doesn’t included belt testing fees  which could add another €100 - €300. Lets add in equipment purchase , on average , € 100 p.a. , then lets say association fees of  € 30 - €50 , then we have special events such as seminars or club competition , lets say another € 50 - €100. So at these conservative figures you could be paying € 880 - €2050 yearly for your participate at your club. Now I haven’t taken into account club merchandise , t-shirts , hoodies, caps , badges etc , lets not forget special programs ( black belt clubs) , private tuition , guest events etc. It all adds up to a considerable investment on your part.
Now I don’t know about you but to me € 1000- €3000 per year is a lot of money, particularly in these days of austerity. If I’m paying this out I want to get value , real value for my buck.
Now let me be clear there are many  teachers who work hard for their salary. They are trying to provide a good service and are doing so with integrity. I don’t begrudge any individual the right to earn a crust. However , if what is advertised in terms of benefits falls short of what is actually delivered then the teacher is short changing the students and letting himself/ herself down also.There should be an expectation on the part of the student that what was promised to be delivered will be. Likewise there should be a commitment on behalf of the teacher to provide this service.
Merely taking a student to black belt or coaching a student to win a tournament is not enough. These are transitory things. Remember the promise of confidence , health , fitness , self esteem, discipline , good diet ? I know black belts and tournament champions who display few if any of these qualities. What of compassion , empathy , activism , tolerance,  sense of justice , responsibility ? Rarely are these benefits advertised yet alone delivered.
I am offering an opportunity to a small group of individuals for a time to take lessons free of charge , no financial cost , to see what martial arts can really do for you . This is your time to invest in your self. If martial arts speak to you then you have found a great vehicle to inspire great change in your life. Let me explain to you also that I will never refuse tuition to anyone due to lack of ability to pay.
These classes will commence shortly in the Wicklow area. If you are interested then contact me on 089-4567533 email
If you need assistance locating  inspirational martial arts outside the Wicklow area please let know as I can connect you with some excellent instructors.

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