Who We Are-A Traditional Martial Art School
Within the Scottsdale Martial Arts Center, Inc., a commitment to tradition is deeply ingrained. The karate program and other arts offered here remain staunchly traditional. Yet, the question arises: What truly characterizes a traditional approach? Surprisingly, even among traditional martial art school owners, this is a subject of debate, and some go as far as to argue about who embodies the most tradition. This may sound incredible, but it’s a reality.
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What is a Traditional Martial Art School
In my perspective, a traditional martial art school encompasses two fundamental elements. Firstly, it boasts a lineage that traces back to antiquity, complete with unique protocols. Secondly, it holds a distinctive philosophy governing its perception and handling of specific situations. Today, certain martial art schools claim to have amalgamated the best techniques from various sources into a superior system. These contemporary establishments market themselves as modern schools focusing solely on the most effective “moves,” discarding what might seem like insignificant training. Regrettably, these nontraditional schools fail to grasp the overarching theme present in traditional schools—a theme rooted in the necessity of these techniques for survival in eras past. Training systems were formulated based on practical success, which justifies the inclusion of seemingly mundane drills in the traditional curriculum. However, these factors alone don’t suffice to classify a school as traditional. True traditional schools embrace a unique philosophy and culture.
The Potential Evil of Money
One aspect pertains to the school’s financial approach. If monetary concerns become paramount, the school loses its essence. Nontraditional and contemporary schools often employ contracts to maximize profits. Their focus is more on financial gains than on fostering genuine student development. This is not to say that they don’t care about their students; rather, they operate with different priorities. Naturally, they might never openly admit this.
Rather than teaching the profound discipline of sticking to decisions that align with one’s best interests, some schools resort to contracts to motivate students to continue training. Achieving this through skilled, passionate instructors is a complex task compared to relying on the leverage of a contract. Additionally, less experienced and enthusiastic instructors frequently turn to entertainment as a teaching strategy. This brings us to the second point: teaching tactics. Nontraditional schools emphasize entertainment over discipline. This approach stems from instructors lacking experience in teaching discipline and a desire to avoid the discomfort that arises when instilling discipline. It’s easier to entertain students with quick rewards, allowing them to do as they please, rather than teaching them the harsh truths of life. Thus, they motivate students through swift rank progression. This leads to situations where six-year-olds hold black belts, a common occurrence in such schools. These establishments cater to the emotional desires of individuals, failing to instill true discipline.
In contrast, discipline is the cornerstone of a traditional school. How can one defend themselves or navigate the real world without it? Imparting discipline, particularly to children, requires substantial expertise and experience. Decades are spent learning how to understand students, selecting the right words, and delivering them in ways that motivate action, even when students are resistant. Instructors must also possess the experience and courage to handle the discomfort that arises while nurturing discipline. This includes telling students they’re not ready for the next belt or addressing concerned parents. Traditional schools teach students to handle setbacks and life’s fluctuations, instilling resilience. This process involves time, hard work, and facing disappointment—entertainment-based training systems can’t achieve this. Although traditional schools may have entertaining aspects, such as the use of humor in it’s teachings, entertainment isn’t the means of teaching discipline.
A Sense of Accomplishment
Lastly, a profound sense of accomplishment accompanies the training in ancient ways. Understanding these practices fosters respect for tradition. Although hard to articulate, this sentiment is authentic. Rank progression hinges on time and age, as true learning takes time; quick knowledge acquisition only yields a false sense of reality. If standards are high and techniques demanding, time and effort are requisite. In a traditional school, climbing the ranks demands extensive time investment. Students receive guidance and philosophy to cultivate a strong work ethic and perseverance toward their goals. This education cultivates not only skilled martial artists but also equips practitioners with life success tools. Life is inherently challenging and unfair, and students require genuine skills, not illusory ones.
In conclusion, not all traditional schools are equal, and contemporary schools with long-term success are scarce. The Scottsdale Martial Arts Center has thrived for nearly 40 years. We are the longest-standing martial art school in Scottsdale, devoid of binding contracts and the spectacle of six-year-old black belts. The traditional path proves effective.
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