Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I have a list of rules that has come down through a few people. It is great, and I refer to it often in class. For this post, I want to look at Rule #16. It reads as follows and has commentary (in italics) by my good friend, Terry Trahan:
I am so dangerous I can afford to be polite, reasonable, and mellow.
Only the weak, insecure, and those who live in fear need to woof. Always treat others with respect, strive to understand all points of view, and never let yourself be controlled by negative emotions.
I thought of this rule outside of class during a conversation about teaching and training the martial arts. The subject came up that the public persona of a martial artist can be that of a thug (their word) or a person looking to prove themselves. The person who brought this up had studied an art in college and was saying how the majority of his classmates became more gentile over time and sought resolution over aggression. They did, however, have the ability and willingness to use what they knew should they need to. That being said, this doesn’t mean there aren’t people with Cobra Kai attitudes out there, they just don’t come from my school.
Because of the nature of what we do, I took away a lesson long ago from Marc “Animal” MacYoung about injecting humor into the lesson to keep things from getting to that point where aggression is the overruling emotion. One other lesson about humor I learned along the way is that humor helps the brain retain more information because you relax and things happen more easily without the tensions of various stresses. Ultimately, we want to enjoy and have fun with what we do, so we have a good time while training with the understanding that we are doing something Rory Miller refers to as the practice of “creating cripples and corpses.” Dire, I know.
The further down the road of studying the martial arts you go, the more you come to understand Rule #16 and see that it is not a statement of contempt but of compassion.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
It is still and will always be our desire that we have a group of willing participants who share their knowledge with the group freely as has been our experience in the past.
We are also going to be focusing on Southeast Asian martial arts such as kali and pencak silat as well as more personal survival tactic methodologies such as krav maga and other no nonsense-type programs. This is not to say that we are excluding members by any means, but merely reflecting who is still active in the group. There was also some reticence expressed by those in other systems may not have fully understood the intent of the group and are certainly welcome to come back on board as we are still open to what other systems can show us.
Some archival papers are descriptive of what we were striving to attain with the group. We feel they are still the driving factors of KSMA. Among those things were:
- KSMA is a vehicle of discovery and liberation
- KSMA is a honbu, or non-related family (it certainly has been that, right down to the family squabbles)
- KSMA is a tribe of common threads, interests and drive to maintain the group
- KSMA is a reference resource willing to share any and all information
Along with those items above, KSMA is a place for you to receive recognition of your hard work either via the neutral third party aspect of the group or as a supplement to your existing rank if that is something you need or desire. This is important for those who may be outside of traditional schools. We strive to maintain the integrity of your art and the group and completely understand the limitations we put on membership will keep our numbers low. That said, if someone inquires about the group or one of its members, they will know that they are getting world class contacts and information.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Starting with the Basics
What’s a school without students? When students are added, the default setting for them is “active.” There is an “inactive” status you can choose as well if someone goes on a hiatus from your school. If they don’t return after a certain amount of time, you can delete their profile (as long as they are marked inactive). Under each student’s profile, you can input a variety of information. There are fields for the obvious stuff: name, address. You can also add personal information like birthday, class attendance, images and more. A catch-all note section is also provided for whatever you may need outside of the standard sections.
The system includes an option to have multiple locations, and you can indicate where the student trains. You can also input the ranking of your system then apply that system to students’ profiles to track their progress. This is super easy once you assign the system to the student, you can click a plus button next to the hours earned, and it adds your default length of class.
Tracking the Benjamins
Critical to keeping any school rolling is money. The Dojo Manager makes payment schedules and transactions a breeze. You are able to add transactions which generate a printable invoice for each student. The invoice can also indicate when their dues expire if you work on a dues basis.
Another section which I find very useful is for visitors and leads. I have the option of tracking everyone who has contacted me about the school and do a follow up if they provide that information. This is the perfect place to track how the student heard about your school: web, friend, advertisement, etc. This is an excellent way to track return on investment (ROI) to know you are spending your advertising/marketing dollars wisely.
Beyond Regular Classes
If you host seminars there is an Events page. This page also doubles as a place to track testing schedules.
That wraps up the pages I have had a chance to explore, but you may have a purpose for the other pages which include: Expenses (track that money), Bulk Actions and Reports. The My Account page is for your pertinent information such as standard class duration (this is linked to the plus button to track time on the mat for each student). There is another tab on the Account page that allows you to set up standard transactions. This is handy as well if you have several payment options.
All in all, I can recommend this system as an economical way to get a handle on part of the management side of your school’s activities. Oh, and by the way, it is donation based. Help the brother out and kick him some greenbacks if you find the Dojo Manager as cool as I do!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
In the late 90s, Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts (KSMA) began in an environment of rancor and mudslinging on early internet forums and gossip at gatherings. The idea that the message (the arts) was getting lost behind egos and politics led Brandt Smith to form KSMA. It would be an open community free of the bickering which was becoming more the norm than training. It would be tribal in the sense that everyone had a role regardless of skill level. Those roles would be apparent at the times we would get together or be borne out of the meetings. Ultimately, the knowledge would be shared amongst the group. We could be sounding boards for ideas and bodies to toss around and experiment with. So the group began and continued on.
Over the years, KSMA has strived to maintain that open atmosphere and welcomed those interested in coming under the canopy as long as they met the few criteria established when the group was founded. In return, KSMA would provide the “necessary administrative and mental support toward the associated instructors.” The original intent was to avoid a headmaster-type person and not have a “tiered structure, but a brotherhood.” Since Jay was handed the reins in 2006, he has tried to maintain this style of organization and keep the conversations between us going. This can be difficult because of the various factors which hinder us in the modern age: Distance, timing and availability.
Look Where We Are
KSMA of the present is a loose group insomuch that we are there for each other if needed. Many of us have personally experienced the willingness to help each other reach an understanding with the skills and knowledge of fellow members. Most of us have a primary focus combined with a love of learning. How far we reach beyond our core art is based on personal preference. We respect this and appreciate it. We are thankful of all the relationships which have developed over the years and look back with fondness, and some regret, toward those who have left who helped us grow. We honor those who shared the information by letting others know from where that knowledge came.
One attempt to move the group forward was to establish the Brothers in the Arts inner core for the group. This could be best described as a hub to the wheel that is the group. Perhaps, it was a step toward the tiers that may seem outside the original intent of the group slightly, but it reflected the actuality of the growth of the group and is a realization of what was a original goal: “To have a number of representatives across the nation that reflected the intent of the group.” It was also an attempt to have more input across the board in an effort to avoid the aforementioned headmaster, as one of the reasons for founding the group was to provide sources of research and development in the martial arts. Another reason includes being able to offer options to those seeking knowledge, having a sense of brotherhood in sharing openly what we know and learning from others which may lead to insights in what we do individually. Having this group is a natural expression of KSMA. This group helped to establish focal points for the group. This had a positive effect of broadening the circle of members and giving us places to get together on a regular basis.
The Road Ahead
Without form, there is no path. As KSMA has been loosely formed in the past and becoming looser each year, it was decided to take our organization one step further. It is out hope that with a little structure, we can take KSMA to the next level.
Our vision of how to help our organization survive and thrive looks like this.
Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts is dedicated to further study and the education of interested parties in various systems of martial arts and Personal Survival Tactics and give support as needed to members. Members are obligated to share their knowledge as well as learn. All parties involved with the group shall be upstanding citizens of their communities.
The group will be led by Terry Trahan and Jay Carstensen acting as Co-directors. In the event they reach an impasse, Bobbe Edmonds will act as third party intermediary. Terry and Jay will oversee the group and make decisions regarding its activities, membership and direction.
As a member of KSMA, you will receive -
A support network
Recognition of hard work and dedication
Opportunity to train with a wide range of people
Discounts for sanctioned events
Access to a variety of instructors
Inclusive environment for exploration and expansion of your art
Electronic newsletter featuring news and technique breakdowns
Access to the group FTP site
Membership requirements are as follows.
All potential members will be met face-to-face
Attend at least 1 KSMA sanctioned event annually
Learn, develop and share your knowledge
Train regularly and consistently - You don’t have to train what we train, but you have to train
Maintain regular contact with the co-directors
Be good - Don’t be a dick.
Use of the terms and logos for Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts, KSMA, Aneh Palu Kali-Silat, and Personal Survival Tactics need written permission from the co-directors
Members will be required to attend at the KSMA annual event. If you can’t make it, then host your own. If you host your own, we will discuss who will teach and what will be taught. We don’t want these things to break the bank as we are still of the mindset to keep things affordable. Eventually, there will be a “pot” for KSMA to draw from. The money will be put toward various aspects for the advancement of the group, such as assisting in offsetting costs for seminars or helping to fund various tangibles like certificates, member passbook logs and swag. The fee structure is below.
The Study Group Program has two options. The KSMA Instructor Development Program is for anyone wishing to learn Personal Survival Tactics or Aneh Palu Kali-Silat as taught at seminars by Terry and Jay and teach it to interested parties with KSMA endorsement. This will be accomplished with a combination of distance learning and seminars for those not in the same locale as Terry or Jay.
Upon entering the Instructor Development Program, the student will be given the first level of the curriculum they choose to study and will be given permission to form the Study Group. Video progress updates will be sent to either Terry or Jay to be reviewed and comments made for the student. Subsequent levels will be offered when the Study Group Leader meets the skill sets laid out in each level. Leaders of the Study Groups will also meet the requirements of KSMA membership to maintain eligibility. Those who train with the Study Group Leader that have not had a face-to-face meeting with either Terry or Jay are not members of KSMA until after such time as an introduction can take place and they meet the criteria laid out for inclusion in the group.
The second Study Group option is for people who are in an art other than what we offer. We see this as a research and development lab to take your art to whatever level you wish. We will provide insight, critique, and encouragement in an environment where you can delve deeper without judgement. You can pick any aspect of your art to explore for in-depth study, provide an idea of what you look to discover and send a video of your study. If desired, we will share this with the whole group for discussion, otherwise we can provide feedback on your premise and findings to help you grow within your art.
The Brothers in the Arts group will cease to exist and those wishing to be active in the group can opt for the Study Group affiliation described above. This move will take us back to the non-hierarchal intent of the group. In the future, please refrain from using the name and logo unless you are a member. Details regarding usage will be offered to you upon registration.
Any organization has expenses and in order to stay on top of what will be needed for the group, KSMA will have an annually paid membership. This will cover the necessary expenses involved with running the organization. Also, we have found that in order for people to take things seriously, there has to be a buy-in of some sort. We recognize this may limit participants, but we also see that as a plus because those who are “in” are dedicated to their studies and to the ideals and mission of the group.
KSMA Fee Structure
General Membership-$50 Annually
Study Group (Price includes General Membership)-$50 Annually + $10 per student
Level Testing $75 per test
Taught by Terry and/or Jay
Lodging and travel is the responsibility of the host-varies and is dependent on mode of transportation and locale of lodging.
8 hours of instruction
$275 one instructor
$425 two instructors
16 hours of instruction
$425 one instructor
$650 two instructors
21 hours of instruction
Friday evening is at the host’s prerogative to open it to all or be a private session for invited attendees only
$600 one instructor
$850 two instructors
Any profit over covering the costs of the seminar and lodging will be split between KSMA and the host.
Tip your waitresses
In conclusion, these changes were not come to lightly. This is an evolutionary step for the group and one that must be made to facilitate growth. We look forward to walking together down this new path.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Bobbe Edmonds injured his back a while ago and is trying to raise the funds to be able to continue training us. If you are able in any way to contribute, I urge you to send whatever amount is comfortable to his paypal account he set up to raise the cash to pay for his surgery. He is closer everyday to being back on his feet and working out.
Please send your donation to Fistwind@att.net
Thanks and take care of yourselves!