I am unapologetically old-school. I'll never get rich teaching classes with the same spirit of tradition and discipline I was taught, but then, who determines wealth anyway? If it's the current trends of this-or-that, or the newest system that defies the traditional aspects of the martial way, then I'm probably not only going to be a failure business-wise, but a fool as well.
But then, I'm old enough, and mature enough, to recognize real wealth doesn't come from how many square feet of space I maintain or how many students I have in all my dojos. In other words, the worlds system of finance isn't going to dictate, to me anyway, my sense of value and worth. My value comes from who I am apart from the established criteria of the status quo, and I can sleep at night knowing my students real value is developing in each one as they mature in the art-and none of them are the same.
The greatest history book says, "Don't move the ancient boundary lines which your forefathers have set."These stones,these boundary lines were established so future generations would know where their forefathers walked. There's something very comforting knowing our ancestors blazed a trail and established landmarks to help us on our way. These landmarks should never be forgotten.
On a great level, in today's get rich mentality and do-it-as fast as you can, our traditions have not only been challenged but greatly eradicated.
Bowing in and out of class, showing respect to all students regardless of rank, kata and even wearing a white gi are all mimicked,mocked,reputed and to say the least, disrespected.
But that's ok. The most respected of all true martial artists, and the most learned, know that even today's most monied markets developed because someone long ago forged their way into society and culture by being a traditionalist.
When I see a new child or adult line up with gym shorts and an AC-DC tee shirt, I don't see dollar signs-I see opportunity. I won't berate anyone who's in the market because they want to get rich,I just would prefer to be respected because I place more value on character, discipline and tradition. When the test of time comes, we'll see who's most remembered and revered.
Shihan Ellis Weber
Founder and Senior instructor
Eaglewings Kyokushin karate