Sunday, July 18, 2010

How have you paid for your training?

Over the years, I've attended many clinics and seminars and tournaments, and who knows how many hours of training... One thing I've seen happen often is the gaggle of people who haven't seen each other in many weeks or even years catching up. It's great to see people you've missed, and to hear how they've been doing... Other people are stretching out, loosening up, and getting themselves ready to train.

But I've noticed something else happen, too. A couple of people are usually running around, grabbing brooms to sweep the floor, or setting up the sign-in table, carrying in the training gear, and generally doing all the stuff that makes training possible. At the end, while everyone else is swapping training tales or saying their good-byes, those same folks are running around, putting stuff away, pulling up the tape that marked the sparring rings, and otherwise cleaning up.

I've heard many senior members of the ABA talk about how they'd show up expecting to train with Dr. Gyi. And he'd start by handing them a paint brush or pointing to the lawn mower. Or just start by unloading a trailer and setting up the camp. Manley & Davis in Dynamics of Bando write about how training camps with Dr. Gyi would begin with cutting the grass in the field where they'd train, and cutting down the trees they'd use for training. Why'd the training begin like that? Why'd their training start with chores? Was it some sort of Karate Kid-like training through chores? No. It was paying for the training time.

There's a huge amount of work that goes into preparing a clinic or seminar and running it. (Or the time that a teacher spends on his own housework is time he could use training or teaching...) There's even more work that goes into running a tournament. But it goes a lot quicker and lot easier with more hands.

There's also a lot of truth when we say that people don't value something they're given for free. Or that comes too easily...

So, ask yourself: How have you paid for your training? Are you going to be one of the people watching someone else set up... or are you going to get out there and help so that everyone can get down to training sooner?


  1. Excellent post! I think that there is a lot of truth to the fact that if someone does not pay/work for their training then they will not appreciate it! I have two young guy's that simply find it difficult to pay money for their training. So instead they do odd chores and it has really worked out great! I think many people just do not realize how much work goes into a training seminar and some times they just expect rather than dive in and help. Having put on and taught at a lot of them I know personally I always appreciate it when somone helps out!

    Brian R. VanCise

  2. Thanks! It's something that's bugged me for years when I see people hiding out from the work... and I have a forum to put it out here!

  3. In my experience, the best training partners, the best students, and the best future instructors are also the folks most likely to grab a broom, feather duster, or whatnot and contribute to upkeep. Or they end up helping out with paperwork. Or they're always helping straighten up the school. Somehow they are giving more than just their money. I think there's something different about these folks - a higher level of dedication? A higher perceived value? Maybe both?