The future of many martial arts schools is being driven by tough economic challenges, a huge influx of low standard facilities and the “sport” models i.e. Olympic or WTF style Tae Kwon-Do and MMA (Mixed Up Martial Artists)
In order to survive, many martial art schools have become daycare centers. Although this sounds appealing at first, we must realize that certified day care centers are licensed and truly equipped to fill that role. I am a Black Belt/Martial Artist and not able to function as a daycare provider, nor do I want to. Many “belt factories” have opened up providing people with a “drive-thru” mentality. You pay your tuition and get a belt no matter what your proficiency. Belts make most Americans happy. Although it may be a safe financial route to take I could not look myself in the mirror knowing I lowered the dojang’s standards. WTF (World Tae Kwon-Do Federation)/Olympic Tae Kwon-Do is a sport. Martial Arts is not a sport. It is a way of life…better, cleaner living. This includes developing a strong mind and body, being a better person and affecting the world around you in a positive manner. We enjoy a sport aspect of Tae Kwon-Do by participating in tournaments and other competitive events. I believe in good, healthy competition. The arrival of MMA on the scene has caused quite a stir. It is still just another sport and not martial arts in the true sense. Don’t get me wrong. These are some very tough, athletic people who possess a strong work ethic. I admire them for that. Yet when you think about what true martial spirit encompasses, MMA is not a martial art. Unfortunately the same puerile attitudes that draw people to car racing (hoping to see a crash) are the same for drawing people wanting to see blood at a UFC match. A true martial artist can beat their opponent without causing such damage or can end a dangerous self-defense situation by “choosing” to inflict such trauma.
We are a true martial art school. Be proud and Pil-Sung!