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#133945 - 11/09/04 12:54 AM Organizations and Politics-A Necessary Evil?
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
First let me say that I belong to 4 different Organizations, so I am not taking a stand one way or the other, just asking a question. I think everyone will agree that the politics in the dojo and in an organization can be awfully trying. I personally hate the politics and am more concerned on what goes on, while on the mat.
However......does being in an organizations offer something versus not being in one? On the other hand, politics usually always follows the Organization, who is top dog, who gets promoted first, what you can say, what you can't and who you do or don't support. I have had Sensei's say there is no room for politics in the martial arts, yet their very organizations have organizational issues.

I just joined an organization that I had been friends with the head of the Organization for years. He shared some things with before, but now that I am in the organization he has supplied me with all his history, archives, made copies of documents and has sent me books and videos. I couldn't ask for a better situation. Not only do I train with him for nothing, he checks with me on a weekly basis to see what he can do to help me in my art, whether its technical information, history or archives.

I belong to another organization that is so involved in politics that I recieve nothing and have to watch what I say and who I say it to. Why I belong is because I was invited and didn't want to disrespect the Sensei who asked. However, I might 'accidently' forget to renew it. Its really a terrible feeling walking on egg shells when around the people in the organization.

When I was in Aikido in the stone age, students in one organization rarely ventured outside their own organization and one organization would not accept rank or Yudansha from the other Organization. I have seen Karate organizations work the same way, staying within their own style and organizations, not inviting in outside instructors, or attending outside tournaments

I think that organizations offer the chance to see more and associate with more people, and helps spread the arts. On the flip side the side effects are really hard to handle. I know of as many dojos that are affliliated with an organization as those who don't, it seems those who are not affliated with an organization are not as "worldly" or aren't exposed to as much as those who belong. Many times the older pioneers are associated with an Organization, and its a chance to learn and talk with them. Most of the comments I have heard about organizations is that the only need for them is to generate money, and that is what drives the arts. I am sure some people do take advantage of the money or the rank. I had one organization offer me a 9th degree if I joined the Organization. I tactfully refused, and told them I only take rank from my Sensei. But I am sure others do take advantage of this. I know of 1 organization that actually sells rank, only rule is you have to make it to 5th Dan, then you can buy whatever you want.This can really lead to pseudo Instructors and less than stellar students. Also some organizations make you pay per each student, and I know of alot of people who dislike that as well.

Its a yin/yang thing again, on one had it can be very useful, on the other a real pain in the butt. I would like to hear what people think about it.

#133946 - 11/09/04 09:17 AM Re: Organizations and Politics-A Necessary Evil?

I was just recently reminded of this topic in the Judo forum when I attempted to answer a question about the various Judo Organizations. I had forgotten or put aside all the bad memories of my experience dealing with a big MA association.

I personally feel that the vast majority of these organizations do not uphold the spirit and values of the art they try to represent. Even worse many are just there to make a profit. Yes there are some benefits from joining an organization, and often you must be a part of an organization to compete, but on the whole itís just not worth it to me.

I hope to put this theory into practice soon. I am in the process of opening a new dojo. I'm going to do this with absolutely no ties to any organization. This means that my student's ranks will not be recognized by any MA association. But I personally don't recognize the authority of anyone else but a legitimate Sensei in these matters. One benefit I hope to pass on to my students is the fact that there will be no testing fees, or membership dues.

One potential problem I can see is if an experienced student already has several ranks recognized by a particular organization then he may want to continue to be tested and receive promotions from a certified instructor. I guess we will have to work that out if it comes up.

I suppose that these organizations do have a place if we view ourselves as a part of a nationwide community, but I think I am leaning the other way towards individual responsibility and a more local approach to advancing MA.

You're right it's a Yin Yang thing. I'm finding that a great deal of teaching is indeed a balancing act.

#133947 - 11/09/04 01:06 PM Re: Organizations and Politics-A Necessary Evil?


Great post. I agree that some organizations are good while others are bad. At my TKD school, all students are required to join the USTU (United States Taekwondo Union) in order to promote and compete. In addition, we are encouraged to become Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Federation) ceritfied when we receive each degree of black belt. The difference here is "required" versus "encouraged". I personally feel that it is wrong to require your students to join any kind of organization in order to promote or advance in rank. I understand the need for the membership if you are going to compete in any way on a national or international level, but for local participation purposes, I think that this is ridiculous.

I agree that there are organizations out there that do provide members with the right resources and support, but I believe that those are few and far between, especially in the Taekwondo world.

I years past, I was an active member of the Bujinkan Dojo (Ninjutsu). I received regular membership information, and I had access to resources from Japan. Being a member also meant that I was recognized as a practitioner in the event that I wanted to go to Japan and train with the Soke, Maasaki Hatsumi, or any of his high-level instructors. To me, this organization had many benefits for its members.

This just isn't the same with the TKD organizations that I am a member of. Holding a Kukkiwon certification doesn't mean a whole lot to me, other than at some point I am officially allowed to promote other students in the WTF style. Being a member of the USTU allows me to be ranked nationally, which would matter except that I don't compete anymore. It also carries an insurance policy in the case that I am injured at a competition while competing or refereeing, but again, I don't compete and I rarely referee anymore.

It is Yin/Yang at best. I am curious as to the organizations that you belong to. Can you name names, or do you prefer that they remain anonymous?

Happy Training!

#133948 - 11/09/04 01:47 PM Re: Organizations and Politics-A Necessary Evil?
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I will share one Organization with everyone that I feel is just great. Its the Martial Arts Collecive Society(MACS) based in Sacramento. The purpose of this organization is to preserve the arts and bring all styles together. They usually have 2 to 3 functions a year to get everyone together and bring in 30-50 of the top Masters and Grandmasters in the country, and sometimes from other countries as well. These are usually 2-3 day seminars to train with these great Instructors, and get an overview of their art. People like Professor Wally Jay, Hanshi Bruce Juchnik, Professor Imi Okazaki-Mullins, Grnadmaster Paul Yamguchi, Miyako Fujitana Sensei,Grandmaster Eugene Sedeno, Olohe Solomon Kaihewalu, Soke Harris Warren and Soke Frank Sanchez just to mention a few. Its a great organization and great people.

If you e-mail me I will gladly share the others I belong to.

#133949 - 11/10/04 05:03 PM Re: Organizations and Politics-A Necessary Evil?
Christiancadet Offline

Registered: 06/08/04
Posts: 553
To the TKD people, you might want to look into the Independent Tae Kwon Do Association (ITA not with Benko). 35$ is the annual club dues, no testing fees, if you or any of your students want to join the org (been going over a year and haven't done so yet have still recieved rank certs), it is 15$ a year, GM Pellegrini tries to do laps around the world with his training seminars which are always a blast, and if you wan't he can still help you to get Kukkiwon certificates.


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