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#338647 - 05/01/07 09:58 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: wristtwister]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
good post. It could very well be that MA training, both physical and academic is not geared for the same model of learning that educational institutions are setup for. However, unless physical knowledge of MA is not somuch the goal.

academic training implies the student is being prepared with tools for a vocation. In this case, as a paid instructor.
If the idea is to fit the same model as a certified personal trainer like you see for weight lifting or fitness coaches, then the certification requirements will be established by the employers (gyms) or gym sponsors. The only dojos/dojangs/gyms that hire outside instructors are large organizations (I actually saw a help wanted-ad listing for a 'karate instructor'. when I searched where the ad was in reference came up here: ).

I'd recommend adding to your curriculum child psychology, first aid and all other qualifications of childcare specialists or elementary phys ed teachers.

If the aim is to meet the growing demand for activity childcare providers or adult courses of martial-based aerobics...then a Marial Arts university is just the place to fill that demand for qualified people to run those programs.

see here as a model:

#338648 - 05/01/07 10:36 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: wristtwister]
tkd_high_green Offline

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 1031
Loc: Vermont
The idea of a Martial Arts major is as good of an idea as any.

If you were a college age student with the goal of one day running your own school. Assume for a moment, that the actual martial training occurs in that students dojo, where would they go to get the education to run a business? how to learn to teach effectively? how to handle the legalities?

Do they take a business degree, education degree, law degree?

Yes, much of this could possibly be taught by the students current instructor, but a good teacher doesn't necessarily mean a good business person or vice versa, or mean that the student will be exposed to special education situations. ADHD, disabilities, etc.

From that perspective, I could certainly see a martial arts degree which was a combination of a business/education degree with a focus on the martial arts. Having some courses on MA history wouldn't be bad, because it would give the student a better respect for all MA's (even though no one agrees on what that history is). Actual physical experience would be even better.

That being said, the real difficulty comes from the Student Teaching portion of any education degree. Unlike a traditional educational degree, you would have to work out a way to get the student actual teaching experience.

You could require the student to tape themselves teaching, if its an online program, or contract with local clubs to allow a student to student teach at their school, if its a traditional program.

But then again, I'm getting a lot of this for free right now, but if I were college age, I could see the value of having both a business and an education degree, whether it was used for running a MA school, or the next dot-com.


#338649 - 05/02/07 02:33 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: Ed_Morris]
JM2007 Offline

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 37
Loc: San Antonio, TX

Just so you know, I am taking this seriously so I actually am reading all the links you provide. I almost fell out of my chair when my browser opened the link to Hamburger University. Nice.

Okay, I will try to answer the questions systematically again. Please bear in mind, however, this is still only an idea. I don't have all the answers...

Harlan, you asked:
"As far as the 'accreditation' problem goes...why not go through an already accredited institution? A martial arts major in an existing Athletics department?"

That would work, and a couple of universities have already done that. However, my idea leads to an eventual residential program where martial arts students live, eat, and room together on the same campus, practicing martial arts a couple of hours a day for four years, plus getting the academic courses. A lot of "mat" time for those concerned with that. The actual residential program would have to be limited to one or two different arts just for logistical reasons (the student would have a couple of choices but would focus on one art). Once again...JUST AN IDEA.

Shadowkahn, you said:
"Your goal purports to be to enhance and spread knowledge of all things martial arts - well I might suggest that you're picking the wrong audience. But secondly, where are you going to come up with enough material to fill four YEARS of instruction that doesn't involve any mat time?"

I never said anything about spreading the knowledge of all things martial arts. I think people are getting the impression I believe this program will turn out martial arts masters in a few years. Not at all. I have been training for 27 years and I am certainly not a master myself! I do however, stand by my statement that I believe it would enhance them, but only from an academic standpoint. These courses of instruction won't make anyone a better fighter, but they may make someone understand the dynamics of stretching a little better, the physics of power and controlling techniques, the history of their art, the legal aspects of running a martial arts business, the management pitfalls of running a martial arts business, the psychology of teaching, etc. Yes, these are all things they could learn on their own or may learn from their instructor(s), but I think it would be a good idea to have it all in one place. Regarding four years of instruction, well, two years of that, just like any other degree program, is core requirements (which can be transferred in, tested out of, or, during the residential program, taken at a local university concurrently). So we are really talking two years. I believe there is plenty to learn in two years, especially since they are getting mat time, just not from the college itself. But it's still required. As you probably know from my background, I have had to write lesson plans and syllabi for undergrad and graduate programs (yes, at an accredited university), and then teach those programs. Therefore, I am intimately familiar with how to do so and approximately how much material should be covered in a semester-length class. That is how I put together my sample curriculum. Based on my experience, I feel it is possible. Last thing Shadowkahn...this could be a pet rock!

Wristtwister...excellent post. You are quire correct about how things are done at the Budokans in Japan. Let me ask this question: Would it be beneficial to have someone is Japan train at the Kodokan where they learned everything about Judo, and then also supplement that training at a local university where they would learn about things such as the courses I am proposing. Remember, not ONE of the courses I am proposing is style specific. The caliber of their training and their ability to perform their art and instruct their art would come from their training, not from the college program. But when is the last time you heard of an instructor teach a class about the legalities of teaching martial arts? Or in depth focus on the history of martial arts, other than just their own direct lineage? Or about the psychology difference between teaching a child and an adult? Or about teaching skills in general (other than "just do what I do")? There may be SOME schools out there that teach these things, but most do not. This would attempt to bridge the gap. Of course, the residential program would be different in that the art would actually be practiced with the college program, not outside of it.

You said: "The "martial arts college" idea gives me the idea that you think you can get a slice of this and a piece of that in martial arts, and suddenly after 4 years of study, you're "qualified" to run a dojo, school, or program somewhere that will succeed."

This is not the case. Once again, they become "qualified" through their parent organization. The college program provides beneficial supplemental information that could help make them more successful.

You also mentioned that you have seen this type of thing tried before and seen the pitfalls. I would love to discuss that with you sometime. With 47 years of experience, I am sure you have seen a lot and have a lot to offer.

Ed_Morris, you said: "The only dojos/dojangs/gyms that hire outside instructors are large organizations."

Remember, the instructors would not be considered "outside" instructors by going through this program. They would not be certified by the college as an instructor. They would not receive ranking from the college, but rather from their own parent organization. So, if you were an organization that had already ranked someone and then certified them as an instructor, would you consider it beneficial for them to have taken additional courses related to dojo safety and first aid (which was already listed in the curriculum), psychology of teaching, legal aspects, business management, and general martial arts history courses? Or would you see it as a detriment? Remember, YOU are the parent organization, and YOU certified/qualified them already.

Laura (tkd_high_green): Thanks for your support...I'm glad at least one person likes the idea!
You mentioned the student teaching portion. That's a good point, and actually already part of the requirements. It is listed as "Teaching Martial Arts Internship" under the courses on the website.

You all are giving fantastic feedback, and I really do appreciate it. Thank you, and please keep ideas/opinions/suggestions coming. Stay safe, respectfully, Jason

#338650 - 05/02/07 06:50 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina

This is not the case. Once again, they become "qualified" through their parent organization. The college program provides beneficial supplemental information that could help make them more successful.

Exactly... and they aren't even allowed to exhibit technique to visitiors until they have done the kata of their techniques for thousands of times. When the USJA sent representatives to the Kodokan to "view their teaching methods", the kata shown to them was done by 6th Dan teachers and was done with an apology beforehand gy the masters... "they have only done this kata a couple of thousand times, and they aren't very good at it" (exact quote reported by the visitor).

There has to be a depth of knowledge to support a Budokan, and while we have thousands of "schools" here, there isn't the depth of knowledge found in Japan or Okinawa or China, or in any of the other "nations of origin" for these arts. While they not only have those references, they ARE attached to the universities through university clubs that teach martial arts through the physical education departments.

To be honest, the biggest problem you have is that you don't have the society to support the idea and "make it happen". What supports the Budokans is a societal mindset that recognizes the value of having them. What you have here is the mindset of "I can make money off this"... they are worlds apart... separated by both philosophy and social structure.

What man is a man that does not make the world a better place?... from "Kingdom of Heaven"

#338651 - 05/02/07 07:52 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
glad you have a sense of humor. Seriously, the idea of any new degree program has merit if it fills a need. Since commercial gyms at the very least, provide a community with a place of activity for kids and exercise for adults, certification and screening seems a reasonable approach to keep the instructor positions filled.
Like I mentioned before, there might be some other courses that may be pertinent to consider offering:

- basic business law (contract law, small claims, liability insurance, if the commercial gym instructor gets sued, criminal background checks, identifying and preventing preditory behavior in instructors/students, etc)
- marketing (basic web page design, advertising, recruitment, retainment incentives, how to design joe camel in karate gi logos, etc)
- child care and psychology (how to deal with a student during tantrums, diaper/potty issues, child-safe gyms, new age disciplining, dealing with parents and special needs)
- First aid certification.
- Tournament/demonstration/competition sponsorship and participation.
- Seminars, private lessons and tutoring business structure.

just to name a few. If large commercial enmass-oriented martial-based gyms are here to stay anyway, they may as well have certified and screened instructors/activity providers that deal with leading the participants in a public-safe environment.

you've been polite and reasonable - good luck with your project.

#338652 - 05/02/07 10:18 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
JohnL Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 03/24/03
Posts: 4309
Loc: NY, NY, USA

I've read your posts and web sites with interest. I've had numerous discussions with people over the years, of martial arts being available as an acredited course at colleges. Given the interest in the subject, the complex nature of the physical and academic study possible, and the possible application of the knowledge having completed a course, I believe an acredited course (BA, MA, wahatever) to have more value to it than many courses currently offered by colleges.

The problem I have is that what you are offering is currently not acredited. As such, it screems SCAM at me.
You have put your we site together well and I have no doubt that some people will be attracted to it, however charging $7,800 for a non-acredited and therefore non-recognized degree, while not fraud, is certainly a proposal of the snake oil variety. If people are dumb enough to go for it (and there's plenty of dumb people around) you stand to make a good load of money.

As for the acreditation of the course, there are any number of organizations you can become acredited with but as you are aware, in the U.S. these are two a penny and when you present your resume in the profesional world the fact that you have done a distance learning course in anything is held in the lowest regard.

The fact that once you become acredited means the fees involved for a student may go from 7,800 to 21,000 means that you would certainly make more money but I suspect this would be due to the gulability of the purchasers more than anything else.

Despite my negative comments above, I don't actually find what your trying to do offensive, but I believe it's fundamentaly flawed. There's nothing wrong with setting up a couse of study, but what you are setting up is a college, which you are not.

If you set up the course under the auspices of a reputable college (Let's say San Antonio or Texas) I wouldn't have a problem with it, indeed I would support it.
John L

#338653 - 05/02/07 12:45 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
MikeC Offline

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 130
Loc: Kingston Ontario
Check this site:

#338654 - 05/02/07 01:51 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: MikeC]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
anyone notice the courses in that link?
"E450: Advanced Karate II - Red Belt"

a red belt in karate is 9th/10th dan....must be quite the course. lol

#338655 - 05/02/07 02:00 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5846
Loc: USA

A number of practical matters need to be addessed--not trying to be harsh, just some questions need to be addressed.

1-How will you go about establishing performance standards for grades and degrees?

Since you have had expereicne in writing syllabi, then you know they have to fit with an overall view of the subjetc matter.

Whom gets to decide the overall sublect matter and why?

And why is that opinion to be respected by anyone that will deal with the students you produce?

2-What standards will be used in picking textbooks--the "history" of the MA is rather fragmented and contentions, beyond some very basic info.

3-Where will you get teachers--and why should they teach for you?
In practical terms why would getting taught by some dude trump getting direct hands on teaching from a "name" expert just down the block?

4-How will you test the skills of the people you hire?
There is a rigouros process in place to hire say Econ prof at the college level.
You have a model in place where you find out the knowloge base of the teacher.

Past that how are you going to establish their TEACHING skills--ie the abilty to impart information in useable form.

5-Why would a person not be better off simply taking some business classes at the local college and taking his/her martial arts the same way??

6-How will the degree be recived in the MA community?

If you went to a school and said "Hi, I'm Joe have a Bachlors degree in martial arts" as opposed to "Hi, I'm Joe, I trained for the last 10 years training under teacher X."
The MA scene is, for the time being more tilted to a method of direct instruction.
Like a Union, I am required take a range of classes--but what is really important is the time spent under the direct, hands on teaching of an expert.

7-There is the practical matter of demonstrated skill.
If I have direct, hands on, practical skills in various areas--as long as I can prove it/back it up, I can get classes waved in college.
How will that work with you?
If a person comes in that can beat the heck out of the teacher, does that that mean they get an automatic "A?"

Would a highly expereinced/highly successful tournament copmetetior be allowed credit for various classes?

At what level of skill would you start to offer a stright degree??
Say a guy/gal with 25 years of training and a MBA showed up and asked to take the "masters" exam?
How could you test them?
Better yet on what basis could you turn them down for the test?

8-How would you work around organizations?

If your offering a degree in say Shotokan Karate, then how would your degree hold up vs the folks that might have title to that name and designation?

Schools fill needs, I can take my training, add an actual college degree in business--which is probably going to be of much more overall worth--say I don't end up running a school--add some First Aid classes and have pretty much what your offereing.

I can just get it cheaper, with greater range of accpetiblity and more flexibality in use, with better quality classes than you can provide.

(when deciding cost, you have to look at much more than actual dollar amounts.
A "cheaper" degree tha nobody respects will turn out to be ALOT more expensive over time than a more expensive but more generally accpeted might.)

So why would people spend their money with you?

Not trying to be an arse, just don't get the "hook" as it were.

Edited by cxt (05/02/07 02:18 PM)

#338656 - 05/02/07 02:24 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: Ed_Morris]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA

anyone notice the courses in that link?
"E450: Advanced Karate II - Red Belt"

a red belt in karate is 9th/10th dan....must be quite the course. lol

Depends on what karate. In AKK, red belt was just below brown.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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