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#338637 - 05/01/07 11:59 AM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: MattJ]
JM2007 Offline

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 37
Loc: San Antonio, TX
MattJ, I was about to log off...caught me just in time.

That is an excellent question, and once again, I completely agree with you. First, let me state that this program would have a board of directors of legitimate, qualified martial artists from various disciplines. This board would determine which existing organizations would be recognized as having the appropriate standards for training and rank/instructor certification. For the distance learning program, students would be required to do the same physical training as they are now, without pursuing a college degree, to reach the rank of (as an absolute minimum) Shodan or equivalent and/or instructor licensing. We recognize that Shodan is actually only the beginning, but in itself takes between four and eight years of dedicated training to achieve. If they have not done this, they can still take some classes about martial arts history, philosophy and business management, but they cannot get a degree unless they are already fully (physically) qualified by their (recognized) parent organization.

In regards to the residential program, which will only be established once accreditation has been received (all of the accreditation agencies require an institution to be in existence for no less than 2 years and have no less than 100 program graduates before even applying), physical training will be conducted in the college dojo. Please keep in mind this is still only a thought process, so I will be looking for the best way to do this, but for now I plan to have several different full time instructors doing that here. I don't know who, but as you can imagine from the theme, I will only be using legitimate people. I have also already spoken to a couple of local dojos that would be willing to participate if the student wishes to pursue that art.

So, in a nutshell, yes, they must be fully qualified from a physical standpoint as certified by their parent organization. The AMAC will not issue, for example, their rank or their instructor certification. That would be done by the USKA, or the AKA, or the USJA, or the WTF, or whomever.

I hope this answered your question, respectfully, Jason

#338638 - 05/01/07 12:32 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

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

For the distance learning program, students would be required to do the same physical training as they are now, without pursuing a college degree, to reach the rank of (as an absolute minimum) Shodan or equivalent and/or instructor licensing.

Fair enough, but now another problem.

With rampant diploma-mills, a la Ashida Kim, would you be taking any other measures to verify that the documentation in question is valid? Calling the organization, requiring a video or in-person demo, etc?
"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

#338639 - 05/01/07 01:09 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
puffadder Offline

Registered: 04/29/07
Posts: 250
Loc: UK
The range of martial arts practiced around the globe is immense. The idea of 'official qualifications' in martial arts scares me as that inevitably leads to dogma where only the 'officially recognised' martial arts are taught and learned and the vast majority of unofficial ones gradually die out. Even worse we could see a situation where talented martial arts instructors who haven't taken such a course could find themselves losing students, and eventally their schools to the officially qualified teachers. This degree course, to me, seems virtually worthless anyway. It would, from your description, be almost entirely theoretical and who on earth wants to learn just theories of martial arts?
From your biography you are heavily influenced towards karate and presumably this would form the bias of your training but what about others such as the 800+ different schools of martial arts taught in China that come under the general heading of kung fu?
Sorry to rant and I appreciate you have put a lot of time and effort into this but to me this is anathema to all I hold dear.

#338640 - 05/01/07 02:32 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
until you are accredited, why even offer the program? people will start the course with only your promise their course hours will be transferrable to other schools if they decide to move on before finishing.

let's say a 19 year old starts your courses with some of the core academic classes you offer...then one year later, he decides to transfer to a community college to pursue a degree in sports medicine or something. your '101' classes are not transferrable.
...He's got to take (and pay for) all those core courses over since the community college won't honor your credits.

The promise of accreditation doesn't cut it. anyone can promise anything and deliver nothing. opening your business with only that promise is deceptive.

Direct TRANSFER of credit is very different from 'testing credit' or what some call 'challenging the course'. but freshman wouldn't know the diff until after they've been had.

Here's the central problem that you are trying to detract from by making it sound like I'm harping on a minor issue. accredidation is not a minor issue. it's central to being able to even legtimately call your business a college. and you are not transferring a physical Art, but an academic study. If that course material is not acredited, then there is nothing stopping a 'professor' from teaching chi-ball theory as scientific fact.

accredidation speaks to the standard - reputation of kept level of standard speaks to the quality.

btw, do you have course professors lined up? Bill Wallace, Chuck Norris, Cynthia Rothrock, prof. Claude van Dame et al teaching academic online pre-recorded video courses ?

#338641 - 05/01/07 02:47 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: Ed_Morris]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
I'm confused now. I thought this project was just in the formative/theoretical stages. Have students actually been accepted yet?
"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

#338642 - 05/01/07 02:57 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: MattJ]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

In addition to minor associated application and other general fees (to be determined), the initial anticipated tuition fees will be approximately $65 per semester hour. Once accredited, tuition will probably be around $350 per semester hour.

I thought the plan was to offer 'pre-accredited' rates as incentive to get people to join now while offer lasts.

#338643 - 05/01/07 05:49 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: Ed_Morris]
JM2007 Offline

Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 37
Loc: San Antonio, TX
MattJ, puffadder, Ed_Morris;

I will attempt to answer your questions sequentially.

First, MattJ:
First and students hae been accepted...this entire program is only an idea at this point. I am merely trying to do as much research as possible before funding this program.

You asked: "With rampant diploma-mills, a la Ashida Kim, would you be taking any other measures to verify that the documentation in question is valid? Calling the organization, requiring a video or in-person demo, etc?"

That is a good question, and I am not sure I have a good answer (yet). I do have plans to mandate residential coloquia for the distance education students, so they will expected to be able to demonstrate their competence. My dilemma is that the parent organization certifies them, so I can't really dispute that. However, it should be obvious whether or not they have been trained well. I would like to make the board membership a group of credible people from various martial arts, but we will have to stick with the mainstream arts for the most part, I think. Probably do something like break the board into Japanese/Okinawan, Korean, Chinese, and all-other divisions, with several people in each area from different disciplines. I am really not sure, but this is definitely something to think about and about which I am open to suggestions. I am, however, hoping to have close relations with the major martial arts "parent" organizations to help facilitate this.

Puffadder: I can see your concern. The intent is not to delineate "official" from "unofficial" arts, however, we will probably have to stick primarily to the "mainstream" arts. I am not sure exactly how this will work. Also, the intent is to supplement martial arts training with academic background, not to give the impression that one instructor is better than another because he or she has a degree in martial arts and the other doesn't. As a student, though, I have to admit I would probably opt to train with the instructor who had the accredited degree, all else being equal. I will re-emphasize...all else being equal. You are correct in that my personal background is more karate-related, however, I don't feel that I am qualified to teach in the type of program I am talking about. I would love to manage the program and be a student myself.

Ed_Morris: You asked "until you are accredited, why even offer the program?" The answer...because that's how it is done. Fake accreditation sites will just give you the paperwork when you pay the fee. The real accreditation agencies mandate the institution be in existence, actually offering the program, for a minimum of two years and have at least 100 graduates before they will even allow you to APPLY for accreditation. So, it seems I don't have a choice. I don't think I have tried to hide anything and have made it pretty clear that this would be the case. That is why (to answer your last question), the tuition rate is discounted until accreditation is approved. Yes, you are correct in that students will have to take my word for it that I am actually applying for accreditation (if I start the program, that is), but I don't really see that I have another choice. I am open to suggestion. By the way, I would still have to charge because I would still have associated costs, such as paying instructors (from your last question about a discounted tuition cost before accredited). Also, the fact that the majority of classes won't be transferable, even after accredited, will be made abundantly clear to students. Although some may be able to be used as electives.

You also said "Here's the central problem that you are trying to detract from by making it sound like I'm harping on a minor issue. accredidation is not a minor issue. it's central to being able to even legtimately call your business a college." I don't think I have given any indication that I believe you are harping on a minor issue. In fact, I think the accreditation issue is probably the most important one here, because otherwise, this program would be just like the McDojo and McColleges out there. I am trying to do something different. But I can't do anything about that at this point. First, once again, we don't even exist right now. Second, if and when we do, it will take at least 2 years before we can apply. Third, I don't even plan to start the program unless I receive a response from one of the legitimate accrediting agencies that they would even be willing to entertain the idea if all requirements are met.

I fully realize there is a lot more work that needs to be done here, and I am willing to do it.

So far, based on the information I have provided, does this still seem like a far-fetched illegitimate idea, or maybe something that could work?

Thanks again for all of your thoughts..respectfully, Jason

#338644 - 05/01/07 06:46 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
As far as the 'accreditation' problem goes...why not go through an already accredited institution? A martial arts major in an existing Athletics department?

#338645 - 05/01/07 07:07 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
shadowkahn Offline
anti-stupid crusader

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 234

Not able to get a good job with a BA in Martial Arts? Did you guys read the links provided for the US accredited universities already offering a BA in Martial Arts Studies, such as the University of Bridgeport and Concordia University?

You made a lot of points that should be addressed, but others might want to address them - - - for example I don't know anything about how to get accredited at an academic level, so I shouldn't comment on it.

But this needed a reply - - - universities can offer a major in anything they want - that doesn't mean that it'll be useful in getting the kid a job, or that students will go for it.


What about the link describing accredited programs such as retail floristry and sports turf management?

Well, you can at least get a job as a flower arranger (which btw if you get a job doing that on a movie set pays surprisingly well), and take it from me - the guy that manages the grass at Lambeau Field is making good money, and has to know his stuff


When you think about it, the martial arts world, even in the US alone, is a pretty big world. I think the program could offer a lot in relation to having a basic understanding of various martial arts (academic), as well as historical aspects of how they developed, and concepts such as martial arts business management.

I agree completely - - but where I start to have trouble is when you try to make it a university major. In the first place, let's look at the average college student. They're not there to learn - they're there to get that sheepskin. 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?


As any professional can tell you, receiving a BA is only a beginning or a supplement to their hands on training....this program is no different.

Well, it's a little different. I got a BA in journalism and THEN went and did the on-the-job learning. Your model would force me to be Tom Brokaw before I could get my diploma


It would be an academic pursuit only, but (I believe) an interesting one. Some martial artists really enjoy studying things such as this...why not allow them to pursue it academically, if possible?

Because it's unnecessary. If someone enjoys studying something, they're gonna do it whether you wave a degree in front of them or not. The learning *is* the carrot. I'd frankly rather see a comprehensive website that goes into that than to see a university major try to make it something that it isn't.

I'll end by saying that I could well be wrong - - -I've been surprised before. I never thought the pet rock would go anywhere either, but the guy that invented it is rich
"Belt mean no need rope hold up pants" - Mr. Miyagi, RIP.

#338646 - 05/01/07 08:33 PM Re: Martial Arts College Degree [Re: JM2007]
wristtwister Offline
like a chiropractor, only evil

Registered: 02/14/06
Posts: 2210
Loc: South Carolina
Without attempting to discourage anybody, I would point out that the Budokans in Japan are rift with masters of the arts, and their entire programs are built on the total depth of knowledge that is contained within them. Studying Kodokan judo for instance, is a lifetime endeavor... not just a "course of study". Students that enter the Kodokan are looking for a lifetime study of Kano Judo and Jujutsu as currently being taught by the masters there. They aren't dropping by for four years and then off to run their dojos.

Hundreds of students enter the Kodokan yearly, and soon find the life a bit too much for them, so they leave. Those that stay, end up teaching there (or somewhere) for the rest of their lives, with the connection to the Kodokan that never seems to go away.

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. Having 45 years of involvement in them has shown me differently.

The McDojo ethic is tied to contracts and long term obligations of money to reach goals. The TMA approach is to fund the dojos with what comes in, and train until you can't move. Both methods have serious drawbacks, and serious money problems.

We used to joke that the way to make a small fortune in the martial arts was to start with a large one. There are some pretty large up-front costs to starting a dojo, and if you don't cover those, you either go out of business, or are limited to using someone else's facilities and equipment... which always leads to problems at some point.

If you focus on money, the training goes to hell... if you focus on training, the outfit starts needing bake sales to keep running... and if you operate in somebody else's facility, eventually the scheduling catches up with you, and the "other people" using the facility cause problems.

Personally, I wish something like a "MA College" had existed for some time, but over the years, I've seen the pitfalls and problems to actually keeping qualified teachers and long term students around to keep one going. Most of the long term students eventually understand how much money they have invested in the activity, and they either want a return on their money in rank, or by teaching and getting paid.

Without the dojo available, the staff available, and a small fortune to keep it running, the only thing out there is networking to gain strength and depth of knowledge... which is what martial arts schools do now through their organizations.

When there are so many differences within single styles of all martial arts, how would you ever hope to gather everyone in and standardize technique? The answer is, you won't... there are scisms of all styles from teachers who want to do something differently from how "master so and so" did it.

As I said in the opening of this post, this isn't to discourage anyone, but I've seen this same thing tried multiple times with multiple styles and groups, and it's only worked until it hit an impasse, and then it folded.
It's just possible that's how it is going to be... regardless of the "dream".

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

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