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#428108 - 07/04/10 11:46 AM How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals?
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
I've been thinking about this for quite awhile.

We've had a discussion about how MA schools have become daycare centers, but we didn't talk about the other end of the market, namely, MA schools for upper-middle class professionals who are not as fit as the 20-somethings, but who like the sport.

I knew an accountant who said he was not into the usual racket sports at their country club, but he did find TKD and karate interesting, except he doesn't want to work out as intensively as someone young enough to be his son. I also know a lawyer who has a second-degree black belt in taekwondo, but who said he cannot lift his leg anymore. These are people who would form a very lucrative market, but they will not take any BS from so-called masters who are not in their educational or financial league. Certainly I will not take any of that.

BusinessWeek has an article on how boxing is the new game for the affluent, and it has become a status symbol. The same is true, I think, for North America.

As I write this, I think Tai Chi is a good example, but that business model has not been extended to other martial arts.

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#428110 - 07/04/10 01:22 PM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
Could be a market for it I think.

I subscribed to a gent who called himself "The Wise Grappler". Basically he started BJJ in his early 30's, got his BB in his early 40's. He detailed problems and solutions to classes he studied in. Problems in BJJ classes usually came from young "mat punks" who had very little respect for their training partners well being. They didn't factor in things like ability, experience, age or fitness. They basically wanted to use you as a wrestling dummy.

Maybe a solution to many of these problems would be to have a class for middle-age students. I know here in Northern Ireland the national Judo squad has a "Masters" squad who train together. They are men and women who still compete in Judo and are over a certain age.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#428112 - 07/04/10 02:01 PM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: Prizewriter]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
Well, I know some people who do tennis at their local club, and they have different divisions for different ages. Everyone has fun, and there're no real ego problems.

Maybe I should look into starting something like this.

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#428145 - 07/06/10 12:15 PM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
I know of at least one club that does "executive boxing"--designed for men/women that were NOT looking to be the next pro fighter.
It was designed for working stiffs that needed a good workout that didn't need a broken nose or broken fingers etc.

Class always seemed full and the teacher was VERY upfront as to what his class was supposed to do and what it did not.
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#428173 - 07/08/10 12:09 AM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: cxt]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
I'd be interested in starting a club like that. What was the deal, do you know?

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#428183 - 07/08/10 11:04 AM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: cxt]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello cxt:

<<It was designed for working stiffs that needed a good workout that didn't need a broken nose or broken fingers etc.

Given the nature of any art or practice how can THAT be avoided? Small accidents happen, stupid technical mistakes get made? How can you aim a class for a certain age group and still prevent intensity?

How does that line get drawn I wonder?
Jeff

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#428228 - 07/10/10 10:15 AM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: Ronin1966]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5823
Loc: USA
Ronin 1966

Sorry for the delay---don't get much of a chance to do fun stuff between work and grad school these days.

I asked him the same thing...his answer...broken down and paraphrased.

1-Very open and upfront that this was NOT a fighting class. Was not marketed/sold/advertised as anything it was not.

2-Started with a "work up" work out plan. Getting people in shape to train. Usually took a couple of months depending on what shape you were in.
Started with a general assemment of overall health and conditioning. He worked this in conjunction with the personal trainers at the gym.
The gym wins the trainers win, he wins and the member wins.

3-Kept the same style and intensity of workoutused by boxers but reduced general risk by:

A-Greatly reducing the sparring

B-Using a lot of protective gear when he did

C-Had the his semi-pro/serious boxers work ONLY on defense with his "executive" students.

D-Very select in his students. Most the class were people that had the same general concerns about injury so it was not that hard.
Plus since he was running a much more serious "semi-pro" class it was easy to steer/direct his more aggressive students to another class that fit them much better.

The interesting thing was that after his "executive" students got some training, improved their conditioning etc they started to want to get more physical, had fewer fears of injury and chose to start harder contact sparring......they had fewer injuries than they thought and they were better prepared to handle them as "no big deal."

I think that had they gotten hurt in similar fashion early on they would have quit---but as it was they had plenty of time to "toughen up" as it were.

He also made sure that choosing not to spar was not some kind of "ego" problem. You had a big meeting the next day? No problem.

Sure he had some "accidents"--hitting the bag improperly, one guy tripped over his own jump rope and broke a couple of fingers on a bad landing. But eliminating the sparrign at the early stages and introducing it slowlywith plenty of gear reduced much of the normal injuries.

His selection of students/target market also helped considerably. Most of his students were in their mid 30's to 40's..some older than that so he didn't have to worry as much about the "testostrone poisening" you sometimes get with a younger crowd.
The women in the class were a younger demographic but also excutive types that had even less reason to risk injury but needed "something different" in a workout.

His class was always full and people seemed to like it. His class size never went down in the time I working out there.

Overall I'd say it worked because of good marketing---took a lot of pains to make sure that people knew what the class was for and what it was not.
Good selection of students.
Started slow and worked up to a pretty intense workout.
Easily available "alternative" for people that "wanted more" out of things.......Actually, since I've been thinking about it....being able to watch serious/semi pro guys go at it the folks in the executive class got so exactly what they were doing....so if they chose to spar it was a more informed decsion.

That may have been a major factor----informed decesion, plenty of time to "work up" to it, being in better shape etc.

Does that help any?????




Edited by cxt (07/10/10 10:29 AM)
_________________________
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

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#428404 - 07/18/10 09:46 AM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: cxt]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
Quote:
The interesting thing was that after his "executive" students got some training, improved their conditioning etc they started to want to get more physical, had fewer fears of injury and chose to start harder contact sparring......they had fewer injuries than they thought and they were better prepared to handle them as "no big deal."


Absolutely. I've noticed that some people used to be afraid of being mugged, but, after a few weeks of training, they lose that fear and may even look forward to testing themselves against muggers.

The Grandmaster wants me to start a school, and, as I've told him, I do have the skill set to start one with 100 to 200 students, but I don't have the time. He's now suggesting I start a smaller hobby club, so that the true spirit of TKD would not be lost.

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#428619 - 07/26/10 11:16 AM Re: How about a dojang for middle-aged professionals? [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
TaekwonDoFan Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
The Seattle Timers has an article on how competitive sports for older people can invigorate them. That's very, very true, and it bears out what we've said on this thread.

If I was to start one for middle-aged professionals, what should the hierarchy be, anyone? They interact in a different social context than high-school little ninjas.

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