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About martial arts organizations


The organizational structure of the martial arts is like the organizational structure of religions. Religious organizations exist because they believe in God and want to serve him. They each espouse a certain religious belief as to the best way to serve God. Some organizations accept the beliefs of other organizations saying that they all are serving the same God; they just do it in different ways. Other organizations say their way to Heaven is the only way. Each organization has churches that teach the beliefs of the organization. Each church has a pastor that leads the church and teaches the beliefs of the church and the organization. The structure of martial art organizations is much the same.

All martial art organizations exist because they believe in a right to self-defense and that they have an effective way to do it. They each espouse certain methods they think are the best way to defend. Some organizations accept the methods of other organizations saying that they all accomplish the same purpose, they just do it in different ways. Other organizations say their methods are the only effective way to defend. Each organization has schools that teach the methods of the organization. Each school has an instructor that leads the school and teaches the beliefs of the school and the organization.

Purposes of an organization

Some of the purposes of an organization are to:
  • Develop and enforce rank and instructor requirements for member schools.
  • Develop and conduct instructor training.
  • Organize and conduct national rank and instructor testing when required.
  • Maintain a central rank and instructor registration database.
  • Issue rank and instructor certificates for member schools.
  • Organize and conduct national tournaments as required.
  • Provide current information to schools and students in the form of magazines, newsletters, etc.
  • Develop and offer training materials, such as a book, videos. etc.
  • Assist instructors in setting up and managing their schools.
  • Assist instructors in marketing their schools. 

Reputation of an organization

Regardless of its size, an organization is only as good as its reputation in the martial arts community. This reputation is based upon:
  • The integrity of its board of directors and member instructors.
  • The quality and enforcement of its rank and instructor requirements.
  • What it does for its instructors and students.
  • What it does for the reputation of the martial arts community in general.

Before joining an organization, consider these

  • Who runs it, the rank and experience of the owners, the reputation of the organization, its owners, its instructors, and its students in the martial arts community, and who do they report to (such as to a larger organization)?
  • Where it is located?
  • Does it exist as a business in a building or does it only exist on a computer hard drive on someone’s home computer?
  • Does it have a good record with its local Better Business Bureau?
  • Does it have a website? If an organization is large enough to consider itself a state, national, or international organization, then it should have its own domain name and not be a subdomain in some internet provider. A legitimate national or international organization should have a professionally designed website, or at least appear professionally designed.
  • A local organization should have more schools than just those belonging to the owner of the organization. A state organization should have a school in more than one city in the state. A national organization should have a school in more than one state, province, commonwealth, etc. of the nation. An international organization should have a school in more than one nation.
  • The organization should not issue rank or instructor certificates to anyone other than students of member schools after a proper testing.
  • All schools in the organization should be listed.
  • The organization should have reasonable testing fees. If testing costs are the same for all rank tests, then high-rank tests should not cost more.

Be leery of an organization

  • That gives rank and instructor certifications to anyone who submits some type of prior certification certificate and pays a fee.
  • With only a few national schools. If you move to another city, will you be able to find a nearby school?
  • That has young master-ranked instructors.
  • That does nothing for you other than issue certificates.
  • That has high fees in relation to what they offer you.
  • That demands high fees from instructors. These fees will be passed on to you as an increase in your school membership fees.
  • That is merely a subsidiary of the instructor and just used as another way for the instructor to get money from students.
  • That is not recognized by major international organizations, such as the World Taekwondo Federation and the International Taekwondo Federation.
  • That exists only as a way for the owners to get money from gullible students or the public.

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