thomascliffordsmartialarts.com
There Is No Success Without Succession
"We all lead by example, whether we want to or not." -Anonymous Dear Friend, I trust this blog finds you well. Are you pleased with your progress? You should be. However, I strongly suggest that you remain hungry to achieve more. Much more. It is inspiring to see so many people being, doing, having, and giving, their personal best! Have you experienced the increased energy on the mat? I certainly have. It is exciting to train with a class full of serious Martial Artists. We have come a long - let’s keep going. We all enjoy the transformation that every student makes as they embrace Black Belt as their minimum goal. It never gets "old." It wakes us up early, and keeps us up late. I want to provide a clear explanation of our course structure and system. We have a well established path that leads to Black Belt and beyond. Here it is... All new students enroll in our Basic Course. The Basic Course is extremely effective. For children it means that they attend a single session - each week - until they are ready to add more classes. For the adults, the same structure is followed - one session per week - until they want and need more. It prepares students, mentally and physically for the Mastery Course. When a student enrolls in the Basic Course, the objective is crystal clear. The single purpose of the Basic Course is to prepare for, and participate in the Mastery Course. Everyone knows that Black Belt is every Martial Arts student's minimum goal. Most of our students have already set that goal before ever getting on the mat. We allow students up to 2 months in the Basic Course to make their decision. It gives their body a chance to "catch up" to their mind. With few exceptions, students increase their training immediately before or after earning their High White Belt. It does not take long for students (and parents) to see the value of earning a Black Belt in the Martial Arts. I really enjoy the contrast between the Basic level and Mastery level. If you take the time to watch a Basic class you will see very sincere beginners awkwardly struggling to "get through" the session. They do not know how to line up properly, recite the 3-D creed, bow in, or perform White Form. Their strikes, blocks, kicks, and stances are undeveloped. If a senior student is leading the Basic class, new students seem to experience a unique blend of appreciation and intimidation. Most beginners are deeply scripted in the belief that the Instructor is going to teach them Martial Arts. It is a bittersweet surprise when they find out that Martial Arts is not taught, it is learned. That little distinction sends a few people running for the door. Oh well. Fortunately, many students intuitively realize that it could not be any other way. We learn the Martial Arts, and mostly from our classmates. If you observe a Mastery class, you will immediately notice a confidence and certainty that is missing in the Basic class. The students are unified by the absolute goal of earning their Black Belts. Is that a big deal? It makes all the difference in the world. Students who train 2+ classes per week, are not "just checking it out." We do not encourage students to participate in Mastery classes beyond a one month trial period, unless they are committed to earning their Black Belt. At that point they commit, just like you have, or will. You can see the differences clearly, particularly if you are a Martial Artist or athlete. The contrast is tremendous. You can also hear the difference. Confidence has a definite sound. I am somewhat sorry to say, you can often smell the difference, too! We all know that perspiration and inspiration go hand-in-hand. The Mastery curriculum is definitely more challenging and includes a lot more features. But the real value of Mastery is who you are training with. Your classmates are all serious about their training, just like you. I appreciate knowing that my classmates and training partners are committed. I personally do not enjoy practicing drills with someone who is "undecided." I am sure you agree. Again, the Basic Program is where we make up our minds and prepare for Mastery. It is not a “hiding place.” The Mastery Course is structured to facilitate maximum progress by making it exclusively available to qualified and committed students. It is a fantastic structure. I believe this blog provides everyone with a clear description of the TCMA course structure and explains the strategy and purpose behind it. Our Dojo is a unique place, let's keep it that way! I look forward to seeing you and your family in class at the Dojo. Respectfully, Kyoshi Thomas Clifford