HAPPY WORLD TAI CHI AND CHI KUNG DAY APRIL 29TH 2017!!!
Martial training brings us all closer together. World Tai Chi and Chi Kung Day, if you don't already know, is a day we get together and train with our 'extended family' all around the world! Being a part of the Tai Chi + Chi Kung community and especially having this unity is a really powerful thing.
This brings to light one of the biggest conflicts I have as an instructor... The clash of business and the traditional familial mindset. These outlooks are what we're going to explore today.
Martial Art Family, Business, or both?
This is a question that I ask myself very often... How do we balance Traditional Martial Art ideals of family with the necessity for Business transactions?
To place this question in a better context I want to briefly outline what Traditional Martial Art ideals are... In short traditional martial arts strive to teach enduring foundations that strengthen every aspect of life. That is to say teaching not only the martial but equally the Art. This embodiment should exist in every class, so even in one class the goal is to impart jewels one can ponder or practice every day of ones life to reach mastery of one's physical and mental self. In group practice this is to develop a sense of family amongst ourselves, practicing and enduring the hardships together. The view is, that by enduring difficulty together we all get stronger.
Much like parents raise their kids to be self sufficient this training methodology has, at its core, the teachings of Taoism. A sense of Wei Wu Wei (detached action)...
"Treat all things as does heaven and earth...
In relation to business this poses a deeper question. Does "Wei Wu Wei" undermine the necessity for contracts and other types of business practices?
To lay claim can be defined in many ways. I take it to mean a personal claim. That is to say I don't take credit for what I achieve or help others achieve. It is their practice that grants it to them by following principles of the Tao. It's ultimately not my doing rather it is by the workings of the things themselves that brings results.
Similarly in business. Seek to help others without laying a claim to them. The teacher's role in a "Martial Art Business" is to above all else hold sole responsibility for all actions of teaching and to clarify any questions or doubts as to what martial art training or structure entails. In regards to business practices such as receiving payment, contract obligations, paperwork, marketing, and other transactions, it is by building a strong relationship using communication, transparency and trust that brings about good business and success. These can be seen as the main principles in the "Tao of business."
The traditional 'martial family' aspect reaches far beyond what is required of a good businessman or ethical martial art instructor. This attribute essentially is caring for your students as though they were your very own family. Extending beyond a duty because of financial payment, but rather a deeper sense of living by honor and martial spirit. It is in this spirit we should seek to help our students well being by assisting in any way we can.
That is to say we must look past business practices at times to help those who need it. Those who 'need' the art the most sadly and most often are those who financially can't afford it. It's our duty to give back to society by offering the most beneficial teachings to those in need. Its disciplines will bring riches to all aspects indirectly, or directly by applying principles. The only thing that tempers this type of generosity should be balancing the need to pay for upkeep and to sustain one's own family.
Traditionally this problem didn't exist. In the 'distant' past Martial Arts have been familial or monastic disciplines. Meaning martial arts have either been passed down throughout the family or through monkhood. The days of old kung fu movies are great examples of times the art stayed within the family and traditional ties were much stronger. In this atmosphere students became a part of the family and took care of the school as much as they would their own home.
Times have changed and it is indeed important to cultivate balance of familial duty and business necessity. Honor Discipline and Spirit are great guides we must uphold as instructors and students alike. Keeping them in mind this balance is found quite easily.
Once again HAPPY TAI CHI AND CHI KUNG DAY! until next time, keep training.
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Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu