“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

Why We’re Different

I have a flyer, and the subcaption reads “Who We Are and Why We’re Different”. This is one of my favorite flyers, as it tells the story of how my school isn’t just your average martial arts school. As a Philippine-style martial arts school–I even run my Kung Fu class as a Filipino class–we have a completely different philosophy than, as another of my favorite flyers puts it–“This Isn’t Your Little Brother’s Karate School”.

In my many conversations with FMA practitioners both around my area and the internet, we touch on the importance of distinguishing yourself from everyone else. As a Guro who has invested your hard-earned, hard-saved money, your sweat, and effort, you owe it to yourself to find a way to make sure this successful. Please don’t cheat yourself by considering prospering in the martial arts industry to be indicative of selling out; every well-meaning martial arts teacher deserves to make a comfortable living.

I would like to offer you some things that may help you in your conversations with potential students, and I hope they don’t make you feel like you’re giving a sales pitch.

First, let me say this. As a martial arts teacher, we are not salesmen. In my opinion, martial arts “snailsmen” might as well sell used cars. We don’t want to convince uninterested students into joining. The idea here is to find out if the student we are speaking to is a good match for our school, and then convince him that our school meets his needs. And be honest. You may want the tuition, but if you sign up the wrong guy for your classes, it will be a waste of your energy and his time and money. And you want to be able to put your point across in less than 3 minutes. If you can sum up a good picture of who you are and why you’re different, you are on your way to training a new student:

  • We are an adult-oriented school. Most FMA schools are not into teaching 10 year olds. I know I’m not. The FMAs are complicated arts, and while some schools have forms and drills that kids can learn, the main part of the art–the slashing throats, breaking bones, and exterminating our opponents–is not appropriate for children. Therefore, we focus our attentions on the adult market. If you, Mr. Student, are interested in the grown-up, real stuff–you’re in the right place. I don’t have a “Tiny Tigers” program.
  • We understand that sticks and knives do break bones, and they can hurt you. Many martial arts schools delve too much into theory, and their weapons are really not seen as weapons. They actually treat weapons as “extensions of the hands”, rather than the weapons of war they were made to be. In the FMA school, we treat weapons like they are supposed to be treated: as tools to injure, maim or kill the opponent. If you are interested in advanced baton-twirling with sticks, go check out the guys down the street. But if you want to learn how to punish a criminal for life, this is the school for you. Most other schools only use weapons for forms and demonstration. We teach you to fight with them.
  • We do not teach survival on the streets; we teach domination on the streets. The Day Care Center–excuse me–the Karate school at the shopping center down the street is only pulling your leg when he uses the term “self-defense”. In telling you that you can only learn to survive the street, and not win matches, he is trying to convince you that street attacks are not win-lose. Well, nothing could be further than the truth. Attackers in the streets are not interested in winning trophies. At the same time, he is not going to walk away just because you fight back. As long as you are standing and breathing, he will continue–especially if you fight back–until he is convinced that he could get away and not be followed or identified in a line up. If a man crawls through your window while you’re home and tells you to find all the cash in the house, do you think he will stop once you get a bloodied nose? Hell no, you better learn how to cripple him or make him stop breathing. You can’t sterilize the street assault. It won’t be easy, and it won’t feel like a cardio workout. You need to be faster, stronger and more bulletproof than any alcohol-drinking, pot-smoking thug on the street.  Majority of the time, he has spent the last 5 – 10 years pumping iron in the joint. Do you really think you’ll be able to match him with some canned moves learned in a 3 hour seminar? We will teach you and train you to ruin that thug’s day.
  • Sometimes, the class will look like a military hand-to-hand course, sometimes it will look like a boxing class, and sometimes it will look like a fitness class. And that’s why I don’t do “free classes” so you can see if you like it. Because to be honest, if I am doing my job as an FMA teacher, you won’t like it. Either you want to do this, or you don’t. And one class won’t give you any idea what training here is like. Try it for three months and then make your decision. Oh? You mean you don’t know if you will stick with it three months? Well, this school is for serious students only. And to be honest, if a student is not willing to commit to three months of training, then I don’t want him as a student. This is a serious martial arts school for serious martial artists. I’m sure Ronald McSensei has an intro to Karate course…
  • We will break you down and build you up. Any martial arts class worth its salt will do this. When you join, you will go home with blisters on your hands. Your forearms will hurt so bad you won’t be able to play your X-Box for a few days. You may have bruises, pulled muscles, and even a bloody nose here and there. But believe that in one year, you will not be the same person you are today. You will be stronger, leaner, more aggressive, and more courageous. That’s what this training will do for you. But if you think you won’t want to quit every month, you don’t understand the real thing. This is a difficult journey, and it is super-simple; just won’t be easy. There is a saying that most people who undertake a serious FMA class will quit in the first 6 months. There is a reason for that. Most people aren’t cut out for it. But if you stick with it, you will be able to hold your head up among your peers. And I hope you do it, but I won’t make you sign a contract to get there. I want you to want this that bad, as a student. The commercial school does contracts because they are more interested in their bottom line, I am interested in results.

I have more, but I have to get ready for class. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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