Wanna be a Martial Arts Teacher?


A fellow walked into my school. ‘Hey, you want me teach karate for you? I learned it down the street at the tae kwon do school. I learned really good, but they wouldn’t let me take the test. I couldn’t afford it. Hey, you want me to teach for you?’

Do you see it? Do you understand what tragedy just happened here?

A fellow learned an art, thought all arts were the same, couldn’t hold a job long enough (or wouldn’t) to pay for a belt test, and was illiterate.

Now, how can this fellow have a life? The most he can hope for is assembly line work, as long as all the widgits have to be screwed in the same way. (Don’t get me wrong–there’s nothing wrong with assembly line work, just not forever!)

I’m not kidding.

And here is the double tragedy here–he was taught, all the way to black belt (almost) and nobody in his school ever addressed his illiteracy!

Was his teacher literate?

Was his teacher’s teacher literate?

Was anybody in his lineage ever literate?

And, if he was illiterate, can he truly be a black belt?

Yeah, I know what you’re saying–you’re saying that it doesn’t matter if he couldn’t read, the martial arts are based on body motion.

But body motion, specifically in the martial arts, is based upon concepts, and a person stands a far better chance of understanding those concepts if he is literate.

And…a study of the martial arts should include medical texts, it’s the only way to truly understand how joints and muscles work.

And grammar, so you can communicate ideas and concepts to one another.

And physics and mechanics and engineering and other sciences.

And there isn’t a martial art around that isn’t going to get into foreign languages at some point.

Do you get the idea?

And the triple tragedy behind all this is that this fellow who walked into my school is, no doubt, teaching somewhere right now.

The fortunate thing is that you’re reading this, so you’re already a step ahead of this fellow who wanted to teach for me.

The question is…how far ahead?

To find out how smart you are in the martial arts I have included the following ranking system, which is based upon the contents of your personal martial arts library. Bear in mind, before you start, that I am talking about your ability to understand concepts, and to communicate those concepts with other people, and this may be a little different than what you expect.

If you have video tapes of martial arts movies you are a white belt (beginner).

If you have a large number of martial arts instructional tapes you are a green belt (intermediate).

If you have a large number of martial arts books you are a brown belt (advanced).

If you have a large number of martial arts dictionaries and encyclopedias you are a black belt (expert).

If you have written a book, or more than ten articles, then you are a Master.

Well? What’s your ‘smarts’ ranking?

And if your ‘smarts’ ranking is low…what are you going to do about it?

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