Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, all martial artists and their respective schools chose to belong to an overarching governing body or association. This centralized approach to the martial arts industry was initially successful during its fledgling years because masters were few and far between and the world was just starting to embrace traditional martial arts. This centralised approach provided structure, consistency, and a sense of unity among practitioners worldwide. However, this harmonious facade started to crack as the senior masters, revered by many, began to either pass away or face opposition from within their own ranks.
The Splintering of a Once United Front
The 1980s marked a significant turning point in the martial arts industry. It was during this era that the powerful organizations that had once bound martial artists together began to splinter into smaller, yet still potent, groups. The industry, once marked by cohesion, started to fragment. This fragmentation continued, and today, we find ourselves in a landscape where it’s challenging to discern who belongs to which group. Wearing a particular logo no longer guarantees an understanding of the curriculum or philosophy that underpins a martial arts practice.
Embracing Change and Moving Forward
Obsessing over the past and longing for a bygone era is an exercise in futility. The key to thriving in the martial arts industry, as in life, is to take the lessons learned from the past, preserve what is valuable, and leave behind what no longer serves a purpose. Today is a new chapter, and it is the choices we make in the present that will shape our future.
Change is an Inevitable Constant
Change is an inescapable reality of life, and it is no different in the martial arts industry. Just as we must adapt to the unexpected challenges that life throws at us, we must also embrace the changes that shape our profession. Our attitude toward these changes is a conscious choice. Whether you are a martial arts school owner, a personal trainer, a sports coach, or a practitioner of a specific discipline, your attitude can make all the difference.
Choosing to Shine Your Light
To thrive in the evolving martial arts industry, choose to be the best version of yourself. Choose to embrace what you have, be grateful for your journey, and extend kindness to those around you. In essence, choose to shine your light not only for your own benefit but also for the betterment of everyone in your sphere.
A Collective Transformation
Imagine a world where everyone in the martial arts industry made the conscious choice to be the best version of themselves, to enjoy their journey, to be grateful, and to extend kindness. The impact would be profound. As we collectively make these choices, the entire industry stands to benefit.
The martial arts industry has come a long way from its unified past, and it continues to evolve. By appreciating the lessons of history while embracing the inevitability of change, we can navigate this ever-shifting landscape with grace and purpose. The choice is ours—to be the shining example of what we wish to see in the world of martial arts and beyond.