There is a trend in the Shaolin Kempo Karate community to fast track students to instructor roles. Becoming a proficient instructor takes a long time even after Black Belt. Yet there are many instructors who are willing to sour their relationship with customers and students to make a fast buck. Be wary of signing any contracts that limit you to the bidding of an organization or instructor without proper legal advise.
I’ve seen to many potentially good instructors and student leave the Kempo arts because they ended up owing thousands of dollars to a master for Instructor Colleges or Training. Make sure the deal sounds good to you (after a good night’s rest) and someone outside the situation (like the BBB). Get a copy of the contract, bring it home and have someone else (like a lawyer) review it. If the deal is legitimate then having legal advisors look it over is normal business practice.
If you going into a franchise situation, learn about how franchises work. Read books and study the subject. There are lots of legal protections you have if you know what you are doing. Don’t stand for high percentage cuts off of your gross or every-increasing-fees or costly sales goals for un-sellable items. Franchises provide you with a system that is easy to run by the book. If it requires you to do things that feel wrong or disreputable, then don’t get into it.
One thing that martial arts training teach is the warrior’s honor. Be truthful, honest and helpful in all business dealings with students, instructors and friends. Trustworthy business professionals make steady money. Devious con men make lots of money fast but then need to leave town before getting caught. Professional martial artists do deserve to make money so they can pay their bills just like anyone else. We all have bills to pay. However, if it involves scams and get rich while making others poor – that’s when honor is lost and the whole industry suffers.
If you want to be an instructor of Shaolin Kempo Karate or Karazenpo go Shinjutsu, learn how to run a business first. Let your martial arts training sink in. You have to do your material very well before you can teach others and that takes time. When you have the right mix of business skills, martial arts skills and teaching skills (yes you need all three) then you can be an instructor.
Better yet, get experience by being a paid instructor intern at your school. In the state of California, anyone who teaches at a facility, which makes its money through instruction, must pay those employees. There’s lots of legal mumbo-jumbo but if you help, then you are an employee and you must be paid. Don’t break the law just to be nice. If the school owner doesn’t know the laws, let them know so he or she will be in compliance.
Most people get in to funny situations because they leap before they look. The key to self-defense is awareness of the surroundings. Don’t let your instructor or a regional manager intimidate you into signing something bogus. They are not the only answer to your dream.
Tell me your story about Kempo scams that bother you or you heard.