Its been 5 years this year since I decided make Matt Hudd Martial Arts, formally Dragon Fitness Academy, an independent Martial Art Association. My reasons for doing this without going into too much detail with the politics of Martial Arts was really that I wasn’t keen on being told how my students should be doing things, especially when I didn’t agree with all of it. I used to say, this is the technique I would use, or this is the way I would do it but for the grading you have to do it this way as its in the syllabus etc. We all have certain techniques that we prefer over others and I am the sort of person that needs a reason why and then I will make my own mind up. That makes sense to me, why would we do anything if you don’t know the reason behind doing it. This is what I try to instil in my students, I actively encourage them to try out other instructors and to get other views on things, not to just take my word for it.
The other reason I choose to become independent was because of the standard in some clubs. If you’re reading this and you are taking it personally, then I have obviously hit a mark. I’m not claiming that I have the best students out there and that other clubs have terrible students, but I have been fortunate to of trained and experienced many clubs and associations and a lot, to be frank, are more about the money than the students. I should know, I belonged to one, where students graded every 2 months, with the exception from Brown to Black which was a measly 6 months, you weren’t even pressure tested for your black belt grading. I am so glad that I trained with them thou as I wouldn’t of believed it otherwise. On the other end of the spectrum, I have done Black belts where I didn’t know If I was going to be sick or S***t myself, excuse the expression. Because I have trained in so many styles and systems I used to call myself Jack of all trades and Master of none, it took me 26 years before I got my first black belt! Nowadays I can reflect and say I am happy that I have trained with so many instructors and associations, some bad but the majority were fantastic. It has given me a good insight into what standards I want with my students and the type of club I want to run.
Getting back on track with this, in the last week, I’ve really noticed a difference in our students, you can really see the difference in standard between the grades from the beginners through to the intermediate and the to the advanced. The atmosphere of the club feels like a real Community of everyday people all doing Martial Arts for different reasons and supporting each other and learning. It’s great to see so many people enjoying Martial Arts and having fun doing so. Yes, there is a serious side to martial arts and if you want to advance to the high grades in our system, it is going to need commitment, time, sweat and tears and some people may just want to stay at the grade they are. That’s fine enjoy it for what it is and get what you want from it. Martial Arts is about Personal Development and we are all on our own separate journey.