Jordan, Lindsey, Joshin, Jonah, Josie, and Daniel —
I have come to a decision that will impact all of you. This month (June) was the first month I had to pay to teach, a point I said would lead me to stop and assess the reality of this teaching model.
Here are the facts:
I love teaching Kung Fu, am a lineage holder, and am responsible for passing on all that I know to the next generation
We are a school of seven, including me
The last student to join, and stay more than a year was Daniel (or maybe Jonah), but it’s been years since a new student has stayed, and I've been unable to prevent a 100% turnover rate since about 2013-14
I can no longer afford to teach 6 people and pay rent to IC. On great months, I make $6.25 /hr when teaching. On bad months, like this June, I pay IC to teach you.
The six of you have shown devotion to practice, willingness to trust me and the lineage, and a desire to keep this system going. But it’s not enough. I simply cannot devote the time and energy to running a school that is no longer financially solvent.
1. We will meet outside, once a week, for the rest of the summer (through mid-September). All level tests will be held inside at IC, but we’ll move back to testing 4x a year, so you’ll know when you’re testing. Your dues will be $50/mo. Tests are still $20, pass or fail.
==> Josie, we will arrange a test before you leave.
2. Arrange for one-on-one training sessions, at my discretion.
3. It is now just us. I will no longer accept new students (which means Aaron, Stan, Michael, etc will be asked to no longer drop in, and I'll cut the Facebook group down to the seven of us).
4. Any potential new student must interview with me first, and I'll assess if I want to teach him or her -- but it's highly unlikely I will take on anyone new.
5. I will spend the summer seeing if I can find a model for a more sustainable and formal future, and will propose something by mid-September.
6. I won't stop teaching as long as even one of you is interested in learning.
7. If this new model doesn't work for you,. that's fine of course, but I would want to speak to you in-person before you formally leave.
WHERE I STAND NOW
Frankly, it is painful to me that so few are interested in what I offer and have spent my adult life mastering. I don’t seem to be able to keep new students coming back -- part of this must be on me and how the school has been set up and how I show up in it, and part of this is because traditional martial arts are dying out of the world, everywhere, for a number of reasons. The former I can work on, the latter is out of my hands.
Our once-a-week class will be Thursdays, at 5:30, in the southwest corner of North Boulder Park. We will not be doing calisthenics but will instead revert to the more traditional model of “just practice”. You are all now responsible for your own level of fitness and flexibility, as well as finding the discipline to practice mostly on your own.
Your dues are $50/mo., due on the first of every month. No more discounts or credit for missed classes (unless you miss an entire month or more). You can PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or SquareCash ($keithmartinsmith) me. (Josie is paid up.)
Traditional Kung Fu is about many things, but all of you have trained long enough to begin to take responsibility for your own practice, take off your training wheels, and allow me to become more of a guide in your increasing discernment. Anyone of you could hold this lineage if you desired to do so.
I believe this will, in the end, make us a stronger school.
Call, email, or text with questions or concerns.
SiFu Kogan Ananda, Keith Martin-Smith
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