FMA school size...

Discussion in 'General' started by Ron Kosakowski, May 23, 2008.

  1. Ron Kosakowski

    Ron Kosakowski New Member

    Here is what I noticed about Kali, Arnis and Escrima/Eskrima schools...unless there is something else taught in the school like BJJ, JKD or TKD, etc., there seems to be no way to support a school and its bills with just a weapons class. My Kali class on a good day will have 12 people. My JKD and grappling classes class could have up to 25 or 30 on a good day. The same goes for my Kuntao class though like I said, that is unusual for an FMA class...Kuntao Dumpag has a good reputation so I pull in the people for that class due to the amount of years I have been in that style. JKD is self sold everywhere in all magazines and every time Linda Lee Cadwell releases something new to keep BL’s name alive.

    I have found that people are not educated in most FMA’s. They never heard of impact and bladed weapon styles. They also feel they have no use for learning something like that. Kuntao seems to be more appealing to the general public where it is empty hand oriented and weapons come into play later on. JKD of course, has that "martial art" look to it that people recognize more so that class always pulls in people. Grappling since 1993, due to the UFC has every ones interest now a days. One thing though, Fight Quest and the Human Weapon helped to make Kali, Arnis, Eskrima a little more popular which got me a few more students in that class.

    I see a lot of people that teach Kali, Arnis Eskrima, teach out of their garage or cellar or in their back yards. There are not to many commercial schools that teach it. You folks notice the same thing?
  2. kaliman1978

    kaliman1978 New Member

    Ron you are right on in your analysis! I have heard people say dumb things like "Hey I don't walk around with any sticks so I don't need that stuff!" The thing that they don't realize is that there is ALOT more than just stick stuff in the curriculum. In my kali class there is only like four of us at the most and three that show up on a regular basis. I think alot of people nowadays are all wrapped up into the mma thing which is cool, but they don't realize that it's just a sport and not real combat.
  3. Sheldon Bedell

    Sheldon Bedell New Member

    I'll agree also.
    On a good day I might have 8-12 people on the floor. Most of the time over the years it has been more like six. No amount of advertising or publicity pictures in the local paper seemed to change the numbers
    I admit to living in a small community with a local TKD school nearby that has been around for 30 years and a couple of kenpo schools about 7 miles away
  4. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    No doubt FMA only training halls have a hard time by themselves. Not because the systems are not extremely effective but obviously for some other reason. My personal belief is just lack of exposure and public understanding. I run into the same thing with IRT in that so many people come in only wanting MMA. That is okay though as the lucky ones that stick around get all that I teach! [​IMG]
  5. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    I concur...I have 5 regular students and 1 private student, and it is hard as hell to get anybody with enough cajones to come and play. I teach outside, in the South Texas heat, on concrete. Hell, I have had MMA guys come check it out and get scared as a rabbit when they see we do all the silat and pangamot with no pads, taking all the falls on the concrete. I personally believe in keeping it this reality where are you gonna get attacked? On the street, so if my guys can take the falls in training they will be much better suited for real world get down and nasty ass whomping. There are so many schools that have elements of FMA/Silat but it falls under the guise of something else, and that something else can be anything from Take Ones Doe to ball room dancing. It seems to me a lot of schools water their FMA down to fit their cash flow goals. I can't and never will do was given to me raw and nasty and that's how I will pass it on.

    I look at it as building more than just a student base. I want dead serious people who are willing to build a war clan with bitching, no whining, no BS period.
  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    I feel exactly the same way Mike. I would rather have a few die hards than an large group and have to water it down. [​IMG]
  7. kaliman1978

    kaliman1978 New Member

    Numbers aren't everything unless you are trying to make teaching your main thing. It would suck to be depending on fma to feed you and you don't have but two students paying fifty per month. Most instructors I know have a regular 9-5 so it really doen't matter if they have one or one hundred students. I personally like the small group atmosphere because you really get to know the people you are teaching and training with. I wouldn't want a very large class and show some knife and have somebody do something stupid and have it come back on me. With the small group you can better monitor improvement and tweek whatever needs to be tweeked to get those SERIOUS folks better.
  8. rshawtx

    rshawtx New Member

    The "Hey I don't walk around with any sticks so I don't need that stuff!" mentality is what kep me away from Kali growing up... until I matured and knew better. Think of it this way, it is vieled in plain sight because of it. Heck, it worked with the Spanish before and it's still working now. :)

    From a student's perspective, I like the small classes. You can build better camaraderie and focused training. It is also a bit traditional teaching it in your garage, back yard or the park. :) Amen to what PG Mike said. I know it bites if that is your main source of income though.
  9. Ron Kosakowski

    Ron Kosakowski New Member

    Wow, this thread pulled in some numbers. I see every one sees the same thing I did.

    I depend on my school to live, cloth and feed my kids and me. Luckily, like I said before, I have the other classes going on that bring in the people. My school has punks around and gangs are all over the place so i am a little nit picky on who comes into my Kali or Kuntao classes also. I push the JKD and grappling more until I get to know them. We have a good responcible group in both FMA classes.

    One thing I find in the Kali classes that it is easier to teach with a smaller group. Especially for those students that are not the most coordinated. Moving two hands along with footwork and body movement would be hard to teach inna class of 50 at a time.
  10. Kailat


    Ron, I agree as well.. I have on average about 4 to 5 dedicated guys to come and play... I at one time had 13 and that was a large group for me.. We thinned them out when the live blade and full contact stick sparring came into play.. ALot of injuries happen within FMA for sure.. but thats part of it..we dont play by the rules and why should we? Its not the mentality of the FMA..

    I concur when i taught Karate and mixed it w/ JKD oh my god i had people coming out the woodwork.. but my heart wasn't in it.. it wasnt about the money, or the keeping doors open. since i have gave up the traditional arts for FMA, its dwindled low.. but i like it more.. its more personable.. i don't even charge a fee..its more or less a donational thing.. money, food, time, cd's-training aids etc.. whatever is good w/ me..we train at a free location and or the public park on nice days..but to me, i feel more like im accomplishing more this way... When I taught Karate regurarly, i really burned out on it fast... I did not agree with it, I hated teaching and or doing KATA.. sparring was a joke.. As I got tired with it.. I started mixing FMA with the Karate.. and i started losing students.. I did not understand it.. But i found out that people just don't respect truth i combat.. they wanted the NORM! I gave up teaching and or even practicing Karate even after gaining Renshi level... it was not where my heart was at.. FMA is where I enjoy being and studying.. if i have no partners, students or not.. i don't care.. I had a high ranking dude in NINJUTSU tell me once after partakin in one of our classes that we were too rough and too hard core....LOL i thought dude your a NINJA what a whooose.... lol... even ninja can't hang w/ FMA
  11. Kailat


    speaking of injuries.. anyone have any related to FMA? me and my group was invited to a martial arts demo for Ball State University "ASIAN AWARENESS WEEK" or something like that. anyway there is this martial arts demo that goes on every year.. we were invited and have been every year.. so we put together this demo.. i remmber the first year, me and my buddy who has been doing FMA since we were teenagers, and have always done sinawalli and etc... w/ machette's so of course we thought we'd dazzle the audience and captivate them..with this live machette demo.. it was funny cause i took a shot on the finger.. almost cut the damn thing off... but i never showed the pain or anyhing, in fact I kept on going... it wasnt till the end of the demo i gently walked off stage went to the restroom, and wrapped my finger up in a towelll as the group continued on... it was funny cause only me and my buddy only knew what had happened. LOL after the demo i was on the mic explaining what we one... the next day in the paper the article read FMA group uses live blades and one of the instructors take a shot to the hand..etc.. it was a great event... every year wegot better.. it was our first time and of course the crowd prolly scared us all.. as time come over us and the more we do it, the more confident we are...

    anyway i just thought i'd share that in light of injuries etc...
  12. PG Michael B

    PG Michael B Oso Grande

    Injuries are a common occurrence when you train hard. I have had so many that I can't count. As of now I am healing a partial tare in my right Achilles. I also have had concussions (7 total) a lot from my knock out karate days a few from hard silat training ( puter kepala head first into the pavement). I have suffered from broke fingers (stick shots) strained muscles, torn ham strings etc....but as they THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL YOU ONLY MAKES YOU STRONGER. When I trained in PTK Grand Tuhon busted my forehead wide open with a was a great lesson in proper footwork. He smashed my forehead, helped me up, shoved some sort of hot oil in the gash and said " come on, more training".

    I would say my worst injury training was a self induced stabbing. I was doing a live blade free flow and I got a bit over exuberant and buried my CRKT straight into my thigh. That was a $300.00 lesson to be sure. It's all good though. I guess if your a die hard it all comes with the territory.
  13. Phil Mar Nadela

    Phil Mar Nadela New Member Supporting Member

    I believe our club is the only one left that still teach FMA exclusively in Edmonton. One of the few masters that i know here closed down his school 2 years ago. And many others closed down, maybe cause there is just no interest or FMA is just not well known here.And of course it is not profitable.

    Our club rents from a non-profit dojang and if wasn't for the regular student's we would have been closed a long time ago.
    Even though some schools like us are struggling, in my opinion i don't think it is not a bad thing.Through our club i have met and trained with people that are really passionate about FMA.
  14. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    The most students I've had exclusively for my FMA class was about 12.. Primarily all military affiliated and individuals who had seen me do demos at the Mall with some of my senior students when I was teaching commercially... The first time I did a demo for a friend of mine who had a fitness center, we scared most of the audience because of the full power throws that almost took out a complete dj equipment stand when my guys were bouncing across the stage.. We also did full contact stick sparring in the field house of the local university when we sponsored Dennis Alexio out for a kickboxing demo.. We wore the wekaf gear, but fought full contact which also allowed take downs and empty hand defenses if you were disarmed.. We took some heckles from the crowd until we started going full contact and the head gear started sound like dinner bells going off with the force of the impact.. This showed the local clubs that we didn't play games when it came to training and fighting.. But like everything else, the non weapons training primarily with my kuntao brought in as many as 60 students on the floor for one school that I ran on base and about 15-20 in each of the other two I had on a couple of the other bases here on island.

    Since then I closed my commercial schools and started working solely on teaching privately as I am one of three FMA instructors on the island, so we maintain a low profile and one of the other guys is a Pekiti instructor who I have know for over 10 yrs, so we get together now and then for some slamming and jamming and cross training
  15. sneaky

    sneaky New Member

    Hi All,

    The most guys I have ever had on the books is 3!! but I would rather train with the converted than teach kids watered down rubbish.

    All the best,


    PS Howdy Bill how are ya?
  16. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise Senior Member Supporting Member

    So why is it that the FMA's cannot seem to draw larger numbers. I truthfully know of only one person Datu Dieter of Modern Arnis in Germany whose numbers are through the roof. Everyone else has relatively small numbers. Heck Pekiti Tirsia is a big organization but the Pekiti people I know still have small class sizes. Most of my friends teaching only have small classes.

    So why is this? The FMA's clearly are one of the stronger martial systems out there in general. Are we to rough, not out there promoting enough, are we viewed as to aggressive because of the tools we use. Or is it because the interest for martial arts wans a bit as people get out into the real world and start working, family, etc. Tae Kwon Do, Karate, BJJ (now) all have feeder systems where they teach children, teens and those children, teens then become adult practitioners and feed their adult classes. Still in general those arts adult classes are small.

    So is the case of small class sizes something we are all comfortable with? Or the way we were taught so that is the way we will keep it? [​IMG] I can honestly say that the later is closer to how I am than anything else.
  17. sneaky

    sneaky New Member

    Hi All,

    I think the point about feeder systems is a very important one, money in MAs comes from teaching kids taekwondo or the like and leads to strong student retention, I think due to the adult subject matter in the FMAs the parents who pay the kids fees are not likely to sign up little billy to learn how to take a very obvious step up in seriousness.

    I think that a lot of students are looking for the routine of technique collection that some TMAs/sport arts offer as well as the qualitiess parents would like to instill such as honour and discipline as well as the comradery MAs promote, I think when people find FMAs its due to a realisation about what is real and what isnt, some get it most dont.


  18. equilibrium

    equilibrium Member

    Kali too efficient and bloody

    I honestly think that for some people Pekiti Tirsia is too "effective", "extreme", etc in their eyes. I do think they often want empty hands sooner and don't understand the whole weapons thing, they think they won't have a weapon when the time comes.

    I was talking to a girl that had studied karate and was trying to convince her to try out some pekiti-tirsia... her objection was that it was "too bloody."

    She won that argument....I have a comeback for most things but I think she gave me no possibility of counter.

    So maybe some people think it is too extreme, some people want a big school or something more "mainstream or known", and some people want more empty hand oriented stuff, and some people are out just to have fun or lose weight.
    I had one guy who came to train who had done some FMA before and said he wanted to do more because it was "fun." What this guy wanted to do was patty cake, patty cake, bakers man with the sticks... which isnt what we do. Some FMA do the patty cake thing and some people think it is fun...

    I train people in my backyard and used to rent out a big gym at one point. Years ago I taught both wing chun and pekiti tirsia in gym I rented out twice a week from a school.(whole basketball court.) For wing chun at my max I had maybe 6 students and the students changed out frequently, in pekiti-tirsia I usually only had 2 students. Now I just teach pekiti in my backyard or garage when super cold or raining and have only 2 students(over time 2 moved away but were replaced by two new ones) despite doing some internet advertising.

    Wing chun really benefited from the whole Bruce Lee/Wing Chun connection. They read about Bruce and then seek out wing chun. I think alot of people end up doing what is in the news alot like BJJ or alot just end up doing what they see in the local area driving around or in the yellow pages. After all, when you are new to the martial arts, they all seem the same....
  19. silat1

    silat1 Active Member

    Hey Jim,
    I taught the more traditional aspects of Kuntao which included the sets and forms that I was taught when I lived in Taiwan.. When combined with the training I had with the Filipino Kuntaw, the kids and adults got the same package.. Just a different variation of each, the kids aspects reflected applications that could be used against all types of school yard bully with the exception of those with weapons due to the liability issue here on base.. But a couple of my students used the empty hand applications against weapons bearing bullies on several occasions.. One of my female students saw another kid getting ready to stab her brother, she disarmed the guy, knee smashed him and took him down in the aisle way of a moving school bus.. She didn't get in trouble as the bus driver saw what was going on and the weapon bearing student was taken away in handcuffs.. Another time, right after we had a kid get stabbed and killed over a cigarette by another student, one of my male students was accosted by the gang members who's acquaintance was one of the group who stabbed and killed the kid earler.. He was waiting for the bus and a couple of the guys from this gang tried to jump him while he was on his way to his car after school.. When the attackers moved in, he defended himself by breaking one of the attacker's arms and bounced the other guy off the ground by doing a movement we call "suyop" which is translated to mean magnet.. He stretched the guy out by riding along with the punch with a parry action, then applied a Lop sao action that I showed him from wing chun while kicking the base leg out at the ankle.. Needless to say, he walked away expeditiously and got in his car.. Nothing more was said or done as it was after school and off campus when the attack was initiated.

    So, no watered down stuff here, just teaching the kids to have the ability to go from zero mindset to full out survival when the situation dictates.. But this was when I was teaching more of a survival art instead of a touchy feely martial sport
  20. Kali Cowboy

    Kali Cowboy New Member

    I have 10 paying students, but only 7 have paid this month. They are all crossover's from Tang Soo Do. 4 non paying students. One student that has been with me for years. Non payers do chores. I teach in a friends Dojang and collect very little from students. I am reminded of how the Grand Masters did it from Master Style. I don't make enough to pay the bills. I do cover gas money. I am a saddle maker but my business is new. I have full support from my wife. I am fortunate, I am shaping lives.

    God bless,

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