The US Association of Martial Arts would like to officially endorse the Kokusai Nihon Bugei Rengokai as one of the premier organizations today dedicated to the preservation and continuation of classical as well as modern Japanese warrior arts. The KNBR is comprised of the following divisions: Judo, Jujutsu, Aiki-Budo, Karate-Do, Iaijutsu, Nihon Kobudo, Nihon Kempo, Goshinjutsu, Gendai Ninjutsu and Taihojutsu, and they're open to all respectable practitioners of Japanese oriented martial arts, regardless of system or previous & current affiliations. The KNBR offers membership, and provide its members with many services including; access to training, seminars, opportunity for rank grading and recognition, school charters and listing on the World Head Quarters site. For more information about this fast-growing, prestigious organization, please click here.
Author: Bret Gordon
In the United States, anyone can open up a martial arts school. You don't even need to have any training whatsoever. All you need is the ability to sign a lease, and everything else you need can be purchased online. While I doubt the number of complete beginners going out and opening their own school is anything to speak of, what we do end up seeing is just about anyone who has a 1st or 2nd Dan deciding they are qualified to teach.
Historically, the reason the Menkyo system existed was to license instructors. It has always been something separate from one's individual progress (now expressed in their belt rank), and that's why many modern systems have carried on the practice alongside the kyu/dan system. Even if a formal Menkyo system does not exist in a particular style, there has always been a tradition of instructor certification (either formally or informally) that gave the student the authorization to teach outside of their home school, and traditionally this was reserved for those of 4th Dan or higher.
Some organizations run official instructors courses, and some groom their students individually to become teachers through shadowing and other methods. I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to produce instructors, as long as there is actual training involved and you are not just thrown onto the mat without being taught the intricacies of how to teach. I mean, it doesn't matter how good you are at math. You still need a degree in education before you can teach even at the grade school level. However, let's pretend for a minute that an actual license to teach is unnecessary since in this country, it effectively is. So much more goes into being a martial arts instructor than just being proficient in the curriculum (which is why instructor's licenses are important in the first place), that I would beware any teacher that does not seek continued education. But what I'm about to detail is not what you think...
Author: Bret Gordon
There is a current trend in the martial arts community to want to separate martial arts from self defense. On one hand, "martial artists" want to separate themselves so that they aren't held accountable for their students being unable to defend themselves. On the other, self defense enthusiasts want to emphasize what they do is meant to prepare you to survive a violent encounter and has nothing to do with the strip-mall kiddie karate that permeates the country. They are both missing the mark.
Martial arts are quite literally skills of war. Since the beginning of codified fighting systems, martial arts have been developed for both unarmed and armed combat. Their sole purpose for existing is to train the individual to survive. Now in our civilized society we have decided to focus on the side effects of martial arts training, such as character and personal development, etc. But in truth, that's like eating a side salad without the steak and potatoes. No one doubts the tremendous and countless benefits that the martial arts has on your life, but the essence cannot be lost... And that essence is to give you the tools to protect yourself and the ones you love.
Of course, this has opened the door for MMA to steal the spotlight claiming to be the most realistic form of training around. While we can certainly debate that for a host of reasons, like the fact that fighting a consensual one-on-one unarmed encounter on a padded floor with ample space couldn't be farther from the reality of the majority of violent attacks, the foundation of the argument comes down to one simple truth: individuals who train to fight often fight more in training. They consistently test their training against opponents who are actively resisting. But why can't we do that as well?