A school with NGB backing grows this narcissistic virus, an air of superiority that they sell to their customers. (I say customers because that's what people are to them, not students, family or even dare I say friends). They sell the fantasy and do the bare minimum for their customers or community (while asking for more money). You won't fail your rank test because of sloppy technique or lack of knowledge, but you will think you're the next Karate Kid. Do they even care about those they teach?
The NGBs certainly don't care about their instructors. If all those nights have taught me anything, it's that when things go south for us, who is there to pick us up? Where is the governing body when an instructor is under attack for no legitimate reason? It's instant betrayal. It's disrespectful, and their lack of caring or remorse, when proven wrong, is deplorable. But hey, they've got their money, their power, they'll rinse their hands while you fall with no support.
It's all part of the drama and politics. One must have deep pockets to be a part of these so-called governing bodies, who claim they are here to help you and support you. Of course, if you don't have deep pockets and if you don't play well with the rest of the kids in the sandbox, you have to go home. God forbid one rocks the boat! If you happen to get some money coming in, great! But don't forget where you came from. I've lived it; running a school is so stressful, the loss of family, marriages, kids, the things a real instructor could sacrifice just to keep the doors open is insane. But that means I'm not a member of their club because I would rather help and really teach these people rather than belong to their cult.
So how do we correct these problems with NGBs? How do we as a community stand together and lift each other up rather than playing a middle school game of who's in and who's out? Only a reformation of the NGBs would allow this. They must be held to the tenets of their art. They must help the inner and out communities. They must be realistic about what their organization offers to students. They must clear themselves of their narcissistic ways. Being held to their tenets will break down the other musts. Universal tenets like honor, character, justice, and sincerity would end the greedy, self-serving, and self-aggrandizing nature that has grown within these organizations. They'd be honest about what their path will grant their students and leave them with realistic expectations of what martial arts has to teach them. They'd help their community and serve them rather than themselves, and money wouldn't be a requirement to play with the big boys.
Martial Arts has many paths and is a fantastic discipline to learn. But until we realize that one can be an individual, one can be poor or rich, and one must have honor and honesty, then we're stuck in a cycle of staleness. One in which a select few, nominated by themselves, control the organization from the top down and have rigged the system for their gain.