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An Open Letter to All Martial Arts Instructors: On Politics

With the increased use of social media as a marketing tool, more and more martial arts schools and gyms are increasing their exposure to prospective students/clients.  Given the greater public visibility, it's important to remember that "with great power comes great responsibility".

"...it is in our charge to teach people how to live a healthy lifestyle, learn mental and physical discipline, and gain skills in order to better protect themselves and loved ones."

As instructors, I think we can agree, it is in our charge to teach people how to live a healthy lifestyle, learn mental and physical discipline, and gain skills in order to better protect themselves and loved ones. Here's where I may lose some of you... It is NOT our responsibility to preach our political leanings, whether left, right, center, or diagonal.  As students and clients get to know an instructor they'll get to know the instructor's beliefs, if that instructor is the type to socialize with students.  There is no reason to lead off with your political agenda.  Here's where the social media aspect comes into play.

If you are an instructor/owner of a martial arts school or gym, I recommend staying away from sharing or posting things of a political nature, regardless if it's on your personal page or your school's page.  It could be someone's first exposure to you and your facility.  If a person doesn't agree with your political stance, no matter how righteous you think your view is, you've just alienated a potential student.  It doesn't end there, though.  That alienated student can easily deter others from checking out your facility.  You're saying "bye-bye" to spreading the benefits of your art.  Similarly, on the business side, you're saying "farewell" to potential paying clients.

There are rare instances where it makes sense for instructors to get public about politics; when politics have the potential to make it more difficult for school owners to share their art.  e.g. Washington recently passed a sales tax on a previously tax-exempt service - martial arts instruction.  If the opposition isn't big enough or loud enough, that hike in tuition could prevent a lot of people from experiencing the benefits of martial training.  Click here if you want to review the bill.  Other than situations like the sales tax, there isn't really a benefit or reason to share why you love or hate a particular politician, political party, etc.

"Our job is to spread the positive benefits of martial arts and fitness to all who want to better themselves."

Our job isn't to start a cult of politically like-minded drones.  Our job is to spread the positive benefits of martial arts and fitness to all who want to better themselves.  Lead by example, not by MEME.

Be healthy. Be safe.


Sifu Caleb Hood is a martial arts instructor at Hood's Martial Arts Academy in Salem, Oregon. He currently offers classes in the Hawaiian-born self-defense system of Kajukenbo Tum Pai, as well as Yang style Tai Chi. He has experience training people from all age groups and ability levels. He is always eager to share the arts he practices with anyone that has a good attitude and a willingness to work hard. In addition to teaching self-defense through martial arts, Sifu Caleb Hood also promotes a healthy lifestyle, emphasizing healthy physical habits, as well as healthy mental habits. To learn more about the classes offered by Sifu Caleb Hood, or about the art of Kajukenbo Tum Pai or Tai Chi, visit the Hood's Martial Arts Academy website here