Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Call to Associations

A Call to Every Martial
Arts Association in the World

To: Every Supply Company, Every Consulting Firm, Every Billing Service, Every Magazine, Every Association of Every Style and who have Come Together for Every Reason under the Martial Arts Sun

For a Moment, Put Profit Aside
Money's a darn fine thing. It buys stuff. I value it as much as the next person. I think a portion of everyone's day, of their life, should be focused –like a laser beam –on making enough of it to make ends meet (and then some).

However, with that being said, for the reminder of this short request, I'm putting the making a profit part of the money thing aside. I'm not denying it makes "the world go around," I'm not suggesting it isn't important, I'm simply addressing that which has little or nothing to do with making money to show a profit.

Martial Arts Associations - Groups I'm Asking You To Consider the Following

Martial arts associations, whether you have 10 members or 10,000, I'm asking you to recognize your power. You have the power to reach your members –and, quite possibly, to mobilize them. You have the power (albeit sometimes a lot less than you would like), to influence people, to educate them, and to inspire them to DO SOMETHING.

Now, most of the time, you're trying to get them to buy stuff or pay dues, which is good. But there's something else you could get them to do –and it's that something else that could play a significant role in a better image for the martial arts, for the kind of attention we want, and to prove that the arts are really what we say they are (something special).

Let's Start with Something Very Simple.

Imagine this: If you had 500 members (or 167 members, each with two "significant others"), and each of those 500 people did 10 acts of kindness for 5 other people, you would have impacted 2500 people and be directly responsible for 250,000 acts of kindness.
What human being wouldn't appreciate a little more kindness in his or her life? Simple, yet it is something that we have never done –and something, I think, indicative of the values we promote.

Let's take it to another place:

Imagine if one of the billing services in our industry created a program that allowed students to voluntarily donate an extra $.10 to a dollar every month over and above their tuition. With a $.25 donation, 10,000 students could accumulate $60,000 in 24 months. Now imagine we gave that money to Oprah and let her gift it to the most worthwhile activist on her long list of people working on amazing and world-changing projects. How exciting would that be?
Think about what we could do with four or five times that much.

Century, NAPMA, EFC, APS, UFC, the WTF –everyone, everyone! What profits would be lost in utilizing the simple idea of combining forces to do something absolutely extraordinary? Something so stunning, so solid, so enlightened, that the good from it could light the face of a million martial artists --and possibly, a million martial artists to be.

It's not about profit, it's about the opportunity. It's about the martial arts and what is not fighting. It is about a lot of people doing very, very little –to show how much can be done. I'd like to see a half-dozen of the most prominent business owners in the martial arts world use their influence to do something amazing.

I'll bet you if these men and women led the movement, a whole lot of teachers and students would step in to help.

Why not? Why not in our lifetime? Is Oprah the only one who has the chutzpah to step up and take ultra-positive action in the world? We could do it –and a million "karate kids" could own a piece of it.

Note: Of course, in no way do I mean disrespect to any martial arts group; I simply dream of what we could do if we put down our company names, set aside our styles, groups, and differences, and just did something completely unexpected.

Tom Callos

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