As the head of a martial arts school, I am regularly presented with ads for how to successfully market my business and become a martial arts millionaire, (perhaps everyone is hit with these ads and I just think I am special because I do actually have a martial arts school).
We are promised ways to find our niche market, create simple and easy ways to convince students to walk through the door, along with magic language skills to ensure high levels of retention.
What would Musashi do if faced with such high end consumerism, I muse, as I subconsciously reach for my sword.
Possibly influenced by my own innate dislike of capitalism, to me, such an approach is anathema to the very heart of budo.
Our niche is that we practice a traditional martial art, taught in the traditional way.
I do this not out of a motivation to become rich, but because of the inherent value of the art and my passion for it.
I will continue to practice for the rest of my life, irrespective of whether there are any students or not and even if I do not become a millionaire.
Indeed, the whole modern marketing approach is backwards: it is up to the individual to convince the sensei that they are worthy to join their School and receive instruction. By reversing this traditional approach, we reduce our martial arts schools to gyms and childcare centres.
I no longer put contact details on my business card:
We are, needless to say, a very small School, but our students are sincere.