As Kobudo practice becomes an increasingly popular participation sport and recreational activity, it is important that we recognise the different forms of practice and tuition that exist. In particular, we should differentiate between categories of practitioner, identified here as the commercial and the non-commercial, or in other words the professional and the amateur.
AMATEUR The amateur could be described as an individual who does not rely on martial arts as their main source of income and who makes little or most commonly no money out of their Kobudo. This is the largest group of Kobudo-Ka predominantly constituting students and includes those who pay for their training.
Traditionally most instructors would find themselves in this category. However, this semi-professional category can be split further into two groups: those who aspire to become fully professional and those who do not.
The attractions of only doing martial arts in your life and not having another job are very appealing to many, and this may be the main motivation for professional aspirations, however some feel that the acquisition of money can corrupt their motivations for martial arts, especially if students become assets rather than people. Some fear that their very personal knowledge and insights become a commodity on the open market available to be bought and traded.
Martial arts has always had professionals, semi-professionals and amateurs. Some say it has to be this way. Others say that there is no place for full professionals in martial arts, whilst others believe that without professionals the martial arts would have disappeared. Either way, what nobody can dispute is that the martial arts must have amateurs. Amateurs are the lifeblood of Kobudo, they are the inspiration and amidst a martial art that is often looking backwards, we must remember they are the future.
For this reason the ‘Matayoshi Kobudo Association of Great Britain’ (MKAGB) is a fully amateur organisation, democratically constituted and run for the benefit of the students in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We will work with respectable professionals of quality Matayoshi Kobudo who have good natures and do not seek to financially exploit amateurs.
We will not choose to support or work with those who put financial gain above the purity and wholesome spirit with which Matayoshi Shinpo Sensei shared his Kobudo with the world. We research and share Matayoshi Kobudo and seek to act as an educational body of learning and reflection.
This does not mean that professionals and professional costs are not respected. Indeed those with most knowledge of Matayoshi Kobudo are very valuable and highly respected.
PROFESSIONAL A professional Kobudo-Ka can be described as an individual who relies on Kobudo as part of his/her main source of income. They may gain money through sponsorship and endorsements, they may make money as a public speaker or through seminar delivery. They may make profit through the sale of literature or videos, or simply they may own a martial arts club and teach there full time.
SEMI-PROFESSIONAL A professional may consider themselves a purveyor of Kobudo through either knowledge or experience transmission and an amateur may consider themselves a consumer. However, there is a third category of person who either by choice or scarcity of demand is not in a position to make enough money to provide an income for themselves, yet they are no longer solely consumers but also purveyors. These people could be considered semi-professional.
“Everyone who practises Matayoshi Kobudo is your brother or your sister. Help each other and do not be enemies.... Matayoshi Kobudo is a treasure. Enjoy it, share. Do not make business or empire out of it. Practice as Matayoshi Shinpo did, seriously, often, with fun and generosity of heart” - Hachi Yoshida
We owe it to the memory of Matayoshi Shinpo Sensei that we all work together and get on. Like any parent, he would want to see all his children cooperate and care for each other.
When students travelled to Matayoshi Sensei’s dojo and asked how much for training, his response was often “pay only what you can afford”. Though this is not always possible in the modern world, but as a philosophy for martial arts, it speaks for itself.