Tom Callos' Project Portfolio; Martial Arts Work Over the Years
This is the first entry in a portion of my website called the PROJECT PORTFOLIO. A Project Portfolio plays a significant role in the work I do to help martial arts instructors to be better teachers, to run better schools, and to engage in activities that esteem and vindicate their knowledge and work. The premise is that the work, or "projects" a teacher takes on is a far better indicator of who the teacher is, what he or she stands for and teaches, and how the practice of the martial arts has affected the PERSON who teaches, than his/her rank, tournament wins, style of martial arts, or any other measure of accomplishment. The same holds true for the staff and students of a teacher.
To me, the highest level of teaching, the "end-game" for a student or teacher of the martial arts, is not found in what the practitioner does on the mat, in the ring, or in an arena --it's found in how the work done on the school's mats translates into things that benefit people, places, and things. The concept is best defined as taking the work out of the dojo and putting it to work in the world ("Out of the dojo, into the world.").
In the international martial arts community, nearly every teacher makes the same --or similar --claims about the benefits derived from the practice of the martial arts. Every website, every advertisement, every promotional tool used by school owners makes promises about what the martial arts can do for those who practice it, but there is scant evidence, documented evidence, that all of these promises are fulfilled. The school owner that keeps a Project Portfolio documents exactly how the training manifests itself in the lives of students, in the community the school resides in, and in the world.
My position is that school owners, rather than spending more time on formulaic website marketing, Facebook ads, flyer distribution, direct mail promos, open house promotions, and all the other common tools of martial arts school marketing, would be far better off documenting and promoting what he or she actually DOES, what his or her students DO --for others, in the community. In an industry so full of promised benefits, seeing actual evidence of accomplishment is a radical, refreshing, and rich way to distinguish the person who says they can deliver, from the people who actually can actually deliver.