Sensei McCandless loved education. He loved the fact that there were strict rules, and information he could master and then utilize, and grades which reflected his growing knowledge. He did exceptionally well at Athens Tech, and may have done quite well at a university, as long as his course of study was interesting to him. To that end, he often daydreamed about a martial arts college. Such a college would be accredited, confer degrees, and offer courses in didactic material as well as actual martial arts. A student would major in a specific style and minor in a different one. At the end, the student would be fully prepared to go out into the world and open their own school.
I spent about two weeks doing some research into this idea recently, since I find it extremely compelling. As a professional educator, I think having a formalized educational structure and curriculum would greatly enhance the reputation of martial arts. After reading many resources, I came to the conclusion that actually doing a proper college would cost in the tens to hundred of millions of dollars. So, that’s a non-starter. How could we achieve something similar using the resources at hand at Athens Yoshukai?
The first step is going to be a simple seminar course. This will allow students to begin to learn didactically, with minimal time and resource commitment. The curriculum will be developed by the students who are participating. Topics can include anything, but ones I had thought of were history, language, philosophy, medicine, business, marketing, psychology, education, and kinesiology. The students will also be the teacher- taking a given topic and presenting it to the rest of the class.
The price of the class will be one book which is added to the dojo library, all of which will be available for check-out. The seminar will take place in a new, purpose-built conference room adjacent to the ballroom. Students will register for the entire course (scheduled to align with UGA’s semester), and grades will be based on various assignments throughout the semester. This will be an initial foray into didactic training for martial artists. Let’s see what happens.