Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rules for visiting new schools while travelling.

My name is Martin Fransham and I am a Martial Artist that trains out of Montreal, Quebec. I have been practising for nearly a decade and some time ago I came into a great job that has me travelling around North America. Originally I trained with Sifu John Hum out of Ottawa and can't recommend their club enough. The Kung Fu Brothers and Sisters I have made are some of the finest friends I have.

Wutan Canada after one of our sparring seminars.

However, I moved to Montreal and began the search for a new club or school to call home. I trained at a couple of places chiefly Club Kozak to develop my grappling and ground game. The training I got with Eugene Shewchuk allowed me to go compete in a variety of contests and competitions for which I will always be grateful.

My work had me travelling in increasingly frequent amounts and regular training at a school was very hard. Thus, when the travelling I decided to go see other clubs and schools across North America. With this the "Travelling Ronin" was born.

Going to train with other schools can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. But there are rules and if you are going to walk through the door and train you should follow them. None of these rules are cast in stone but consider them a code of conduct to follow.

Rule 1) You are in their house: Remember, you came to them and not the other way around. Keep your opinions to a polite minimum and train hard. If you aren't open-minded then why are you going to see new schools?

Rule 2) Wear a White Belt: This has two reasons. First, you are there to learn from them and a white belt means you are ready to learn. If you wear a black belt when you go into another school you are establishing yourself as an authority. Remember, rule 1? You are going to them not the other way around. Second, every new school will do exercises that you haven't tried. These new exercises will make you look uncoordinated and sloppy. A white belt lets you get away with it.
Training with Sensei Andre Boudreau of Chisaii Maru Aikido
located on the south shore of Montreal. 

Rule 3) Don't ask to spar: Every instructor fears the "Gunslinger." A Gunslinger is someone that comes out of the blue to fight. You don't know their skill level and they will either be hurt or hurt your students. If you come off as a Gunslinger you are never going to spar or you are going to get hurt. Chances are you will be asked to leave. Instead wait till they ask you to spar. Then, ask to watch a round to see their power. Here is a hint, everyone says they go "light" and everyone has a different definition of what that is.

Rule 4) Buy a shirt or leave a donation: Most schools have shirts for sale or will accept a donation. Consider it a nice thing to do. The instructor has taken time out of his day to train you and let you participate in a class. Be respectful of it.

Rule 5) Have Fun: Enjoy yourself and laugh as you learn new things.

If you are interested in learning more on being a Travelling Ronin check out my Facebook page and feel free to ask questions.

Best Regards,

Martin "Travelling Ronin" Fransham

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