Yesterday the club did a demonstration for the Athletics Center. There were booths for the various fitness classes and the iaido/jodo club (us). I’m sure lots of other clubs were invited but aside from a few fitness instructors we were the entertainment for several hundred students lined up to buy homecoming tickets.
Now we didn’t do this demo because I like public displays of budo (I do actually), or to get new students (we won’t), we did it because we were asked. As a member club of the Athletics Department we get space to work out and a few lines in the booklet each year. Thats plenty to be happy about so when asked, we give back.
I feel the same about the other groups and organizations that I’m a member of. Even if I pay a membership fee, I’ve joined because they do things I like to do so I figure it’s also my duty to lend a hand when asked. Is this common? Not so much actually, the more common response seems to be “I’ve paid my dues so now what are you going to do for me?” It’s more the fitness club attitude than the martial arts mindset, I paid so now gimme. Thing is, a budo club usually charges for the space rental, and maybe sensei gets a small living but the folks participating are members, everyone is helping so we can all do what we love doing. A fitness club is a business with clients, everyone involved is either paid to provide a service or paying to receive it.
Many years ago I ceased to become a member of the Athletics Department and became a client instead. With the best of intentions I’m sure, some bright light with a business school education decided that the staff should think of us as clients in a store rather than members with a say. This was supposed to improve service to us folks who just wanted to lift weights in peace. Of course the service didn’t improve, but the fees went up and the members, excuse me, the clients were a bit less inclined to pick up a screwdriver and fix things that were breaking down. After all, if I’m a client you need to service me not the other way around.
But I am not a client, I’m a member and I’m going to give back when asked. I’m going to entertain the kids waiting in line for tickets and I’m going to enjoy myself while doing it. It’s good practice for the other members of the club.