Most martial arts require you to purchase a uniform and whatever gear you need or want for sparring. Some also sell weapons. You also pay your tuition, and after every few months it comes time to test. You pay a test fee (ranging from $20 to $100), take your test, then get a piece of tape to put on your belt or a different colored belt. Perhaps a certificate as well. At black belt you pay a hefty test fee -- often hundreds of dollars -- get a fancy certificate, an embroidered belt, and maybe a heavy duty uniform (depending on the school).
We do things a little differently in Via Potentia (as usual).
- We do not require that you purchase a uniform. However, you will need one if you wish to participate in a tournament.
- We do not require that you purchase gear. However, you will need it if you engage in contact sparring.
- We do not use belts. Too much time is wasted in class learning to tie belts, and if you've been in or watched classes with belts, they have to be adjusted after pretty much every drill. The more intense the drill, the more often. Belts are for holding your pants up or your shirt closed; with our uniforms it really isn't needed.
- Testing is useful, but in many cases it is primarily just about revenue generation for the school. We do not charge for our tests, but we also do not provide certificates, belts, tape or other tokens for most of them. Our tests are primarily about goal setting, achievement, conditioning, and self evaluation. Frankly, though some progress can be shown in three-months training, we do not believe that it warrants some kind of special recognition.
- But people need rituals and recognition. Consequently, at the end of each year of training (approximately), you have the option of taking a stage examination. We do not charge for this. If you pass, you are recognized as having earned the rank of the next stage (intermedior, ultimum, patronus, etc.), you receive a top of a different color, a lapel pin, and a special presentation wall certificate and medal. At each new stage you receive a new bar and certificate to add to the presentation.
- Kids are automatically entered in the Presidential Fitness Award program. Any who meet the qualifications receive a patch.
We welcome comments, questions and suggestions for improvement.
Via Potentia, 805 NW Alder St., McMinnville OR 97128
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