I love weekends.
(Let me hear a “hell yeah!“)
Well, if that’s the case, let me tell you a fun thing: Up until the year 1820 or so, today’s concept of “weekends” didn’t even exist. In fact, here’s an even funnier thing: The unemployment rate in the world was also zero at that time.
Because what we today refer to as a “job” didn’t exist yet!
Until the Industrial Revolution came around and flipped our lives upside down, most people worked on the land or for their family. The idea that you would gladly commute to another man’s factory, do his job for him, and then get some money for that, was ludicrous at best. The Industrial Revolution changed this and it also changed our government, regulations, school, culture and basically society as a whole.
Today, fluorescent lights are the only thing that separates work from hell for most people.
And we accept this because it happened before we were born.
It’s the only lifestyle we know!
“9 to 5” as we call it.
Is it, really?
I mean, it doesn’t have to be that way anymore, has it? What if you could instead turn your passion into a job? Huh?
…you could put food on the table through Karate!?
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can.
A new revolution is replacing the fading industrial age. What’s happening now is that we have a revolution built with connections about ideas, people to people, with the ability to reach markets in a whole new way. Just fifty years ago, we’d have never thought that one person working by him- or herself anywhere in the world with nothing but a passion for, say, ‘graphic design’, ‘programming’, or ‘blogging’ could literally touch a million or a billion people with just a laptop and some enthusiasm.
So what stops you from turning YOUR passion into cold, hard cash?
Well, gee, don’t look at me. I already work with Karate. And I’m loving every goddang second of it.
Can you do it too?
Sure you can.
And I’ll gladly help you on your merry way. To make it easier for you to decide if turning Karate into a profession is the right thing for you, here’s five quick ideas that I know have worked very well for many people.
Check ’em out:
- Run your own Karate dojo: If you’re good at Karate, and passionate about teaching it to other folks (and remember, you don’t have to be the best, just better than your students), you could open up a dojo. It doesn’t have to be a giant Japanese-style temple dojo with calligraphy on the walls and a golden statue of me in the front or anything (although I would appreciate it). You could literally just rent a small space at a college campus or wherever – and simply start teaching local kids and parents. But remember: Taxes, marketing, paperwork, scrubbing floors etc. is all an integral part of running a dojo – either you learn to enjoy this stuff or have somebody else do it for you.
- Teach Karate as a freelancer: If you don’t want to (or can’t) teach in your own dojo, you could just drive to other dojos and teach – regular classes, special classes, private classes or seminars. This is particularly good if you are famous for your skills in a certain area of Karate (kumite, bunkai, kata, self-defense etc.) and people need your help. Although you can often charge premium for this, the downside of being a “sensei on the road” is that it could be stressful sometimes. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and make sure you have a cool business card.
- Write books and produce DVDs: If you’re more comfortable behind a desk, writing books and producing DVDs could be a viable option. Again, you still need to be good at Karate (so that people feel your products are worth their price), but if you can make it work it could be a nice source of long-term income. The great thing about this is that you only have to make the product (book, video) once – but you’ll keep on getting income for years (as opposed to physical training/seminars where you need to hold the actual class again and again to get paid).
- Compete (and find generous sponsors): While competing in Karate by itself will not make you a millionaire (on the contrary, it’s often pretty expensive to travel, train and compete), you could always get sponsors to help you out. At least if you’re good-looking and win a lot. But, sponsorship deals don’t necessarily make you cash – more likely, it’s often rental cars, food, travel, accommodation, PR and such. In other words, it saves you cash. However, many top competitors I know get an actual monthly salary when they’re the best in their national team (Italy, France, Turkey, Iran etc.), so private sponsors isn’t the only approach. Still, becoming a professional Karate athlete takes a lot of training (and the right connections), but can make life pretty sweet when you’re at the top. The best idea is to combine competing with other approaches – open up a dojo, hold seminars around the world and create products that showcase your expertise. Or work at McDonalds.
- Take a Karate desk job: If you love Karate and bureaucracy, this is the perfect path for you. I’ll explain what I mean in a second, but first let me just ask you; “Are you cuh-ray-zee?”. Nobody loves bureaucracy! But if you do, working at a big organization with administrative tasks (doing PR, website admin, accounting, press releases, taxes, secretary work etc.) could be the right path for you, my freaky, freaky friend. The larger an organization is, the more competent people behind its desks it will need. That person could be you – and I’ve heard the salary is okay. But when I think about it, working behind the desk of a Karate magazine is probably more fun than an organization. Whatever floats your boat.
So, how does that sound?
As if the above list isn’t enough, there’s a ton of other areas that you could theoretically combine with your Karate to become a sought-after Karate-ka.
For example, in no particular order:
- Kinesiology/sports science
- First aid/sports medicine
- Weight training
- Other martial arts
- Reality-based self-defense
- Asian history
- Asian religions/philosophy
- Asian art
- Stunt/fight co-ordinator (movies/theatre)
- Psychology (of any flavor)
- And much more…
The list is endless.
In the end, no matter what approach you choose to take towards becoming a Karate professional, there’s something you strongly need to consider:
Are you ready to sacrifice your art?
It’s a well known fact that most people who choose to monetize their passion will have to sacrifice some part(s) of it. As “students” suddenly become “customers”, “techniques” become “products” and “discipline” becomes “dollars”, you will have to make some ethical and moral compromises initially if you want to be truly successful as a Karate pro – unless you have the resources to do otherwise.
The important thing is to be comfortable with this.
And always remain true to your art.
Or else it will all have been for nothing.
Question: Do YOU work with Karate in some way? I would love to hear your story! Use the comment section below.