Let’s begin with sovereignty. To be sovereign, one stands on their own. This is autonomy, ultimate authority and supremacy. In contrast, accreditation is collaborated documentation of an assessment by experienced peers. To sum this up, one is self qualified, the other is officially qualified through the recognized experienced authorities.
This relates in many facets of life of course, but we are going to focus on only a few. I am sure you can relate your own personal experiences to this discussion.
To start, there is the correspondence college or college that is set up by do gooders who’s intention is to spread their impression and ideal on others. However, for one reason or another, they refuse to, or are refused accreditation by a reputable qualifying committee. What is the result for this decision of sovereignty? Those recognized will likely not accept the education, efforts and time put in because it was not done so through the proper channels.
What is the mentality for autonomy? Is it: ignorance, selfishness, laziness, incompetence, or pride? I spoke to a couple of attenders to an unaccredited college. One dropped out after a few years and none of his credits would transfer to Liberty University. The other graduated and the “diploma” printed by the college was not accept by any establishment, except for the specific denomination this college was established in. Likewise, a couple others began comprehensive courses. One graduated, the other realized that the program she paid for was a complete sham. The one who graduated spent thousands of dollars and her degree was completely worthless. She had to go back to school and start over to earn a reputable degree in an accredited university.
In a very relatable way, martial arts has those who are accredited and those who claim sovereignty. Again, first for sovereign practitioners. To speak plainly, unless you are an originator, you cannot be the authority, ultimate, or be in autonomy in a style. To claim or use a martial arts style name without being united to the root of that style is the same as stealing. There are plenty of self-ranking phonies who create their own federations, organizations and programs to establish themselves sovereign. I have communicated with several of these individuals and it is a mix of pride, laziness, and selfishness that keeps them from taking the proper steps to becoming accredited. I had one individual come to my school who said he was very near black belt from an unaccredited program asking me to help him get his black belt. His concern was in starting over.
Currently, I am helping out a whole school and a gentleman get accredited who earned his black belt twelve years ago. I offer this accreditation because I believe in doing things the right way. I believe a true instructor tries their very best to give their students the best. The ones who don’t are liars, selfish and low-lifes. They do not deserve to be called a teacher, much less master/grand-master.
What about those that have accreditation and don’t teach or train to that standard? I can only speak for me and my program. It is a requirement that I and my instructors participate in yearly seminars to keep our skills sharp. Continued education and comparing skills and practice at tournaments at state and national levels aid in this as well. It is not enough to merely tell your student to kick and punch, but to understand the anatomy, the physiology and psychology of processing as you teach. We train in natural movements taught through the accredited authority. This is in contrast to the contortionist movements found in the fringe programs who lie and risk injuring, and worse, the unknowing participants.
I cannot stress enough to the participants that you research the establishment and instructor. Their rank should be registered and their program should be up to legal code. The instructors must have their clearances and CPR certifications. They should have teaching experience and a legitimate ranking/experience in what they are teaching. They must be connected to the root of the art, or it is just a stolen term. Too many programs steal Taekwondo. There is no such thing as “No-contact Taekwondo”. Most of the programs are a watered down version of ITF, or even worse, American Karate… It looks like something, but it doesn’t measure up.
Do your research, because if you are serious, you will be training for years, possibly spending thousands at this program, and I would hate to see you waste your money, and get injured because of the selfishness and negligence of these so called instructors.