I think I figured it out. Recently I was verbally criticized for speaking negatively about a local karate school. I wasn't being mean in my opinion. I was simply making a statement about the effectiveness of what they practice. I was amazed by a few people who made this statement, "He is just trying to run a business like you." That statement really sent my mind into a state of meditation for several days. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Am I really just running a business?
After several days I think I understand why that question got to me. I am trying to run a business doing something that I love. I do depend on this business to provide for my family. However, at the time of writing this I have spend 36 years training in some form of martial arts. For me it's not just a business, it is a way of life. It is a way of life that must be respected and preserved or it risk becoming watered down and useless. This idea of teaching Jiu-Jitsu, for me, goes way beyond a business. It is literally something that I can do to improve the lives of those around me. I have helped hundreds of people lose massive amounts of weight. I have helped so many men and women get off of blood pressure medications. I have had a lot of people thank me for teaching them because what they learned saved their life in a real situation. For me this is real life.
That brought a question to my mind. Why do we want medical doctors that have degrees, dentist that have been to dental school, lawyers who have passed the bar, real estate agents who are trained, restaurants with trained chefs, and the list goes on, but when it comes to something that could save our lives if we ever need it, we just trust anyone. Most people will choose the gym that is closest to their house and cheaper. It seems to me that self-defense is the only area of life where we would decide where to go based cost and travel. We all pass up gas station food for nice restaurants everyday. If it is really just a business I could make my priority to just make money. I could start charging for belts and making people buy things if they want to progress. I would never do that though. When it comes to martial arts this should be about changing and saving lives. In a real life scenario would it really matter how much the lessons cost if it saved your life.
No, for me this is way more than a business. For me this is an opportunity to help people get in shape, live fuller lives, make friends, do something challenging, and to be ready if their lives are ever at risk. For me this is more than a business, it's a privilege.