After a day or two in the rumormill, I'm even more pissed off about this change. Keep in mind these are rumors and hearsay, but I've heard that the reasons for removing CPAMMA had much less to do with the quality of instruction than the financial situation of the gym.
For instance, one solid-appearing rumor is that Ryan has been paying his instructors out-of-pocket for the past 3 months (since October), rather than the gym paying them. Ryan hasn't commented on it, but it's been all but confirmed by some of his assistants. There are some variants here, with the gym refusing to pay them suddenly, or deciding to try and limit the size of the CPAMMA program without Ryan's approval, instructors and all. Overall though, it's mostly consistent: the gym stopping direct payment to assistant instructors sometime around October.
This leads me to a second rumor, which I'm not as sure about since Ryan is refusing to comment on it, that Ryan himself hasn't been paid in a similar stretch. I'm finding it hard to believe he would put up with this for any stretch of time, but it might fit with him paying instructors out-of-pocket, depending on what combination of circumstances you believe in. However, all of them seem to hinge on the 3rd rumor...
Lionheart gym is rumored to be losing money alarmingly fast. This one seems more of an open secret. Although State College is remarkably recession-resistant, local businesses are still having trouble, money-wise. Combine the bad economy with new management buying the gym in summer 2009, then gutting half the free weights, buying loads of unnecessary cardio machines and dropping the basic membership price to $10/month...it's not difficult to believe Lionheart is on rocky ground.
Basically, these add up to two similar scenarios that I see as plausible.
1. Lionheart wanted to reduce the number of instructors of the marital arts program. Ryan objected to firing his instructors, so Lionheart fired him and hired 2 instructors that will run the martial arts program on their own. 2 people to pay is substantially less than the 10 or so that encompasses the totality of CPAMMA instructors.
2. Without necessarily wanting to eliminate the program, Lionheart stopped paying assistant instructors as well as Ryan himself, out of desperation due to their financial straights. They got 2 or 3 free months of martial arts membership money this way, then fired Ryan when he put his foot down. Now they've hired 2 instructors willing to run a program at a much cheaper price.
I'm not sure which scenario I believe more. The first one seems less stupid on Lionheart's side, but it also seems odd to stop payment and then negotiate letting the assistant instructors go.
I'm confused about this whole thing, but even less happy with Lionheart in general. Their own financial stupidity shouldn't ruin others' livelihoods.