Professor of Self Defence?
I'm the instructor at my own small "garage club" Western Martial Arts club. (http://cbd.atspace.com/)
We study Edwardian/Victorian era and early American (pre-Revolution through early 20th Century, including Frontier) martial arts.
There is a recurring theme in discussion and questions surrounding these relatively niche martial studies. First, what do you call the club/study without having to write a small paragraph to describe it (as I just did) and second, what do you call your Instructors?
Obviously I decided on simply "Western Martial Arts" for identifying the study material but what of the "title" for the Instructor?
One suggestion has been made: Professor of Self Defense or variations such as "Professor of Defense."
On the pros side of the Pros and Cons argument:
- The title is historically accurate for the time period - sort of like "sensei" for a Japanese dojo
- It identifies the instructor readily enough
- It doesn't sound "high and mighty" like "Master of [fill-in-the-blank]" might
- It sounds "old school" and "gentlemanly"
- It allows me to subtlety differentiate that what we do is historic Western martial material and not modern or Oriental, FMA, etc.
On the cons side:
- It might be confusing to American audiences who associate "Professor" with academics
- It might be mistaken for a self-awarded "rank" (do we really need another Soke?)
- It may be too vague for modern purposes, requiring "Professors of Defense" to spend inordinate time explaining or "defending" the title
- The modern title "Instructor" is innocuous and may do just as well
What think you?
Peace favor your sword,
Last edited by lklawson; 12/01/2010 3:24pm at .
Reason: add "pro"
instructor. Or just Mr Black.
You know I am not a fan of titles in general, in particular when I am a customer. I don't know even in academia I tend to call my professors by their respective 1st names we are all adults. Don't get me wrong I all about respect but I don't think the teacher student relationship needs to be additionally emphasized other then the fact I am paying you to teach me.
Why not close combat instructor(CCI)? It is clear, covers both weapons and unarmed, its not tied to any TMA and it has a military ring to it. The place where you train is a close combat school.
Most historical Western MA schools/associations either default to "instructor", or the equivalent in the local language, or revive the correct historical terms for whatever they're studying. In this case, "professor" is among the historically authentic terms for a teacher of self defense; back in the 1800s, teachers of boxing, physical culture, etc. were commonly described as professors of those skills.
Originally Posted by goodlun
For me, it's not about what my guys (not "my students," "my guys" - they're friends and fellow martial artists) call me, it's about what I put on the web page and fliers.
"Instructor" sounds pretty freaking generic. "Professor of Defense" sounds, well, how does it sound?
Peace favor your sword,
It's an idea with merit. Though, to be honest, I don't like it as a personal thing. The phrase "Close Combat" is associated in my mind with military melee fighting styles from WWII and onward such as Defendu, Combato, Defendo, and the many other "Combatives" styles.
Originally Posted by M1K3
Maybe I'm wrong but that's what percolated in my head. :)
Peace favor your sword,
It sounds properly Victorian. "Master At Arms," is impossibly pretentious.
I like the sound of it, but then I'm biased by having read so much old-school boxing, jujitsu etc. material.
Originally Posted by lklawson
I think it probably would come down to when and how the title would be used. I can see it working fine for formal social situations, such as being introduced to participants at a WMA conference or written and explained as part of a "This is what we do" statement on a school website/student handout/etc.
I understand that it wouldn't be a matter of demanding that club members address instructors by that title in normal training sessions, etc.
The fact that "professor" is an historically authentic honorific title, equivalent to sensei, coach or instructor, rather than a self-assumed martial arts rank (master/soke/etc.) would require careful explanation. Even then, we'd have to anticipate some controversy from people who didn't pick up on the subtleties and confused it with an academic Professorship.
It's possibly further complicated by the fact that some modern MA associations do use the term "Professor" (note capital P) as a formal rank, or just as an informal nickname for senior instructors.
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