The Colorado Martial Arts Instuctors Alliance (CMAIA) roundtable discussions are an opportunity for instructors from various schools to get together and brainstorm ideas for community involvement, instruction technique and whatever else comes to mind.
As a martial arts educator that travels from school to school I have trouble describing how valuable roundtable groups can be. First the value of a collective group of educators with no agenda is very high. People are not judged and their ideas are expanded on instead of refuted or dismissed, and we never even have to remind people to do this. Many of the participants at our roundtables have 20 or more years of experience teaching in the martial arts, and having those resources on hand is really valuable.
I must emphasize the "no agenda" concept as we all have the desire to contribute, but ego and skills or ranking holds no importance. All opinions count and thats what makes these discussions so valuable for me.
Second is the ability to receive new ideas and have straightforward conversations about martial arts and martial arts issues.
While discussing options for a community safety activity we had an instructor bring up the topic of percieved recruitment or competition among participating schools. We discussed it and came to the conclusion that it wouldnt be an issue. The ability to bring up
concerns and have it honestly discussed in the group is a great asset to everyone involved.
Martial arts has politics, ego and human emotions just like everything else and its great that we can iron-out potential problems in a simple and straight-forward way.
Another advantage for me in particular is the opportunity to run an activity with no contact or judged skill sets. Even though theres pretty much nothing to prove on a fight-night, or a kata exhibition people can still interpret the organizing of those events as self-serving or egotistical.
I mean why else would I get a few schools together to workout other than to show them how tough I am right? But in all seriousness its nice to also have activities where its easy to show that nobody is there to prove anything.
The CMAIA group plans to run a minimum of four roundtables a year. Any instructor or advanced student may attend.