Starting A Study Group

Starting a study group is great! Here are my thoughts. Be yourself, be sincere, be open.

The first thing as a study group leader to keep in mind is that you lead. it's best to lead by example. This means be yourself, be sincere, be neutral as much as you are able at all times. This means regular attention to the individuals under your wing. Even though you are just starting out in the ILC curriculum, your skill level has less to do with growing your group than the example you set. Your primary role is to lead, then to teach.

ILC is known around the world as a family of practitioners, not just a business activity. To stay within this successful model, the teacher-student relationship cannot be seen as a transaction, a bare exchange of money for experiences. This leads to seeing iLC practice as a diversion or entertainment. The teacher-student relationship is the basis for a long term learning relationship and is the foundation of our international training community. Sit down face to face with new students and share the ILC WuDe (martial morality) code of conduct.

You must charge for training. In our culture, if a thing is without cost, then it must be without value. For too long I resisted this fact. When I was teaching in the park, I didn't charge and students had much less motivation to show up.

When talking with Sifu about charging for class I shared the traditional adage - "You can pay in money or sweat, it's better to pay with sweat". Sifu said. "Charge for classes", So I did and found that the students were of better quality with more commitment to the curriculum. When I was able to get a dedicated training space, I attracted more and better students.

The end result of charging for class was that I saw more clearly that we are building a training community and that having a place of our own matters. I think of it as a refuge, in the Buddhist sense, for self cultivation and self development. The more time I can devote to my school the better it is for all members. Charging tuition means I have more time. I was unable to develop this with the time available to teach in the park.

The most difficult part of becoming a study group leader is to clearly see the implications of the ILC approach and to be open to the growth possibilities when you cease to be guided by your own training goals and begin to put your group members training needs before your own.

This is what you commit to as a leader. It's a big commitment of time and energy, but, in my experience, worth every bit of effort.

Have fun!