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Culture Breeds Culture

A former coach of mine once said to me with regards to martial arts gyms, ‘Culture breeds culture’.  So what does that mean?  Well here’s my 2 cents worth….

I had really enjoyed the environment of that gym, and the people who made it up, and this had become the subject of our chat that day (these little daily philosophical chats I really thrived on, in fact they had become a part of my attraction to that gym and coach).  My then coach brought my attention to the dynamics of a martial arts academy and the top-down process of culture building.

It first starts with the heads of the academy, the coaches.  They ultimately are the first people of the academy and are responsible for planting the seed which will more-often-than-not determine the type of academy that will flourish.  It is then passed-on to the first students of that academy.  These students will often be attracted to that coach/coaches because of a mutual agreeance surrounding the style of coaching that is provided; the type of morals, rules, and traditions (or lack-thereof) which are being fostered; the physical environment itself; and also a compatibility with the personality of the coaches.  These first students then set the theme for the attraction of future students who also share much of the same preferences.  When someone comes in that doesn’t share these same preferences, an example in point could be a super aggressive person entering an academy that promotes enjoyment and fun, this person will often eventually leave on their own accord due to an incompatibility with such students and such an environment.

So why am I writing this?  Well, we at Flow Martial Arts have now been operating just over a year, and we as coaches are constantly taken-back by the great culture which has formed in the club.  A recent example of this was brought to our attention this weekend gone after the Gold Coast Championships.  A member from another academy had posted the below comment on our Facebook wall:

‘Had the chance to roll with one of your students Dave today at the gc championship. It was a fun roll and Dave is a tremendously friendly guy off the mat. Congratulations on the win it was well deserved.
He’s an absolute credit to your club! Oss’

To see a comment like this was amazing!  This is a combat sport we do, but that does not mean you have to be a bad person, an angry person, an aggressive person.  This comment for me not only reinforced my belief that an amazing culture of good people has formed in our academy, but too shows that the person writing this comment is also a good person that sees the importance of relationships, friendships, and sportsmanship as a part of Jiu-Jitsu.

So in conclusion, next time you’re in your academy take a conscious look at the culture that surrounds you, and most importantly have a think about the type of academy you want to be a part of and question whether you are contributing to that culture.



Thanks for reading and happy rolling,


Ryann Creary

Co-Owner at Flow Martial Arts

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