Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

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Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby MaartenSFS on Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:43 pm

Since I've returned from China three months ago I have found the experience and skills that I gained from living, studying and working in China for eleven years a tough sell and my efforts to secure a job using those skills were in vain...

On Monday I will be entering the Corrections Officer Academy for an eight week boot camp and then another eight weeks of on-the-job training before shit gets real. I really don't know what I've gotten myself into, but it can't be worse than driving around China on a motorbike, accepting challenges from random strangers in parks, eating most things offered to me and living in filthy, developing-country standards for years on end, can it? Regardless, I always like to say that what doesn't kill me will make for a good story!

Despite my reservations, I assume that at some point I'll need to test my art and it will be in the most realistic scenario imaginable. I didn't set out to do this, but here I am, putting my self on the line. If you never hear from me again then the art of Shanzhaiquan wasn't meant to be inherited to anyone! 8-)
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby windwalker on Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:17 pm

While I wish you luck in any undertaking.

I do feel your mistaken about using this as a testing ground.

Yes it will be real, :-\
but real to that environment which as any specialized environment will have its own rules set and context in which it operates in.
You will have to adopt a mind set that you may or may not be able to turn off....once home....

Since I've returned from China three months ago I have found the experience and skills that I gained from living, studying and working in China for eleven years a tough sell and my efforts to secure a job using those skills were in vain...


It's a matter of either finding or making a niche.
The boot camp should be a good gut check.

Despite my reservations


listen to your gut

I wonder how well your personality type will take to following orders and doing things you may not
feel necessary but required.

but it can't be worse than driving around China on a motorbike, accepting challenges from random strangers in parks,


you might want to key in the word "accepting" which also connotes choice. As to being worse..

Consider this. They'er in a cage for 24/7, you will be in the same cage for whatever amount of time your shift requires.

Used to drive the armored trucks that carry money to and from banks. We were armed. The truck could never be turned off once we started the route
it was a moving cage....one of us always had to be in the truck at all times....
some started as a job between jobs....

They stayed after awhile for their own reasons adapting to the life style
Something I couldn't do and didn't really care to do....

Wish you well, the boot camp should be an eye opener.... :o
Last edited by windwalker on Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby oragami_itto on Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:23 pm

Security is good work and it requires what I consider the most important skills of situational awareness, deescalation, group tactics, and conflict prevention. Good "come along" holds and submissions are useful. Strikes are pointless. If you reach a point where you're striking, you've fucked up big time. Control, control, and control.

Good luck, don't become a dick.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby Dmitri on Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:02 am

MaartenSFS wrote:... it can't be worse than driving around China on a motorbike, accepting challenges from random strangers in parks, eating most things offered to me and living in filthy, developing-country standards for years on end, can it?

It'll be dramatically different, in principle. Before you were free to do all of those things you did; now you'll be doing things because you're told to, having to deal with the kind of people you would normally stay the hell away from -- both as subjects of your new duties and as your peers (and commanding officers).
You are doing into all that willingly, so there's that, but just wanted to point out at least that one fundamental difference. It would be a very different kind of "fun" IMHO....
Best of luck with it! Don't get hurt.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby Peacedog on Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:50 am

Check out the works of Rory Miller.

He is a martial arts practitioner and former Corrections Officer.

He wrote a book entitled Meditations on Violence that should be mandatory reading for anyone who has to deal with criminals. The big take away here is that criminals actively choose to do what they do and have little desire to change. And this is the primary reason why rehabilitation doesn't work.


Best of luck. If you can do something you enjoy and make a living at it, that is best. But it is also over rated. Being able to pay your bills and honor your responsibilities is the hallmark of an adult and often results in greater opportunity and happiness in the long run versus laying about as an unemployed bum.

Stay safe.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby Subitai on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:58 pm

You'll be fine Maarten,

You're in the US now? Michigan? IMO, you just have to take your time...find a few good students, keep at it and get your name out.
This is the USA...where Kung Fu sux or is useless right? haha...it was already an uphill battle for you as soon as you set foot in the country.
Just because you did allot of hard work doesn't mean everybody in the country knows it or is even interested in it. This is a country were very few would want to "Eat Bitter" whilst learning Kung Fu. There are pockets of good and bad people just like any country.

For myself personally, when I started my own school, I didn't expect or WANT to teach out of a strip mall or some commercial place. When my wife and I bought a house...it was to be a house with an attached room to teach out of. That way my overhead is low.
I can teach at my own leisure to a select few, dedicated students that are truely interested and not just because they signed contracts. ( I don't use contracts or belts) Now i'm not saying that my model is for you. But I started out with just a few students, then I taught on military bases and YMCA and local REC. programs. Before you know it...people will know about your skill if you're a good teacher and they LIKE you. I mean that...it's true that they have to like you more than you are a skillful teacher.


** IN FACT, one of the saddest realizations I came to understand was that: "all you need to be a (Kung fu/Taiji) teacher in this country...is to have students" . Think about that deeply for second. Why did some of us work so hard, for so many years to legitimize ourselves in Martial arts when all the FRAUD down the street needs to do is be a better salesman???????

I say that because remember it's "...MERICA", if it's not fun or doesn't taste good, people won't like or do it. A country where almost 1/2 the people watch too much FOX news and believe that Benedict (Russian) Drumph actually puts the interests of the people in front of his own pocket. Sorry I had to go there


My warning to you is to have a thick skin and don't let working with scum get to you. I have a few friends in corrections (almost did it myself, but glad it didn't work out that way). 2 of them are on both extreme sides of the spectrum. One friend is a Navy veteran whos able to stay the same and it doesn't seem to effect him when he's in public. Another friend who just couldn't deal with it...the job, the people he worked with, his marriage...ultimately it ended in suicide. He only had a couple years left before retirement!!!!!

Anyway... you can message me privately if you want to.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:29 pm

windwalker wrote:While I wish you luck in any undertaking.

I do feel your mistaken about using this as a testing ground.

Yes it will be real, :-\
but real to that environment which as any specialized environment will have its own rules set and context in which it operates in.
You will have to adopt a mind set that you may or may not be able to turn off....once home....

Since I've returned from China three months ago I have found the experience and skills that I gained from living, studying and working in China for eleven years a tough sell and my efforts to secure a job using those skills were in vain...


It's a matter of either finding or making a niche.
The boot camp should be a good gut check.

Despite my reservations


listen to your gut

I wonder how well your personality type will take to following orders and doing things you may not
feel necessary but required.

but it can't be worse than driving around China on a motorbike, accepting challenges from random strangers in parks,


you might want to key in the word "accepting" which also connotes choice. As to being worse..

Consider this. They'er in a cage for 24/7, you will be in the same cage for whatever amount of time your shift requires.

Used to drive the armored trucks that carry money to and from banks. We were armed. The truck could never be turned off once we started the route
it was a moving cage....one of us always had to be in the truck at all times....
some started as a job between jobs....

They stayed after awhile for their own reasons adapting to the life style
Something I couldn't do and didn't really care to do....

Wish you well, the boot camp should be an eye opener.... :o

Well, I'm definitely not going in with the intention of using my art. It's more like I'm going in with the understanding that I'll probably have to use it to survive at some point.. :P

I don't think that I'll do this forever. I'm also not sure how well I'll adapt to following orders, but I'll give it a shot. I think that the boot camp will be good for me and I'll surely learn some practical things in this line of work. 8-)
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:31 pm

oragami_itto wrote:Security is good work and it requires what I consider the most important skills of situational awareness, deescalation, group tactics, and conflict prevention. Good "come along" holds and submissions are useful. Strikes are pointless. If you reach a point where you're striking, you've fucked up big time. Control, control, and control.

Good luck, don't become a dick.

Those are all good things to improve and learn.. I kind of wish that I'd learned more Qinna from my Master, but I'll still have the chance when he comes to America to visit me next year. I'll be glad to have those strikes in my arsenal when the shit hits the fan, my fuck up or not! :P

As for becoming a dick, it's too late. Save yourself. ;D
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:35 pm

Dmitri wrote:
MaartenSFS wrote:... it can't be worse than driving around China on a motorbike, accepting challenges from random strangers in parks, eating most things offered to me and living in filthy, developing-country standards for years on end, can it?

It'll be dramatically different, in principle. Before you were free to do all of those things you did; now you'll be doing things because you're told to, having to deal with the kind of people you would normally stay the hell away from -- both as subjects of your new duties and as your peers (and commanding officers).
You are doing into all that willingly, so there's that, but just wanted to point out at least that one fundamental difference. It would be a very different kind of "fun" IMHO....
Best of luck with it! Don't get hurt.

I know, you're right. It's scary on many levels. I do feel like that by facing it and kicking it in the balls I'll grow as a person and as a martial artist, though. I'm used to doing this my own way in some far flung place in the world. This may be what I need to adapt back into Western society. I can't imagine it will be long before I find a way to get back to what I was born for again. This time I'll be better off financially, at least, and possibly a bit wiser.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:39 pm

Peacedog wrote:Check out the works of Rory Miller.

He is a martial arts practitioner and former Corrections Officer.

He wrote a book entitled Meditations on Violence that should be mandatory reading for anyone who has to deal with criminals. The big take away here is that criminals actively choose to do what they do and have little desire to change. And this is the primary reason why rehabilitation doesn't work.


Best of luck. If you can do something you enjoy and make a living at it, that is best. But it is also over rated. Being able to pay your bills and honor your responsibilities is the hallmark of an adult and often results in greater opportunity and happiness in the long run versus laying about as an unemployed bum.

Stay safe.

I think that that's solid advice. At least for the next five years I really need to work hard and build up a better future for my wife and I. I've got two martial arts systems under my belt already. That's more than most people have had the chance to do. I am under no illusion that my new job is going to be like working in the Chocolate Factory, though. I just want to get in, get some experience and money and either get promoted or find another State job. There is always the off chance that I won't mind it, though. We'll see.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:47 pm

Subitai wrote:You'll be fine Maarten,

You're in the US now? Michigan? IMO, you just have to take your time...find a few good students, keep at it and get your name out.
This is the USA...where Kung Fu sux or is useless right? haha...it was already an uphill battle for you as soon as you set foot in the country.
Just because you did allot of hard work doesn't mean everybody in the country knows it or is even interested in it. This is a country were very few would want to "Eat Bitter" whilst learning Kung Fu. There are pockets of good and bad people just like any country.

For myself personally, when I started my own school, I didn't expect or WANT to teach out of a strip mall or some commercial place. When my wife and I bought a house...it was to be a house with an attached room to teach out of. That way my overhead is low.
I can teach at my own leisure to a select few, dedicated students that are truely interested and not just because they signed contracts. ( I don't use contracts or belts) Now i'm not saying that my model is for you. But I started out with just a few students, then I taught on military bases and YMCA and local REC. programs. Before you know it...people will know about your skill if you're a good teacher and they LIKE you. I mean that...it's true that they have to like you more than you are a skillful teacher.


** IN FACT, one of the saddest realizations I came to understand was that: "all you need to be a (Kung fu/Taiji) teacher in this country...is to have students" . Think about that deeply for second. Why did some of us work so hard, for so many years to legitimize ourselves in Martial arts when all the FRAUD down the street needs to do is be a better salesman???????

I say that because remember it's "...MERICA", if it's not fun or doesn't taste good, people won't like or do it. A country where almost 1/2 the people watch too much FOX news and believe that Benedict (Russian) Drumph actually puts the interests of the people in front of his own pocket. Sorry I had to go there


My warning to you is to have a thick skin and don't let working with scum get to you. I have a few friends in corrections (almost did it myself, but glad it didn't work out that way). 2 of them are on both extreme sides of the spectrum. One friend is a Navy veteran whos able to stay the same and it doesn't seem to effect him when he's in public. Another friend who just couldn't deal with it...the job, the people he worked with, his marriage...ultimately it ended in suicide. He only had a couple years left before retirement!!!!!

Anyway... you can message me privately if you want to.

I totally feel the same. I had low expectations coming in, but in Michigan it would have been better to have none.. :P My goal is also to have a training area on my property and teach dedicated students. I need to earn some fucking money first, though.. :o

It does seem like to be a martial arts teacher, southern Baptist pastor, president etc. in America you just need to tell them what they want to hear and they'll be hooked. I expect more from my students than that, though, and I have no interest in attracting a legion of idiot followers that worship every puff of air that escapes my cheeks.. :P

I have heard the same from people working in Corrections. Either they're fine or they go postal. Only time will tell which one I am, but I have seen some pretty fucked up shit in China (like a man being butchered with swords) and enough deceitful, bad people for a lifetime, so I'm confident that I will belong the the former camp. 8-)
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Aug 11, 2018 1:49 pm

I also want to thank all of you for your [well-founded] concern and encouragement. If it goes well I'll have interesting stories to tell. If it doesn't, I can always quit.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby grzegorz on Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:36 pm

Good luck to you in finding your way after life in China.

When I moved back to the West it took me about a decade to land a good job.

I looked into law enforcement but it wasn't for me. I would have liked the job but in the end it is becoming a war on the poor like everything else in this country. But oh well I got a better job which makes the same in money and benefits and I am outside and using my body.

Everything worked out but it was a long journey.
Last edited by grzegorz on Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby Interloper on Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:50 pm

Being any kind of artist is a tough sell, in the world. That's why the adjective "starving" has gotten itself attached to "artist" as a prefix. The guys who know how to market, have the edge, but someone with an artist's heart can have a hard time doing something that they see as commercial and crass. Without the marketing (flyers, business cards, web page, etc.), though, who is going to know what you have, and of what value it is to them? As great as the skills may be, many a rose was born to blush unseen...

But if you have something to offer, I agree with Subitai that focusing on getting a handful of good students is the way to start. A lot of people have to have an income-earning vocation in order to have a passionate avocation such as martial arts. A lot of the old-time guys were bone setters, healers, ran small businesses, etc. I have a sneaking suspicion that most of the guys who were full-time martial arts teachers and practitioners, came from well-to-do families. Either that, or they were resigned to living a life of abject poverty, with their students making sure they didn't starve. I know of several such teachers who have, or had, that kind of life.

But that doesn't have to be you. I applaud your choice to get a job and develop income-earning skills. That can support you and your martial interest, while you are finding ways to build a following for your art. You can work, make a living income, set up your life, and slowly build a small but talented and committed group of students. Teach in the park, or in a rec center, or other such location that is no-rent or low-rent, and see where it goes from there. If you feel capable of teaching kids (ages 9 or 10+), maybe arrange with a local Y or rec center to teach a kids' class. It you make a little extra money from that, sock it away and use it to rent your own little store-front kwoon, someday down the road.

Anyway, good luck! And let us know how you are faring and progressing.
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Re: Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is..

Postby grzegorz on Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:18 am

Keep in mind that it is a long process although they try to make it seems like it isn't. In the meantime I would do as many ride alongs as you can and keep in mind that in the interviews they are determining whether or not you would be a good fit so in some ways I would downplay the China stuff as I often do to "fit in" since most people I work with have never left the country. Just my 2 cents having gone through several interviews.

For me seeing police target the homeless made me realize that it wasn't really what I thought it would as much as keeping the status quo in power. So I found another union job which probably pays me more and I was doing anyway but for another company which was non-union and paid a lot less.

In fact if you're looking for a part time job with benefits which the police as well as other employers will respect until get in with them you can try UPS as a part timer. Full timers make as much as police do, if not more (in a lot of states). You may hate me later but I know I love it there and people are happy when I show up to their house. That and the pay puts a smile on my face, which I only bring up to let people know that there a lot of options out there for returning expats because there is more to life than money.
Last edited by grzegorz on Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:19 am, edited 5 times in total.
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