Over a decade ago, an idea to start a unique organisation amongst martial artists was proposed by Founder Stuart Anslow. His idea was that the International Alliance of Martial Arts Schools would provide free training for up to two weeks for travelling members who looked up participating schools in our directory.
It didn’t take very long before IAOMAS had 300+ schools on our directory. There was excitement from people who participated on our Forum. Volunteers were recruited to help manage activities. Face-to-Face events were held. And schools kept signing up for the free membership.
When numbers moved past 400, IAOMAS members saw frequent joint seminars amongst host schools. The Forum was abuzz with with instructors using it as a discussion platform to explore a huge range of different issues – from how to expand a school to dealing with challenging students. Pictures of students with IAOMAS patches sewn onto uniforms were proudly shared on the Internet.
Pretty soon, Founding Members and highly-involved volunteers started to notice that whilst amazing friendships were being forged, they now had to take on the added responsibility of creating structure to manage the organisation, and to preserve what they felt was a fantastic culture of inclusiveness – something of an exception in an industry rife with ego and politics.
Stuart recently posted on how the “weight of carrying it all on just a few shoulders took its toll” and how “the flame faltered.” But many of those who were staunch supporters simply continued what IAOMAS started whilst the organisation lay dormant – enjoying the friendships that were created and not really straying too far from the spirit of that initial buzz.
The reboot of IAOMAS has been coming for some time. A new management team led by former Council Member Colin Wee, and whom are all situated in Western Australia, is taking the challenges of IAOMAS on. What is important to him is preserving the culture of IAOMAS whilst ensuring there is organisational structure to promote that culture to all members.
While some may balk at the need for such work, Colin brings with him experience at the Board-level of a local Montessori school, years of experience with non-profit groups, and his professional experience dealing with the IT and E-commerce needs of small businesses. His aim is to help the organisation take those baby steps towards establishing a world class organisation that will accomplish world class goals.
Thank you for bearing with us in this time of restructuring.
For more on this, see message from Founding Member Tim Posynick ‘Why IAOMAS is Special‘