If you are under fifty years of age – actually, if you’re under forty-five – stop using your martial arts title! You sound ridiculous. Use coach, use instructor, use your name, sir is fine, but making people call you “Grand Master Laser Lotus 8” is over – those times are done!
People, especially in our culture, are going to give you respect because that respect is earned. You want to make sure that people are coming in here and they respect your teaching style. They don’t respect you because you made up a title.
It’s very hard, especially in our industry – being self-defense – to teach somebody to be able to stop anybody, and then next make them bow when they walk into a room and call you some fancy title. It doesn’t make any sense to say, “I’m empowering you to always be aggressive, to fight anybody that attacks you, to defend your family … except when you’re near me – then you should never hit me, you should never disrespect me, and you should always bow and use this title that was given to me by somebody else”.
If you like the title, because you like to use the heritage of the art, khru for example – that’s a Muay Thai instructor – I get it, it means coach anyway, and if you want to add that little bit in your marketing, it makes sense. But don’t go above khru and become “Grandmaster Sensei Kru Level 8” – it just sounds ridiculous, it’s redundant and it means nothing. You can throw as many foreign words as you want at anybody, they’re not going to get the relation unless you sit down and explain it for twenty minutes. “Well, the khru is the first level, and the next level is …” They’re never going to catch that, and nobody’s going to come to you anymore for that.
People want down-to-earth people that are going to teach real stuff. I have a bunch of titles, I hate them, I don’t even use them at all – people come in here, I say my name is Randy or “hey you”. They’re here for the information, they’re not here for your ego. You shouldn’t make them call you something weird, you shouldn’t make them bow in, you shouldn’t make them ever feel inferior to you because they’re in your business place. They’re your clients that you’re empowering.
Again – this is not for traditional martial arts where it’s part of the culture, this is for the reality-based guys.
Nobody cares what your title comes from, nobody cares how many levels you have in the system, what they want is information, they want to protect their family, they want to feel better.