GKR Karate - The ultimate pyramid scheme
When it comes to the full-time side of GKR, some people on the Internet accuse the club of being nothing more than a pyramid scheme.
Here's how a pyramid scheme is defined on Wikipedia;
"A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public."
A classic pyramid scheme is where you pay a fee to join a business sending out letters. Your role is then to send out letters to recruit others, in return for a fee, a little of which you pay to the person who recruited you. Your recruits then do the same thing. No product is produced. No service is provided. This kind of scheme is illegal.
In GKR, regional managers recruit self defence consultants (SDCs), and self defence consultants recruit students. The students go to the class and are taught karate. It is NOT mere self-replication.
Whilst learning to become better recruiters, SDCs are also taught karate, and they are taught how to run GKR's karate business. SDCs who are good at the job eventually get promoted to become regional managers in their own right.
GKR provides a commercial service (the karate) to the public, offers a legitimate promotion path to SDCs, and the career does not depend upon an infinitely large market of customers to succeed, so it is wholly sustainable.
It is true that the job requires serious commitment and a long-term view to succeed, just like any business that you own and wish to succeed in.
UK government small business trainers tell you that when you set up a business, you should expect to work long hours, and you should not reasonably expect todraw a wage from it for at least two years. With GKR, if you work hard and do what you are taught, you can start drawing a living wage from week one.
It's also true that many who start the job do not go on to make manager. Just like every company. If everyone who started every job worked their way up to the top, every company would be all chiefs and no indians!
The sad thing is, because GKR offers SDCs a dream, not just a career, some of those who do not make it, become quite embittered and criticise the club on the Internet, usually lying or exaggerating their woes. I can appreciate their feelings. It's like a lazy person who moves to Spain expecting a better life, only to find that they still have to work to build their bright future!
GKR is not a lazy path to prosperity, nor is it a get-rich-quick business, but it is a success route open to anyone, regardless of academic ability, race, or background. All you need is a great attitude, a bit of self-belief, and the willingness to work your socks off to build your business.
For some, GKR becomes a lifelong business; for others, the wealth it gives them has been a stepping stone up to even greater sources of prosperity, enabling them to build property portfolios, or larger businesses.
But fair play; GKR should take some responsibility for the way it is perceived. It should be scrupulously honest upfront about some of the commitments that will be required as an SDC gets nearer to his goal. Being coy about these things can only lead to subsequent resentment and a feeling of being tricked into the job under false pretences.
Many SDCs see their income temporarily fall in order to lead teams or teach classes in the region. In moderation, these are reasonable (albeit unpalatable) stages that SDCs need to go through in order to learn how to run a karate business. After all, how can you run a team of instructors if you've never taught a karate class? How can you recruit and manage a team of SDCs if you can't manage one or two?
These are essential skills, and should be considered in the same way that someone setting up a plumbing business would have to pay to take plumbing certifications or attend plumbing school. But unlike the trainee plumber, GKR's SDCs at least continue to earn a living most of the time whilst they are learning the ropes.
As SDCs get close to being promoted to manager, they will need to make more sacrifices along the last half mile. That's the price they pay for the organisation they are about to become a part of. If they bought a McDonalds franchise it would cost them between £125,000 and £325,000, so a couple of thousand pounds in decreased earnings (if that) over the course of six months, is not so bad in comparison!
I think the problem is that many SDCs forget one simple truth:
GKR is a business not a job!
If you join GKR and expect the business to be handed to you on a silver platter whilst you sit back and do little or nothing, you are going to leave the club disappointed. If you come willing to work hard to earn your slice of the martial arts pie, then you will do well.
So, if GKR's business model is a pyramid, it's only because it's a hierarchy, where the people who work the hardest, and are best at the job climb to the top, whilst underneath are the foundation staff - the self defence consultants - on whom the business depends - each of whom has a fair and equal chance of being promoted through the fruits of their own labour.