If you are thinking about taking martial art classes with an instructor or joining a martial art school, then expect to be a volunteer. Expect to “volunteer” to help with students, assist at tournaments, camps, outings, fundraisers, demonstrations, etc., help with facility maintenance and repairs, and to teach for free. Professionals will be approached for free services, such as plumbing, electrical work, printing, accounting, etc., while nonprofessionals will be asked to do everything else. The school must be cleaning and repaired, and most businesses pay to have it done. By using school “volunteers,” the martial art school does not have to pay for the services. Where does the saved money go? Maybe it goes into improving the school, but usually into the owner’s wallet.
If you do not “volunteer,” in one way or another, you will be made to feel unwelcome and you will probably quit the martial arts. If you involuntarily “volunteer,” at some point you will probably feel you giving and, also paying, more than you are receiving. You could volunteer your time to a more deserving cause than insuring the success of a marital art business. If you voluntarily volunteer, you will probably be pleased with your choice and think I have missed the point. As I said before, volunteerism can be good thing or it can be exploitation.
One would think that a volunteer is someone who performs a service or assumes an obligation of his or her own free will. However, in the martial arts, volunteer means you “will” perform services and work for no pay. If you ever become an employee of a martial art school, you will get paid something. If you are a senior student who “volunteers” a lot, you may be rewarded with free tuition, which means little since you will be “volunteering” so much that you will have little time to train.