Page 2 of 5
According to Lieberman, a profession should have the following characteristics:
- Offer a unique, definite, and essential social service. For teaching martial arts, this service is the facilitation of learning a martial art. How this is accomplished and what the instructor believes needs to be learned may vary based on the beliefs, needs, and practices of each martial art and each individual.
- Have an emphasis upon intellectual techniques in performing its service. While the emphasis of the martial arts is on physical performance, also require certain intellectual operations.
- Have a long period of specialized training. Just how much training is needed is debated within every profession. For the martial arts, it would certainly require over four years and at least a second degree black belt.
- Have a broad range of autonomy for both the individual practitioner and the occupational group as a whole. While this has arguably been reached within many full professions, it would definitely be a point of contention between among martial art instructors and their numerous organizations.
- Have an acceptance by the practitioners of broad personal responsibility for judgments made and acts performed within the scope of professional autonomy. This would be another problem with martial art instructors. There are so many systems and styles of the martial arts, and individual instructors within the arts, that consider themselves better than any of the other martial arts.
- Have an organizational emphasis upon the service to be rendered, rather than economic gain for the occupational group. This is what distinguishes many professions from businesses that serve people, though it does not refer to personal motivations of any individual professional. While there are many black belt mills within the martial arts community, most martial art instructors are not as concerned with monetary gain as they are with teaching others their arts.
- Have a comprehensive self-governing organization of practitioners. While the martial arts have a vast number of national and local organizations to support their development, they seldom self-govern the teaching of the arts, especially within the public domains of education.
- Have a code of ethics that has been clarified and interpreted at its ambiguous points by concrete cases. This is not the same as the code of ethics that many martial arts have established within their arts. It is a code or teaching ethics that controls the conduct of martial arts instructors. This would not be too difficult to establish in the martial arts community since they are used to supporting codes of conduct.