Q1. How long have you been in business?
A1. Hiscoe Jiu-Jitsu was established in 1992 when I began teaching in Abbotsford, BC. Due to my full time career in law enforcement the school was a part time venture for close to 17 years. In September of 2012 I opened the doors to our full time facility in Chilliwack, BC. After 2 years in operation we expanded by taking over the space next to us. I have been teaching under the Hiscoe Jiu-Jitsu banner for 22 years now.
Q2. Are we a brazilian jiu-jitsu school?
A2. No, we are a modern jiu-jitsu school with a Japanese influence. The style of jiu-jitsu taught at Hiscoe Jiu-Jitsu is called Can-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu. Essentially this is translated as “The Canadian System of Self-Defense”. Georges Sylvain, a 10th degree black belt in jiu-jitsu, developed our jiu-jitsu system; he also held black belt ranks in judo and karate. Mr. Sylvain had been a military police officer and subsequently a municipal police officer that became a tactical training officer upon leaving law enforcement. Mr. Sylvain is extremely well known in Canadian jiu-jitsu circles.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be described as mostly emphasizing ground grappling with some standing up self-defense. Can-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu could be described as emphasizing stand up self-defense with some ground grappling.
Q3. Do we train for competitions?
A3 . We do not train for competition but rather for self-protection. My main focus is to teach people to be safe. In the real world there are no referees to step in and stop the fight. Your opponent is unknown and you haven’t trained months for the fight. In short we train for reality.
So, you’re a black belt and want to open your own school. When I was about 18-19 years old I always thought that having my own dojo would be pretty cool. I had already been involved in martial arts for about 10 years and I loved it, there was no doubt that martial arts would always be part of my life. I was content at the school I belonged to so for me it wasn’t about how I could do it better than they were, I knew that I would be moving to a new city and that the opportunity could arise to do my own thing.
A couple of years past and sure enough I did move away and found myself clear across the country and with no jiu-jitsu school in the area. Without getting into a long history lesson, at the age of about 24 I did open a school. Now I had lots of experience teaching classes but I had little experience running a business. Well actually I had NO experience running a business. The school was never financially viable and eventually it was closed. I did however keep teaching in a part time basis for the next 15 years. Last year I re-opened my school somewhat full time and plan on taking it to the next level this year. So why am I writing this?
I have been doing a lot of reading about owning a small business and have discovered that most people who open their own business are really “technicians” who were tired of working for someone else or people who have a skill at doing something and want to give it a go. Just like me and jiu-jitsu. The problem is that all small business should be made up of 3 people, the entrepreneur, the manager and the technician. It is very difficult to be all 3, especially when you have another full time job.
So I am going to take this year to educate myself on small business and how I should be looking at the future of my school. After 20 years I wish I would have starting learning a long time ago.
What prompted you to start your own dojo?
Last summer during our summer camp in Sicamous BC, a few of the black belt who are dojo owners suggested that I have a meeting with all the Can-Ryu Jiu-Jitsu black belts who are in the West. Almost all of these black belts have been graded through the Hiscoe Jiu-Jitsu Dojo.
Over the past 15 years, like many other martial arts organizations, some of my black belts have left the dojo to pursue their own journeys. I am alright with that, I am actually very proud of some of these black belts because they have continued to train and teach and some have even applied their training to their real jobs. Now I have been asked by those who are still around and active to try and unite the group under a common umbrella. This of course is going to be a challenge as for many years this as not happened. I think the timing can be right to make this happen, but obviously it cannot happen without the black belts wanting it to happen.
I need to create a vision for what this could look like, what would the benefits to the black belts be, what is there to offer, what is there appetite for this to happen. Because it is not going to happen with them. But if they are asking for it there must be a possibility.
Personally I am excited about the possibility of getting this group together. I have some ideas of what might work and also what is not going to work. This must be a collaborative effort between all of us, not a situation of control where others have no say.
I see this as a real chance to apply the leadership skills I have read about and help others to achieve their goals. This cannot be about me but more about the black belts who all the same desire. The desire to have a unique organization, with common goals and the ability to collaborate and share ideas for the betterment of all members.