Strong ties keep communites going for decades
Our martial arts school, the Kodenkan of Tucson is hosting the Ohana celebration this weekend. Over 600 Students and students of students of the late Prof. Okazaki who created Danzan-ryu Jiujitsu are gathering to celebrate his birthday.
Okazaki was an innovator of his time in the 1930s and 1940s, living in Hawaii. He was a practitioner of traditional Japanese homeopathic medicine but also started a martial arts school on the side and become one of the first Japanese to teach traditional martial arts to foreignors and to women. It was quite a differentiating at the time.
His innovation paid off. Today some his students are in their late 70s and 80s and have taken his teachings to form schools of their own across the US.
With any martial arts, the regular weekly practice helps to build strong ties between teachers and students. Once you get advanced enough, it is in the practice amongst equals that brings people together. The advanced (black belt) ranks operate more like an academy, learning from each other while in practice.
While the teacher-student element still exists (it's still a school), the cross-training between peers is what helps to energize and develop the study.
The same goes for pretty much most communities. You learn the basics--it can take years--and advance enough to consider new perspectives and situations, or help others with issues and problems they are facing.
Carry this on for a few years successfully and it will last a decade. Carry it on for a decade or two, and it will last for generations. You just have to carry on the philosophy of sharing and learning.