I’ve written a number of posts that outline the importance of knowing why you’ve joined the martial arts. These reasons can include improving one’s health, learning to defend oneself or simply the curiosity that many have relating to the martial arts.
There really aren’t any BAD reasons to join, unless your goal is to become a bully or beat the crap out of people. Barring that, a subject that anyone rarely covers is when to step away and quit! Seriously, how do you know when your time in a dojo has run its course and it’s time to walk away? Here are some thoughts…
- The school doesn’t meet your specific needs. This is a pretty common one, and it happens much more than we think. Each martial arts school is unique and their rituals, protocols and rules may not suit you. Some people try to “tough it out” because they’re paying tuition, but it’s better to lose a month’s worth of payment than stay with a school that doesn’t;t fit your needs;
- You spend more time yawning than sweating. Most new things take a certain amount of effort. But karate requires focus and concentration, as well as a certain amount of precision and speed training. Combining all those aspects can be a touch overwhelming and take some time. If you’re getting bored with what you’re being taught, perhaps it isn’t for you;
- You’re in conflict with the instructor’s teachings. Oh boy, where to start on this one! Having been a Sensei myself, I can attest that there’s always the occasional student who decides to “test” the instructor… Either they question the knowledge being quoted or they doubt whether a technique genuinely works or not. This leaves the instructor in the awkward position of either trying to prove his or her point or losing face in front of their students. Losing face shouldn’t matter, but it’s very difficult to teach a fighting art to a group of people who question your skills and abilities. If you feel that you might not be buying what your instructor is teaching, don’t create conflict; just get the hell out!
- You’re being forced to be there. I’ve had a lot of students who have come to class because their parents are “making” them. That royally sucks, because most of the time the student drags on the overall mojo of the class because he or she genuinely doesn’t want to be there. I’ve had to have some heart-to-heart conversation with some parents over the years where I’ve gently “suggested” that their kid shouldn’t be back! If you’re being forced to be there, do yourself a favour and talk to your Sensei about it;
- You’re “surviving” the class rather than training. I’ve saved this one for last, although it certainly isn’t least. It’s one thing to push yourself and work through a session even on days when you don’t feel like it or during times when you may be feeling a little off. But if you’re checking clock every ten minutes, if you’re loathe to leave the house, knowing you’re going to class and the interest simply isn’t there anymore, it may be time to re-evaluate why you’re going.
The martial arts is like everything else: it should suit your needs and fit your lifestyle. There’s no shame in trying it out and walking away if you discover that it isn’t for you.
I’ve had periods in my training where I felt as though I wasn’t learning anything, or I simply wasn’t advancing the way I thought I should. Sometimes a break is needed, but it shouldn’t be permanent. The idea is that remaining part of a martial arts club that doesn’t;t suit you may take away from the club as a whole. A kind of “only as strong as your weakest link” kind of deal. ☯