A phenomenon that occurs in every martial arts school

I would like to address a phenomenon that occurs in every martial arts school. The instructor cares more about the development of the student than the student does.  I constantly see instructors working their butt off trying to get students to ‘do it right’.  Instructors will spend more time trying to get the non-conformers to do it right that they will helping the ones who are doing it right.

There are some wise old sayings that become more brilliant as I get older.  See if you recognize any of these:

  • The strong will survive.
  • The weak will always be with us.
  • When the student is ready to learn the master will arrive.
  • People learn one of three ways; they see, they listen, or they feel.
  • When all else fails to teach, pain will teach.
  • Everyone in the martial arts is not destined to be a Black Belt.
  • When we stop learning, we start dying.

Why am I taking time to share this?  I need to tell our instructors that it is okay to hold to their standards and not ‘sell out.’ It is okay for them to have students who do not make the grade.  and it is okay to tell students that they are not ready yet for a promotion, next belt rank etc.

It is a lot better to do that, being truthful with the student as he is developing  and to hold the student to a high standard that to have the student come before the testing board and be crushed by the outcome.

I want to share a personal story; Many years ago a private student of mine insisted on doing it ‘his way’ because it was easier for him.  He had less that six months study and I have over 35+ years.  One of us has a deeper understanding  of the martial arts.

He kept asking;

“Why am I not progressing?
Why do you always defeat me so easily?
Why don’t my techniques have the power yours do?
Why am I always off-balance?”

Easy answer.  ‘His way’ is not the martial arts way. He cannot see beyond his limited scope.  He does not have the advantage of 30 years of experience. He cannot see what is coming next.  He fights on one plane not knowing that seven other planes exist.  He couldn’t deal with what he did not know or recognize. His biggest opponent was himself and ‘his way.’

I am patiently watching.  Pain is teaching and it is a slow, painful, agonizing process. He will either get strong, learn or fail.  Either way will be okay.  Such is life, all are not destined to be black belts.

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