Recently, there was a topic about some people getting rapidly promoted in the martial arts. Example: Jumping a few black belt ranks in a very short amount of time. Personally, I’m not into other people’s politics or drama. A side discussion on that I briefly mentioned was the topic of standards. We have standards in just about every occupation. My question is, what happens when standards are not followed? Depending on the occupation it could be damaging to people, jobs and etc.

As a martial arts school owner what I’m about to say is not the smartest thing in the world to say, but I feel truths and facts should be shared. Failing to do so could indeed seem like a lie. I hate to be lied to.  It’s a negative violation of trust. I’ve seen a lot of commercials and articles about a statement that I do not agree with and I’m sure there will be folks who will wish to share a contradicting statement and opinion of what I’m about to say. However, as the old saying goes…”we can agree to disagree”.

The statement I heard and don’t agree with (because of the standards point of view) is that

“ANYONE CAN DO MARTIAL ARTS, REGARDLESS OF “XYZ”.

Though I do feel that anyone can “start” training martial arts, however, not “finish” martial arts. Meaning, making it a long and life time journey. How many times have you seen postings on Facebook that shows that thousands will join, hundreds will only make it beyond green belt and very few ever make it to black belt? We see this all the time and it’s all TRUE. There are many reasons why students quit their journey. Some of them are VERY understandable. They may include, but not limited to changes in family or work situation, damaging economy and etc.

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However, there are other reasons why people do not continue. They watched a movie and thought they could learn to do all those things they saw in a minimal amount of time, not catching on to some of the material and internally feel inferior about it because other class mates have gone beyond them, it’s too hard and the instructor is too strict for them.

I have come up with a solution that can help with retention and keeping standards. They include the following:

  1. Communication with the Instructor. Some of the reasons (not all) can be worked out with a school owner if given advance notice or simply bring up your concerns. Naturally, this should be done in a private setting.
  2. Pay for private lessons. An instructor who runs a class has to share his or her training, time and attention to multiple students. Private lessons ensures that the individual gets individual attention for their training needs and wants. Now, be advised, private lessons cost more money. In the end, they are normally worth it.
  3. Up YOUR game. Many students training ONLY at the dojang. Just like high school or college, a student is expected (read that word again) to practice outside of the dojang. Practicing at home is FREE. Maybe partner up with a fellow class mate and work on material together.
  4. Look in the mirror and realize you will not be perfect at everything you do in a martial arts class. Guess what?! If you have any kind of a good instructor, they know this too. Your continued effort and hard work is what many good instructors are looking for.

In conclusion, if you communicate, work hard and continuously motivate yourself, you can increase your chances of being in the percentage of folks who earn their black belt. Good luck and train hard. Again, anyone can START martial arts training, but it’s up to you to follow through.