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#225153 - 01/24/06 05:06 PM Thinking of quitting...
Mich Offline

Registered: 06/20/05
Posts: 23
Loc: Washington
Last winter for the first time I joined up at my local martial arts school. There were usually 5-10 students in each session, and in the beginning my instructor kept things formal - full uniform required, extensive warmups, drills, workouts, martial art etiquete training, etc. My instructor has taught for at least 10 years and is really challenging and motivating.

Starting last fall, however, I noticed that new people weren't sticking around, and older students began dropping out. As far as I know, they had legitimate reasons. The last two months, it's mostly been just me, and sometimes a brand new beginner who is not catching on well. Last month my instructor said it slows down for the holidays but picks up in January. So far it has not, and the new beginner just sprained his ankle playing soccer, leaving me as the last student.

In addition to it being slow, my instructor has been really stressed about his day job, and as less people have been showing up to class, he's been relaxing his methods. Sometimes he doesn't even dress for class, sometimes shows up late, frequently skips the warmups and drills, spends time on the phone with his job, etc. He's been commenting on how he needs to advertise for his classes more, and asked me to do some research for it. I gave him a bunch of info and offered to help set it up if he was busy. He just said he'd look into it a month ago, and nothing else has happened. Even his website is out of date. It sounds like he doesn't want to spend time or money on advertising or updating his website.

I want to learn - don't get me wrong. My instructor is very talented, and I really love the MA and his style of teaching it. But it's just been awkward as the only student, and I almost feel in the way since he's so stressed out.

Is this kind of thing common? How bad are the spikes in enrollment? If the class was back up to 5-10 people, I'd be more interested in staying on, but I don't see that many people appearing anytime soon, especially without good advertising. I really hate being the only student. So frustrating! Has anyone else had this issue?

#225154 - 01/24/06 09:21 PM Thinking of quitting... [Re: Mich]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3119
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Mich:

Enrollment is often extremely cyclical! But it will depend on the given studio/gym what the particular cycle might be.

Instructors are people, and their life sometimes, sometimes intrudes. What you describe unfortunately sounds more like a sinking ship. Consistancy is critical to learning. Purely from the business perspective, I should know ZERO about the why & what of the teachers personal life, other operations, their job-work, particular challenges. As the student my job is simply to train, and be a part of a hopefully healthy, positive new experience. I am not and should not be burdened with doing the advertising... unless I was a paid employee, family, etc.? You're getting good private instruction in what hopefully will become a larger group given time. If not, it will be through no fault of your own. On that basis, STAY, get that private instruction... and don't worry about other things... its not your "role"!
Everyone involved in learning/teaching has a fundamental choice, stay or go, persist or quit.

Which "role" will you play?

#225155 - 01/25/06 06:03 AM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: Ronin1966]
Dauragon c mikado Offline

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 1246
Loc: Oxford, England
Perhaps you can use the situation to your advantage, invite friends, people you get along with well.
This way you can choose who you wish to train with (if they decide to come).

If not this may be the perfect oppourtunity to get one one one tutoring, since there are no other students you have to set an example to you might try reqeusting what types of things you wish to learn and if he thinks your ready he may teach you.

Just a couple ideas

As for giving up, atleast consider finding another dojo in whitch you can continue training, not neccercerily of the same art unless you like you particular art.
The way of the warrior is a resolute acceptance of death. -Musashi

#225156 - 02/23/06 06:17 AM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: Dauragon c mikado]
Mixie Offline

Registered: 02/23/06
Posts: 4
Loc: Australia
I've had a similiar situation to you. When I was a blue belt in Taekwondo, I was thinking of quiting, but my parents told me to go on. TOday, I am a black belt 1st Dan. I am happy that I didn't decide to quit at the beginning. It's a hard's your benifit at the end.

#225157 - 02/23/06 07:52 AM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: Mich]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Martial arts studios, like many small businesses, fail. It really stinks when it is a good studio, and a good teacher.

Your teacher has a life, and it sounds like this is one of those rocky periods. Even if the studio closes, I am sure your teacher will continue to train on his own (if he is dedicated/loves what he is doing). If it were me, I would let him know that I'm still his student, and would be happy to train anywhere (local park, the church hall, his cellar, etc.).

#225158 - 02/23/06 07:52 AM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: Mich]
Joss Offline

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 567
I may have missed it, but I didn't see whether you are thinking of quitting MA, or just finding another school.

Now and again you will find yourself at a dead end in a school. The reasons vary. The way you descruibe it though, you no longer really have a school.

I wouldn't quit MA. Rather than do that, I'd start visiting other schools in the area, and see if I could find the best teacher there is. I wouldn't worry about the art as much as the teacher. Tell you current teacher thank you and that you will kepp checking back and make the change and continue.

#225159 - 02/23/06 09:03 AM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: Mich]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Yes, but I got over it because I wanted to learn. Then I realized what a great opportunity it was....basically private lessons and all the attention on me. Great deal.


I really hate being the only student. So frustrating! Has anyone else had this issue?

#225160 - 03/03/06 02:39 PM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: harlan]
yamig Offline

Registered: 06/05/05
Posts: 52
Loc: Conyers, GA
I remember the days when I was the only student who showed up. It was great getting private lessons. They ironed out a good bunch of issues in my technique, and taught me new techniques as well before everyone else got back..hehe...

#225161 - 03/04/06 05:18 AM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: yamig]
DavidT Offline

Registered: 01/24/06
Posts: 1
The occasional private lesson is wonderful, but weeks or months of nothing but can get frustrating. Especially if your instructor is distracted with other things, it can require a huge amount of internal motivation. While you should always be pushing yourself (and I'd venture to say that's the most important element in training), sometimes it's really nice to have others there cheering you on.

It sounds like you need to make a decision about whether you really have the energy to push yourself each and every lesson. However, as others have said, even if you decide you need to abandon your current instructor, I don't believe you should quit the martial arts entirely.

#225162 - 03/04/06 07:38 AM Re: Thinking of quitting... [Re: Mich]
founderofryoute1 Offline

Registered: 02/22/06
Posts: 88
Loc: Birmingham, UK
Having been in a similar position as the instructor, I reckon the only way of moving forward is if you and your instructor adopt the training partner relationship and drop the instructor-student relationship. Have a heart-to-heart with him see whatís bugging him. I my case my student is now one of my best friends and I donít see him as a student any more. That helps me because being an instructor can get quite lonely. Besides he quickly became incredibly talented when I started training one on one with him. Eventually I had to admit that just because I had more experience than him (and always will have) did not mean that my abilities were any better. This help transform the relationship between us.

This may not apply in your case but I donít know maybe it does.

Martin Clewett - Ryoute - Double Hand Grappling, Grip Grappling and Double Circle Grappling

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