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#427661 - 06/13/10 02:52 PM dealing with thugs
kibadachi1 Offline

Registered: 04/29/05
Posts: 74
Loc: coble
what to do if new students seem like they are there to beat you or your students up? sometimes people who like to street fight go to a dojo to test their skills see if they can take on a blackbelt or are there just to hurt someone. maby a street fighter been in 20+ streetfights and a blackbelt maby have never been in a real fight. just curious who to deal with new students that want to learn martial arts just to beat people up weather its you or someone else ?

#427679 - 06/13/10 07:56 PM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: kibadachi1]
hope Offline

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Most clubs I've seen have posted rules regarding in-class behavior, involving respect and self-control, and sometimes limiting techniques done by certain belt-levels. Students are introduced to these rules before starting class; disobeying them results in students being spoken to, pulled out of class or even evicted from the club.

I have heard that some clubs interview (and presumably can refuse) prospective members (although the clubs I've been in have had more of a "sales talk" -- join! join! -- than an interview).

One guy visited a club where I was a member, and seemed to have no control over his strikes; he liked to go for the groin (of males), and not gently. He was offered private tutoring by the senior instructor instead of classes (I don't think he took the instructor up on it). Another case I heard about from an instructor: a guy joined a class which had a lot of 16 yr + teens in it, and kept asking where the "men" were so that he could "really practice". The instructor asked him to leave.
God grant me a good sword and no use for it. -- Polish proverb

#427720 - 06/14/10 02:16 PM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: hope]
WarblyDoo Offline

Registered: 03/15/06
Posts: 24
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
This can be quite a dilema. First I would say that if you know that their only reason for being there is to hurt someone kick them out. Save yourself and your actual students the headaches and injury.

That being said, sometimes you get the people who lack control and just need a one to one talking too.

I can remember one case from back before I had my own school and was an assistant instructor at my instructor's school. I was taking an evening class and he needed to head out to an appointment. Our plan had been for me to lead the class in light sparring that night when a new guy walked it. After speaking to him for a bit my instructor pulls me aside and say "Watch this guy, I get a bad feeling from him." I asked if I should still do sparring and he said yes but to be sure I was the first one to spar with the new guy. Sure enough as soon as we start this guy is trying to take my head off. I warned him several times to lighten up as that sort of thing would seriously hurt one of the less experienced students. He didn't listen so on one of his more wild punches I gained control of his arm, locked it out and put my glove in his face stretching him out. Then I calmly told him that if he pulled that again with me or any of my students I would put him out hard. Never saw him again after that night. After hearing my story my instructor wasn't that broken up over one lost student.

Another thing we did in my school was to hang a black belt on the corner of the ring. The rule was anyone who wanted to could put it on and we would treat them as a blackbelt in the ring. Nobody ever put it on.

#427729 - 06/14/10 05:55 PM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: WarblyDoo]
trevek Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 3337
Loc: Poland
I recall a TKD club where I used to train was visited by some guys from a freestyle karate club. They came (without prior notice) and asked if they could join the class. It was obvious they wanted to try us out.

The sabum said they could join the class but he had planned the lesson to be a "Traditional" session, just patterns, line-work and step sparring. They weren't interested and never came again, as far as I know.
See how well I block your punches with my jaw!!

Supporting everyone saying "nuts to cancer"

#427744 - 06/15/10 01:28 AM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: trevek]
clmibb Offline

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 1035
Loc: South Texas, US
In my class we haven't had a problem as discussed above. I think the reason is because we have a student train for a couple of months before they are allowed to spar. Most people who are there for that reason don't have that sort of patience so they never join.

"It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."- Ronald Reagan

#427755 - 06/15/10 01:44 PM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: clmibb]
Ives Offline

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 691
Loc: the Netherlands
Just like Casey, we have student in for some time before they get to spar.
Usually after reaching green belt (6th kyu) they get in on sparring. Before that only light kihon-kumite (pre-arranged).
We never have sparring on the first class someone walks into.

If they are interested in training they come by a couple of times, then they decide if the style suits them.

#427756 - 06/15/10 01:48 PM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: clmibb]
WarblyDoo Offline

Registered: 03/15/06
Posts: 24
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: clmibb
In my class we haven't had a problem as discussed above. I think the reason is because we have a student train for a couple of months before they are allowed to spar. Most people who are there for that reason don't have that sort of patience so they never join.


We always ran our classes mixed. This can sometimes mean that someone takes on something like sparring fairly early on in their training, this is not a problem even the first night so long as you make sure that they are partnered with instructors or advanced students who can take it slow and use it for teaching and introduction rather than out and out sparring. In this case it allowed us to see what kind of person we were dealing with and not waste months or weeks of our time dealing with an overly aggressive student.

#427785 - 06/16/10 09:28 PM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: WarblyDoo]
Lei Offline

Registered: 05/27/10
Posts: 9
You could try a more traditional approach. As a teacher and Master of the art, just because they paid does not mean you have formally taking on that person as a student.

Sideline him... Make him sit on the sideline, read the Tao, study yin yang theory and learn about Qi. If he is seriously wanting to learn the art, he will stick with it and have a better understanding of the art. If he is not interested, he won't be around for long.

Wax on, Wax off...

Ran Lei

#427807 - 06/17/10 05:48 PM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: kibadachi1]
JMWcorwin Offline

Registered: 07/13/07
Posts: 731
Loc: SoCal, USA
We have the same kind of sparring prerequisite for sparring. They aren't even allowed to spar until yellow belt. (anywhere from 2 months to whenever they're ready to test) But, we do have the students interacting with each other during class. We don't do forms so all technique is done with a partner. If we have someone not following rules or trying to harm their partner we talk with them after the first offense, suspend after the second, and dismiss from the school after that.

But, we do still get people that are here for the wrong reasons. I had a student sign up. He was generally respectful and followed instructions. But from day one he would constantly ask me things like, "can't you break someone's neck by doing it this way?", or "I heard you can kill someone like that true?". I usually just gave him a generic, "I suppose anything's possible, but we're not working on that right now." Or something along those lines. If the question was even more, well, questionable, I would just shrug and move on without answering him at all.

Well, one day after he'd been around long enough to get yellow belt, he asked me another question about killing someone with some random technique. I did my usual smile, shrug, and redirect to what we were supposed to be working on and he didn't let it slide. He actually stopped me and asked me, "What is this, some kind of secret society or something? Why can't you answer my questions with a straight answer?" I told him, "Yes, in a way it is. You're asking me to teach you techniques that I had to train for years before I was shown them. You haven't earned that technique yet." And I told him something regarding my responsibility to make sure my students were mature enough to not use what I teach them irresponsibly. Stick around and learn the basics first. He never returned after that day.

Moral of the story - the guy who's there for the wrong reasons usually won't have the dedication or patience to stick around and wait. If you don't give them what they're looking for, they'll leave on their own.

Which brings us back to your initial question. If they show up and day one they're either trying to hurt your students or you, there's several things to do:

1 - It's your right to turn people away. It's been said somewhere else in the thread, but tell them whatever you need to in order to make their interest fade. "We only really do forms and no contact 1-steps." OR
"Before we get started, I need to set up an appointment for you to come back and do the entrance paperwork. It should only take about 4 hours...just a written test, background check, and interview with my other instructors. When can I put you down? I need this for insurance reasons before I can let you on the mat."
Or very simply, "I'm not really taking on new students at the moment, but I can get your info and put you on the waiting list." Or "This is a closed class unfortunately, but can you come back at XXXX and we'll talk?" Whatever it takes to make them decide to leave on their own.

2 - Disarm them - I've also seen Grand Master turn the biggest, baddest bully into a teddy bear by just catering to their ego and gently stealing that chip right off their shoulder without them knowing it. "WOW! Look how strong you are! I bet you can hit really hard. Come in and talk with me and maybe we can help you to use that strength to it's full potential." or something along those lines. Or he'd say, "You don't need training, you're already so strong. Why don't you show me how hard you can hit? Hey guys, look how strong this guy is!" He'd just Jedi Mind Trick these guys right out of being bullies nad turn them into loyal students. Not everyone is as good at this as he was, but some can pull it off.

3 - Help them decide to leave on their own - If you think it's just something you can work past, just make sure they're not partnered with people in the class who can deal with them. Don't let them be partners with the mother of 3 who's doing this on her day off for exercise. Take them as your own partner and train them the same way you'd train a dog. When they misbehave, jump on them. When they get it right, reward them with praise. When they're too rough, tell them to lighten up. 2nd time, remind them of the rules and ask again. Still not working, just ask them to leave.

O.K. Now that I've made a 3 page post, I'll call it quits. Bottom line is that there's plenty of ways to deal with this issue. Ask someone who's been around long enough and has dealt with this problem before. It's the nature of the beast, and usually it's just an ego issue that can be worked out with a little strategy.
There are no PERFECT techniques, only perfect execution for the situation at hand. ~Corwin

#427913 - 06/24/10 11:46 AM Re: dealing with thugs [Re: kibadachi1]
Shizen Offline

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 7
I'm sure this has been happening since the beginning of people training in public places - It is an Achilles’ heel of running a commercial dojo where you may feel obliged to essentially let most anyone participate after a 2 minute chat. After 30 years I no longer charge for teaching and it is very liberating – the curriculum is X, if that is something you want to follow, show up. If you break the rules you are gone. Simple.

Anyway, strong leadership is important here. The seniors in a dojo environment must be capable of handling these situations. Be prepared to control the situation by an appropriately scaled level of warning, exclusion or even involving the police if need be. Just because you are practicing a martial art does not make it a “Fight Club” for anyone to come in and behave in a threatening manner.

Also talk to the police and understand what your position is legally. If you think through this carefully and have a strategy you will feel better. Be realistic about yourself as you plan. If you can’t help but feel intimidated in these situations then consider how you will probably react in the real world within your plan. Its no good saying, “If there is any of this behavior then I will kick them out”, if you aren’t up to that.

In these situations many students and instructors feel they should be able to handle it, have Buddha-like serenity, or have the ability to thrash the difficult person to teach them a lesson. However, in today’s world many karateka would loose in a serious physical confrontation with a big, mean-spirited, experienced street fighter. Use your brains and head them off before it gets to that point.

Of course it also does help if you are, within your heart, confident enough in your ability to know that you could dispatch the person causing the problem. Be truthful with yourself and plan accordingly.

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