2016 Mar 01
Recently I came across a blog post titled "Why I Don't Pay For Dance Or Gymnastics Anymore". I rolled through my Twitter feed. A few days later, I saw it come through my Facebook feed and it reminded me of a post titled "Learn To Drive Your Car Better". This in turn made me think of all those things that get listed when someone asks, "What do I get when I pay for martial arts class if you aren't a competitive sport school?"
These kinds of posts are great reminders that under all those drills, lectures, and games are some pretty spectacular results that are hard to put a price tag on. While the results vary between individuals, they are quite common among those that are training in a martial art. However, we don't live in a fairytale world. There are times when a student forgets that they are "training." These moments are when gaps may occur and a potential breakdown of expected results can be foreseen.
I'm sure you've seen the list of spectacular results - usually starting off with things like: respect, honor, humility. Often they continue with phrases like: weight control, improved cardiovascular health. Somewhere in the list you also find terms like: coordination, leadership skills, team development. Great! These are all things we want to see in our future generations - especially our own children! All we need to do is sign them up and bring them to class, and the people there will "fix" our children for us, right?
There is so much more involved than showing up for class! Encouragement is a big factor that is needed for all ages and from all angles, not just from instructors. Show your children that you are interested in what they are doing, have them show you what they learned in class at home, ask them questions. This kind of encouragement helps keep them interested in what they are doing; it increases the drive to continue and try hard.
That is the key - they try hard. It's that effort they are putting into class that helps build those fantastic qualities parents bring their kids to class for. If they are only in class because they were dropped off, they lose interest, they sometimes interrupt class flow, and they nearly stop developing those sought-after traits because they aren't getting much from the lessons of the day.
Non-competitive martial arts can do a lot of things for individuals outside of class, but there is no secret or mystery to it. Those that train hard develop; those that only show up stagnate. Find that spark to keep you going in your own training, and encourage others to show them someone is interested in what they are doing. Remember, not all martial arts schools teach fighting, some teach much more, and that is what you are really getting from your training.