One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with as an instructor and owner is the plain and obvious fact that:
Not Everyone Thinks the Way I Do
I say this is obvious because we all know this and encounter it in our everyday life, but in the dojo I assumed everyone was there for the same reason I was. When I started, I wanted all the information passed to me in nice folder. I wanted to get hit and to hit back. Bruises were going to happen but that was all part of the experience that would toughen me up and make me the best I could be. That was the training path I wanted.
Fast forward many years and I now realize that:
Everyone can benefit from Martial Arts Training but Destroying Confidence in the Process is a Personal Choice
Not everyone has the perverse desire to get “pounded on” to get better (when I say it that way, it really does sound odd). Building confidence in people to allow them to operate as a better person in their everyday life is the MOST BENEFICIAL THING we can do for our students. We don’t need to lay them out on the mat constantly and break them down to build them up. The simple aspect of mastering a technique that was foreign to them before or learning how to escape when someone grabs from behind can build way more confidence in a person than a constant beating.
Every Martial Arts Practitioner gets to that point where they want to test their skill. It’s our job to give them the OPPORTUNITY to do this and NOT INSIST on it.
Confidence and intensity in training is a fine line to walk, and that line differs from person to person. If we insist that from day one we are going to “go at it” we are jeopardizing losing that student. Losing a student from the dojo benefits nobody; the business, the instructor, and more importantly the student. Our duty as instructors is to instill confidence through teaching effective martial arts techniques in a safe environment and to give students an OPPORTUNITY to test themselves WHEN THEY ASK FOR IT.
The term “Martial Art” has two distinct meanings to me. “Martial” equalling intensity and brutality of the practice and “Art” meaning the beauty, emotion, and flow of the movements. When I first took ownership of the dojo I felt we were to “Art-sy”, which was fine in it’s own right, but I felt we needed to raise the “martial” aspect of our training by increasing our intensity based on the fact stated before…….I thought everyone thought like I did. My students let me know through their actions (not showing up as much) that they were not on board with my thought process. Looking back, I do believe we needed to add some more intensity but not to the level we proclaimed we wanted to instill. We needed to let the students decide on a personal basis how much “martial” needed to be added to their training.
Our goal, above all others, is to help each and every person achieve the level of confidence and give them the training experience THEY WANT TO HAVE when they walk through the dojo’s front door. Having them adhere to “my way” of how I wanted to be trained was a mistake.
You don’t have to be the toughest SOB and out there to be a terrific Ninjutsu practitioner. It does not matter how hard you train, as long as you do train, you will become better at defending yourself when and if the time comes.
Ninjutsu is a rich and deep art. Anyone who has ever practiced the art for a period of time can tell you it permeates your life. Your interactions with other change due to your level of confidence. You might get that raise you’ve been wanting because your focus is now sharper. You might become more at peace with the world around you and not find yourself perturbed by every little thing that crosses your path. These are massive WINS for an individual and for their instructor. Ninjutsu is a vehicle that can help you lead a better, more fulfilled life…..your life, not the one I think you should have. My job, and our job as instructors at Discovery, is to assist you in obtaining YOUR goals, not ours.
YOUR WIN IS OUR WIN