At what point should you refuse or stop teaching someone martial arts?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Monkey Turned Wolf, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Or do you not have a point where you'd stop? In a different thread, @Kung Fu Wang brought up an instance where he taught a girl who was being abused MA, then she stopped coming, he found out that the husband was now being attacked by her, and ended up teaching him MA.

    So I had some hypothetical questions from that, that I didn't want to derail the thread with.
    Assume for all the below that there's some sort of verifiable evidence for you about the person's intentions (either them telling you directly, multiple other people you trust have informed you, you've witnessed it, etc.), excluding option 4.

    1. If he was still teaching the girl, and found out that she was now attacking (past defending herself) the husband, would you continue to teach her? What if you learned that she was the abuser from the beginning?

    2. In the actual situation mentioned, would you teach the husband, knowing that the two were likely going to continue getting physical/violent with each other in the future, and now one of the two is trained because of you?

    3. What about other situations, would you teach someone that you knew gets into bar fights a lot, or is ultimately planning to get into fist fights with the training? If so, is there a line that you'd draw?

    4. What if you have no evidence, but for whatever reason, the individual seems like a slimeball to you, and you suspect their reasons for learning martial arts are malicious? Does this change if the person in question is 13 vs. if they're in their 40s and giving you that vibe?

    5. What about someone who can't control themselves? I've seen teens/young adults with developmental disabilities or similar, where they get a lot of strength, and end up hurting their caretakers. There's often nothing malicious here, but impulse control issues combined with lack of comprehension about what they're doing and the impact it has. Would you teach someone like this, knowing that you could potentially be enabling them to hurt their caretakers further?
     
  2. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    Should a MA teacher get involve with his student's personal life?

    There can be 2 different kind of teacher-student relationship.

    1. You treat your student as your own son. Your student treats you as his own father. You take responsibility for everything your student does. Your student will come to you for all his problem that he will have (borrow money, bail out of jail, ask for advise, ...).
    2. A student pays you. You teach whatever he wants to learn. After that, you don't know him, and he doesn't know you.

    Which one do you prefer?
     
  3. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Martial Arts training is never the answer for domestic violence. The answer is press charges and GTFO.

    If it's someone who can't control themselves, I probably wouldn't teach them. I'd teach the people around them instead, but would focus on control techniques. Teaching them striking would be a waste of time.
     
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  4. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree with this, but it's (at least in my state) not up to anyone but that person to press charges. If someone being abused were to ask you to teach them TKD, for that purpose, would you refuse to teach them since you don't think it's the answer?
     
  5. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    There is a huge dichotomy between those two. You can teach someone and have it be more than business between two strangers, without becoming familial.
     
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  6. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    If we found out that a student has a violent criminal background, we'd kick them out. Our state has a publicly searchable database of court records, and we look up new adult students to see if they've ever been convicted of a violent crime in our state. So far, we haven't had an issue, but it's always a possibility.

    In this case, we wouldn't accept the husband as a student, and would refer the wife to the local domestic violence shelter.

    If someone was going around starting fights or bullying people, we'd ask them to leave.

    If they acted like a "slimeball".... that depends on what that means, exactly, so it's kind of a case by case thing. But if they're negatively impacting the community of the school and the class environment, they'd need to leave.
     
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  7. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    My rules for no teach are simple. In terms of public safety. I will refuse to teach anyone who I think will go out and randomly hurt others. My personal belief is that they can randomly hurt people without my help. From a teacher's perspective, I'm responsible for the safety of my students and someone like that has just make my job riskier.

    If I thought I could help the person change for the better then I would probably make an effort to use martial arts to help address some of the aggression issues. That person would get the benefit from training but would probably be trained with more of a defensive training program and not an offensive one.

    I don't think me and the abusive husband would get along. I've had my share of abusive men personalities. The ones I met were controlling and like bullies. They tried to do to me what they did to their girlfriends. The only thing I want from them was to fight them and hurt them bad. By default I try to stay away from people like that because I rather not spend time in jail for acting on my anger.
     
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  8. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I would not train them.
    If they were out of the relationship and worried about being stalked by their abuser, that could be different. But no, I'm not going to be a part of perpetuating their violent relationship.
     
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  9. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I prefer #1. Which is why I'm careful about the relationships I have with people be it personal, casual, or professional. I have taught kids who I treated as if they were family. I wouldn't go as far as saying as a father, but some kids felt that way about me. I am responsible for them while they are in my care. People come to me with their problems all the time. Not because they think I'm responsible for them. They believe that I'm one of the few who would listen and be honest with them, when it seems like the world is against them. They come to me because of the quality of my character.

    I've given money to kids, paid for their tickets on group trips when their parents couldn't afforded it, and when I thought it would be a good life experience for them. To me that's what's community about. I won't bail them out of jail. I'll tell it to them like my parents told it to me. Always do good because I'm not going to bail you out jail. Do I treat all student's like family? no, but I do treat them like a good friend until they do something to unjustly take advantage of me.

    To have a true friend in life is one of the most valuable things anyone will every have. I leave it up to people to throw my friendship away. It's over once someone takes advantage of me or tries to take advantage of me. When a person does that then I have more concern for the ants that I step on than the person who takes advantage of my kindness or friendship. I lose nothing. I get to see someone for who they truly are and I get to get rid of someone that is a destructive force.

    Now that I actually have a son, it would be difficult for me to treat someone "like a son." The only way I would do that is either through birth or adoption. Other than that I just treat people like I care about them and their existence.
     
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  10. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I agree with this. I don't make any exceptions for anyone with a violent criminal background. There are many degrees of abusiveness and when it becomes legally defined as a violent criminal background then there's no way I can be responsible for the safety of other students while exposing them to an element that may attack them in a criminal manner.

    If I was doing one on one classes then I may have some flexibility that I wouldn't have with a group of people. I say this because I know people who have served time in jail for crimes. The one's I know are people who I could teach. I don't think I know anyone with a violent background. At least not to my knowledge, without looking them up in a criminal database.

    I just know that each case would be based on the individual. I also know that this will come up multiple times in an online class environment. Which at that point becomes more like Wang's statement below.

    We share martial arts information al the time with each other without knowing the criminal backgrounds of who has discussions here.
    In an in person school settings these become almost a duty as a citizen. And are good decisions legally and important from community perspective.

    All of these are good answers and responses as there's not a one size fits all response.

    I wouldn't want to be a part of it either. When I was 19, I tried to help a girl that I knew. She had an abusive boyfriend. This is what my life was like:

    1. The more I tried to help the more I got blamed for stuff by the girl I was trying to help
    2. Then the more I talked to her the more her boyfriend would abuse her.
    3. The more she got abused the more the boyfriend disliked me, and the more he wanted to make me a target.
    4. The more that I stayed around to help the more that I felt unappreciated and the less happy I was. Having to see a friend like that.

    It was a nasty cycle of abuse and it touched everyone except the person who needed to be beat down until his legs didn't work.

    This same scenario happened again in my twenties. Not sure why I was attracted to women who were abused. I was attracted to them before I knew they were abused and then tried to help them later as a friend and because I thought it was the right thing to do. The second time it happened it was worse, that's when I was accused of being the person who would probably abuse a woman. Crushed. But after going through that the first time, I got out really quick. Ended the friendship and if she would die then it's not on me.

    Many years later I get a letter from her apologizing for the things she said. By that time I moved on. I wasn't interested in volunteering for abuse. I saw another situation in college and turned a blind eye. I only talked to the girl once or twice in the gym. Then one year I see her with bruises. It sounds bad, but the previous experiences had one thing in common. Sometimes the more you try to help people out of a bad situation, the longer they stay in it. I remind myself of that all the time and I don't want to be a factor that makes things worse than it already is.

    I wouldn't want to do anything that would make a situation more violent than it already is. I don't want to add flames to the fire. Abusive relationships are always bad for everyone involved. If I saw a kid get abused then that's an instant call to police. If a woman or a man get abused then I may bring attention to it, but that's as far I'll go.
     
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  11. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    There are specific situations where I would make an exception. And the only reason for this is because of a parolee in one of my anger management classes, who completely turned me on my head in terms of violent crime/felonies. It was a class that was mandated (or a similar class) in order to be on parole if you were sentenced for a violent felony.

    This particular guy was one of the most relaxed guys that I knew, and definitively the least threatening violent felon that I've met, and had just gotten out of jail after 15 years. Over the course of some individual sessions I learned his story, checked with his parole officer, the documents that we receive, etc. to make sure he wasn't bullshitting me (something I did with most of them). 15 years earlier, he had been drinking at a bar, per him he had 2 drinks, drove home, and another lady who was using other substances blew a red light, hit him, and both the lady and her baby that was in the car died. He called 911, stuck around to tell them what happened/try to help the two until they got there, and informed the police that he had two drinks-from what I recall they didn't do a BAC on him but that parts a bit fuzzy memory-wise. Per the individual, he had a very bad lawyer, and the judge wanted to set an example, plus a kid died so he got 15 years, and I don't know exactly how it went down, but got listed as a violent crime. So now anywhere that does a background check on him, he will come up as a violent criminal. But I'd have no issue whatsoever teaching him martial arts in a group, or individually.
     
  12. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    - If a guy is your student, will you teach his son?
    - If your student's student wants to lean from you, will you teach that person?
     
  13. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    1. Yes. I see no reason why I wouldnt.
    2. I'd check with my student to see what's going on. If it's a matter of location/schedule convenience, or they just didn't get along then sure. If he's coming to me because of an argument, and my student warns me about some red flags, probably not.
     
  14. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    I've done this.

    I've done this from the student perspective. My Teacher's teacher has taught me. He sometimes offers classes to the students of his students. But I'm like MTWolf. The context of "Why" is important. If things aren't going well between the two and it's the student's fault then I probably won't. If my student is the one being the butt, then I would break connections with my student and then will teach those who wanted to continue to learn. Context is everything, like your other questions this one can go a lot of different ways for me.
     
  15. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    One of my long fist brothers became the student of my teacher's teacher. When he called my long fist teach as "senior brother", my long fist teacher didn't want to speak to him for the rest of my long fist teacher's life.

    My long fist brother told me that if he called my long fist teacher as

    - teacher, he would show dis-respect to my long fist teacher's teacher.
    - senior brother, he would show dis-respect to my long fist teacher.

    It's a lose-lose situation.

    One guy wants to become my SC teacher's disciple. My SC teacher said, "You MA teacher wanted to be my disciple and I had turned him down. How can I accept you as my disciple?" That guy became my SC teacher's adopted son instead.
     
  16. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    That's just people's egos getting in the way.
     
  17. Kung Fu Wang

    Kung Fu Wang Grandmaster

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    That's Chinese culture. Some people care about it, others don't care that much.

    My SC teacher and my long fist teacher's teacher were on the same generation. One day when I talked to my SC teacher and mentioned my long fist teacher, my SC teacher said, "Your long fist teacher calls me teacher. You are my disciple. Now you call your long fist teacher as teacher, what position do you put me in?"

    After that day, I had never trained any long fist when my SC teacher was around (my SC teacher lived in my Texas house back in those years).
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2021
  18. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Not being from china, I think it's ego and dumb.
     
  19. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    It seems that it's only a lose -lose when it comes to the recognition of titles. Especially in Chinese Martial Arts. Things can get sensitive really quick. But you know that already.

    Chinese Culture and Asian Culture in general don't go well with each other. There's a lot of conflict of expectations. They aren't bad just different. For example, My mindset is no man is above me and I treat others as if I'm not above them. That's how I feel by default. It's not until people get on my bad side that they sink a level, but it's of their own doing and not because I put them there. But out of respect for other cultures I'm willing to do certain things as my way of showing my acceptance of who they are and of their culture.

    I did this once once in my with my wife's side of the family to show respect, and the elder that I paid respect to doesn't want me to do it anymore. She prefers a hug. Which is weird because other family members would frown on the hug as being too casual. But she talks to me like a long lost friend. Things like that have always been like that for me. I guess I just have that type of personality or vibe where people prefer that I'm not formal even when normally I should.

    [​IMG]

    Kung Fu however is a different story. Kung Fu titles + Egos often get in the way. I've been on the bad end of that. Will I ever reach Sifu Status? only time will tell.
     
  20. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    1. If someone is bullying others; whether it's domestic abuse, or being a bully at school, or a cyber-bully (or worse: bullying other students in my class), they get one chance to stop. They get told that behavior is not tolerated and to stop immediately; the next time it happens I will kick them out and never welcome them back. Even if it's just a business decision, you should make that choice, because their tuition is not worth the lost tuition of other students.
    2. First it would depend on if he was the one who initially abused the girl, or if she was abused by someone else. If he was the one who abused her, then no. If he's being abused, I would strongly recommend that he press charges and/or leave. But if he refused...I'm not sure. Probably not.
    3. If someone wanted to get into sanctioned fights, I'd teach them what I know. If someone wants to get into fights, I wouldn't train them.
    4. That's a big reason to have a trial period. It's not just for the student to try it, it's to see if they're a good fit before you charge them full-price tuition fees. If they act in such a way that it sounds like they pick fights (or are too stubborn to try and de-escalate), then I don't think I'd continue after the trial period.
    5. I wouldn't train them. If for no other reason than they might lose control and hurt another of my students.
    123
     
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