Leaving a group and drama

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Nomad, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Group dynamics are a very interesting and sometimes not a very pretty thing.

    A few months ago, I decided it was time for me to leave a group I had trained with for many years. Their was no animosity in this decision; I had some great times with them over the years and considered many of them good friends. Quite simply, my interests in what and how I wanted to train had diverged from what they were offering, and it felt like it was time to move on.

    Rather than saying "sorry to see you go, good luck with your future endeavors", my attempt to part on good terms and as a friend were met first with complete silence (no communication for nearly 2 months), followed by hostility and accusations of dishonorable deeds and conduct on my part, including some of my "friends" there indicating that they no longer want any kind of association with me until/unless I "fix" things with the dojo.

    This feels very much like the "othering" described in Rory Miller's Facing Violence; now that I've chosen to leave the group, they have to make me into the bad guy. Very sad and petty IMO, considering the years of service and teaching that I've contributed during my time there.

    Has anyone else run into similar behavior on leaving a dojo or training group?
     
  2. ATC

    ATC Senior Master

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    Wow!! This same exact thing just happened to me. I did not leave on the same terms that you did, but everything else is spot on. I left because I was lied to about something and then just chose to leave without even mentioning the lie. I wished everyone the best and hoped they would do the same. I have heard nothing from any of them since my leaving. I have my integrity and will not mention the lie nor will I say anything bad to anyone about any wrong doings. If they choose to belive what is told to them then so beit. I feel that the truth always makes its way to the top. Even if it take its time.

    I feel better knowing that this now seems normal. Even if it is only one other story like mine. I hope you find peace with your issue.
     
  3. Buka

    Buka Sr. Grandmaster

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    My heart goes out to both you guys. It also goes out to your former dojos for they are poorer for your absence. Martial Arts is about the development of character. Sounds like they must have forgotten that somewhere along the way.
     
  4. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    I haven't shared the experience but I understand it, because each of you left because of your personal decision, they feel as if it is a judgement on them. If you (general) thought that that school was the best you would have never left, your decision to leave either to go to another school or strike out on your own means that in some way you have made the decision that what they do is inferior to something else. Groups generally don't like that.

    I guess I have been lucky, every time I have "left" a group it has been because of an external influence (moving, new job, etc) and have always maintained those bridges. I am sorry to hear about your experiences.
     
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Without getting into too much detail, I did let them know how much I appreciated all I gained through training with them. My interests changed, and I was well aware that what (and how) they were teaching didn't and wouldn't. Cross-training was not an option, as it had been quashed anytime I brought up the possibility and was frowned on by the dojo culture. In order to grow as a martial artist in the directions that I wanted to pursue, I was left with little choice in the matter, and once I faced that, the decision to leave was clear.

    It's the fact that they need a villain for their drama that saddens me, as I know that most of the rank and file will happily swallow whatever they choose to disclose (or interpret or make up) about my reasons for leaving, when we had the option to simply go our separate ways in friendship.

    Thanks for the sentiment. I'll be fine, and have been having fun over the last couple of months test driving other systems and approaches to martial arts, and meeting a lot of great people on the way. The other good thing that has come from this is that everything that's happened since leaving has clearly reinforced that I made the right decision to go (as difficult as it was at the time).
     
  6. tshadowchaser

    tshadowchaser Sr. Grandmaster

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    Having left a couple of groups (read as systems/ styles and schools) in the past I have encountered both good and bad aspects.
    One group I left will not even allow me past the front door of their school. If I try to visit I am allowed no farther than the front lobby and have never been allowed to even watch the workouts again.
    Another group that I left because of politics and a few personal problems with certain members but on good terms with the head instructor. In the schools in that system I am welcomed with open arms and always asked to take part in class or to lead the class.
    It seems that some instructors are very system orientated and closed to all not in their system while others have a welcome mat out for all who want to train. Some instructor just feel offended if you leave their school while others realize that life makes people move and that their particular style may not be correct for all people.
    It is a shame when groups speak bad of former members unless that member deserves to be spoken ill off. If someone is a bad student I understand groups saying so or if the person was violent outside of class that also is a reason to say something about the student if anyone inquires but other than that why degrade a person who once studied with you
     
  7. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Things happen for a reason though it is not always easy to understand the reason while in the moment. Drama is a good thing to shed from a life, it drains and complicates. Take the high road and move on from the group. Ever onward. We are all traveling together but all on different paths.


    Good luck with your journey
    Regards
    Brian King

     
  8. Cougar

    Cougar Yellow Belt

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    Definitely have experienced this one. Have studied several arts over the years (I am 60) and have seen the "cult" behavior when I left what was my primary art. I chose to leave because there was an awful lot of drama and politics, plus a promise from my primary instructor had been broken and I no longer trusted him. I had spent over 30 years with these guys and you would have thought I was Public Enemy #1 when I left. I did not bad mouth these guys and even walked away from some students that had gone through the ranks under me when I was still actively instructing. Long story short, these students came to me and we formed our own independent society. Dramatically different from when I left one Judo dojo or another for various reasons. Was always told I was welcome back if situations changed. Bottom line is ego and defective attitude can spring up anywhere. You can try to do the right thing and you can leave a school with a perfectly valid reason, but receive the traitor label.
     
  9. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    On a side note... I work at a factory, and have noticed that anyone who quits or gets fired gets the cold shoulder from most of us, and it really boils down to the fact that they are out of the group; also, some people I considered good friends, no longer want to keep in touch because they feel they aren't part of it anymore. I don't take it personally; however, the situation always seems to over-ride the whole friendship thing.
    Sean123
     

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