New Student: when will you quit?

Discussion in 'Beginners Corner' started by Bill Mattocks, Nov 16, 2011.

  1. BigMotor

    BigMotor Yellow Belt

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    People are all the same in ways, and they make the same mistakes all over the world, that is true of all things. In the fighting realm, a lot of people will quit at the outset, because they did not realize that learning to fight involves work.

    They think that if they show up, they will just absorb the vibes or something. Then they find out that it is strenuous and painful in many ways.

    Then, as time goes by, something dawns on them, if they ever need to use it in defense, they might get seriously hurt. Or, conversely, they may have to hurt someone else.

    A lot of people do not think things through, especially martial arts, which is a mystery to most folks. So when they join, and begin it is a real shock to them, that it takes serious effort. And they won't do it, so they quit.

    Martial Arts is not for everyone, and it takes a certain fighting attitude to keep going in it.
     
  2. wingchun100

    wingchun100 Senior Master

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    A lot of people like the IDEA of learning martial arts, but not the work it takes to ACTUALLY do it.
     
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  3. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Very much like learning to dance, or play a musical instrument, etc. All take dedication more than skill.
     
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  4. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Nope!
    It takes that attitude in order to be a fighter. However, I know people that have been in martial arts for decades that have never been involved in a fight, not even in the dojo! People practice martial arts for a great many different reasons. Learning to fight is only one of those reasons. As Bill said, the most important thing is dedication. You cannot learn if you do not go. If you go regularly, you'll eventually learn.
     
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  5. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Yeah, and some of life's circumstances can cause us to refocus our priorities, at least for a while. Having a baby come into your life is a big one. Taking the time to be present in his life as he grows, is worth far more than the training time that I am missing. But it is temporary. Perhaps someday he will ask his old man to teach him.

    Being faced with a possible lay-off, and seeing it as an opportunity to go back to school and retrain for something completely different, is another one.

    Sometimes priorities need to shift, at least for a while.
     
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  6. BigMotor

    BigMotor Yellow Belt

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    "Nope!"
    "It takes that attitude in order to be a fighter. However, I know people that have been in martial arts for decades that have never been involved in a fight, not even in the dojo! People practice martial arts for a great many different reasons. Learning to fight is only one of those reasons. As Bill said, the most important thing is dedication. You cannot learn if you do not go. If you go regularly, you'll eventually learn."

    pgsmith

    OK, if that is how you see it, that is fine. Unlike the dojo's that haven't been in a fight, I have been. To diminish the fighting aspect is silly, and I hear that elevated all of the time as the highest of goals. The motto should be, "I learn to fight, so that I won't fight." It is an oxymoron to me.
    Do as you like, and I will too. Too many martial artist's treat it as a near-religious thing, but I don't, if it ain't good for fighting, I get rid of it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2016
  7. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    you will quit when you have lost.

    or when you have won.
     
  8. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Everyone is a fighter.

     
  9. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Some people study the Japanese tea-making ceremony and don't especially like tea.

    It's all valid. Martial arts for fighting, and for other reasons.
     
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  10. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've been training since 1984. I have never had a real fight. I'm pretty good at talking things down, and when that doesn't work, it doesn't hurt my pride to walk, or even run, away.

    And there is nothing even remotely religious about it, for me.
     
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  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    You are far from unique.

    I guess I'm trying to understand what your bigger message is.
     
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  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    There are plenty of martial arts that don't have direct modern fight applications - like all the sword arts out there. Those folks are obviously not studying those to get better at modern self-defense. Nothing silly about that, any more than there's anything silly about riding a horse for the joy of riding a horse, rather than using it to travel across long distances.
     
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  13. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    C'mon, guys, you all know the bottom line. The reason any of us train is because we love it!

    I'm pretty sure we're all crazy.
     
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  14. ralij

    ralij White Belt

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    Usually I quit because I ran out of money due to job shifts or school or what have you. Keep the training at home, but being far from a dojo makes it difficult to keep proper form and impossible to advance.
     
  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have had a couple of periods where I couldn't get formal training because of money. I still trained any way I could, for as much as I could muster the will for. Sometimes, that was a pathetically small amount. Other times, I was a fiend even away from the dojo. And when I came back, I was always about as good physically and had found some new understandings that improved my technique and fired me up for new learning.
     
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  16. senseiblackbelt

    senseiblackbelt Green Belt

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    what an interesting read.
     
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  17. mrt2

    mrt2 Blue Belt

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    Interesting read. And as a person returning to martial arts after a long hiatus (35 years) here is my perspective.

    It is true that most people quit. If everyone stuck with it, there would be tens of millions of grand masters in the world. I suspect the number of actual grand masters and masters is probably in the tens of thousands.

    In the early 80s, I studied Tang Soo Do for exactly 3 years. Being raised by a single mother, I was bullied in middle school and not wanting to repeat that experience in high school, I signed up for Tang Soo Do just before Thanksgiving of my freshman year of high school, Looking back, Tang Soo Do was really important to me in those days. I transformed my body, losing 35 lbs in my first 8 or 10 months of training, and (eventually) changed my mindset.

    I DID learn fairly early on that martial arts fighting isn't the same as street fighting. About 6 months into my training, I started to believe I had some good martial arts skills. My dojang produced some good tournament fighters, and I thought I was holding my own against them pretty well in sparring. (now I know they were just gong easy on me) I already was outpacing the guy I started with, who was losing interest after his first belt test and never even took his second test. (I guess he was a 3 or maybe 4 month quitter) And, I had just passed my second belt test and was wearing a fresh, new green belt. In the spring of my freshman year, I got into an argument with another kid in school. (stupid high school stuff). I had some false confidence and so instead of backing down when he challenged me to fight, I stood my ground. He hit me in the face, and the next thing I knew, the two of us were wrestling on the ground. I could hardly see anything. It was humiliating.

    Some guys might have quit martial arts at that point. I didn't. I learned that I wasn't nearly as good as I thought I was. I wasn't as fit, and I wasn't as fast, and my technique was way too slow. I also learned that there is a difference between showy techniques and practical self defense. And I paid attention when we did self defense techniques in class and worked hard on those, just in case. I also stepped up my training from 2 times/week to 5 times/week as we went into the summer. Somehow, I feared that the school bullies would come after me after seeing my get my nose bloodied that spring. When I returned to school in the fall, a lot of kids and teachers hardly recognized me. Interestingly, I never got into another fight again. Not in high school, and not ever. Somehow, thanks to my training that summer, I changed my mindset, and never actually had to fight again.

    Over the next 2 1/2 yearsI went on to move up the ranks up to Cho Dan Bo, or black belt candidate. And then I quit.

    Why would I do such a thing? For one, the dojang expected more of me as a black belt candidate than just showing up to train 2 or 3 days a week. They expected more teaching of lower belts, which I didn't mind, but also more time commitment to demonstrations at shopping malls and community centers and other places, and tournaments, which was both a time and money commitment that as a high school kid looking to go to college in a few months, I didn't have. Especially since I also needed to find even more time to train for my black belt test. So 6 months after earning my black stripe on my red belt, I felt I was stagnating in my training, maybe even getting worse. Looking back, I probably should have figured out a way to continue training through the end of high school and into college, but at the time, I just walked away. So I was a 3 year quitter.

    It is frustrating because at the time, I didn't appreciate what all that training did for me until years later. So over the years I have done lots of other activities to get some semblance of the conditioning I had in high school. Jogging, which I did on an off through my late teens into my mid 20s. Weight lifting, which I did for many years. Step aerobics. classic aerobics, Cardio kickboxing, body sculpting. Pilates, Yoga, Spinning, Bicycling. I tried all these things, and they all work, for awhile. Until they don't. The body adjusts, and what works to get you in condition eventually doesn't. Or it does, but you don't appreciate what a blessing physical fitness is until you stop training and get fat and out of shape.

    So now, for the first time in 35 years, I am back to martial arts. A lot fatter than I was in high school, and moderate fit but hoping to get a lot fitter without injuring myself. (haven't given up on other things. Weights, yoga and cycling are still things that interest me, and are probably healthy ways to cross train).
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  18. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Master of Arts

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    Fantastic read - thank you for taking time to put it together.

    I've seen quite a few people quit when they realized what they were learning was not going to enable them to do spinning head kicks or run up and down walls. :)
     
  19. pdg

    pdg Master of Arts

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    We do spinning head kicks ;)

    And, while it's not a defined part of the training syllabus (well, as far as I'm aware anyway) there's also a "reflex kick" using a wall or other object to gain extra height.

    Looks like those quitters chose the wrong art :D
     
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  20. AngryHobbit

    AngryHobbit Master of Arts

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    And watched too many movies. :)
     

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