Switch clubs, stay or take a break?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Island, May 12, 2019.

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  1. Island

    Island White Belt

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    Hello,

    I'm seeking some advice about my training and life in general from more seasoned martial artists.

    I am in my 30s and after being inactive for years finally decided to get into martial arts, which has been an armchair interest of mine since childhood.

    Over the last few years I've tried a few places including BJJ, Taekwondo and boxing. I settled on a karate club for a while but ended up moving on as I felt it was a bit child focused.

    I then switched to a boxing and Muay Thai gym which is only adults. Great workout and great people. However, lately I've felt like the training isn't that great. I don't get much one on one instruction from the head coach. I realised I've been doing some very basic mistakes for several months. It's pretty commercial, with a large number of students. They do train amateur fighters but I would say the bulk of the students are just average people trying to get fit and learn for fun (like me).

    In saying this, I've been very inconsistent with training. I can't always make it because I run a small business and have kids. I'm starting to think about training somewhere else but...

    I'm starting to wonder if it's actually me. I have a history of taking on hobbies with zest and then the interest fizzles out, I start skipping classes and then I quit. I don't want to be a quitter!

    I feel like I'm making my way around the martial arts pool in my town and people might think bad of me. There are only so many schools here and I don't want to keep starting up and quitting. I've already left this boxing gym once to try another club, then returned. If I quit again, I would be to self conscious to return a third time! In saying that, I know this is all in my head and most places probably couldn't care less. Especially boxing gyms, which are a bit more 'come and go as you please' as opposed to a more traditional school in my opinion.

    I also train weekly with a strength coach which I've been doing for a couple of years. Lately, with the boxing and work/family being busy, I haven't been focusing on my training much. I'm feeling a bit stressed and fatigued by boxing (or my gradual disinterest in it) and thinking I could take a break from the boxing and just focus on that for a while to get fit.

    But I know the urge to train is still within me. There's nothing more fun that punching and kicking bags and other people in sparring. I really do enjoy it.

    So my questions is: based on the info I've given, what would be a good move?

    Should I just shut up and keep training at the current club? I could ask more explicitly for tips and feedback, turn up more consistently and show that I'm keen.

    Should I take a break? Focus on my strength and conditioning at home and organise my life/business a little better?

    Or should I start checking out other places until I find the one that is going to suit me. The place I'll be happy to train at?

    I'm hesitant to try another club because I think once I start, I should keep going and be consistent. I wouldn't want to turn up for a few then disappear.

    Deep down I think while I am very busy, I can afford 2 nights a week to train. I think it rejuvenates me and keeps me focused rather than eating away at my schedule. I also think my interest in this current place has run out. If I leave again I probably won't go back.

    There are plenty of other clubs around that offer a range of classes from kickboxing, judo, MMA, Muay Thai, karate, etc. Most of them have personal training options and I'm sure I could tailor something that works.

    Also, being a bit older and a beginner means I'd like to get involved now as I'm not getting any younger.

    If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
     
  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Well tbh unless you pay for private classes it's rare to get 1 on 1 constant instruction during a session especially if it's a big club. The only times I've seen a coach spend a long period with the same person is if they're training for a fight
     
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  3. Island

    Island White Belt

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    Thanks for replying. So I've trained in a few places now and I can tell when the instructor is very passionate and keen to give feedback. The feedback is great when I get it. But, it's not uncommon to get no tips or direct instruction within a class.

    I am wondering if I should just shut up and train and that the tips will come eventually. Or should I look for something else?
     
  4. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    no you should keep calling the instructor over to seek explanation, demonstration or confomation, your paying for instruction, insist nicely that you get it. if that doesn't work go somewhere else where you get what your paying for

    as to the rest, what do you want to achieve, do you want to be a boxer, an mmaer a karate man. PICK and go do it. if you change your mind, go do something else, it matters little, your not going to end up at the Olympics or on the professional circuit no matter what you do, the only issues are , do you enjoy it and, is it a good use of your time for the benefits it gives either or both of those are good reasons as to if you should stay or go
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  5. Island

    Island White Belt

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    Thanks for your reply.

    My primary goals are to improve my fitness and learn self defence. I like striking a lot and have gravitated towards these arts.

    I have no aspirations of competing but I do enjoy the challenge of sparring in training.

    Your answer has helped clarify my thinking. I don't see any harm in checking out some other places to see how they do things. I can come back whenever I feel like it. As you say, in a customer and paying for a service.
     
  6. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    First off, you’re not the only one who’s interest comes and goes. The starting off by going all out and being fully engrossed in it, then backing off a bit too much isn’t uncommon at all. Many relatively new students (up to a few years even) go through this. The ones who stick around for the long term are the ones who are consistent. Anecdotally speaking, I find the ones who start out training 4-5 times a week or even more are the ones who are done within a year or two. The ones who go 2-3 times a week stay significantly longer. Exception being people like college students who have more time and less life responsibilities. I was one of them quite a few years ago.

    As adults, we’ve got to balance our responsibilities - family, work, and our “me time.” When that gets out of balance, things go wrong and things we tend to do for fun become more of a chore somehow and we lose interest. It becomes yet another thing that gets put on a to do list and we start going through the motions.

    I mention this because you said two days a week seems to keep you interested and rejuvenated. That IMO is your magic number. Try sticking to that for a while and see what your interest is like. You may be overdoing it now. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going two nights a week, and there’s nothing wrong with having to miss a class here and there for things that are more important; things like family events, making sure the shop is running right, etc. MA training is a hobby (unless you’re the guy running the place) as much as people despise hearing that sometimes. It’s supposed to enhance our lives rather than become yet another burden.

    And there’s nothing wrong with seeing what else is out there. People get hung up on what the best style is, especially when they’re not sure of what to train. I always tell people who are looking to get started to pick a school rather than a style for these reasons exactly. Who’s teaching, how they’re teaching you, and who you’ll train alongside are far more important than anything else in the long term.

    If you like where you are and most of the boxes are being checked, talk to the teacher/coach. He could just be wrapped up in training those guys who are going to compete and unintentionally letting other things stay on the back burner. Or he could be misinterpreting that you’re good with being left alone and getting a workout in without his interfering too much. He may be gauging your needs by what you’re projecting rather than what you actually want. The best thing would be to talk to him privately and address your concerns. If he’s a good owner, he’ll listen and do what it takes to keep you there (within reason). If he’s unwilling to change things for whatever reason, it’s probably time to look for something that fits your needs.

    There are no vows of lifetime subservience nor blood contracts here. Don’t feel the slightest bit guilty nor embarrassed by leaving and possibly coming back. Life takes us all in different directions. Just don’t burn any bridges and leave in a matter so you’re not feeling odd about going back if that’s where things take you. So what if you’re the guy who leaves and comes back a few times? People aren’t exactly having closed door meetings looking to black list or publicly shame those people. Do your thing and have fun with it. It’s your training, not anyone else’s.
     
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  7. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    It sounds like there is available time in your schedule. You mentioned you have a private trainer (weight training I assume) and you are paying to go to the boxing/Muay Thai class so money doesn't seem to be a factor.
    Commercial gyms/dojos are used to people coming and going. It depends on your intent, but hopefully you will into a school and get rooted. But like anything, this takes time and generous commitment on your part.

    ]You did not mention how long the stints at the various classes were so with a little guesswork I am going to say YES. Go to class. You appear to be a person who thrives on input, nothing wrong with that at all. Be honest and evaluate the input you get from the instructor(s) versus what others in class get. Be aware, it is usually not linear. What I mean is a lower belt may not get as much input as higher belts if the class is made up of most higher belts. The inverse can be true. There a many factors that drive this. Every MA requires massive amounts of repetition. This sounds like something you will have to work on to come to terms with.

    If your life is out of balance and things in you personal/business life are out of whack then YES. That is just common sense. That said, for many a recurring practice like MA is the best thing to help find balance.

    This should have been the first step if you truly don't know if the current club suits you. If you have the option, audit several schools. Go in with that frame of mind, a start/stop mentality. "Try before you buy".
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
  8. Rat

    Rat Brown Belt

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    I would just say, follow which ever martial art/combat sport takes your interest ar the time, its better than not doing anything. Plus i think most places have to deal with people sporadically leaving and showing back up quite often. Plus,you are paying them anyway, so if you dont come back/they dotn want you, they loose out on the money you are giving them.

    Forcing yourself to do anything is quite a iffy venture and unless you worked in the security sector and actually needed it to survive/for your profession i wouldn't try and force martial arts. I would say forcing yourself to actually go to any fitness thing is the only thing anyone needs to do if they want a healthy body and you all ready have a interest in some things for physical exercise.

    If you actually like the boxing place, just stick with it and the strength and conditioning. maybe do a little looking around to see if you would like any other place you haven't tried more and skip one or two boxing lessons for the other one(s) you actually like. i would suggest avoiding lengthy contracts and go to pay as you train places though. (dont very much like the idea of pre paying for something i haven't done anyway)
     
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  9. Buka

    Buka MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to Martial Talk, Island. :)
     
  10. Island

    Island White Belt

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    Thanks for the great response. I agree, it's important to find a place that we enjoy and not worry about the style too much. I also think it's a good reminder not to worry too much about stopping and starting. I think any worries about this is just in my own head. Life definitely gets busy as we get older and it can be hard to commit.

    I also like what you said about no blood contracts. This current place is a pay as you go arrangement so it's easy to just stop and start. I think they're prepared for that so obviously the pricing arrangements reflect that.
     
  11. Island

    Island White Belt

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    Thanks so much, great response. Appreicate it!
     
  12. Island

    Island White Belt

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    Thanks, Rat. Appreciate the reply. I think I'm at the point where I'm forcing myself to go and I am losing interest. This is very much in my nature. You've given me some great points to think about.
     
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  13. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Rat, are you training in martial arts yet?
     
  14. Rat

    Rat Brown Belt

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    Boxing's on hold. (ironically enough its boxing) That is until all parties involved have time free to do lessons.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  15. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I hate to do this, but Rat's made a lot of posts on this forum, which contain a lot of excuses for why he doesn't train martial arts. For most discussions it doesn't really matter, but in this case I'd hate for his unwillingness to seek instruction to turn off another potential martial arts student.

    With that said, you may be receiving more input than you realize. Simply repeating the techniques over and over again yields muscle memory. You mention that you train with a strength coach. Does he say "ok, do 1 rep on the bench, 1 curl, 1 squat, and 1 situp?" No, he'll have you do them in 6s or 10s or 30s or 100s (depending on what exercise and what your goal is) and then he'll have you do them in sets. The same is true of martial arts. Your brain and body are figuring out how to more efficiently handle the techniques and combinations you're practicing. This is especially true when sparring or when punching a heavy bag.

    A lot of martial arts schools aren't built around you learning the perfect technique when you walk in, or even about correcting every problem and bad habit as soon as it arises. There's a few reasons for this:
    1. There's a lot of good habits to build and bad habits to fix, trying to fix it all at once is like drinking from a firehose. You just can't get all that information at once, and trying to do it all at once you'll get nothing. If I throw one ball at you, you can probably catch it. If I throw a hundred at you, chances are you'll get stuck trying to pick which one to catch and won't catch any of them. The same is true of instruction.
    2. Along the same lines, if all a coach does is tell you what you're doing wrong or what to fix, it can be discouraging. I've had several students quit shortly after they started, because I helped them too much and they felt like they were too stupid to do anything right. (I've since learned my lesson).
    3. You're building muscle memory, as I mentioned above. Sometimes you need that muscle memory in order to expand on the technique or apply more detailed corrections to it.
    My recommendation first is to talk to the instructors where you're at right now. If you like it, talk to them and ask what you can do to get more hands-on instruction. If you're not satisfied with their answer, then there's no problem looking at other schools, especially if they fit your schedule and needs better.
     
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  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    When a student learns something new, he needs some instruction first, then needs time to struggle with that new thing and see if he can figure it out and understand it. Then he needs some more instruction and feedback, followed by more time to struggle with it.

    He does not need an instructor to hold his hand and give him constant feedback at every step of the way.

    Take the time and struggle with it. Feedback and further instruction will come, if you have a good instructor.
     
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  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    You've gotten a lot of good input from folks who've been through the "blahs", too. I'll just share a few thoughts - some of which have probably already been said.

    Firstly, that you've now realized you're making some basic errors may not be the fault of instruction. As we are learning, we simply do not absorb some lessons. There are corrections I've given students many times - from the first time they learned a technique - that they suddenly give themselves like they've never heard it before (which they haven't, though I've said it). Or it could be the instructor was not paying enough attention. Or it could be that he was correcting some even more fundamental principles and leaving those bits until you were ready (which happened all by itself); sometimes "neglect" is the result of experience, knowing which errors will correct themselves when the student is ready.

    As for feeling bored or unmotivated, we do all go through that in patches, so far as I know. I certainly did. You have a history for yourself of starting new things. That probably means you have a personality similar to mine (there's a personality style that has a tendency to this). There's a lot of value in developing the discipline to continue with something you see as having some value, even though the shine has worn off. So consider that it might be worth setting yourself a goal of participating at least X times a month for 6 more months. If you still aren't into it then, you can move on with a clear mind, knowing you didn't give up too quickly, and put in the discipline to stick with it when it was uninspiring. My bet is the boredom won't last that 6 months.

    And don't worry about what others think. Worry more about what you think of yourself.
     
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  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    You've missed some important points, Rat. Some are about how training works, some are about how minds work.

    Training will get boring for most people. If we change schools every time we hit a boring stretch (they can be lengthy, especially when our minds aren't focusing on the task well), we'll never make much progress. There's actually quite a bit of value in learning to strive through (not force - strive) those periods and stick with something we know we enjoy, but aren't enjoying at the moment - which is more or less how the OP has described this training.
     
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