How do I quit... The other side.

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,067
Reaction score
3,157
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I just finished reading through the thread "How do I quit?" posted by Kaygee. I was glad that Kaygee decided to go in and tell his instructor that he was quitting in person. I'm sure it was difficult, but it sounds to me like the honorable thing to do. And I wish Kaygee the best as he continues his lifelong martial arts journey.

Now, some thoughts on quitting form the other side... As an instructor of a small time, non-commercial school, I have some of the same problems as Kaygee's instructor. Often I'm rushing off to teach class after my day job, I'm tired, and don't always give the best lesson. Some classes probably seem less than exciting, even boring. And, as we are a traditional school taught by an old fart with a bad back (me) we don't mix it up and have as much "realism" as some would like. Ironically, others may find us too aggressive and not "spiritual" enough.

Whatever. We are what we are: a dedicated little group struggling to keep a particular lineage of a traditional art alive in our area. I accept that different students have different needs, and that martial arts is a deeply personal thing. If a student decides that our group isn't a good fit for them, they can leave with my blessing. I may even recommend other instructors in the area who are known for their quality instruction in other arts. All I ask is that a student talk to me either in person or on the phone to let me know what's going on. As our group is built on the TCMA "family model" we do develop a bit of a bond, and it bothers me deeply if a student just drops out and disappears with no explanation.

In fact this very thing just happenned last August. I returned from a week of extensive personal training in another state with my own instructor and was keen to work closely with my two higher ranking students. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. One broke his finger playing basketball and was out for a month, and the other just disappeared. Admittedly, he wasn't someone I'd trained from scratch. He came into my school with the equivalent of about a "brown belt" (we don't use a belt system) and had only been with me for about a year. But regardless, he had been a loyal and dependable student and assistant. He always paid his dues early, had good attendance, and always contacted me in advance if he had to miss a class.

Then, I get back from my seminar and he contacts me telling me that he has to take a couple of weeks off due to his job.... but that he expected to make enough extra money to be set for the fall, and even reserved a spot for our fall seminar with the head of our national organization. It all sounded good.

After that, there was one last email saying that his work commitment was wrapping up and he expected to be back in class in a week or so, then ...nothing. Weeks passed with no contact. I called and left a couple of phone messages and emails expressing concern, but got no response. This from a guy who had always contacted me if he was going to miss a class. Finally, the big fall seminar was approaching and the head instructor of our of our association personally emailed him. Again, no response. That was a few weeks ago now, and I don't know if the guy quit, got in a car wreck, had a heart attack and died (he's in his mid 50s like me) or what!?!

I suppose if I ran a big commercial operation I wouldn't care about each individual student. But in TCMA your group is your Kung-fu family. The title Si-fu means "teacher-father", and in cases like this I worry about my students. That's why I prefer that they contact me personally if they decide to stop training or go elsewhere. I suppose that sounds nuts in today's world, but that's how I feel. Any thoughts?
 
Last edited:

yak sao

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
2,175
Reaction score
749
Gotta say I agree with geezer. I've been teaching CMA since 1986. I've never done it for the money, I've always taught because I enjoy doing so......not being altruistic, just realistic.
I like the traditional family model as oppossed to a large school, which means I'm never going to make a living doing this.

I always take it a bit personally when I lose a student, maybe it's a character flaw. But because we are a small tight nit group, it's hard not to.
 

Steve

Mostly Harmless
Joined
Jul 9, 2008
Messages
20,390
Reaction score
5,897
Location
Covington, WA
If you're running it like a club, that's a little different than if you're running it as a business. But understand that a lot of people in the world are conflict avoidant. That might be why they're training in MA in the first place... to overcome this. But while it would be polite and good form to shoot you an email, note or something like that, the point at least I was trying to make in the other thread is that they don't OWE you anything, even courtesy. It would be nice, of course, but it's not required.
 

arnisador

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 28, 2001
Messages
44,563
Reaction score
441
Location
Terre Haute, IN
Disappearing students is something I've seen often and I've never fully understood it. But I suppose easy story is different--some are mad, some are embarrassed, some just feel when it's over it's over, and I think most are just overwhelmed by life or otherwise putting their energies where they're most needed. One must be Zen about it!
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,123
Reaction score
9,045
Location
Maui
People come, people go. Hopefully, while we teach them they gain things that will help them all their lives.

Martial Arts training ain't easy.
 

Bill Mattocks

Sr. Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Feb 8, 2009
Messages
14,964
Reaction score
3,266
Location
Michigan
Which is why I still feel the secret to martial arts success is to keep training. JUST. KEEP. TRAINING.

The days you don't feel like it. The days you are tired. The days you are sore. The days you lack motivation. They days you feel like you will never catch on. Just keep training.

I'm so much less talented than 100 other students who have started since I did in our dojo. But they are all gone, and I remain. Someday I will reach my goals (and set new ones, of course), but they will never reach theirs. Some for legitimate and understandable reasons, of course. Some because they just don't know what perseverance is or what it brings you.

I'm a long-term investor in myself.

I wish more people felt that way about themselves.

And for the record, if I ever had to leave a dojo, I'd let the sensei know what was up. It's just polite. I left one when I was younger and didn't tell the sensei, and I feel badly about that. I'm older and hopefully wiser now.
 

Aiki Lee

Master of Arts
Joined
Jul 18, 2006
Messages
1,561
Reaction score
68
Location
DeKalb, IL
The worst part of this I think is the moment of realization that someone might have quit. I've had a lot of great training partners over the years and for som reason or another, many of them slowly stopped showing up. I've recently noticed a few people have been coming much less frequently, but then I guess we can't all be lifers.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
12,123
Reaction score
9,045
Location
Maui
Which is why I still feel the secret to martial arts success is to keep training. JUST. KEEP. TRAINING.

The days you don't feel like it. The days you are tired. The days you are sore. The days you lack motivation. They days you feel like you will never catch on. Just keep training.

I'm so much less talented than 100 other students who have started since I did in our dojo. But they are all gone, and I remain. Someday I will reach my goals (and set new ones, of course), but they will never reach theirs. Some for legitimate and understandable reasons, of course. Some because they just don't know what perseverance is or what it brings you.

I'm a long-term investor in myself.

I wish more people felt that way about themselves.

And for the record, if I ever had to leave a dojo, I'd let the sensei know what was up. It's just polite. I left one when I was younger and didn't tell the sensei, and I feel badly about that. I'm older and hopefully wiser now.

"I'm a long-term investor in myself."

What a great line. What a great attitude.
 

Cougar

Yellow Belt
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
32
Reaction score
1
Location
Bluegrass State
Have to commiserate with Geezer on this topic. Have been working with people and attempting to share techniques for years and have never really gotten into the commercial thing as much as trying to help people. Payment was just a way to pay the rent for the space and to replace worn out equipment. Treated it as a club with rule sets and family friendly atmosphere while still trying to be realistic about using traditional techniques in a self-defense situation. While there have been the troubling instances of students leaving and not being sure why, have also had the gratifying occaision when a former student returns.
 

shesulsa

Columbia Martial Arts Academy
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
May 27, 2004
Messages
27,182
Reaction score
482
Location
Not BC, Not DC
I guess I'm the meat in the sandwich and see both sides here.

I've got a tiny group of dedicated students in various states of ability to train and have lost a few who just seemed to fall off the face of the earth and who were the last I suspected that would. I would really like to know why - if they weren't getting what they wanted, if they understood where they were, yadda yadda yadda.

I also had to leave my instructor this year, one of the reasons I've been advised to not disclose. I did it over the phone and laid it all out. It was not a good situation so the exchange was not terribly pleasant ... his reaction was predictable. But I'm glad the truth is on the table - he did deserve the truth and I mean that in the most positive sense.

I thought about this and wondered if any of my former students left with poor opinions of me .... Self-examination in overdrive, I suppose.
 

Kframe

Black Belt
Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
651
Reaction score
12
Location
NE Indiana
Well, harkening back i have 2 instanes where i quit a training place. The first was over 8 years ago, at the Shorin ryu dojo in my area. I met with the instructor on the day i signed up, and signed the contract(should have been a red flag there) and that was it. I showed up and trained 2-3x a week for 3 months and the whole time i never had a personal interaction with the instructor. I was lost as to what i was doing(tho i recognized the line drills,) or why.

So about 3 months in i lost my job and decided to quit, and then was promptly taken to collections. To be honest i didnt bother telling him i quit i just stopped showing up. I was embarrased that i lost my job and didnt know what to expect from him. I hated the way things worked out, i suspect that i probably should have spoken up more or just kept training despite being nearly totaly lost. I wonder werei would be today if i hadnt quit.

One day i want to go back to talk to that teacher and get some closure.
 

Stac3y

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 27, 2009
Messages
1,103
Reaction score
40
Since I am the head instructor at one location of a large school, I have certain paperwork I have to turn in to my "boss" and to the venue. It's a big problem for me if students drop off the face of the earth, and while I realize they don't "owe" me anything, I think it's exceedingly rude to quit without telling one's instructor. I don't need an explanation, I just need to know who's on my roster for each session. Grrr.
 
Top