Is Modern Martial Arts Losing It's Discipline in Order to Attract Customers

Is Modern Martial Arts Losing it's discipline?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Don't see a problem

Results are only viewable after voting.


Well here it is folks. The Thread that was asked to be started.

I've just rejoined karate a little over a year ago and have noticed that there is no to very little discipline. The kids will put up their hands but get impatient and scream out their answers after waiting to long. They get told nicely to wait their turn but nothing else is done.

I've watched kids who get bored with the lesson and start talking right in the middle of the lesson.

I as a Sempai at the beginning of the class Know who my students are and who they are best friends with so seperate them at the beginning thus not giving them the chance to disrupt that person learning next to them.

Is this being to LIGHT on the kids?
Should we worry about the parents watching and what they will say?
If I discipline a kid should i worry about a parent coming up to me at the end and saying that i missed that kid and that kid but nailed her kid?

I used to get push ups galore when i was younger. I used to open my big mouth even when it wasn't wanted. I used to be a smart a$$ punk who thought he knew more then the people who were teaching me. I was very disruptive in class and am thankful that the instructor then had the nerve to move me so that the rest were able to continue on.

So I ask you Is The Discipline going out the window so that instructors can get the kids to stay and the parents happy?

Thanks for looking and remember to vote.

p.s. School teachers aren't allowed to spank anymore and we practice our self defense on each other.
Difference----Control.(i hope)
In the old days when I was coming up through the ranks, discipline was the word of the day. You did push ups or you got the crap beat of you in sparring or the head instructor would do a lot of demos on you. Me, I learned a lot of humility adn respect of my seinors, but just don't see that any more. I think the reason why is as your poll asks, for the allmighty dollar. However if you do have to make a living at it you have to make some concessions to keep your students.

I think it's the almighty dollar does play a large roll, but also lawsuits. If little johnny gets hurt in class the instructor might get sued. Hell if an adult gets hurt they might sue. We have too many cry babies now today. How can someone sign up for a martial art and not expect there to be a risk of injury. It's mind boggling sometimes the amount of crybabies we have in M.A.
A few years back I wet to a tournament in southern calif. What bothered me at the time was seeing youngsters running all over the place yelling screaming and in general doing what ever the hell they wanted. Their parents didn't stop them, their instructors didn't stop them.
These kids where running by Adult black belts punching them and calling the black belts by their first names. They where not saying: Sensi Mike or Mr. Mike Or anything like that they where saying Mike or being even less respectful in many instances.
I can not say on this forum what I would like to about such actions. I will say it's not the way I was raised in the arts, and i did not like it. And NO they did not call me by my first name more than once.
So who was to blame the parent? the instructors? or everyone who watched this go on and did not guestion it?
And a well Rounded Here Here for that comment.

There was a seminar that i attended quite a few years ago where the first part of the morning was Children and then the adult students afterward.

The Kids looked so confused at the whole salutation part at the beginning and even looked quizical at the instructor when after they finished helping said guest instructor and just walked away back into their lineup.

I watched a few guest instructor's get alittle frustrated with this and call back "hey thanks" at the back of the students.


Wrestle with an idea that will one day hurt you in return.
Although the poll is 100% (8 votes) so far I'd be interested to know how many of the people that voted do run their own schools. Now don't get me wrong I also think there is a break-down somwhere here in the discipline. Heck, we used to get the bamboo shinai across the stomach during leg raises and such. You were focused if you knew that was coming. Try doing that today! I would just like some school owners viewpoints.

There have been to many frivolous lawsuits ofver the yrs and the martial arts instructors are scared it would happen to them if they taught the way were trained. There has to be a line drawn by the instructor that they will not take any crap form children or their parents. The best thing an instructor can do with a family that believes in no discipline iis send them to his competitior, let your competitor worry about the brat. I believe in screen students and letting the parents know in advance what the discipline level in the school is, if they can't accept it you are better off without them. I don't believe in beating a student in sparring for slacking a little, instead they don't spar. The days of basement schools with screams of pain all theough the night have to disappear, we are there to built people up not hurt them till they can take it.

I believe in positive reinforcement instead of screaming at someone for an hour. The reason we have such a militaristic approach the to teaching the martial arts is becuae it was Gi's that brought them to North America. Here were highly disciplined tough guys teaching many other highly disciplined tough guys, as the popularity spread more people became interested and we have had to soften on some aspects, but discipline shouldn't be one of the things that should be lost to the wayside. We should be instilling Self Esteem, Self Respect, and Self Confidence and that will teach them Self Discipline.
I don't own the school, but I do get to teach there and I don't put up with kids running around acting like it's a daycare center.
If they try doing this in my class, they are asked to leave cause I will not put up with it. I'm there to teach not baby sit. :mad:

Sometimes children act horrible in my school. I'm not the head instructor so I can't do much about it.
One time I told one kid to stop messing around, he was grabbing his partener all wrong, I told him to do it right. He started crying and ever since pretty much hated me. His dad was there taking the class as well, and he was perfectly fine with my actions.
One of the best things I think to deal with this is to have Family Class sessions. Its designed to help the parent and child have some quality time together, and it also makes sure that the parent is aware all the time how their kid is acting. Good parents will be greatful for good discipline in class. Bad parents will call it child abuse.
Like the post above said, teaching isn't babysitting, but many parents treat it like it is. Family classes make sure that the parent is involved every step of the way. Kid only classes need alot more instructors then they usually have around.
As for me, I'm no parent. I only teach adult classes, I only attend adult classes. Kids classes are too much for me.
If someone brings a child under teenage years to my school then, at least, one of the parents has to take lessons with her/him. And, I do screen heavily before I accept the student. I have dropped students who do not appear to want to be part of what is going on or if their parent and I are unable to keep them in a disciplined state for such a short amount of time.

We do not ask so very much of the students. What? Maybe 3 hours a week of their time to come and listen and work in a disciplined setting where they have to essentially do what is expected of them, to the best of their ability?

Now... Don't get me wrong. I believe, strongly, in positive reinforcement to help achieve the goals we set, but... I am not a babysitter, and I do not believe that it is my job to raise anyone's children for them. My job, as it were, is to assist the student in achieving some martial capability and "adding" to their ability to be respectful of self and others.

Class has to be "fun". If it is not, then I don't think that the students will learn to their fullest potential, and that is regardless of age. However, there is a certain aura and milieu that goes with learning a martial art, and it doesn't necessarily include ninja turtles, or whatever the current craze happens to be. It is more a matter of instilling self respect, because, in my considered opinion, if you don't have self respect then none of the rest is possible.

But, and finally, as I run a non-profit/non-commercial school, my perspective on student behavior and capability is considerably different than others.
It does seem to be losing it's discipline. I feel it comes from the fact that there are so many more people making a living out of the martial arts now a days and making it their main source of income. That's a whole thread in itself.

As far as discipline in a children's class this seems to work for me.

I teach after school programs for kids from Kindergarten to 3rd grade. I have three rules.

1) No talking unless you raise your hand.

2) No touching anyone unless I tell you to.

3) Pay attention and no fooling around.

It may seem to be rediculous to ask this age group to do these things, but believe it or not, it seems to work. :eek:

The thing that I find is that I have to be firm and consistant on the rules. I have had sessions where I didn't enforce the rules and it was pure chaos, but when I consistantly enforced them it goes so much smoother. If someone breaks a rule I call them out and they have a seat in the corner. Before they come back in I ask them "why did I send you to the corner?" and they usually tell me what rule they broke. I ask if they are going to do it again ( of course they say no :rolleyes: ) and then I send them back into the group. At first, they will most likely do it again, but usually the frequency of them getting called out drops. Being consistant is the key.

At that age its more about learning movement and basic rules of society to help them progress. By doing the rules this way the children learn "cause an effect" of their actions. If you do "A," "B" will happen. "These are the rules. If you break them you will go to the corner." BOTTOM LINE. No if, ands or buts. This is the reason I ask them why I sent them to the corner. So they understand "how to stay out of the corner" and continue to have a good time with everyone else.

Two of the programs are in affluent areas, but I haven't had problems with the parents too much for taking their child out of the group. The one time I did I just laid it out on the table, "These are the rules in my program and they apply everyone. If someone breaks one they will go to the corner." If the parent persisted, then I would give reasons for each rule and why they needed to be followed especially in a martial art program.

I'm with Stal on this one. I got alot out of the martial arts at a young age and if it were not for my involement in them I probably would be in some troubled waters now. It kept me on the straight and narrow. I appreciate what my teachers taught me even though I didn't get it at the time. :rolleyes: I have high respect for anyone who teaches children with the proper intention. More now than ever!!! :erg: :D

Take care
IMHO the apparent lack of discipline in kids these days parallels what is happening in the public schools of North America. Throughout my 2 decade career as a teacher here in Canada, it was obvious to me with each passing year, that the disciplining of children (even by their own parents) was becoming more and more 'politically incorrect.' In effect, our power to 'control' the behaviour of children has been methodically taken away through the actions of the media, the politicians, and the parents who are simply too busy to take the time to teach their own children to behave with manners, morals, and respect. At present, you cannot 'force' any child to do anything that they do not wish to do. Believe me, the kids are all keenly aware of this 'fact.' Many examples of our society's low expectations regarding how children are to behave, and how children actually believe is acceptable to behave, can be seen by any 'uninitiated adult' simply by watching any episode of popular children's programs on TV such as The Simpsons, Rugrats, Angela Anaconda, and the like. We are allowing cartoons to teach our children how to relate to the adults around them, just as we are allowing TV to babysit them to keep them busy and out of the way. So many of the kids I have taught over the years spoke and behaved terribly disrespectfully, but were simply parroting the words and behaviours they had spent so much time 'enjoying' on TV. You would not believe how many parents find it 'cute' that their kid talks and acts just like Bart Simpson! I am not surprised that M A instructors are finding similar problems in disciplining children. In my opinion, we are all responsible! There is an old saying passed down from some North American Indian tribe that, to me, says it all: "It takes a whole community to raise a child."
I will disagree with Ms. Tigress on the "it takes a villiage" ideology. So if you live in a bad villiage you get bad children? It is the sole responsibility of the parents to raise, guide, and dicipline their offspring. It has been my experience that children who have active parents (that show up to Karate and observe not just drop them off) have the best chance for a successful and meaningful life.

Life is competitive therefore the kids who have 2 committed parents have a leg up. PC is part of the community/state and its "all knowing" what is best for everyone. Karate teachers are responsible for teaching "dojo conduct" in such a way that the kids will respond to but, the parents have to accept and support those rules.
tiggeress had a point (sorry if i spelt it wrong)

That is why i have canceled my cable.

I've had enough of coming home and the first thing my kids ask is if they can watch t.v.

I watch maybe 3-4 hours a week of t.v. I've now got my kids doing extra homework assignments that are fun so they don't think it's school work. Or they are practicing M. A. that i have taught them. I've found the only arrangements that don't work is when they are at the babysitters or my ex-wifes place. But it's very funny how other people have so many problems just walking through a mall or eating dinner in a resteraunt with their kids.

Anyway i could go on and on about this but i think i'll save it for someone elses turn.

When I teach I expect whomever is on the floor and in the room to be respectful.
We had an incident one day when the sisters of a student ran onto the floor telling my assistant (He has been in the arts over 25 years) that he couldn't do such an such, and that he couldnt treat their brother like he did. This lead to the student and the sisters being told to leave. A few minutes later in come the father and he was ripping.
When he settled down enough to let me have a word I simply told him no harm had come to his child The stick that had slamed into the floor behind the student was not even close to the student. He was doing a form and the slaming of the stick was to see if a load noise would distract him.
The Student was not alone on the floor (their where 4 others) and none reacted to the noise even him.They all reacted to the noise and BS being yelled by the 2 girls.
It was also pointed out that the two girls and himslef where in my school, on my foor, and they all knew the rules and as such I wanted to know if this was a direct challange.If not would he get the hell off my floor because he was takeing away from the other studens learning time.
Being in a rare mood at this time I told him if his girls would act more as ladies and less like Gang trash it would benifit them. I also gave him the address of my compeditor.
Sorry for rantting on got carried away remembering
So Shadow, were they smart enough to catch that 'hint'???
We run a non-profit studio, but I think our school is fairly disiplined. The attitude is often informal but respectful, and the kids (eventually) get it. Because we are a non-profit we can ask someone not to come back if they are a serious problem, but this very seldom happens.

A couple of years ago my old kajukenbo instructor shifted back to his drill seargent mode on his child and adult classes. Apparently he was like this when he was a young buck, and he didn't like the direction his relatively informal school (also a non-profit, $1 per lesson, must pay usage fee) was going. Anyway, to make a short story shorter, the kids class boomed. The parents ate it up, and the kids learned more. I was very impressed at the difference. He told me that he had a mother actually give him permission to spank her child, he of course was horrified, but kept it to himself.

Me, while I regularly teach the kids class, I do it as a favor to my instructor. If I ever have my own school (also a non-profit) I wouldn't teach anyone under 12 or so. Most kids under that age just don't get it.

Lack of discipline is probably more due to the attitude of the school, than some big overall trend. I have had people who have visited judo and karate kids classes in Japan who say that you don't see much disipline there either.

Originally posted by Blindside

Because we are a non-profit we can ask someone not to come back if they are a serious problem, but this very seldom happens.

In my humble opinion, even a profit run business should do the same. Whether or not they do depends on if they are losing more tuition of other students leaving because of the trouble student being there. :shrug:
Well, I hate to hear that others are having problems in this area. I personally run a very tight ship. I do NOT tolerate any disrespect of any kind. This is my house which I share and in doing so, it becomes "OUR" house and as the caretaker I am expected to establish rules and regulations which must be followed. If you can not act accordingly then you are not welcome. Yes, the money hurts sometimes if we lose a student, but in my nearly 3 decades of teaching... If disrespect is allowed..... it runs off all your GOOD students!

A very important part of any Martial Art is respect, Kenpo is no different, so if it doesn't exist our studio then we are in trouble.

This is a problem I lay on the head instructor's shoulders. The leadership of the school plays an integral part of the atmosphere.

In my humble opinion it is a must in any studio.

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