Many people who enter training in a martial art in today’s America take it as a lark. They want to brag to their friends that they “take kung-fu” or they “take karate.” In ancient times the real purpose was to defend oneself as a soldier or to survive in violent times. Very seldom was there a situation where a student walked into a school of martial arts to start their training. More often, a family member or a friend of a friend recommended an instructor. Instruction might have taken place behind closed doors. An instructor kept an eye on their new student for at least several months to see if they had what it takes and that their student would not bring dishonor to their martial arts family.
Through my 40 plus years teaching martial arts, I have seen a sizable number of people decide to start attending martial arts classes but then, do not continue. These beginning martial arts students might have thought that they had set high standards for themselves. They incorrectly think that these “high standards” that they are setting are good and that one should “aim high.” The student is expecting to be able to master unfamiliar movements with little effort and very quickly, within one or two classes! This is a set-up for disappointment and failure.
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