Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I quit!

 I quit!

Recently, I bumped into an old student.  Well this happens to me on a daily basis if I come out of the house.  I stood on line waiting for my Bagel when I noticed this young man.  I immediately realized that I knew this individual but didn’t know from where – I know a great deal of people.  After a few glances back and forth, I realized he had been a student when he was about 5 years old.  His face looked the same but he sure did grow up.  I said hello and he immediately said “Sensei” and bowed.  I was happy to see him and that he still followed the protocol of the dojo and the respect that I had taught him.  I asked what he had been up to all these years he was now 19 years old.  After a few seconds he told me he thinks of our school and my teachings quite often.  I told him he should come back to train again.  He said he wished he never quit.

This is where the story gets interesting.  Not very often do I hear that students quit, normally they always tell me they will be back someday.  This very rarely comes to fruition – but many promises have been made.  We spoke a bit more and I asked, if you wished you never quit, then why did you? What he said is an amazing testament to life and how parents should think about when they make their next decision.  He explained “I was a kid at the time and my mom was the guiding force as to whether I did things or not,” he blamed his mom for letting him quit. 

This is kind of ironic because I am a father and have brought up a daughter in the martial arts.  She is now almost 18 and getting ready to go to college so I have jumped through all the hoops that every parent does and I feel your pain.  I see sometimes how children make it difficult on their parents with all the complaining, crying, whining, resisting and reasoning etc.  “Mommy, I don’t like it any more, Daddy, I am bored, Wah, I didn’t get my yellow belt yet, or that kid was too hard on me in class, the sensei yelled in my direction.”   I also see how the parents do their best to continually motivate the children.  They use  all of positive motivation they learned and logic as well as explained scenario’s way to far above any child’s understanding, and it falls on deaf ears because it their children are not willing to listen to logic.  In the long run (not so long) they give up.  It seems like the words I here most from my students parents is I can’t force them to do something they don’t want to do. Plus - I am sure paying to get aggravated and I don’t want to be annoyed.  So they give up. 

I can’t disagree more with a parent when they make this statement.  I am a father of a 18 year old daughter and if I don’t force her to do what is good for her, then who will?  Even at this age, I have to still stay on top of her to keep her focused and motivated at times.  When she was little, I believe if I listened to her she would be eating chocolate for Breakfast, lunch and Dinner and staying home playing on her DS2 video game (dated I know). 

I made the conscious choice; she would not quit martial arts, no matter what.  You may ask how I did this? Simply put; we never, ever discussed it being an option, nor will we. Secondly, I do what ever I can to keep her as engaged as possible. We do many special events and watch movies and read books continuously on the martial arts.  The martial arts is her second home, like it is for many of my students.  What if your child wanted to quit school, would you let them?  Obviously not – I hope.  I know you are going to say the martial arts are not school.  They are an extra-curricular activity.  However, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth.  I realize that, in school they don’t learn how to defend themselves, ward off pier pressure, in school physical activity has been limited to only a few hours per week and most of the time it is not concentrated physical activity.  So you are right when you say it is not school. 

Oh – did I mention that at a martial arts school you learn how to learn.  How you ask, simply put, it is the methods in which martial arts are taught. Martial Arts are taught in many ways - mental lessons, physical and spiritual and each method is tied into the visual, auditory and touch through physical activity.  We are also experts at what we call Edu-tainment, education and entertainment combined.  We also enable our students to develop confidence, how? - Through a bunch of mini successes and failures, each day is a lesson. So rather then thinking of martial arts as an extra-curricular activity, think of it as a life-enhancement program.  Something that ties into school and works hand in hand, in fact it is your ticket to peace of mind as they get older. 

So would I ever suggest allowing your child to quit – of course not.  Martial arts are absolutely the answer.  Even if your child doesn’t intend on becoming a martial arts expert, a teacher or continuing for ever, achieving a certain proficiency in it will change their lives everlastingly.  I know this because many of my students are police officers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, and entrepreneurs; we have thousands of success stories. If I could only jump into the future to show you how the martial arts will enhance your child’s life you would never consider ever letting your child stop.  Martial arts are simply the best thing for your child ever!

            If you are running into some struggles and need help, most instructors are experts at motivating students. Don’t wait till the last minute before letting your instructor know you are having motivational struggles.  Let them help you and be a part of your success team.  In closing, I urge you to think about this – if one lesson, one move, one shift in perspective – kept your child from harms way, wouldn’t the stress, struggle and investment be totally worth it.  I think so! 


  1. Nice article. Thank you for sharing....my thoughts exactly.

    Shihan Virgil Davis

  2. Briiliant. Needed to read this - and be reminded of why my kids learn jiujitsui and music - why i want them to learn, signed up in the first place.

  3. Thank you for your comments. I am glad that people really enjoyed this article. It is by far my most read article with over 11,000 reads.

  4. Absolutely! Martial Arts is PART OF LIFE. Once and forever. We can enforce that, or ignore that. Just accept the consequences of your decisions as parents and supporters.

    -Alex Stigliano