Here today, gone tomorrow.
Over the past 29 years I have taught karate to a seemingly endless number of students.
Many of them trained for only a few weeks, or a few months before they decided that karate was not for them. While still others have remained along side of me for more than a decade, convinced to this day that they will never stop training.
Few, however, and this is the sad truth, ever last as long as they think they will.
The dojo it seems with it's four walls, roof, and a floor to train on, has one other feature that all dojo's could really do without.
A revolving door.
The question is why?
Karate after all is one of the very few physical activities of any kind, that allows the practitioner to actively continue participating well in to their eighties or nineties.
The answer is I suppose in the long run, is a very simple one.
With the passage of time, people change.
Their interests change.
Their lives change.
Their priorities change.
Let me give you an example.
Do you remember that really hard working young boy you always use to see at adult class, you know the one I mean. He started karate around the age of eight, progressed well over the years, and finally obtained a coveted black belt. You remember him now don't you.
Well today he is sixteen. High school sports, a new drivers licence, a girl friend, and even a part time job, now all vie for the limited number of hours in his day, and as a result he seldom comes to class any more.
So like any good instructor, his Sensei called the boy's home and spoke with the boy's father.
"Karate, oh yes my son is still very interested in karate, in fact he plans to come back and start training again just as soon as the summer holiday's are over". "Don't you worry, my son loves karate, he will never quit".
Famous last words, and yes, you guessed it. Johnny, or Billy, or whatever his name was, never did go back to the dojo.
Instead, he like far to many others before him, became a casualty of the passage of time. Another reminder that what interests us, and what we are passionate about today, does not necessarily last a life time.
Yet you would think that in a world where we come up against negative behaviour, and lousy attitudes virtually everyday, that with all of the positive true benefits that karate has to offer, instead of abandoning karate students would hang on with both hands even tighter than ever before.
So what is the solution?
I wish I knew.
If you ever figure it out please be sure and let me know.
In the meantime I think I for one will stand a bit closer to that revolving door, perhaps in doing so I can catch one or two of those who are starting to feel the power of it's vortex.
You never truly know what you have got till it's gone.
Part the clouds - see the way.
"The objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
of the human spirit through physical and mental training."
Sensei Peter Lindsay