The passage of time.
Over the past 43 plus years I have taught karate to a seemingly endless number of students. Some of them trained for only a few weeks, or a few months, before they decided that karate was not for them. While still others remained along side of me for more than a two decades convinced that they would never stop training. The sad truth is that very few stay as long as they think they will.
It seems that in addition to having four walls, a roof, and a floor, a dojo also has a feature it could really do without, a revolving door. The question is why are so many drawn to it? After all, karate is one of the few physical activities that we can participate in well into their seventies and eighties. The answer I suppose is a very simple one. With the passage of time, people change. Their interests change. Their lives change. And so do their priorities.
Let me give you an example. Do you remember that really hard-working young man you always use to see at adult class? You know the one I mean. He started karate around the age of eight, and moved up to adult class sooner than most. He was dedicated, progressed quickly, and finally at the age of sixteen he obtained his Shodan. You remember him now don't you? Well today he is involved in high school sports, has a driver’s licence, a girl friend, and even a part time job. All of which now vie for the limited number of hours in his day. As a result he seldom makes it to class as often as he would like to.
In the end, you guessed it he never did get back to the dojo. Instead like far too many others he too became another casualty of that revolving door. So, what is the solution? I wish I knew. If you ever do figure out that please be sure and let me know. In the meantime, I think I will stand a little bit closer to that door. Perhaps in doing so I might deflect back towards the dojo floor some of those students who are being drawn to the power of it's vortex.
Remember: "You never truly know what you have got until it's gone."