The Passage of Time
Over the past 40 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.
It seems that the dojo 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 after so long are so many drawn to it? Karate after all is one of the very few physical activities of any kind, that often allows the practitioner to actively continue participating with moderation welling to their seventies and eighties. 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 involved in high school sports, has a new driver’s licence, a girl friend, and even a part time job, all of which now all vie for the limited number of hours in his day. As a result he seldom comes to class any more.
So, like any good instructor, one day 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", replied his father, "in fact he plans to come back and start training again just as soon as the summer holidays 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 too 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 lifetime. Yet, you would think that in world where we regularly come up against negative behaviour and lousy attitudes, that with all of the positive true benefits that karate has to offer; instead of abandoning karate, students would hang on with both hands tighter than ever before.
So, what is the solution?
I wish I knew.
If you ever figure out what is is please be sure and let me know.
In the meantime, I think I will stand a bit closer to that revolving door, and perhaps in doing so I can catch some of those students who are starting to feel the power of it's vortex.
Remember: "You never truly know what you have got till it's gone".