The Passage of Time
Over the past 40 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 ever last as long as they think they will.
It seems that besides having four walls, a roof, and a floor, a dojo has an unwanted feature it could really do without, a revolving door. But the question is why after training for so many years are so many drawn to it? Karate after all is one of the few physical activities that allows the practitioner to actively participate well into their seventies and eighties. The answer I suppose in the long run 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 boy you always use to see at adult class? You know the one I mean. He started karate around the age of eight. Moved up to adult class sooner than most, was dedicated, progressed well over the years, 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 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 makes it to class as often as he would like to.
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 like far too many others he too became another casualty of the passage of time. Yet you would think with all the negativity in world today, and given all of the positive benefits that karate has to offer, instead of leaving the dojo; Johnny, or Billy, or whatever his name was would have hung on to it tighter than ever before. I guess this is just another reminder that what interests us, and what we are passionate about today, does not necessarily last as long as we thought it would.
So, what is the solution? I wish I knew. If you ever do figure out what the solution might be is please be sure and let me know. In the meantime, I think I will stand a little bit closer to that revolving door. Perhaps in doing so I can redirect some of those students who are starting to feel the power of it's vortex.
Remember: "You never truly know what you have got until it's gone".