Yep…I am going to give you 21 reasons not to get off of the proverbial (or literal) couch and begin training in the martial arts. I mean you are not in good enough shape to begin gaining the valuable benefits from doing karate! Better sort that out before you get on the mat. And all of those crazy kicks and techniques are too difficult right? Why would anyone put themselves through that? You are already stressed out with life to add ANOTHER iron to the fire. Plus, you are pooped all the time and adding another thing to your schedule just isn’t going to fit anyway. And then there is the money…sheesh. Let’s face it, you are just not cut out to begin a journey that could actually improve your life.
I’m sorry…you are right! Here are 21 reasons (with considered responses) that you can pick from the next time you are thinking about taking karate lessons or your karate crazy friend asks you to come in for an Introductory Lesson:
- I need to get in shape before I start something like this.It’s OK…you are not ready yet. But what is ready and will you truly ever be ready? Odds are when you begin lessons your idea of what being in shape “enough” will change. You are going to be the newbie…that’s a given…but we have all been there and no one is going to look down on you because of it.
CAUTION: You just might get in shape while you are doing it too!
- Karate schools are intimidating. Yes, they can be. But most new things are like that. We have this idea that karate schools are rough and tough places where we will get beat up or it is a kids activity. You want to know something. I thought the same thing BUT I found out that most schools are nothing like the ideas I had in my head. Today, schools are just that, schools where students gather to learn something to become the best version of themselves they can be. Once you get a few lessons under your belt you will realize that it will ultimately be worth it. CAUTION: You just might build some self confidence by doing karate!
- I am too old. Please watch THIS. You are not too old! Our oldest student at AKKA is 78 and he started when he was 60! CAUTION: You might find training will improve things like your flexibility and strength which will help you feel younger!
- It’s too difficult/I can’t do it. Yes, it is difficult but YOU CAN DO IT! Anything worth doing is difficult…it takes time and it takes effort. Being married or having kids is tough and there is no instruction manual to help you. If you don’t want to do it because you honestly have no interest then that is perfectly OK. Buy if you are telling me that you aren’t doing it because it is too difficult and you are afraid of failing then, my God…I don’t even want to know you. Too difficult? That is, honestly, a piss poor attitude. The martial arts teaches us to overcome challenges and manage the difficulties in our life because you don’t get to tell the attacker on the street to go away because defending yourself is “too difficult”. You have to manage the situation to the best of your ability, in the moment! The challenges of martial arts training are small compared to the challenges of our lives. Overcoming them ion the mat helps us develop the mental fortitude to overcome them off the mat. CAUTION: You may find you are capable of doing more that you think you can do!
- I don’t have time. Yes you do! Everyone on the planet has the exact same amount of time every single day…no more, no less. It is what we do with the time we have that is important. Everyone can make adjustments to accommodate training. I will bet if you count up the hours spent on screen time alone you could find 2 hours a week to make it to a martial arts class. Hear me now…I have used this same excuse (and that is exactly what it is…an excuse) but what I was really saying is I am not motivated to MAKE THE TIME. Having or not having time is a choice we make on how we manage the time we have. CAUTION: You might like it so much you look for things to clear from your schedule so you can do karate!
- I need to get my life sorted out first. I have no doubt that there are things in your life that need some attention…but why first? If it hasn’t been sorted out by now, what is going to change to immediately to enable you to do so? The perfect time doesn’t exist! The hardest step is the first one but I encourage you to take it. CAUTION: Training may actually inspire you to make those other changes!
- I don’t have the money. While not everyone has the same amount of cash on hand it is how we manage it that is important. I would bet, if you tracked your spending for a month, you could find things to cut that are not necessary (eating out as much, subscriptions you no longer use, etc) that would free up enough cash to cover a month of lessons. CAUTION: Investing in yourself has been shown to lead to improved health, reduced stress and overall well being!
- It’s not safe/I might get hurt. With any activity there are always risks. The risks of martial arts training are no worse than playing a sport or driving your car to work. It’s all in your head. As well, most reputable schools have strict safety precautions in place to reduce the risk of injury. CAUTION: As you train you might find yourself getting stronger and becoming more self confident!
- That karate stuff’s just not my cup of tea. Karate is a tool that we use to improve our body, mind and spirit. The physical movements are designed not only for self defense but health defense. We are learning to use our bodies in the most efficient way possible. So looking at it this way, it’s for everyone! It’s for life! It’s like insurance…you hope you never need it but if you do you are glad you have it. Besides, when the zombies come, you don’t want to be the one who doesn’t know what to do, right? CAUTION: You might start liking it!
- I don’t need to learn all those crazy, fancy moves like I see in the movies. First of all, that’s the movies…it’s not reality. Secondly, who says you have to take it to that level? You owe it to your self, your spouse/partner, your kids and grand kids to be the best version of you possible. CAUTION: You might end up learning some pretty cool stuff!
- I don’t need to learn self defense; I already know how to fight. No worries. BUT martial arts is NOT about knowing how to fight. It is about managing conflict. Odds are we will never have to use these skills against another human being. But, like insurance, they are available when needed. More importantly, however, is not the battle against someone else, but the battle within our selves. Think outside the box and gain insight into how to win the battle of the mind. CAUTION: You might improve how you feel about yourself in the process!
- I am fine doing what I am doing now. Great! But what this really means is you are happy doing the same thing for a long time. Another word for this is stagnation. We get in a comfort zone and fail to see that we are actually making no progress with our efforts. We cannot adapt and improve by doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. This is actually a popular definition of insanity. Get out of your comfort zone…try something new. You will be glad you did. CAUTION: Trying new things has been shown to improve self confidence, increase knowledge and help you break out of a rut!
- I have a back, shoulder, knee (etc.) thing. I have seen folks in wheelchairs do karate. We have a blind student at AKKA. I saw a student test for Black Belt with a broken ankle (she had a support boot on but she did it!). Training can be modified to accommodate almost any condition. The goal is self improvement. CAUTION: You may find that training actually helps your injury get better!
- I’m an adult; I don’t need a teacher. SERIOUSLY? All of us need guidance and direction. I even have a teacher and I have been doing this for over 2 decades. It is a fact that feedback from a qualified instructor is essential for improvement and progress. As well, good teachers make us do what we would not necessarily do on our own. We are here to make you the best you can be. Unless you don’t want to improve? CAUTION: Good teachers have been shown to become like trusted friends or family!
- I am not built for it…too small, too big, etc. I honestly don’t know what this means other than you are grasping at straws to find an excuse. Our bodies are built to move and karate is all about motion! Many people stop moving (being active) as they get older and this leads to all kinds of health problems; the biggest one being death. I saw it with my own grandparents. I am more active in summer than in winter and I definitely feel a difference in my body when I stop moving as much. If you are losing your ability to move well then that is on you. Start training now to avoid problems later. CAUTION: Increasing motion has been shown to reduce stress, improve balance and flexibility and increase longevity!
- I already do karate. Great! Keep going! CAUTION: Don’t quit!
- I don’t like groups. I just want to train on my own. As humans we are social creatures. We are made to interact with each other. The cool thing about group classes is that they are high energy and it creates a social atmosphere when people consistently do something together. Working through challenges together creates a team mentality and everyone knows more can be accomplished when we work together. The social aspect of training also lends itself to a type of extended family. I have seen people find their spouses from training with someone in class.I have met some of my best friends through karate. CAUTION: You might make a friend…watch out!
- I hate…(insert whatever it is here). All the more reason to do it. We do not grow by only doing things we like to do. We have to challenge our selves with difficult things to stretch our limits and improve. The quickest way to make progress is to do things we find difficult. CAUTION: Training betters our strengths and improves our weaknesses!
- I just want to learn a few basic self defense moves. I am not interested in belts or ranks. The benefit of traditional martial arts training is that there are benchmarks of progress in the form of a belt system. This is not just a sport or hobby. It is an educational endeavor by which we work on skill mastery toward self mastery. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t benefit from continued education. CAUTION: Learning something new helps us do better so we can be better.
- My friend says (insert pessimistic comment here)/school got a bad review. Does your friend know from experience or is it second hand information. Word of mouth and referrals from people you trust are powerful. But NOTHING beats doing it yourself. I can describe how orange juice tastes all day but it will not do justice to you taking one drink. Online reviews can help inform you but I honestly don’t trust any place that doesn’t have a negative review or two. Abraham Lincoln said we cannot please everyone. And I don’t want to. I am looking for students who are serious about their own personal growth and development and are willing to see for themselves. CAUTION: Form your own opinions or you will be subject to the whims of others.
- But…(insert other excuses here). If after reading this the next word in your head is “But…” Then stop reading now. You need to get straight with yourself and stop making excuses.
Everyone has a BIG BUT! Get rid of it! It’s just another excuse!On the other hand, if you are thinking that I might be on to something and that there are some valid points here then I encourage you to do yourself a favor and contact a school near you. Make a commitment to at least try an Introductory Lesson (most schools offer a free class to try it) and hold yourself accountable enough and be proud that you took a step in the right direction. CAUTION: You might catch yourself making the best decision of your life!