2019 marks my 24th year as a student of Kenpo Karate, my 21st year as an Instructor and my 19th year of managing AKKA Independence. In that time I have seen numerous students come and go and have heard every excuse under the sun as to why someone “quits” studying martial arts. Ultimately it boils down to a handful of mindsets and this post is my soapbox rant and refutation of the common ones that come up.
NOTE: When reading these realize they are my opinions and since it is my blog I get to have them. I will maintain a respectful tone but I will be blunt about what I really think.
You have been forewarned…
1. I am bored. Coming out swinging on this one. No, you are not bored you are LAZY. Discipline sucks. It is hard and you are never going to feel like doing it. And, often, training is boring and monotonous. But points of enlightenment are spaced between long stretches of boredom and repetition. I have never seen anyone who puts honest effort into their training become bored. I DARE you to stick with it and give your VERY BEST in your training and still feel like you want to quit…I DARE YOU!
2. I have lost interest. It’s not the training…it’s you. The moves haven’t changed and they were cool when you first learned them. It’s your attitude. I don’t even know if “losing interest” is a real thing. Maybe it is but it seems to me if someone is truly putting effort into something how can you lose interest? (see #1 above)
3. It is too hard. People love the “idea” of martial arts but when it becomes work and they realize it is not going to be easy they jump ship. Honestly, some of you NEED to stick with something difficult to show that you are capable and can do it. Struggle is part of the training model. It is supposed to get harder. It is supposed to be work. Any endeavor truly worth doing requires effort and takes time. There is no instant gratification here other than the feeling you have after a hard workout. Quitting because you think it is going to be too difficult…well…Click HERE for my opinion on that one.
4. I don’t have enough time (too busy). Yes you do…Make the time. We all have the same amount of time to get things done in a given day. It is just a matter of making the time to do it. I hate getting up early…HATE IT. But two years ago I made the decision to join a cross fit gym. I was getting lazy with my workouts and wanted to be pushed. I also needed to become a ‘white belt’ again and this seemed the perfect context. Well, at the time the only class available to me was the 5 am. So, every morning, three to five days per week for a year I got up and made it to the gym at 5 am. You see, I didn’t accept the excuse that I didn’t have time…yes I did…I just needed to figure out where it was so I could get what I wanted. Read and understand!!!
5. I have no motivation to train. FIND IT. Motivation is an inside job. You have to motivate your self. External motivation is good in the short term. Like getting an allowance for chores or rewarding your self for working out every day for a month. But true, long term motivation comes from the inside. We do what we do for the personal satisfaction of just doing it…PERIOD. Eventually, the external rewards fade and all we have left is the character we have on the inside we have developed through doing something for the sake of itself.
6. It doesn’t matter to me anymore. MAKE IT MATTER. MAKE IT IMPORTANT. You started for a reason; now you say that doesn’t matter anymore? So being more confident doesn’t matter anymore? Being healthy doesn’t matter anymore? Becoming your best version of you doesn’t matter anymore? “But, Mr. Burt, I can get those things somewhere else.” Yes you can, BUT….you came through my door first. Be a person/parent of your word. Stick with it and learn what it means to devote yourself to something for a long time. I recently watched the movie “The Theory of Everything” about the life of Stephen Hawking. The advances he made in physics are incredible. All of his achievements were made AFTER he was diagnoses with ALS and given only 2 years to live. Incidentally, he lived 50 years beyond this!!! But, he could have said his studies didn’t matter anymore. He was going to die. But NO! He said he still had work to do and we are all better for his Commitment, Dedication and Perseverance.
MAKE IT IMPORTANT!!!
7. I don’t want to make my kid do something they don’t want to do. OK parents..I am coming after you. You are the PARENT! It is your job to make your kids do things. Stop trying to be your kids friend by letting them make “life choices”. They are too young for this; that is why you are there…to make the tough choices for them. They are not mentally equipped to understand the difference between life choices and child choices. Letting the kid make the life choice is a short term gain but a long term loss. Sure, parents, you won’t have to fight the battle of hearing them complain about having to go to class or being angry or upset at you because they did not get their way. Well, last I understood that it our job as parents!!! Life choices that have long term affects are supposed to be made by adults and when we allow our kids to make them we are putting a responsibility on them they are not equipped to handle.
We come to the dojo and get on the mat for self improvement. The goal is to work on becoming the best version of ourselves we can be. Here is the thing though…the training does not do the work…we do the work through the training. The training expects something from us…to change. BUT, we have to do the changing. We have to do different so we can be different. So get on the mat and get after it this week and be your best you!!!
I have never met an adult who was glad they were allowed to quit as a kid.
I have never had someone come and tell me they were glad they quit.
I have heard numerous people over the years say “Thank you for giving up on me and letting me quit.”
I have heard numerous people over the years say “I wish I would have stuck with it.”
Stop making excuses for wanting to quit.
Find reasons to motivate your self and get on the mat and DO THE WORK!
Take care and see you in class…
4420B South Noland Rd
Independence, MO 64055