MA Rant… #2 – People leaving the art

You come here and train. Of what reason I don’t know. Not from the start anyway. After a few sessions I start to know you a little bit. You probably tell me a little bit of your self and your life situation and why you found your way here. Now… at this moment I can most of the time tell a bit of why you are here and why you seem interested in the training and the art. I can also tell if you will have an easier journey or not during the first years of training.

You are interested? Good! That interest shows clearly most of the time because of the questions you ask, the effort you give and the time you take with the training both in the dojo, and away from the dojo. But from here on I can’t tell if you will last in the art or not…. But this is ok as we all have a life on the side in this age and time.

Maybe something happened during training that you’ll get afraid of? Maybe you don’t get along with me as a teacher or the other students or the teaching of our art? Or could it be that you found another interest that takes up your time and the time in the dojo does not feel as important as before?

The reasons can be many, and I might find it sad that you decide to leave us, but it’s ok…. I promise you that. It’s never up to me as a teacher to tell you what to do or not to do with your life. But….. it is however my business when you leave without a word. Maybe you drop out by showing up more and more seldom and finally we realise you are not coming any more…. or you just disappear from one day to another.

I take that personally.

I want you to think of why this bothers me so much! I have probably spend a lot of time guiding you towards our common goal in the art we train in? I spend time home planing the training, and looking for the best way to plan the training so it benefits all dojo members. I cared… I planed… I thought and cared for you, because you showed up to the dojo and showed interest. It made me happy and for that I shared with you my knowledge that I gathered in the last few decades. But when you disappeared without a word it hurts.

You might not think about it, but I promise you that all teachers around the world with some time on the tatami recognise this. This has happened to me so many time over the years. Some people I remember more vividly as they leave bigger footprints than others while others not. There are however so very few who actually told me in person, or gave me a call telling me that they decided to quit.

The reasons does not really matter as long as you are frank with me. You don’t need to explain your reasoning, but please tell me you decided to quit, and then it’s ok….. It does not matter how you do it, by phone call, by texting, by chat or in person, as long as you inform me.

But if you don’t, it’s not ok and it will make me sad.

Empty Dojo in Tokyo. Picture taken in 2009.

I have thought of this matter so many years and now I finally put this into words. With this text I don’t point to any particular person, but the whole thing with quiting people.

Sorry if my English does not give the full effect that I’m looking for.