Coming from a guy who started Martial Arts training as a kid way back in 1983. I have seen the whole spectrum of training. From a kid in the adult class in a rough school of hard knocks type of dojo to the more modern type of school where there are more families involved. From the hard core competition style school to the reality based street self defense based academies. I have had instructors who NEVER gave a compliment, to the instructors who were always ready with a high five. I started as a kid, trained all through my teen years and have continued all through my adult life. In my experience, there are only two (2) reasons adults don’t train in the Martial Arts. Just about everyone wants the benefits that training in a good academy brings. Adults all across the world are drawn to the idea of being able to defend themselves and their families. They want to be in great shape and built real self confidence. They want to be more disciplined in their daily lifestyle. Adults, deep down miss that sense of belonging that they had when they were kids in school and on their sports teams or through the clubs they were a part of. Even though the Martial Arts can help with all of these things and so much more, most adults remain on the sidelines while they let their children reap all of the values and benefits of the training. But why? As I said before, it all comes down to two (2) little things.
- First is the FEAR of Injury. Adults have a deep rooted fear of the injuries that such a lifestyle can bring. Understandably, most adults have major responsibilities in their day to day lives. Family, jobs, bills etc etc.... Okay, let me first say that this is a real and normal fear. However, an uneducated one at best. These same adults are going to the gym a few times a week. Playing in recreational league sports, or worse off, doing nothing for themselves at all. The reason that I said that this fear is uneducated is because the statistics just don’t add up. Martial arts training is on the same injury statistical level as basketball. There are bumps and bruises along the way, and the occasional twisted ankle and the like. However, major injuries are few and far between. Why? We are kicking, punching, grappling and choking each other right? Well, yea! However, what those who don’t train just can’t understand until they actually begin training (at a good academy with legit teachers) is that you are training for the worst situations with what will become some of your best friends. So much respect and control is taught and displayed amongst the teammates that unless you are involved you just truly can’t understand. Most people are shocked to find out that girls cheerleading and gymnastics or among the highest level of sports injuries of any activity around. Martial arts don’t even rank in the top 10 statistical categories and less we are talking about actual ring fighters, and even then while most come away with some sort of damage, most are still only superficial due to the high skill level of the mutual combatants. (For the record, the vast majority of legitimate Martial Arts Gyms do not require competition of any sort, so you can train life a fighter and never have to step in the ring).
- Second is the FEAR of looking stupid. Now at first glance this seams to be a very shallow reason for not doing something that you want and that carries so many real life benefits. Well, the truth is... adults are the worst at taking their own advice. If it were their child who was afraid to step on the mats for fear of how they look, they would quickly try to persuade and explain to their children how they must get over this fear and just “jump out there”. Everyone feels some sort of apprehension when starting a new activity. In the martial arts for some reason it’s magnified by the fear they they won’t be good enough. Men especially feel apprehensive because they feel that they should already have sense of how to defend themselves and their families. Guys, having the courage and intestinal fortitude to step forth and defend your self or your family is admirable and one thing, having the skill to do it against a trained opponent is something altogether different. You are not expected to know how to kick, punch or grapple like a trained fighter. That’s why it’s called a “class”!!! Ladies, you may have that maternal instinct to protect others. However, most of you put yourselves 2nd , 3rd or 50th down the line of importance when it comes to your own safety and well being. What does the flight attendant say when the cabin of the airplane depressurizes? What are you supposed to do? “ Place the oxygen mask on yourself first, then place the oxygen mask on your children or significant others”. You must take care of yourselves or there won’t be anyone left if you don’t. Everyone must remember that Everyone starts of on their first day. Most see the students moving with skill, grace and power and think “I want that for myself “, but one of these FEARs stops them.
Remember! FEAR stands for
I hope to see you all on the mats, even if it’s not at our academy and you are reading this from someplace else. Just get started. You won’t regret it.