Monday, July 13, 2015

On Former Students

One day I went to class driving over to the Club. A brief drive of two miles. A thunderstorm came up. It was ferocious and violent. There were descending sheets of water. The wind seemed to drive waves of water over the banks alongside the road. I don’t think I had ever seen its like.

Then reaching the Boy’s and Girl’s Club it ceased but it knocked the power out and we had to cancel class. There are things beyond our control.

Being the instructor seems to mean we are in control. It seems that way for our word becomes the structure of class. However the operating word is seems.


For there have to be students. I run very small programs. Normally several times a year, such as during blizzards and family holidays, everyone does the reasonable thing and stays home.  I on the other hand am often in the Club parking lot, waiting to see if anyone shows up, or I am training myself.


The first reason I train is to learn, how to use my changing current abilities. I may be the instructor, but I am also the student.


Along the way you learn a hard lesson. There are students who train, and then there are those who used to be students. There is no other distinction. Whether they train a week or several decades makes no difference because they no longer are there.


Everyone trains because they make a decision to do so, and when the time comes that they need something else to do with their time, they move on. You should applaud their decision to make a choice. I realize that they represent at times years of work, but the important thing is you helped them understand they can make choices, and to do so in their best interest.


At that time they become former students. It matters not why, just the observation they are not there.  Very few will take the time to explain.  Decades later if you meet them they may try and offer an explanation. But it matters not. They no longer are there. Reasons matter little.


Those that are training are most important, As an instructor they come first, and of course that means you too.


Unknown said...

Unknown said...

"Half the battle is just showing up."

You captured this perfectly. It's exactly how I feel.

In Canada, "snow days" and -35°C weather is common in the winter. Still, I show up to find an empty dojang and make the best of it.

Have you ever had a student that left ever return? It's extremely rare.

Victor Smith said...

I have had a student return, She began at 8 years and trained until she was a green belt reaching green. Then high school and university made college karate impossible for her to remain training. After college a year later she returned, and had not forgotten anything, I had her put her green belt back on. Now she is a teacher, and trains when she is able. Today she is a hard working brown belt, working for her black and helping me with the beginners. Situations change, life goes on.