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How Can You Help Motivate A Student to Continue Martial Arts Training?

Posted Aug 10 2010 7:14pm
My blog is receiving traffic from the search criteria - How can I convince someone to continue martial arts training? This is a difficult subject and everyone and every situation is different. As instructors we need to lead by example, encourage when possible and reinforce the positive. I am writing this from a karate instructor's viewpoint. We have had success dealing with students who want to quit due to a confidence or self-esteem issue and not a lack of interest in martial arts.

Here are some ideas
1. If the student is overwhelmed with the depth of the material, it is important to set short term goals and reinforce their accomplishments. The student should be focused on their next kata not all the kata.

2. If the beginner student feels uncomfortable with their performance or feels awkward, you can remind them that everyone was a beginner at some point. If the student gives it time, they will become more comfortable. Old videos and early photos of class instructors and classmates as beginners can be a useful tool.

3. If the student is falling behind peers or family members, remind them that karate is individual. Individual training varies depending on age, ability and amount of time available for training. Often times when multiple family members start training at the same time (parents/children/siblings) they will progress at different rates.

4. If the student is reluctant to perform material individually, an instructor can be sensitive to this issue and assess a person's growth in a class setting. Have the student perform in front of a small group at first. Many times the beginner student will demonstrate alongside the class instructor for support and encouragement. The instructor allows the student to lead and follows the student giving them support.

5. If the student is over-scheduled, remind the student that martial arts is a lifetime endeavor and they should not feel pressured to be ready to test at every available opportunity.

6. Students who take a break can be reluctant to return because they feel left behind or don't remember material. Class instructors or higher rank students can work on material with the student to help them transition back to the dojo. Once again, remind the student that training is individual and not a race.

Ultimately, the student or parent will decide what is best.
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