Nothing says loser...

8:55 PM Monday, January 24, 2011

"Nothing says loser like 'I was kicked out of a cult.'" - Blind Date

Recently I have had an intermittent flurry of conversations with martial artists regarding instructors and instructor behavior. The conversation always comes down to a few points.

1. My instructor says I am not committed enough to X art

2. The instructors definition of commitment is, physically or mentally, unhealthy

3. My choice is to submit to the definition, or leave

4. I don't want to leave, and I don't care to by into the program as presented

The biggest issue is the sense of guilt that the person feels, the guilt that they have not worked hard enough, that they have lost something, that they have failed, plus a pile of other emotions.

Let's get this straight. It is your training, if you don't enjoy it, if it is causing you some form of consternation, you should stop.

The world is a tough place and it doesn't give a flying rip about how you feel. We all get kicked around every day; traffic, bills, work, difficult responsibilities, hard choices, sickness, and I am confident you can add more to the list.

So you are going to go take guff from your martial arts teacher? I don't mean challenging you to be better, but poorly constructed, lousy coach behavior. Yeah go pay for that with the money you earned, and further invest more of your time!? Pppppffft. I think not.

I suggest that if you are not having fun and learning you should leave.

You have a right to your life, and how you choose to spend that life. I am talking about the sanctity of the individual. So I am here to let you know that you are not necessary involved in a cult, but getting kicked out of a club, can make you feel like a loser. Well let's see what that illustrious philosopher and social scientist Marx had to say, of course I mean Groucho Marx; “I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”

These are of course extreme statements, but you get the idea, so here is the middle ground quote from one of my old instructors, “Karate is fun, when it stops being fun, you should stop.


  1. Great post, thanks, and ...

    Getting "kicked out of the tribe" has far reaching psychological ramifications simply because it is an intricate part of mother nature's gift to us called, survival instinct.

    They group dynamics are something a Sensei must consider when conducting training sessions, don't you think?

    Charles James

  2. The discussion is only on the side of the student here. The bottom line, you don't need to honor the tribal survival instinct. You need to honor your use of your life energy.

    Lawrence Kane & Kris Wilder

  3. Been there, done that - and had (for a minute) all the requisite guilt and other baggage associated with moving on. Felt rejected in a "but what's WRONG with me?!?" way for a long time...

    But, as a friend graciously pointed out when I was still waffling about leaving: bad karate is bad karate. Hard to have fun and grow in such a jacked-up environment...

    Wish I would have read this post a year ago. Would have saved me lots of anguish, that's for sure :-)


  4. Ahhh, the light came on; I am reading MA Instruction and it helped me to "see" more... makes sense now, thanks.

    Charles James

  5. Cool Charles, good book.

    Lawrence Kane & Kris Wilder

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