Looking at the past year

 in Bradenton - Ancient Ways Martial Arts Academy

Here at Ancient Ways, things are a little slow right now between Christmas and New Years. Mrs. Tanja is teaching some AMAZING classes in the evenings and I’m getting much needed rest time, and family time, although I’m still working quite a bit. Today I sat down and compiled the student program reports for 2017. We saw 95 new enrollments in 2017. That is more than double the industry standard for enrollments. We had a lot that renewed too, nearly 75% of our students renewed their program and continue to train. Those numbers are off the chart compared to the industry standards. Aside from that, there were a lot of people who disappeared this year, most within the first couple of months.

In the martial arts field, attrition happens. It’s understood that some people are going to not continue their programs. Some of it, there is little you can do. Kids grow up and go off to college or the military, and thankfully, many of those we see on the holidays, like Michael, Maddy, Sean, Ben, Salim, Nick, Taylor, Dakota and more. People move, I can’t figure that out, but sometimes people get this weird notion that there is someplace better to live than here. This is where most of the world wants to vacation and we get to live here. Sometimes people get their Black Belt and decide they met their goal, and they are finished, even though there is tons more to learn. There are even some who we asked not to return for incompatibility problems, or they were just rude or disrespectful. Then there are the rest. These were kids who quit, but the parents were to blame:

  • These parents all said they want the best for their kid.
  • These parents all said they were willing to do whatever was necessary to insure their child was successful.
  • These were parents who admitted that they believed this was good for their kids.
  • These parents told us they wanted this for their child.
  • Some had made the commitment to Black Belt and had joined Wolf Pack.
  • These parents confessed that once they got their kids here, even if the child didn’t want to go at first, that the child loved it.
  • These parents agreed that some things you have to encourage a child to do or they will not continue, important things, like eating vegetables, doing chores/school work, brushing their teeth, going to bed on time and doing martial arts.
  • These parents all said they saw this training as much more than just some fun activity or sport for their child, and it was instead an opportunity for character development and strong personal growth.
  • They all said that they understood that there is more to be learned from working through tough spots than there is to be learned from quitting.
  • None of them enrolled with their kid, they didn’t even stay in the facility to watch and encourage their child. They sat in their car, or dropped the child off and came back later.
  • All of them caved and let their child quit anyway.

We work so hard, putting our heart and soul into what we do. We could all make more money doing just about anything else, but we do this because we see it change people’s lives each and every day. We know the power of this training and we want YOU and YOUR child to have it, but it isn’t a pill you take or an app you download. It requires work. The work is the point. It hurts when we work that hard, sincerely caring about the student to have them just go, “Ok, done with that, what’s next?” We hate it, especially when we can see how badly the student needs this, how much it can help them and they don’t have a clue.

What happens to this child who was allowed to quit? What happens when they don’t want to eat the right foods, or go to school, to study, do chores or be a cooperative member of the family? What happens to this child when their friends encourage them to behave in a way or do things that you don’t like? What happens to this child when they are in high school, doing drugs, skipping classes, using vulgarity and talking about inappropriate things, or doing inappropriate things? Do you think the child is to blame?

“Oh, he wanted to quit Karate, so we let him.” Now you set a precedent, you are going to have to live with it.

Look, all children are born pure, innocent and perfect, yours and mine. They are ready to become whatever we shape them to become, yours and mine. My kids are second degree Black Belts who do their chores and homework without being asked. They get good grades because it is important to them, as well as to us. They are well rounded with many friends and hobbies. They shun many of their peers who are filled with rage, self hatred and inappropriateness. My kids say that these kids use vulgarity every other word. They talk about sex and drugs and think it is ok to berate and belittle others based on their religion, gender or race. These kids think it’s not just ok to get bad grades, but preferable, because it’s cool or funny. They think it’s not just ok to get drunk or stoned, but preferable because it’s cool. Guess where those kids learned that behavior? They learned it from their parents letting them make the wrong decisions on their own.

Let your kid make decisions, but give them choices that are good for them:

  • “Do you want broccoli or green beans”
    • Not, “What do you want for dinner?”
  • “Do you want to go to Karate right after school or after dinner?”
    • Not, “Do you want to go to Karate today?”
  • “Do you want to study your spelling first or your multiplication tables?”
    • Not, “Don’t you think you should study?”
  • “After you do the dishes and pick up your room you can either play video games or watch TV”
    • Not, “Are you going to do your chores?”

One of my favorite lines from a mom was, “I want my son to have discipline, but I don’t want to make him do anything he doesn’t want to do.”

You can’t have it both ways.

Give your child a chance and help them make the right decisions. 



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