Not all martial arts schools are the same

Not all martial arts schools are the same

I remember 8 or so years ago, having these two students, a mom and her 8-year-old son. They were really loving class and doing fantastic. The boy was shy and starting to get the confidence to come out of his shell and the mom, for some reason, seemed like her confidence could use a boost as well. No matter, we were going to help them both.

There was an older brother too, a teenager, but he didn’t sign up with them. Instead he just kind of stood in the lobby and watched class. I greeted him several times and even asked if he was interested in joining us, but he declined with a hesitant smile.

Finally, one day, the mom approached me and asked if she could talk to me about the teen. She said that when he was little, he had trained at another martial arts program offered through the YMCA. She said that back then, he was often hesitant to go to the classes but it was convenient because she could go to the gym there while he trained in Karate.

One night she decided to peek in on him. Parents didn’t regularly watch class, most worked out in the gym like she did, or just dropped off their kids.  She cracked the door open to the all-purpose room and peeked inside. She counted only a few kids and her son wasn’t one of them. Trying not to panic, she immediately let the facility know and they locked everything down and did a search. They finally found the boy, hiding in the restroom. Apparently the instructor was so mean, the boy had not been going to class, but instead was hiding in the restroom for some time.

“He wants to do class with us, be he says he is waiting to see when you turn into a jerk,” she said. This poor guy’s bad experience as a child nearly turned him off to martial arts completely. We convinced him to start and he did fantastic. His personality was perfect for our studio and today he is one of the head instructors for an affiliate school of ours and loves his career.

The bad news, that instructor in the YMCA, he still teaches there. He nearly ruined a young man so he would never have found his calling. It reminds me of something my Grandfather Cooper told me once, “Great things aren’t cheap and cheap things are never great.”

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