Anyone who teaches martial arts has to contend with the "revolving door syndrome." People come and people go. They might stay for a week, a month, maybe even a year and then they just stop training. The funny thing is, people often quit shortly after they finally decide to purchase a uniform and equipment. Some times I get a warning, other times people simply disappear. Of course, I will follow up with those folks to make sure they are ok and I typically get any number of excuses as to why they stopped training. Here are a few in no particular order with my response.
"I don't have time to train." What things in life do you have time for? Just be honest and tell me it's not a priority for you. I can understand and accept that.
"Aikido is too difficult; I just don't get it." Do you always avoid difficult things in life? There is no success without failure. Repeated failure is how you learn self control and discipline. Worthy pursuits are never easy.
"I want to train, but life keeps getting in the way." What does that mean? If this is something that's really important to you, you will find a way. But don't blame life...that's on you.
"You are too militant for me." You do understand that "martial" means military, right? I may have high expectations, but that's only because I've done this a long time and I know what it takes for you to learn it and be able to use it. If you want want to be taught by someone who will constantly stoke your ego, there are a lot of other folks out there who will gladly take your money.
"I can't afford the lessons." When have I ever said you can't train if you can't pay? We can work something out.
"Aikido doesn't work. It's not practical for the street." Your aikido doesn't work because you don't train often enough and when you do train, you don't commit yourself. If you want quick and easy, buy a gun.
"I keep getting hurt." That's because you don't train or do anything physical outside of the dojo, or you still smoke or drink too much or have a poor diet. Learning a real martial art takes tremendous commitment that includes getting into and staying in good physical condition. You get hurt because you have not physically and mentally committed yourself to training.
"I don't agree with wearing 16th Century uniforms. Nobody wears a gi in the street." The concept of the martial arts uniform (keikogi) has only been around for about 100 years. Uniforms soak up sweat and blood and help keep the training environment clean while protecting your skin from cuts and abrasions, allowing you to train for real confrontations.
"I can only come once a week." I'm only asking for two nights out of seven. If your schedule is really hectic, then I will help you find a way. If that means training with you on a different day for a while I will do my best to accommodate you...but you have to meet me half way.
"I found another art I'd like to try." Great! Keep training and drop me a line once in a while. The door is always open if you decide to come back.
Some of this probably sounds a little harsh but I'm willing to bet there are a few teachers out there who have heard these excuses. It doesn't bother me if you decide to stop training or go somewhere else. I just want you to be honest with me...and yourself.