Add KarateForums.com
Username:    Password:
Remember Me?    
   I Lost My Password!
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Karate
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 See a User Guidelines violation? Press on the post.
Author Message

Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2090
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2022 1:37 pm    Post subject: Knowing when to move on Reply with quote

Buckle up, your boy has an M.A. in English and needs to sort out his thoughts. It's going to be wordy.

I left my dojo this week, withdrew completely. I had been there for a year and a half, made sankyu, and was a couple of months away from nikyu. However, I had begun to notice a change in the CI. A quickness to their anger and an increasing shortness with their students. It seemed to me that they had forgotten that, at the end of the day, they provided a service. It is true that they get to choose who takes part in that service, and also that those paying for this service need to be respectful and observant of the rules, but the outbursts from the CI began to come at odd times. Like when a student who has experience was struggling to break a habit, and so the CI yelled at them in front of the class. Or when another instructor, who is inquisitive and always trying to get the CI's thoughts on things so that they are teaching the correct thing, is told to take off their belt, and that they do not deserve their rank, because of a single thing that the CI felt was incorrect.

I had noticed a decline in the general atmosphere of the dojo over the last 2 months, but it was these 2 stories being told to me on Friday that put the final nail in the coffin. It also gave me a lot to think about. I've seen posts all over the internet from martial artists who, after years of noticing red flags, finally think to ask someone if what they are seeing is bad. It got me wondering about why I was able to pick this out so quickly, and what made me okay with leaving.

I joined this dojo because it is the closest Shorin Ryu dojo in my area. It teaches Shobayashi (and Shudokan), which was not the Matsumura Seito that I learned (in which I have a Shodan), but it was close enough and my goal was to reach Sandan, so that I could open up my own school. I had little intention, both at the outset and at the end, to teach Shobayashi and Shudokan, but I love to learn, and I knew that I could use what I learned there to increase my understanding of my own style. I have been a martial artist for 20 years, so I knew that this was a viable path. In this, I was successful in using what I learned to increase my proficiencies in Matsumura Seito, while also developing a style that was distinct from both styles to teach. Of course, I did not reach that goal. This has brought other concerns. I still want to move up in my own journey, but I do not want to start again in a style that I do not intend to teach to do so. Finding a way to increase my rank so that I feel comfortable teaching my own school is a very real obstacle for me now. On that, at best, I have about 5-6 years to accomplish (due to the fact that I have, in fact, already opened my own school a little earlier this year). Given that I had such clear goals, I wondered what made me okay with leaving.

In short, I know my worth. Primarily, I know that my skill level, both in martial arts and teaching, is of a level that my perception of my own rank is the only thing holding me back. In this, I have experience. I have been in this long enough to know that I do not need to achieve the highest rank at this school. I know that when something happens to make my relationship with the dojo no longer mutually beneficial, that leaving is my best option. I lack the worries of the Sunken Cost Fallacy. I have the black belt. In the end, I do not need another.

We often say that the thing that separates a black belt from a white belt is time, and experience. I began to wonder if the reason that I see so many posts wondering if the poster had made a mistake is this lack of experience. They do not know, necessarily, that the dojo has all of these red flags. This is often their first experience. Why would they know that? They have never been a part of a good experience. If their perception is that their experience is universal, then of course they would not ask questions. They want that black belt. It is, often, not until they hear of the experience of others, or someone brings to their attention all of the red flags, that they begin to wonder. It seems obvious that we should move on from things that do not make us happy, but what does that unhappiness look like? Like the proverbial frog in the boiling water, do we not notice the change until it is far too late? There is no list of things that are 100% red flags. Even within the world of martial arts, some things that look like red flags can be fine, just as things that appear to be good are indications of malfeasance. It is up to us to apply our own critical thought to these things.

However, are we not distracted? Do you remember your first year doing martial arts? If it was anything like mine, it was filled with too much incoming information for me to be cognizant of the cracks that may have existed underneath.

Perhaps I am overthinking this. Turnover in martial arts is very high. Perhaps it is only those of us who spend the time and find love who experience this. Either way, I now have a new journey to set upon.
_________________
Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.

https://www.instagram.com/nordic_karate/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15977
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2022 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert Frost penned these iconic words once...

"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

This, I believe, is where you stand. You've an M.A. in English. That's nothing to sneeze at whatsoever. You've also 20 years' experience in the MA as a Shodan in Matsumura Seito. That too, is something that one can sneeze at.

Knowledge and experience are the noted exclamations that what you've earned on and off the floor. You're absolutely right about wanting to be the highest ranking anywhere because that's not what's important in the scheme of things.

If wherever one trains at, and that practitioner is having second thoughts about many things that aren't positive across the board, then by gosh, it's time to pull up stakes and move on.

Whenever the effectiveness of learning has and is difficult, then nothing can become of it whatsoever. The CI sets the tone, and when the tone is tainted, then it's time to go. If the student has given their best to stay with a sinking ship, and the ship is sinking for sure, then it's time to swim away to dry land.

Red flags vary from practitioner to practitioner, and imho, its one's own perception of any red flag that matters, and not what others think. Sure, we can say this and that about what someone else is or has already decided about their situation and concerns, but as thoughtful as one might be, that decision belongs to that person and should be respected and honored to the Nth degree.

You can STILL own and operate your own dojo as a Shodan. The Sandan is only a suggestion so that the CI can oversee a Testing Cycle for a Shodan. If Sandan is still a goal, then go for it. By the time a student of yours reaches the opportunity to test for Shodan, and you've continued your own training in Matsumura Seito in a far better dojo with a better CI, you'll find yourself being invited to your Sandan Testing Cycle.

Everything you wrote about the dojo and its CI are perfect reasons to cut bait and run to better fishing grounds. I know that you love the MA; I sense that in you, but it's not the end all of all things. I love the MA too because I do; it's all that I know, but you know what?? To me the MA is just a thing, and a thing can be replaced because the MA a want, but not a need. like air or means to pay for rent and food and clothes.

Not that it matters much, but I believe that your decision(s) have hit the nail on its proverbial head. Hang in there and do what you want to do; I got your back.

Imho!!



_________________
**Proof is on the floor!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

aurik
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 08 Nov 2016
Posts: 330
Location: Denver, CO
Styles: Shuri-Ryu, Uechi-Ryu

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2022 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've clearly thought this through, and I definitely understand and agree with your reasons for leaving your current dojo. If you are not getting what you need out of a relationship (whether that be martial arts or otherwise), it is time to move on.

I'm going to share one of my own CI's philosophies -- one thing that in his eyes differentiates colored belts from black belts. At our school, black belts are expected to be able to self-evaluate, self-correct, and take infrequent feedback in order to continue improving. For example, he has several students that have gone off to college, or live remotely and only come in once a week or so. He trusts them to train on their own, and as long as he can keep track of their progress, he still considers them eligible for promotions at (possibly slightly extended) intervals

Have you considered looking for a good instructor outside your immediate area that you could receive instruction and direction from? With the pandemic, many MA schools are open to remote instruction via Zoom, and you could possibly make arrangements to do in-person training on some type of regular basis. As you already have your own school, you are already training regularly, but this would give you the feedback you need to progress beyond your current rank in your preferred style.

For example, my CI only receives outside instruction a few times a year, but he is in regular contact with his instructor(s) and is always getting feedback and information from them.

Something to think about, at least.
_________________
5th kyu Shuri-Ryu, 4th kyu Judo, shodan Uechi-Ryu
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2090
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2022 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for your encouragement.

I have, actually, considered looking for a remote learning situation. There is an MSSR school in Fort Smith, AR that is only 4.5 hours away. He already has an online program, and I can go through him. I have a friend who recently came into contact with an MSSR guy who just moved to the area as well, so I'm waiting to hear back about that as well.

If nothing else, I've been representing the school in a tournament league that is local and doing some great networking. The schools there are run by great people who seem to really love karate. I can continue to develop those relationships and see if they will test me in "general MA." My sensei did something similar for his Godan.
_________________
Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.

https://www.instagram.com/nordic_karate/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29649
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2022 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That remote opportunity sounds like the way to go.

I'm sorry to hear that you had to leave the school you were at, but also happy to see you realize that it was time to do so, and that you know your worth. It seems to me, especially in the world of Martial Arts training, that many students think they always have to be beholden to someone of higher rank. I think there comes a time in one's MA journey, especially if it has spanned a couple of decades, to evaluate the training that we do, and determine what it is we want from training ourselves, and begin to seek such pathways out. It appears that is what you have done. What's more, you know what you like, and what you don't like, especially out of the attitude and presence of a higher ranked instructor, and have made a good decision based on this knowledge.

Going forward, you can use these experiences to help younger, less experienced students know the difference between bad and good, and perhaps help others make similar decisions, if need be, in order to convince them to extend their journeys, rather than end it based off of some knucklehead's actions.

I applaud your decision here. Thank you for sharing it with us.
_________________
www.haysgym.com
http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Zaine
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 2090
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Brian. I love this forum and how supportive we are here.

I was musing with a friend that this part of the karate journey has felt a lot like I got out of the tutorial and now what I do is my choice. Karate feels a lot like an open world game, in this regard. Do I want to follow the main story (i.e., work towards that next belt), or do some side-quests (i.e., train with different people and develop myself to be more well-rounded). For the last 14 years, since my first Sensei stopped teaching, I've been doing the latter. It's been fun, and it's only because I want to teach students and have them feel secure in the fact that I didn't somehow "cheat" the system for rank. My Sensei sometimes had to field questions about that, and while no one could say that he didn't absolutely have the skill to be his rank, it was still annoying to hear people question his lineage. He seemed less worried that we are, and now that I'm older I understand why. I, too, don't really care what people think about how I got my rank. I still want to test and go through the rigors, but I think my skill speaks for itself. As Bob says, I leave all the proof they need on the floor.
_________________
Martial arts training is 30% classroom training, 70% solo training.

https://www.instagram.com/nordic_karate/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15977
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
Thanks, Brian. I love this forum and how supportive we are here.

I was musing with a friend that this part of the karate journey has felt a lot like I got out of the tutorial and now what I do is my choice. Karate feels a lot like an open world game, in this regard. Do I want to follow the main story (i.e., work towards that next belt), or do some side-quests (i.e., train with different people and develop myself to be more well-rounded). For the last 14 years, since my first Sensei stopped teaching, I've been doing the latter. It's been fun, and it's only because I want to teach students and have them feel secure in the fact that I didn't somehow "cheat" the system for rank. My Sensei sometimes had to field questions about that, and while no one could say that he didn't absolutely have the skill to be his rank, it was still annoying to hear people question his lineage. He seemed less worried that we are, and now that I'm older I understand why. I, too, don't really care what people think about how I got my rank. I still want to test and go through the rigors, but I think my skill speaks for itself. As Bob says, I leave all the proof they need on the floor.

Solid post!!

Seems to me that the MA has been wrapped like a Christmas present with a big fat bow that all concerned can pass judgement on the whole thing that lays before them.

Makes me think of what John Lydgate penned so long ago, and seems quite fitting when it comes to the MA and its practitioners...

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”

The novelty of it all might rest with that rank and all of its bobbles only hold water when spoken about within either the dojo and/or its governing body. Outside of either of those hallowed halls is where the appreciation tends to end...or should end.

The floor can never be conned whenever the MA is concerned. The floor is the most honest and straightforward critic yet is very harsh in its honesty. The floor cries out loud...Either you can, or you can't...effectively!!

I too, like Brian, applaud your decision here.




_________________
**Proof is on the floor!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29649
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2022 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
Thanks, Brian. I love this forum and how supportive we are here.

I was musing with a friend that this part of the karate journey has felt a lot like I got out of the tutorial and now what I do is my choice. Karate feels a lot like an open world game, in this regard. Do I want to follow the main story (i.e., work towards that next belt), or do some side-quests (i.e., train with different people and develop myself to be more well-rounded). For the last 14 years, since my first Sensei stopped teaching, I've been doing the latter. It's been fun, and it's only because I want to teach students and have them feel secure in the fact that I didn't somehow "cheat" the system for rank. My Sensei sometimes had to field questions about that, and while no one could say that he didn't absolutely have the skill to be his rank, it was still annoying to hear people question his lineage. He seemed less worried that we are, and now that I'm older I understand why. I, too, don't really care what people think about how I got my rank. I still want to test and go through the rigors, but I think my skill speaks for itself. As Bob says, I leave all the proof they need on the floor.


I understand what you mean here, and am finding myself in a similar crossroads in my training. I rarely teach classes anymore, mainly due to the fact that the classes are so small. That, and I'm of the opinion that the gusy who own/run the dojang now are the one's that should be doing it, and not me. But I always love to teach, and will do so when the opportunity arises, but in more of an individual nature.

I've gotten to the point where I'm not sure I want to test again. I kind of want to, and one reason is a bad one...I don't want to get "outranked" by the guy running the show now. It's an ego thing more than anything, but I couldn't take this person outranking me seriously.

What I have been enjoying is defensive tactics training, and really getting into that for the department I work for. I've restarted with one successful session, and am prepping for the next one in January. I've already got the session planned, and am looking at planning the next one, too. My boss is all-in on providing the training for the department, making it mandatory. He let me order some wrestling mats to train on, some rubber guns for weapon retention training, and we've already got some striking pads for hand and kicking techniques practice. I'm really focused on this.

So, back to the thought of testing again. If I did, and passed, it would put me at 5th dan, which is a Master rank in our organization. I wouldn't really want to be called Master, nor would I consider myself a Master. A Master-level instructor, maybe, but just due to years of experience. So, like I say, I'm at a crossroads myself.
_________________
www.haysgym.com
http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15977
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2022 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
Zaine wrote:
Thanks, Brian. I love this forum and how supportive we are here.

I was musing with a friend that this part of the karate journey has felt a lot like I got out of the tutorial and now what I do is my choice. Karate feels a lot like an open world game, in this regard. Do I want to follow the main story (i.e., work towards that next belt), or do some side-quests (i.e., train with different people and develop myself to be more well-rounded). For the last 14 years, since my first Sensei stopped teaching, I've been doing the latter. It's been fun, and it's only because I want to teach students and have them feel secure in the fact that I didn't somehow "cheat" the system for rank. My Sensei sometimes had to field questions about that, and while no one could say that he didn't absolutely have the skill to be his rank, it was still annoying to hear people question his lineage. He seemed less worried that we are, and now that I'm older I understand why. I, too, don't really care what people think about how I got my rank. I still want to test and go through the rigors, but I think my skill speaks for itself. As Bob says, I leave all the proof they need on the floor.


I understand what you mean here, and am finding myself in a similar crossroads in my training. I rarely teach classes anymore, mainly due to the fact that the classes are so small. That, and I'm of the opinion that the gusy who own/run the dojang now are the one's that should be doing it, and not me. But I always love to teach, and will do so when the opportunity arises, but in more of an individual nature.

I've gotten to the point where I'm not sure I want to test again. I kind of want to, and one reason is a bad one...I don't want to get "outranked" by the guy running the show now. It's an ego thing more than anything, but I couldn't take this person outranking me seriously.

What I have been enjoying is defensive tactics training, and really getting into that for the department I work for. I've restarted with one successful session, and am prepping for the next one in January. I've already got the session planned, and am looking at planning the next one, too. My boss is all-in on providing the training for the department, making it mandatory. He let me order some wrestling mats to train on, some rubber guns for weapon retention training, and we've already got some striking pads for hand and kicking techniques practice. I'm really focused on this.

So, back to the thought of testing again. If I did, and passed, it would put me at 5th dan, which is a Master rank in our organization. I wouldn't really want to be called Master, nor would I consider myself a Master. A Master-level instructor, maybe, but just due to years of experience. So, like I say, I'm at a crossroads myself.

Brian,

Your dojang has a NEW OWNER and/or CI?? What's his rank, not that it matters, and it doesn't??

I'd not let the labels persuade you one way or another from not testing. The Testing Cycle has its merits, but that's where it all ends. If you don't want to be called Master Brian, then make it perfectly clear to whomever that it's Brian and nothing else.

After all, you'd be testing for the rank and not for the label. If you don't consider yourself a Master, that's fine. Master just means that you've mastered the basics, and if that's too much to swallow, then it means that you do the basic far better than others who have not earned a 5th degree black belt.

If I can be honest with you, Brian, I'm surprised on all of this talk about rank this and that from you because you've never expressed any concerns when rank is considered. It's the knowledge and experience that you've always strived after.

We can be proud of whatever we've earned, there's no shame in that. It's when the labels define us that the shame is worn like a badge of who knows what.

I've more labels attached to me that it sickens me to even look at myself. How I get through without puking every day is that all of my labels aren't that important when the whole, yes, malarky is considered. I'm Bob on and off the floor, and nobody better never forget that, or I'll just puke all over myself again.

Test or not test is up to you, but please don't let labels and all of that malarky prevent you from any Testing Cycle. No matter what, Brian, I got your back until the end of time.

Labels, labels, and more labels is what has turned the MA inside and out from what it used to be and what it should be...an Art...an Art of effectiveness, and not the three-ring circus it has become, no matter the governing body.




_________________
**Proof is on the floor!!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29649
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2022 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If I can be honest with you, Brian, I'm surprised on all of this talk about rank this and that from you because you've never expressed any concerns when rank is considered. It's the knowledge and experience that you've always strived after.


I know, Bob. It strikes me this way, too. I don't know why, but I feel that if the new owner/instructor gets higher ranked than me...I don't know. All the ceremonious bowing to one with a "higher rank," but lacking so much in experience, turns my stomach a bit. He is currently a 4th dan, same "rank" as I am. Like I mention, it's a weird spot I find myself in, and I don't like it.

My other major concern is the sheer cost of the next test, which is ridiculous. In order to stave some of the cost, I had the previous CI start an escrow account for me, basically adding $5 or $10 (I don't remember which) extra out of my monthly dues to put towards the next testing. With that in mind, I should probably go ahead and follow through with it.

Like I said, it is a weird position for me, and I'm not necessarily proud of the way I'm approaching it. I've got to get my mind right and test for me, and not anyone else.
_________________
www.haysgym.com
http://www.sunyis.com/
www.aikidoofnorthwestkansas.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> Karate All times are GMT - 6 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


< Advertising - Contact - Disclosure Policy - Staff - User Guidelines >