Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Howdy Partner and Happy Trails...

I hate numbers. I am a "word person", not a "number person". I know there are probably some stats I could quote for you in regards to how many adults start martial arts classes but drop out fairly quickly, but I will spare you the drudgery of that. I'm sure we can all agree that this is probably true no matter what the figures say. (But they apparently hold onto their gi's because I sure don't find any adult ones in the thrift stores!)

Our adult class has lost some students, too. Our sessions last between 8-16 weeks depending on the season. At the time of this blog, I am in my third or fourth session - I've lost track. (I blame it on the number phobia, not a poor memory.) During that time, all three from my first session are gone. One woman, who I'll call Rose, from my second session is still involved. All the others from her class have dropped. We retained one guy from the next session. Another guy from that session hung in there for awhile but he quit coming after I agreed to be partners with him in class one night. (More about that later in the post.) We had a gentleman come in during the same session as these other two guys. He brought his entire family - the wife and all 8 or 9 of his kids. They all sat and watched their patriarch learn karate. He stuck with it for almost a full session, but then did not come back either. And he seemed really into it, too. Last session, we had a 14 year old girl join us. She is very quiet and very shy. Surprisingly, she came back this session. She is starting to talk a little more now. She and I were looking at the 10 or so newbies last week trying to predict who we thought would stick with it and who wouldn't. The funny part - one of them has the same first and last name as I do! So, in case you lost track there, I believe that since I started a year ago, only 4 others have continued their classes out of approximately 8 or so.

Now, back to the guy who went AWOL after he and I were partnered up in class. This guy always came in street clothes -never a gi. He was about the same height as me with our arms & legs being about the same in length. Probably about the same weight - close anyway. In our class, not always, but more often that not. when we break up into partners, the females usually pair up with other females and the guys with guys. One night, we started to break into partners as always and Rose & I started to partner up. Out of the blue, this guy who has never spoken to us before says to me, "You know, you girls always partner up with each other. In real life, you wouldn't be fighting a girl all of the time. You need to step outside of your comfort zone." Rose & I took it more as a slam than constructive criticism and partnered up anyway. The guy partnered up with another, much taller guy.

Fast forward about 2 weeks later. When we went to partner up, I got a wild hair up my…I mean a sudden inspiration to call this guy on his challenge and partner up with this guy to prove I was ready to step outside of my comfort zone. I told him that we'd be partners tonight and I think I shocked him. I think he never thought I'd actually act upon his "dare". Well, we did some kumite practice and because of our similar body shape/size, it was easy to work with him. He was very encouraging and helped me work through the more difficult techniques. It was a very productive evening and I think it surprised both of us that we worked so well together. At the end of the evening, he thanked me for practicing with him. And then I never saw him again. Are you sensing a pattern here?

Remember the delusional girl from my first class ever? The one with the too-small green belt? I never saw her again either. I've come to the conclusion that either A.) I'm so intimidating that I scare them away, or B.) I'm the delusional one…

I prefer to think it's "A"…which basically pretty much proves it's "B"…: )

2 comments:

Steve said...

Attrition is a funny thing. At my school, it's amazing how many people quit after realizing that it's not as easy as it looks. For every 10 guys who show up, maybe 1 will stick with it for the year or two that it takes to move beyond the white belt.

Martial Arts Mom said...

When I joined, people told me that would be the case, but after I'd participated in a few classes, I just couldn't (and still can't) understand how, once you've experienced that unmatched confidence, you could drop? I hope I keep this passion for Martial arts for the rest of my life. (And at this point, I would venture to guess that will be the case.) Thanks for the comment, Steve!