For many of us, finding the right martial art or self defence training system can be an interesting journey. It is not unusual for a student to have a desire to learn some self defence training and visit a local club and take some training. Often as people grow in Martial Arts they begin to realise the sheer variety of training systems that are out there and the differences that exist between them. Striking, Grappling, Combination martial arts have content that may suit one person and not another. As a result the new student will often end up on quite a journey to find the marital art that is right for them.
Yet leaving a martial arts dojo to take up training at another is not always an easy task and its one that students and some dojo leaderships can handle poorly. As you move in in your marital arts career, it is a good thing to look back on where you have trained and to have the knowledge that you have left those training centres on good terms and that you would be welcomed back there at any time. Leaving with conflict is not something that is good to reflect upon even several years later.
Here are some tips on how to leave and to leave on good terms,
1, Be Honest, don’t try and sugarcoat the fact that you are leaving because you wish to try something else. Your Sensei has seen various people come and go and honesty about what your goals are is by far the best policy.
2, Don’t Criticise the style, If you have trained in one art and recently discovered another, try not to get caught up in it and trash your previous martial art to the leadership there or the other students, be it on facebook or wherever. Be cautious about having the experience that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’ and that six months from now the martial art that you were so enthusiastic about can become a burden to you.
3, Don’t get upset if your Sensei wont give you endorsement to leave. It can happen that a Sensei will recognise that you would be better suited to another marital art, but that is rarer than you think. They are people too and have similar emotions to yourself. Try seeing it from there point of view, that they would rather retain you as a student and train you over the long term rather than see you leave because it is not working out.
4, Dont have an expectation of any financial refund. If you expect a refund of insurance fees because it didn’t work out for you, you are likely to be dissapointed. Consider it a donation and move on.
5, if you are a member of their facebook page consider remaining a member on FB. There is no need to burn your bridges, what you can also discover is that it is quite common for people to leave a martial art, try some others and then return to the same club even several years later. All people learn different things at different times and sometimes your search will lead you back to where you began. Remaining in friendship with the people there is a good way to go even if you have no intentions of going back as things can and do change.
My journey in Martial arts took me from Hapkido to Krav Maga, from Krav Maga to Jujitsu-Aikido, and then finally to Aikido and back to Krav Maga. At first observation both Krav and Aikido are entirely different, – one is hard and aggressive and the other is soft and smooth flowing and to me they balance each other and enable me to find my place in where I belong. I remain friends with the Sensei of my Hapkido dojo and have good things to say about all the places that i have trained and what i have experienced. I know that I am welcome back there at any time.
Leaving a Dojo is hard work, but if it is done the right way, it can spare you and your friends a lot of pain and angst. I recently viewed a forum on facebook for a martial art and saw people of that art creating fake profiles and throwing stones at one another, competing for members and going along with the rest of the tale that has taken that martial art and dragged it through the mud and helped ruin it for a number of people based around ego and control. It never has to end like that if you wish to leave and move on, you can leave on good terms and remain friends with people if they will accept you for who you are. The alternative helps no one and its a good thing to stay away from that if you can!