There was a gentleman walking along the road. He came upon three brick masons who were working diligently. He walked up to the first brick mason and asked, “What are you doing?” The first mason responded by saying “Oh, I’m laying some bricks.” He then walked up to the second brick mason and asked them the same question. The second brick mason said, “Oh, I’m building this wall, here.” He then went up to the third brick mason and said, “What are you doing?” The third brick mason paused and with great pride said, “I’m building a cathedral!”
If you’re wondering how this relates to Martial Arts, ask yourself the same question, “What are YOU doing?” Are you just teaching kicks and punches? Are you teaching simply the physical discipline that defines your style? Or are you helping develop tomorrow’s leaders? Hopefully you are able to answer the latter, with pride. If you do things correctly, you’re going to have a major impact upon your students.
Most people had a special coach or teacher while growing up – someone who said or did something that really impacted them in a significant way. Think about one of these coaches in your life. Can you remember something they said to you, or did for you that stands out in your memory? Most of us have similarly meaningful experiences. To the coach it might have been something minor or something trivial, but it still had a major effect in influencing that person’s future. Similarly, we probably all have had someone say something to us that affected us negatively.
We, as Martial Arts Instructors, are in a situation to positively or negatively impact our students every time they come to class. This is not something that should be taken lightly. It should be taken with all due weight and seriousness. What is your interaction with your students like? Is it positive, is it just okay, or is it negative? When your students are 80 years old, what kind of memories will they have of you? Hopefully, they will be positive.
It should be the goal of every Martial Arts Instructor to ensure that every student leaving class has benefited in some way from the class. Remember, students are always going in one of two directions: either closer to getting their Black Belt, or closer to quitting. Our actions, as instructors, shape whether they are going to quit or whether they are going to persevere to their Black Belt and beyond.
With this in mind, we need to be proactive. We need to understand that WE are responsible for our students’ progress. We are the thermostat, not the thermometer. We set the energy and attitude of our classes. Once we understand this and realize we can’t blame the weather or any other conditions, we will be much better off. As instructors, we must take personal ownership for these results because the students are coming to our school to improve their lives (and are paying us to do so). It is ultimately up to us to get and keep the energy, motivation, and interest levels up.
We have another great read for you about student retention! To download our free ebook, "Creating Special Moments: A Retention Case Study," CLICK HERE.