I was at a karate class last night and two people I had never met before were there. They were a husband and wife duo who were black belts in different styles of martial arts. There is also another black belt from a Korean style who has been coming there almost as long as me. It occurred to me to think about the amount of attrition I have seen though all of the things I have done. And for me this opened my eye a bit about people who believe they have enough training.
I played town sports as a kid and not only saw many leave but was one. I took karate as a youth and again saw many start and stop and became one to walk away myself. I was in scouts as a teen and saw many people start and stop before achieving the highest rank of Eagle Scout. I was also a Fire Explorer and saw the same, many came and left before turning 18 years old and being able to join the department. I even saw it in the fire departments that I was members in, people would come and go with only a core group as the a constant. The opposite is true, the training junkie does exist, people that never what to stop training and will take classes just for fun, but they are few and far between.
People’s interests and priorities change over time I think is the biggest reason for training attrition, especially as a youth. Kids are feeling things out in the work and tend to become intensely focused on one thing for a short amount of time. In scouts I know that once a kid hit 16, most stopped showing up because they had new interests, cars, girls, and jobs topping the list. WIth adults it is time, energy, and money that tends to reprioritise things for us. I saw many with new families at home go from active members of the fire department to barely making enough calls to remain a member. So if you plan on training in self-defense then you need to find away to keep in interesting and feel like you want to come back to it.
Diminishing returns, this happens in all activities. At some point the amount of time and energy needed to progress becomes more than people want to invest. I did this with sports as a child. I was never good at them and the amount of work required to improve was more than I wanted to but in, this caused my interests to change to other things. So what can we do, same thing as before, if your training find a way to make it profitable for your time and energy. Push yourself to practice what you need to improve in. You are improving or losing skill.
Lack of or low goals is a big one too. Why people do these activities matters to how long they will continue them. Some people set goals too low and give themselves a false sense of accomplishment, some even set that as their goal. Someone doesn’t feel safe so they buy a gun and take the course required by the state to carry. They feel safe now, they have a faulted sense of accomplishment and security, so that trading stops. In karate I have seen kids and adults start get the first few quick belts and stop. They got their fix of accomplishment because their goals were too low. I have spoke with people about first aid and CPR and I get “Oh, I’m all set, I mean my card isn’t current but I know what to do.” They feel secure with their abilities and do not want to invest in themselves. Being out of emergency medicine for a while and now jumping back in I can tell you MANY of the standard procedures and protocols have changed.
Physical limitations are another common reason people leave something. I know as a kid one of the reasons I left karate was that the way that school trained was too hard on my body and I was having joint problems. This is linked to the diminishing returns factor as well. The pain I was suffering was more the the enjoyment I was getting out of doing karate. If I had adapted how I was training I may have been able and willing to keep practicing.
So what’s the point, adapting and changing your training routine to better meet your goals. Set your goals within a far reach, break them down into small ear quicker goals so you have accomplishment along the way. When you finally meet a goal reset it.
— Be Safe