The Inner Struggle of A Martial Arts Instructor

Martial arts has been a huge part of my life for nearly thirty-two years, I’ve always been a student and gleaned from what other systems had to offer. I’ve gotten to train and earn certifications of instructorship for some of Bruce Lee’s original students. I’ll always be a student of the game.

I have also loved being able to teach others, and see a joy appear their faces from being able to learn a new skill or do something they never thought they could do before with their bodies. Being a teacher has given me a great sense of accomplishment and a sense of purpose.

Throughout my teaching journey, however, I have seen students come and come. I’m sure that this is most common among many schools and instructors. What burdens my heart though is that I can never keep me anyone around. I have gone from having almost twenty students in my college self-defense class to only three or four. Watching the flux of students from a close vantage point has caused me to look inward.

Am I doing something wrong?

What could I be doing better?

Is there something in me that people don’t like?

Or the tougher question: Am I meant to be an instructor?

All of these questions have moved through the landscape of my emotions. I have envisioned my owning my own school someday, but if I can’t even keep one student what good is it? I’d hate to close down a school because of a mass drop out rate. I honestly am starting to wonder if this passion inside me is the worth the risk.

Seasoned instructors would tell me to keep pushing forward no matter what, and knowing myself, that’s what I’ll do. I just don’t know when things will start looking up and stay steady for once.



One thought on “The Inner Struggle of A Martial Arts Instructor

  1. Yeah, keep pushing on. Are you doing something wrong? Probably, all instructors are – don’t try to be perfect, being good is good enough. What could you be doing better? Well, everything that you are already doing well, and everything that you may not be doing well. Continuous improvement if you catch my drift. Is there something about you that people don’t like? Maybe, I couldn’t tell you what that is though. In any case, I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless someone doesn’t like something about you enough to say something about it. Are you meant to be an instructor? This is a philosophic question that only you can answer. I don’t buy the pre-destination argument. You are good at teaching and you have a passion to teach. That being the case I would say that you should continue to teach as long as you have a passion to do so. Important: Don’t be so hard on your self! Take it easy and enjoy the ride.


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