Members of clubs, any clubs, often take what the club provides for granted. This is perfectly understandable because quite often, they are completely removed from the running of the club.
This is exactly the same for martial arts instructor. Students turn up, practice – or train – and then go home. The instructor has gone through at least four years of training, paid out their membership and insurance fees, saved up and paid for their black belt grading, written a thesis and attended any number of instructor courses.
After they’ve done all that they’ve hunted for a venue, negotiated rates, designed and printed leaflets, handed them out, cajoled their friends and family into coming along to the classes to keep numbers up, bought training equipment, undergone CRB checks, sourced uniforms and patches and finally – if they’re not part of an association – written an entire syllabus. All before they even get to open the club.
From there they have to plan lessons, identify needs in their individual students and work to their strengths and weaknesses – so long as it’s not to the detriment of other students – and remain positive and upbeat at all times, regardless as to how they’re actually feeling at the time. On top of this they arrange gradings, seminars, parties, catch-up lessons and special lessons, putting even more hours into the club after they’ve finished the lesson.
And that’s what gets my goat. People view martial arts lessons in the same way as, for example, Body Attack. Once the instructor has learned the moves for that particular programme, they can churn them out until the next one. Yes, they have to qualify in such things as Exercise to Music and there are many ongoing licensing costs, but there is no individual instruction, they don’t break the moves down for new starters, they aren’t trying to get people ready for gradings, they aren’t trying to help people who have been attacked get over their experience whilst learning to be better able to defend themselves.
Yes, the instructor is doing something that they love and no, they don’t have to go through all that and run a club, but if people hadn’t already expressed an interest and come to some lessons already, then they wouldn’t be running one on the first place because it wouldn’t be viable. Chicken and egg, egg and chicken scenario.
So, the next time it’s raining/sunny/snowy/your cat lost a hair/ there’s a football match on/whatever, just think of the instructor who has gone through all of that, done all the preparation, and who might be feeling just as shitty as you, but who is stood in the hall waiting to see who will turn up for class.
An instructor isn’t just for the ‘I’ve got a new hobby honeymoon period’, they’re for life!