We have posted regularly about how martial arts is all about hard work, discipline & respect - you get out of it multiples of what you put in.
Whilst ours is Tang Soo Do, the rules are the same for any & all martial arts. It is important that these rules are understood & observed by all, given that we are learning self-defence techniques, striking pads, blocking attacks & learning to fight. Your Instructor is there to make sure that these rules are observed & that things don't get out of hand at any time.
So what are these rules...?
Never be late
It is not a cliche, nor is it an understatement, to say that this is one of the things any Instructor hates the most. Classes start at the published time - start times are not an approximate guideline. We accept that there may be occasions where traffic gets the better of us or there is an accident en route - this is why we have a '5 minute rule' - but arriving on time for class means 10 minutes before the start time; that way you should never be late & you will never have to do the extra push ups!
Turning up late for class is disrespectful to both your Instructor & to the other students - they have made it on time therefore so could you. It also says a lot about your approach to training - serious students, interested in progressing, are always on time/early to the Do Jang. Instructors use it as an indicator of how interested/serious students are in progressing - You are being watched....
Also, the roadworks around the Prestwich Centre are now over so there is no excuse. The '5 Minute Rule' is back in force.
You may have noticed that your Instructor is NEVER late? Model their behaviour and you won't go far wrong!
Never talk in class
I don't mean you cannot answer a question. Raising your hand or responding when asked is what Instructors are looking for when they ask a question - just follow the protocol; Raise hand, await invitation to speak, bow & respond.
However, speaking whilst the Instructor is teaching or explaining techniques is usually a sure-fire way of getting both barrels & inviting punishment. Do it too often & your Instructor may ask you to leave the Club it is that frustrating.
Martial Arts clubs are an amazing place to make new friends & for you to socialise. However, once you are on the mats, your focus should be on your training. We do attempt to have a light atmosphere & to have a little fun during our training; however don't incur the wrath of your Instructor just because you couldn't wait for the right time & place to have that conversation with your training partner/friend. Instead of interrupting the Instructor, remember what you wanted to say & do it after the class is over.
Chatting during the class is also disrespectful & selfish because you are distracting other students. The focus whilst on the mats must be on learning new moves, applying them in practice & training hard.
Never lose your focus
Martial arts requires focus on what you are doing/learning. I accept it's not rocket science & won't require 100% of your brain power - however, you do need to concentrate on what's happening in class all of the time.
If you don't, you won't learn as much or as fast as others. As fatigue starts to take hold, focus & concentration will wane (think about how we test that you have learned your Hyungs by tiring you out, then testing them). When you start to miss what's being said or not take it in correctly, mistakes creep in & you (or your partner) could get hurt.
Don't be the one who, when asked a question, doesn't know what's going on because you've been daydreaming...
We mix up our classes to make sure we are doing all we can to retain interest & to aid focus, and we don't mind explaining things a couple of times in a couple of different ways to make sure everyone (and all different learning types) have a chance to take it in. But, not being able to do something because you weren't listening gets you on your Instructor's hit list pretty quickly
Never be a bully
Martial arts training is all about respect & having control of your ego - heard the phrase 'check your ego at the door'? Each Centre is one big (happy) family that shares the same passion, is ready to support each other towards our goals and is kind to each other.
As a training partner, it is your role to support & help your partner to learn - striking to hurt or dominating a sparring partner is the quickest way to get yourself kicked out of the club. Accidents happen & sparring is a competitive process, but it can all be done in the right way - the way we teach in class.
Never be a bad partner
It shouldn't matter if you like Hyungs, padwork or sparring, it should always be done in a safe manner, with the safety of your partner at the centre.
We will often use only a proportion of full power to execute a technique, meaning we can focus on technique, developing power this way, as opposed to brute strength. The focus should be on learning & developing, not winning an imagined title fight! Control is the key word. Swinging wild punches & kicks is not the way you learn things - it only increases the risk of injuries to both you & your partner.
Don't try to be better than others - try to be better than you were the time before. That is the way to progress!
99% of students in martial arts clubs are well aware of the things listed above - If you are a beginner, don’t worry too much about these things. Instructors know how to deal with them. Knowing the rules though will help develop you as a true martial artist. Developing good habits & assimilating the culture of your Centre will make things so much easier & more enjoyable.
See you on the mats