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Thread: Open Letter to Lazy Students

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    Default Open Letter to Lazy Students

    If any of you have a chance to speak your mind or just let it out of chest. What would you like to say ?

    I am in a situation where I finally had enough with one student. He has been with me for over 4 years now and still at a mid level rank (6th Kyu). He comes in at least one or sometimes twice a month. Althought, he still pays his dues on time. It bothers me becasue he is hardly around. What's worst is that whenever he shows up , he does not seems to train hard like the rest.

    Last week I decided just to let him go. He insisted that he does not want to quit or expelled from the Dojo. He has given me reasons like He stays at work late and he has to be in church every sunday. For the last two months he has called me every other day ! and promising to be there in class.

    Every single promises has been broken and frankly I am at the point that I do not believe him at all. To make the matter worst I just found out ( from a very very very realible source) that he gets off at 5pm and has not been in church for over a month.

    BTW, this "very very very realible source" also tells me that he does even do any housework at all such as taking out the garbage. Jeez, what am I suppose to say ?

    What can YOU say if you were in my size 7 tabi ?
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

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    "The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break."
    John Madden
    Ed Boyd

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Loeffler
    BTW, this "very very very realible source" also tells me that he does even do any housework at all such as taking out the garbage. Jeez, what am I suppose to say ?
    This is a key bit of information. I think this individual in question may have some psychological/emotional issues. This particular snippet is really making me think that there may be some undiagnosed depression. Im not a mental health professional, but there are some people close to me who have dealt with these problems and your whole description sounds alot like a case study.

    On the bright side, this person is possibly a martial arts success story waiting to happen. The concentration and exertion of hard training is often what keeps many of these people balanced and motivated. However, there needs to be a first step taken. I dont think that this person should be expelled out of hand. I dont know how frank you can be with the individual. Honestly you have to figure out how much of a personal investment you want to make. I think a heart to heart about time, effort and goals could be useful. You arent a therapist, but if you can somehow bring up the larger issues of life in general you might give this person a turning point.

    The student in question might be one prescription away from being an inspirational student.

    or...

    he could just be a lazy bum

    but.....

    its often hard to tell

    Not sure if that is an answer, but its another way to think about it.
    Kyro R. Lantsberger
    "They couldnt hit an elephant at this dist--." Last words of Civil War Union General Sedgewick

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    Ask him what he wants out of training. Look for red flags that tell you whether or not he's feeding off the dojo.
    You could have him write a 1-2 page paper about why he trains in the martial art, telling him that he can't come back to training unless you have his paper in your hand (stressing that "Oh its done but I forgot it. I'll bring it next time." won't work, but that the paper actually has to be in your hand).
    That way his training is his own responsibility; so if he takes training more seriously, it's through his own work instead of someone else's rules.

    You could also make him responsible for a job at the dojo (bringing tea, kamidana candles, incense, etc). Whatever it is, make sure it wouldn't ruin anything if he fails (for your own sake). Also, make sure everyone knows he's responsible for it (ask him informally then make an announcement, telling everyone he's offered to help). Then it turns into accountability.

    "The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him."
    -Henry Stimson (1867 - 1950)
    __________________
    Tom Barton

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    Sometimes, these "prodigal sons" are the ones who need martial arts training more than any of your other students. For some, it takes longer for their training to spill over into their everyday lives - these are the ones who need you most of all!
    Edward Koschmider

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    My teacher has always dealt with slacker students by ignoring them. It is actually a pretty traditional way to deal with students who aren't meeting standards, as far as I know. Getting correction and feedback is a privilege, although few enough students realize this. So I would ignore him, and after a while, maybe have a senior student drop a hint that you get ignored when you don't practice hard.
    Best regards,
    Bruce Mitchell

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Loeffler
    If any of you have a chance to speak your mind or just let it out of chest. What would you like to say ?

    I am in a situation where I finally had enough with one student. He has been with me for over 4 years now and still at a mid level rank (6th Kyu). He comes in at least one or sometimes twice a month. Althought, he still pays his dues on time. It bothers me becasue he is hardly around. What's worst is that whenever he shows up , he does not seems to train hard like the rest.

    Last week I decided just to let him go. He insisted that he does not want to quit or expelled from the Dojo. He has given me reasons like He stays at work late and he has to be in church every sunday. For the last two months he has called me every other day ! and promising to be there in class.

    Every single promises has been broken and frankly I am at the point that I do not believe him at all. To make the matter worst I just found out ( from a very very very realible source) that he gets off at 5pm and has not been in church for over a month.

    BTW, this "very very very realible source" also tells me that he does even do any housework at all such as taking out the garbage. Jeez, what am I suppose to say ?

    What can YOU say if you were in my size 7 tabi ?
    Suggestion; put him or her in charge of the class some evening and then tell him or her if he or she is unwilling to replace you then take a hike sounds like dope is adjusted his or her thinking. Hope he or she is not related!

    Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by CEB
    "The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer rules there are for players to break."
    John Madden

    Oh So true !
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyro Lantsberger
    This is a key bit of information. I think this individual in question may have some psychological/emotional issues. This particular snippet is really making me think that there may be some undiagnosed depression. Im not a mental health professional, but there are some people close to me who have dealt with these problems and your whole description sounds alot like a case study.

    On the bright side, this person is possibly a martial arts success story waiting to happen. The concentration and exertion of hard training is often what keeps many of these people balanced and motivated. However, there needs to be a first step taken. I dont think that this person should be expelled out of hand. I dont know how frank you can be with the individual. Honestly you have to figure out how much of a personal investment you want to make. I think a heart to heart about time, effort and goals could be useful. You arent a therapist, but if you can somehow bring up the larger issues of life in general you might give this person a turning point.

    The student in question might be one prescription away from being an inspirational student.

    or...

    he could just be a lazy bum

    but.....

    its often hard to tell

    Not sure if that is an answer, but its another way to think about it.

    He used to really enthusiastic about his training or perhaps good at hiding his laziness, but somewhere down the line its just got worst. You may be on to something in regards to some psychological/emotional issues, then again I am not a therapist.
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surgere
    Ask him what he wants out of training. Look for red flags that tell you whether or not he's feeding off the dojo.
    You could have him write a 1-2 page paper about why he trains in the martial art, telling him that he can't come back to training unless you have his paper in your hand (stressing that "Oh its done but I forgot it. I'll bring it next time." won't work, but that the paper actually has to be in your hand).
    That way his training is his own responsibility; so if he takes training more seriously, it's through his own work instead of someone else's rules.

    You could also make him responsible for a job at the dojo (bringing tea, kamidana candles, incense, etc). Whatever it is, make sure it wouldn't ruin anything if he fails (for your own sake). Also, make sure everyone knows he's responsible for it (ask him informally then make an announcement, telling everyone he's offered to help). Then it turns into accountability.

    "The only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him."
    -Henry Stimson (1867 - 1950)

    I have asked him these questions so many times and the response seems very satisfactory and serious enough for me to believe. The only problem is that its all talk and no action. His own wife can't even get him to throw the trash out that's been sitting outside by the door for couple of days and the funny thing that the trash bin is right next to his carport, How can I get him to write an essay ?
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

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    Quote Originally Posted by DustyMars
    Suggestion; put him or her in charge of the class some evening and then tell him or her if he or she is unwilling to replace you then take a hike sounds like dope is adjusted his or her thinking. Hope he or she is not related!

    Jeff

    I have actually given a responsibility by allowing him to run one of my satellite karate kids program where he teaches one day a week on a saturday. He was getting paid $25 per class. He quit that as well as he gave me a mountain of excuses which turns that he just did not feel like waking up at 9:00 am and driving 15 minutes to the dojo. There is nothing really I can do if he does want such oppurtunity.
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

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    Repeatedly kick his arse until he shapes up or ships out?

    Or just ignore him as much as possible until he shapes up or ships out?

    How old is he? From your description he sounds like a kid, in which case either of the above may not be appropriate and he might need some alternative method of motivation. No idea what that would be though. Giving him extra responsibilities and ownership of certain tasks might work, but it obviously carries risks for you if he fails in them. You can't give him 'token' responsibilities, because he will realise he's being patronised. ("No, really, official belt tidier is the single most important job in the dojo!" )
    Cheers,

    Mike
    No-Kan-Do

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWilliams
    Repeatedly kick his arse until he shapes up or ships out?

    Or just ignore him as much as possible until he shapes up or ships out?

    How old is he? From your description he sounds like a kid, in which case either of the above may not be appropriate and he might need some alternative method of motivation. No idea what that would be though. Giving him extra responsibilities and ownership of certain tasks might work, but it obviously carries risks for you if he fails in them. You can't give him 'token' responsibilities, because he will realise he's being patronised. ("No, really, official belt tidier is the single most important job in the dojo!" )

    He is old enough as he has a family. Family is not an excuse because his family were to one who were the who sign him up for classes 4 years ago. In fact his wife does tells that he is just that way. Lazy and lacks the ability to organised ! From the surface, you may think that he seems to well organized and hard working. But the wifey tells me different.

    I have given responsibily in which part he has came thru but it balanced out to the part in which he failed miserably.
    Prince Loeffler
    Shugyokan Dojo

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    What can YOU say if you were in my size 7 tabi ?
    Personally, I would take the Japanese way with him. That means that as long as he's willing to help pay the rent, and he isn't disrupting other's training, just ignore him. Let him help out the dojo by paying his dues, but that doesn't mean that you have to waste your own time and energy on him. If he doesn't wish to progress, let him be. Concentrate your efforts on those students that work hard.

    Just my thoughts on it.
    Paul Smith
    "Always keep the sharp side and the pointy end between you and your opponent"

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    You know, sometimes I think we forget that the population sample on a martial arts bulletin is quite skewed and likely to lead to vastly different perspectives than 99% of the people out there that just go out and join a dojo.

    To most it is simply a hobby, a pastime, a night out away from the kids or spouse, but it certainly is nothing like a way of life or something that carries serious obligations.

    This guy seems like a normal guy that kind of likes training, but doesn't want anything life changing or that heavy out of it. It also may be he has picked up on your passion, but doesn't necessarily share in it and feels a bit bad telling you that.

    I also don't think the guy has emotional problems because he doesn't do housework. We (I at least) have no idea what the dynamics of his personal life are and how he works out his obligations on that front. We may tend to judge character by the way someone acts in the dojo, but I don't think this is a very objective barometer and not neccarliy a valid one for judging people in their "real life" relationships.

    Why is his wife telling you these things about him? Did she approach you?

    It is your dojo and it is your job to set the tone by either dealing with these things yourself or training seniors to do it in your stead, but I would go over in your head just how clearly you set out the requirements for membership with this guy and I would make it clear that you don’t want a “drop-in” dojo or a social club.

    Being a member carries responsibilities and if he can't meet those obligations, then your dojo isn't the place for him. You may think these messages are sent simply through training, but sometimes it needs to be explained in clear terms what being a member really means. I would make sure this guy understands that before I took any action as a result of a misunderstanding. For example, if this guy has no idea about the Japanese tradition of ignoring students, you will simply exacerbate the problem. If you want to create a didactic experience rather than a punitive one, this is probably not the way to go. In the end, the teacher and students working in unison create the dojo atmosphere. If one guy is going his own way and disrupting things, you need to address it.

    How senior is this guy in the dojo, anyway?

    Kevin Cantwell

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