I train fighters. I’m good at it. But in the end, how much a student gets out of training depends very much on how much they put in. Some of the hardest people to train are the ones that come in with some experience and want my class to be exactly the same as the one they left. You might wonder why they left, but sometimes there’s a reason…
Anyhow, it can be quite frustrating to work with these people. One example is a former Karate student who passed through our Kickboxing program. I’ve seen good and bad Karate, and he was definitely on the ‘bad’ side. He claimed to be a black belt, which doesn’t say much for everyone else at whatever class he came from.
Anyway, we teach a fairly vanilla-flavor striking syllabus with an emphasis on hitting hard with basic techniques. There’s a way you hit when you’re trying to deliver impact, and it’s different to the way you, err, perform a punch-like movement and hit empty air. It always take a while for students to convert from one style to another, but that assumes they want to. Or that they’ve noticed that anything is different in the new class.
A few months in. Yes, months after coming to us, this individual was still not hitting hard, still performing karate strikes instead of throwing the more western-style shots we use. But finally it was time to spar. Karate dude was put up against one of the beginners for a light sparring introduction. Beginner was naturally nervous and did a bit too much standing around trying to decide what to do. That gave Karate dude his chance to, well, to stand somewhere near his opponent and perform slow, clumsy Karate-type strikes that looked like nothing we teach.
I mentioned months of attending our classes, at least intermittently, right? Well, I believe you should judge a class and its coach by the students. In which case I suck. This person learned absolutely nothing from us in several months, and eventually stopped coming to the class. Can’t say I was sorry about that.
This is a problem with a certain kind of student. The kind that already knows it all when they arrive. Rather than learning anything, they just trundle along doing what they already know. Sometimes they come around in time, sometimes not. This one didn’t. As a coach all you can do is show the way; it’s up to the student to decide whether they want to take any notice.
I guess that if you’re going to take horses to water , the odd one will fall in and drown.