Keeping It Classy: How to Quit Martial Arts (or anything else)

I’d like to share a story today. A while ago, I was hanging out between classes when a parent prompted their student to come talk to me.

“What’s up?” I asked.

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“I’m going to quit Karate,” the student said.

No instructor likes hearing those words.

But, the rest of the conversation proved to me that quitting karate doesn’t have to be awkward, rude, or negative for anyone involved.

At all.

In fact, the rest of this student’s conversation with me went really well.

Click “more” to find out! 

Our footsteps may lead us in another direction--and that's okay.

Our footsteps may lead us in another direction–and that’s okay.

“I’m quitting Karate,” the student said, “after this month. I’m going to try another sport.”

“What sport?” I asked.

Big grin. “Football,” the student said. He had just gotten his orange belt.

“Awesome,” I said, grinning back. “Good luck, I hope you enjoy it. You’re welcome back any time.”

That’s it. That’s all it takes to quit in a classy way: a declaration of honest intention free of any negativity.

I applaud the parent in this situation as well. They commented to me after the student walked away, “You have to learn how to quit a job, how to leave on good terms with people.”

And I thought to myself, “YES! They get it!”

Maybe I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but not everyone is a martial artist.

Being a martial artist demands a lot, physically AND mentally. Living a black belt lifestyle requires commitment of more than just a few hours each week. As much as I try to share my passion for martial arts with each and every person who walks through the dojo door, sometimes it’s just not their “thing.”

And that’s totally fine too.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s always sad to see a student quit.

But when they quit the way this student did, I really believe that we made a difference in how they choose to live their life, regardless of whether or not they stick with martial arts or become a black belt.

So, when you have to quit something, quit classy. You’ll leave a lasting impression.

A good one.

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Quit classy and leave a good impression behind.

Lesson learned.

Love it.

About Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree black belt, senior instructor, administrative assistant, and student of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Arnis at Northwest School of Martial Arts.
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