Our school is in a small town where you pretty well know everyone. Our attitudes are much like that of a bunch of friends just hanging out and playing around. We laugh and joke with everyone, including our instructor. Our belts are just our achievements, nothing more. It’s a very inviting environment for anyone that walks through our doors. This isn’t the case at some schools. I’ve been to some schools where walking in the door is intimidating and uncomfortable. Needless to say, I didn’t stay long!
I started martial arts very early in life. The first school I went to was a Tae-kwon-Do school in Louisville KY. This school was not very open and friendly, it was more like a military type of establishment; strict rules stated, not to ask questions about anything until after class, addressing everyone as sir or ma’am, and the lower belts and kids weren’t allowed to speak to the black belts. It was awkward and uncomfortable all the time! If someone asked a question out of turn or addressed the instructor wrong, they were punished. I understand that this was normal back in the early days of Japan or wherever, but this is a new day and age!
To me, a school that is more comfortable and friendly is something to be desired. I ask more questions than any other student in our school, so much so that everyone just looks straight at me as soon as our coach is done talking because they know it’s coming. If I had to wait until the end of class for all the questions that I have, I would have to move in with him just to learn it. This is comfort to me! I like being able to talk to our instructor just like he’s one of us. We treat him with respect and listen to what he tells us to do without question. Do we call him sir? Nope, we call him by his name or by coach. He does the same for us. If we are being stupid, he tells us. We are more like a family that pays rent than we are a school with tuition!
Maybe that’s the difference between Jiu Jitsu and other traditional martial arts. I’m sure there are a lot of people that want that crazy military type dojo. Not me, I like that we are friends and we carry our friendships outside of our school. This is home to me and the complete reason why I am here to stay. I hope you have found that school that you feel at home in. You don’t have to be treated like you don’t belong just to learn any martial art!! Oss!!!