"Everyone quits." Words of wisdom from my business mentor Keith Hafner. This is just so true, I wish it were not. However student leaving is just an inevitable fact of life, like death and taxes. But sometimes the reasons are very frustrating. The other day a senior student made a comment to me saying "i think you still have much left to teach me." I was actually kind of surprised. I really don't know if I do or not. That is up to him.
I few years ago now I had a senior student who as he increased in rank became very disrespectful on the dojo floor. As his importance in the organization grew so did his ego. My fault really, I advanced him too quickly. Live and learn, that is what life is about! During class at times when I was teaching something, answering a question, or commenting he would actually roll his eyes. Often voicing his different opinion while I was doing this. Now him and I would often have vary different views, based on different life experiences, but that has nothing to do with respect, and actions on the floor.
This man had become "unteachable."
I left my first instructor after 16 years of very dedicated service. But I did not leave because I was unteachable or my ego had gotten the better of me. I left because he stopped teaching me. His interest at the time was gone. The reason for my success over the years is I am still teachable, learning from many great martial artists especially the last 16 years.
When you first begin training in martial arts there is so much to learn. At this point if desire is there it is easy to remain motivated and teachable. But as the amount of knowledge slows, more attention is required to details, the student begins to fall from the path. The teacher learns as much from the student, as the student does from the teacher, until the student stops being teachable.
Are you still teachable or are you now the "master?" I am still the student, the title "master" is the burden I carry in order to motivate and spread the information I have dedicated my life too learning. "Master" is not about my ego, but that of my student who I want to surpass me.
One day a few years ago my eldest son Curt said to me, "you know I am now much better then you are at all this?" i said "yes I know, I have done my job as your teacher." He said "i am happy you realize this." Curt Mason was always teachable, so is his brother Scott.
The martial path is not about rank or style, it is about self awareness. When you stop being teachable, you begin the process of death.
I choose to be a student on the path of life,
I remain humbly,
Grand Master Art Mason
Founder: Art Mason's Peaceful Warriors' Martial Arts