A world falling apart

Today started as bad as a day can start.
Apparentaly, Christopher, one of my most promising students, will stop training in november.

You see, that’s the problem with talented kids: they don’t seem to value all the work they’ve put into developing their skills. After all, they can become good at any sport in little time, so why care?

Here in Austria (I dare say Europe), gifted martial arts students are a scarce bunch. Talented kids tend to join a soccer club where they get paid practically from the start. The dojos are usually filled by kids that couldn’t quite make it to a soccer team. Needless to say, they get good at what they do after a time as well by working hard and consistently.

Hard work beats talent if talent refuses to work hard…

Still, kids like Christopher can do the most advanced stuff practically from the start. If they were to stick to the martial arts and work as hard as the less talented kids, nothing can stand in their way.

Actually, we have an example for that at my teacher’s dojo. A girl named Helena, who started out quite early when she whas about 6 years of age. Out of all the talented and gifted kids, she was propably least fostered, as she always was and still is pretty small for her age.

On the other hand, out of all those talented and gifted kids, she was the only one to stick to training. While others stopped training during puberty, she worked hard. When the others spread their time in pursue of many different hobbies, she stayed focussed at the martial arts. Now, eventually, while all the rest leads an ordinary life with sports as a casual part of life at best, Helena just went to Spain to compete in the ISKA kickboxing world championships.

…but what if talent works hard?

Now as much as I value and esteem Helena (which I really do), Christopher surpasses her by far when it comes to raw talent. Seeing him stop training makes my heart bleed.

As a trainer, I put the most work in both the most and least skilled of my students. Obviously, the most skilled ones can handle more while the least skilled ones just need to work more. The average student just won’t get that much attention during a session. That’s not because of me being a jerk but simply because a session goes for a certain time, during which I have to work with everybody.

For example, if a session goes for 75 minutes and there’s 10 people in the class, I can spend 7.5 minutes on every student – not considering such things as meditation, warmup, explanations, etc. that obviously cut back on net training time. Now 7.5 minutes won’t cut it in most cases where there’s major stuff to work on.

That’s why the average student rather gets feedback on details so as to hone his skills up to a point where he can actually handle more fundamental input. On the other hand, the less skilled student needs to be supervised muc more carefully.

From my experience, I dare say that most of the work a trainer puts into his most skilled students actually takes place outside the regular classes. We’re talking about preparations for fights here, as well as shows, demonstrations, private lessons, etc.

The same goes for Christopher, whom I’ve already mentioned in some of my posts – he participated in some shows as well as two Shinergy[battles] (that’s our from of a championships).

I hate to see him go – but then, I can do nothing but wish him all the best best for his future.

So long,

take care

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