When Is The Make or Break Point

tippingThis is not a scientific study by any means. It is a reflection of my observations from my school over the past 5 years, and my martial arts experiences since beginning in 1985.

6 months.

That is the make or break point.

If a student can go past the 6 month mark, they are very likely to continue indefinitely. In my school, over 95% of the people who made it past this half year mark are training today. The 5% of people who are not longer training have left due to unforeseen circumstances — relocating due to job or life circumstances being the most common reason.

Even those who life is changed greatly — marriage, new job, children to name a few — if they have made it past the 6 month mark,  they almost always return. Granted, each may not make it to class every single week but they are still a part of our circle and train on an irregularly regular basis.

What is it about this 6 month mark that seems to be the make or break point? Why do some quit while other go on to become true martial artists?

At least in my experience, I would answer these questions with one word  – newness. 

For 6 months, everything in Systema is new. Really, really new. Movements, foot work, kick defense, kick work. . . name the topic and it is new to the student.

At the half year mark, that is when the real work begins. The complete newness is gone for the most part. They know what needs to be done, from push ups to foot work to  proper breathing.  And it is tough. It is challenging and some are simply not up for this.

Most of the people who have come and gone have done so after one class. For what ever reason, it was not for them. But for the transitioning from Exploring to Hard Core, 6 months seems to be the time.

What has your experience been?