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Sojourner
07-29-2015, 07:10 AM
A blog about leaving, joining and potentially returning again.

https://dontmakemeangrymrmcgee.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/leaving-a-dojo-martial-art-on-good-terms/

Currawong
07-30-2015, 06:55 AM
It reminds me a little of the old (and now defunct) web site on Shotokan Karate: 24 Fighting Chickens. They had a great article about how to leave a karate dojo, especially given the bonds formed, emotional worry about peoples' reactions to quitting and whatnot. His advice was: no announcements, proclamations, letters, phone calls or anything, just stop showing up. Do nothing and say nothing, just don't go any more. Then, in the future, if you start training again, you can just show up and start paying fees again and people can be pleasantly surprised.

I think though that the most I would do is, if there are no bad feelings, simply casually mention to a friend at the dojo that I wont be around for a while due to other things going on, and keep in touch via Facebook or the like. Maybe if I was a good friend of the teacher I might say as much to them. However, they might ask for details, then that would get awkward quickly.

On the other hand, marching up to the teacher to say "I'm quitting, thanks for all you've done." would actually be annoying and potentially bridge-burning. From his (or her) point of view, if you were really grateful, you wouldn't quit! Stopping going to class without saying anything is simple and the best option. You haven't said anything so nothing will be there to stick in people's minds to ponder and become negative.

Janet Rosen
07-30-2015, 10:09 AM
On the other hand, marching up to the teacher to say "I'm quitting, thanks for all you've done." would actually be annoying and potentially bridge-burning. From his (or her) point of view, if you were really grateful, you wouldn't quit! Stopping going to class without saying anything is simple and the best option. You haven't said anything so nothing will be there to stick in people's minds to ponder and become negative.

1. IME most teachers are people capable of understanding there really are valid reasons people stop training, be it short term or long term.
2. IME in many dojos the culture is such that that simply disappearing means people will be concerned about you and in fact what will stick in people's minds is "is she ok?" and "was it something we did or didn't do?"

jonreading
07-30-2015, 10:24 AM
There are only two ways to leave our dojo and one of them is in a body bag. :) The other is just letting me know so I can stop dojo payments and update my roster. People quit stuff all the time and martial arts is no exception.

I think if you have enough angst built around the idea of leaving a dojo you cannot do it comfortably then you have other things in your life to address and you'll get no grief from me. I think if you are creating drama around your exit by involving dojo mates, social media or other public forums then you are trying to make an issue of things - even if it is to make clear that you are not trying to make an issue of things. Keep it simple and I am more than happy to pass information to the dojo to keep everyone informed upon request.

Sometimes we think our participation in a dojo is critical. You sometimes see this with an instructor who refuses to capitulate to a board managing the dojo. Sometimes a small group of students feel they wield significant political influence to bully other students. Chances are classes will continue when we leave and the world will remain largely unchanged by our absences in class.

I did have one student long ago who stole the dojo scrolls and fled. I traveled the world and eventually found him in India. He used the information in the scrolls to create a world-wide crime syndicate that spread corruption, suffering and pain. We fought over a ravine where I was able to defeat him and reclaim my lost scrolls. That guy was the exception - the world is a better place now that he is gone.
Oh, wait. I think that was maybe G.I. Joe.

lbb
07-30-2015, 12:02 PM
I think if you have enough angst built around the idea of leaving a dojo you cannot do it comfortably then you have other things in your life to address and you'll get no grief from me. I think if you are creating drama around your exit by involving dojo mates, social media or other public forums then you are trying to make an issue of things - even if it is to make clear that you are not trying to make an issue of things. Keep it simple and I am more than happy to pass information to the dojo to keep everyone informed upon request.

Well...speaking in the general case, and not about your dojo, but some senseis would rather hear from someone if they don't intend to train any more. Or at least, that's what they say. It truly bothers them when someone leaves, and they want to know why.

Of course, just because someone says "No really, I want to know" doesn't mean they'll accept the answer graciously. You can accuse students of being drama llamas, but same goes both ways, ya know? That's where Rob Redmond's advice makes sense: you might have an argument but you're not gonna have a conversation, not with someone who isn't open to hearing what you're saying, so might as well just vanish.

jurasketu
07-30-2015, 12:19 PM
I'll echo Jon Reading a bit here...

I don't see how dojos are any different than any other club or business where someone is a member. I don't get the big deal. How hard is it to be an adult? The reasons for quitting are many. Everyone quits a club at some point for reasons simple to really complicated. Everyone, everywhere has needed to make a change in their life at some point. Everyone understands (if they don't that is there problem not yours). The polite thing to do is inform the leader and members that you've decided to quit. You can be diplomatic and say you might return should circumstances change (which is often true). If circumstances are such that you leaving because something is really wrong at a given club, a simple "this club isn't working for me anymore and I need to move on" should be good enough, no need for a dramatic exit. A simple phone call or even an email will suffice when quitting in person makes you uncomfortable.

Importantly, if you are part of the leadership or have defined duties at a club, you had damned well be forthcoming about your departure. Your duties have to be assigned to someone else.

Often, you have made friends at a club who want to remain friends even if you are no longer at the club, a dramatic or "secretive" exit makes that very awkward. In fact, your friends at the club will be slightly hurt that you didn't bother to say goodbye or thank them for your time together. I know people are uncomfortable saying goodbye and don't want to be seen as a quitter, but if you just slink off into the night - you are viewed as a lazy quitter rather than someone that just needs to make a change in their life.

dps
07-30-2015, 03:05 PM
Don't burn your bridges.

I try to always leave any group or organization on good terms. I may want to go back, have contact or business with them again unless it is an unhealthy association.

dps

Currawong
07-30-2015, 05:40 PM
I guess that the guy who wrote the article about quitting a karate club had it much worse in the Karate world than we do in the Aikido world, with dojos coming and going at an alarming pace, payment contracts made through debt collection agencies and what sounds like a lack of maturity in many participants. So I guess it is quite off the mark for applying to Aikido dojos (or at least I'd hope so).

The original article presented here mentioned trying a different martial art. While I've never done that, I did re-start Aikido under a different style, then quit to focus on what I knew. I was in two minds whether or not to tell the teacher all the reasons for quitting his class, such as the confusion between doing two styles. I had injured my foot attempting to roll with what felt like the wrong foot forward landing so that ended up being my reason to leave. I do miss training with them to a degree though, they were all fantastic people.