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People come and people go - that’s the fact of life, and it also applies to student memberships in our Systema club. Now, I don’t believe that we are different from the rest of the schools out there when it comes to this aspect, but I do believe that we differs from U.S. schools in the terms of Norway being a safer place, and most people here don’t feel the need to take self-protective measures. So it’s probably easier to get and maintain students in the U.S. than here in Norway based on that fact.


Now, that that doesn’t necessary mean those American schools doesn’t have trouble getting and keeping students. In fact I believe that they may experience the same challenges that we do her in Norwegistan. There might be several reasons to why people want to start training, and there are many ways to get students.


Reasons why people want to join your school:

 

  • to learn self-defense.
  • to get in shape/lose weight.
  • rank/belt chaser.
  • want to become an instructor.
  • want revenge  on someone.
  • prestige.
  • meet new people/socialize.
     

Of course there might be other reasons as well but these are the most common reasons that we have come across.


Means to get new students might be:

 

  • through advertising.
  • flyers/pamphlets.
  • website/Facebook/youtube.
  • word of mouth/knows an existing student.
     

There are other means as well but these are the most common to us.


Some reasons why students quit:

 

  • work/family obligations.
  • injury.
  • financial issues.
  • tired of that form of traning/bad instructor.
     

The last point is VERY important. It is our job as instructors to make sure that this last point never happens. We must always vary exercises and drills, intensity and topics. Always seek new knowledge and pressure test the shit out of it. Make sure that you are confident in what you teach and to make sure you are prepared for challenges. If you advertise with realistic self-defense you must make sure that this is what you teach.


The whole reason why I started this blog post was this next point. People start to train and quit training because they have the wrong expectations of what this training offers. We have experienced many students over the years that expect one thing and get something else. Sadly enough we haven’t quite picked up on it before recently.


People see youtube clips of Kevin Secours, Alex Kostic, Vladimir Vasiliev and Martin Wheeler and they see how subtle and elegant these guys dance around and move with the greatest of ease. Putting several opponents down without trouble. Then they show up for class and expect to manage the same thing. Sonny Puzikas said that: “Relaxation is the privilege of the fit” or something like that. What I believe he means by that is that to be able to move like the top guys you need to be strong and fit. These guys have trained for decades and are super-fit. Very few promo-vids of Systema on youtube shows the truth about how vigorous our exercises can be. New students show up for easy-class and then get Spetznased…..not quite but….no not even close….but still pretty hard and tough. So my message to you all is that we start showing what’s REALLY going on so that we can get students that have a better understanding of what the classes are like instead of getting those who are not willing to put in the work.


Good luck!
Ola