IMA Kids Class with Instructor Luis Rodriguez
IMA Kids Class with Instructor Luis Rodriguez

What is the purpose of martial arts training? If you believe (as many do) that it is to help people discover their own inner strength and power, then your martial arts school should be a place of acceptance. For everyone.

What does that mean? It means that the awkward, nonathletic kid who can’t do a single push up? He can come in. So
can the girl who plays soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse. And the girl who plays piano. Strong, weak, young, old…they should all be people welcome inside your doors.

Sadly, that’s not always the case. There are martial arts schools where people are ostracized for not fitting a particular mold when they first walk in the door. Maybe they’re too heavy, or they don’t show the proper “fighting spirit”, or they just dress funny. Whatever the case, if the instructor or higher level students have decided that this student doesn’t belong, they’ll often make an effort to ostracize that student. Rarely is it a case of saying “we don’t want you here”. It’s usually a quieter rejection: a little less attention during class, a little less encouragement, and pretty soon, you’ve got a student who knows that they aren’t welcome in the gym anymore. They move on, and everyone else in the gym can have a good laugh now that the weirdo is gone.

That is not at all how it should be.

Kru Mark DellaGrotte teaching Muay Thai
Kru Mark DellaGrotte teaching Muay Thai

Who needs empowerment? Here’s a hint: it isn’t the young, tough, and confident of the world. The kind of person who seeks out knowledge of how to protect themselves is rarely going to be the kind of person who feels on top of the world. It will be the unathletic, the timid, who need your help. And they should receive it.

If a martial arts school won’t accept you because of who you are, then you shouldn’t be there.

If the idea of exploring personal empowerment through the martial arts resonates with you, come check out one of our classes at Integrated Martial Arts. You’re always welcome.