Why purple belt? We find with most students that the best time to bring friends are at the white, yellow, and orange belt ranks. It seems the higher the rank you are the more difficult it can be to share something like this with a beginner without coming across as showing off or making them feel below you. However if you can be beginners together then you have a huge opportunity to benefit off of each other. Here are the top four reasons to bring a friend BEFORE you get your Purple Belt.
- Provides support for YOUR training.
Knowing you have a friend at the dojo counting on seeing you there can be a powerful motivator to even show up, especially when you may feel tired or unmotivated. A little friendly competition is good too so you’ll want to keep pace with your friend’s progress in skill. We feel like one of our school’s greatest attributes is the quality of people in the program so there’s no shortage of people to call friend. However if there’s someone there that you already have a close relationship with, and you train martial arts together, it can be a welcome alternative to meeting up to eat or sit around watching tv or something. You’re engaged in physical activity pushing, having a blast, and developing useful skills.
- Gives you a person to practice with outside of class.
It’s not secret that spending more time immersed in your training will provide more opportunity for growth. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of becoming an assistant instructor is more martial arts immersion. You may not have enough rank for that just yet but you can immerse yourself more with a friend outside of your studio training schedule. Three hours per week of your scheduled classes is good but high achievers typically train with higher frequency. Having a friend that knows the drills you’re learning and has comparable skill to review and train with can be a great advantage. If you can practice with your friend an extra hour per week then you’ve added 30% to your training. Imagine keeping that up over the course of a few years. Your future self will thank you for the boost!
- A shared experience of moving up the ranks.
“Friends who kick together stick together.” It sounds cheesy but it’s proven time and time again. I’ve heard that if a friendship outlasts 7 years then you have a friend for life. That’s a powerful relationship, now add to that someone that’s been there for all the struggle sweat and tears of growing stronger in physical power, mental tenacity and fortitude of character. Take a moment to imagine yourself in the future, earning your black belt, soaked in sweat, heaving to catch your breath, feeling physically spent after giving it your very best for hours on hours and then you look over at your buddy that’s been there with you for the better part of a decade.
- Knowing that you shared something to enhance the quality of someone else’s life. (and that feels good.)
It’s fun to share something that a friend can benefit from. The tricky thing about martial arts though, is that it’s not easy. It’s not a magic pill, or a fun tv show to sit down and watch. It’s a journey that can become demanding of time and energy. Some friends may show hesitation so check your enthusiasm with understanding. A great strategy is to let your friend know that: you’d love to set them up for a free session- and leave it at that. The best answer to most questions about training is to simply say “it’s a ton of fun and everyone is really nice.” Sometimes by explaining much more than that you can paint a picture in your friends mind that doesn’t match reality. For example:
You say: “We practiced a technique for if someone throws a big hook punch at you.”
They think: “Well I don’t know any moves so I don’t want to practice getting hook punched”.
Have patience. I remember inviting friends when I was working up the colored ranks. I invited many to have a just few show up, and for the few that showed up, only one or two stuck it out. Just remember that it’s not about getting all of your friends to train; It’s about being the type of person who shines a light for people rather than the type that leaves them in the dark.
Feel good knowing that the martial arts has lots of appeal and the instructors here work hard everyday to maintain our reputation so the studio will continue to have new members joining regardless. So even if you don’t have friends show interest, you’ll still find a variety of growth minded people to train with. And if you ARE the type that brings in friends then you can look forward to these four rewards coming your way.
If someone you know expresses interest, I would tell them straight away that it’s fun and they can come check it out for free. Later, when you’re at the studio, grab a guest pass from the lobby and present it to them. Of course we’ll allow your friend to train without the guest pass card, but having a physical token that says they are welcome can be a powerful thing. For many people, the first step in the door is the scariest so giving a guest pass and some friendly encouragement might seem small to you but could be huge to them.