Updated: Jan 13
Starting a new club is pretty hard work. You don't know anyone, you don't know where the toilet is, you don't know who to avoid, you don't know who is friendly, who is too serious, who is the alpha male/female. It takes time. It is a lot easier with a friend. But what if you came along and you did not bring a friend with you? Can you make friends with the people who are already there? The instructor is not going to be your friend. He is too busy telling me to do press ups or put my arm in a different position. The higher grades are scary and they know too much and they don't look that friendly. Everyone is chatting about something, can new people just include themselves in conversations. It is all about confidence. But some people come to the class to gain confidence not to show they have it already in bucket loads.
New people rely on existing members to hold out an olive branch to find out their name, a little bit about them and why they have come along to this amazing Taekwondo class. It is not easy coming to a martial arts class for the first time. You don't know what to expect, a scene from Bloodsport the movie, a Thai sweat box with no way out once you have steppped in.
New starters are in need of a little attention, the instructor will do all they can to help with any questions but they still have the rest of the class to look after. As an existing member, please take the time to introduce yourself and say a little about the club that you won't find on the website. Include them in your group. Think about how you were when you first started. Was it easy? Did it take time to get to know people? These things can all be speeded up with a friendly word to new starters.
So come on everyone, look out for new starters, they are the lifeblood of any club, helping it to survive in the future. Include them, learn their names, ask if they are enjoying the session, encourage them to come back, compliment them on their progress, try and avoid technical criticism to start with.