Martial Reviews

Excuses to get out of Karate

No excuse is better than the truth. Just a simple "I didn't feel like it" is much better than some elaborate story as to why you couldn't train. But oddly enough there are a large number of people who like to make excuses for skipping training. Sometimes their excuses are believable, but other times it's perfectly obvious that they're lying. I list the most common reasons I have heard.

1. I was sick.


A classic. No one else wants to be sick, so it's the perfect excuse not to turn up, right? I know someone who used this excuse, but the trouble was that I'd already seen them beforehand and they were most certainly not sick. Bonus points to those who invent a new disease.

2. I was studying for an exam.


Kids use this one all the time. You cannot study for exams constantly. It's impossible. You have to take a break eventually and martial arts is perfect for that. Besides, training only lasts an hour or so each week. Bonus points for exams every week and all year around. Oddly enough, I've found that students often quit completely after their summer exams.

3. I'm already a black belt.


You're already a black belt? Good for you. I guess you've won at martial arts. Well done. In reality black belt is only the beginning. It's a journey that never ends, even for those who have mastered their style. To say that you don't need to train because you're a black belt suggests that you're complacent and complacency has no place in martial arts.

4. I lost my belt.


It's amazing how many people apparently lose their belt. I always wonder where it goes. Behind the sofa? Up the chimney? Maybe the dog ate it. A belt isn't small. And even if you did lose your belt, does it really matter? Just find another belt. It doesn't matter what colour it is. Your performance depends on you, not your belt.

5. I'm getting too old.


I hear this more often that you'd think. Most people who say it are no older than 50 and are in generally good health. Hironori Otsuka, the founder of Wado Ryu, trained until he died aged 89. If people focussed more on their potential rather than their age, the world of martial arts would be a better place.

6. I graded last week.


Some students think that after they've got the grade they can ease off and not put in as much effort. After all, the next grading is ages away. This excuse bothers me greatly because it suggests that they care more about earning a belt than learning martial arts.

I analysed student numbers for a karate school over the course of about a year. Each week leading up to a grading student numbers skyrocketed, but after the grading student numbers dramatically fell. This happened every time without fail. Eventually the school imposed a minimum number of lessons students had to complete before grading.

7. Bad Weather


If the other excuses aren't doing it for you, perhaps you could blame the weather.

Summer: "Too hot. Being hot will worsen my performance."
Autumn: "Too much rain. My road flooded."
Winter: "Too cold. My house is warmer than the dojo."
Spring: "Too much pollen. I don't want to train with a runny nose." But seriously, pollen is pain.

Whatever the weather, it will somehow stop people training. Bonus points for those who complain about every possible weather.

8. I was at the dentist.


Clearly the only appointment available was during a training session at 8 o'clock at night. Don't forget to go there multiple times per year. Funerals are also used as an excuse, but if your grandmother has died for the 5th time then it may arouse suspicion.