The Black Hole Phenomenon

In my speech class last year, my professor told us on the first day that there was a phenomenon that seemed to happen about a month or so after classes begin. For the first few weeks, most of the seats would be filled. Over time, students would stop coming to class, never to be seen again. Her explanation for this? There was a black hole in the middle of the campus that swallowed them up.

I believe that there’s a similar phenomenon that happens in our Tae Kwon Do class. There will be students who seem to really enjoy class. Usually these students will be well on their way to their first (or next) belt test. One day, they will not show up to class. There will be a continued absence to where I wonder where they are. As time goes on and they still haven’t come back, I wonder what happened to them. I’m just a student so I don’t know everything my instructors might know about the situation, but sometimes we will both wonder together what happened to so and so. They seemed to be really involved in class, so why did they stop coming?

When the disappearance of a student happens in the middle of the year, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happened. But when it happens after Christmas break to several people, I have a little bit more of an idea. I usually only miss class one or two times a year at most, so I haven’t really experienced what I’m about to say relating to martial arts, but Mr. Mc and I talked about this a few weeks ago. When there is a delayed break in training, it takes effort to decide to start up again. The “Well, we’ll just start back next week,” turns into “Well, maybe after school (or football/baseball season) is over.” On and on this goes until the student or parent in question just doesn’t bother anymore. The longer you wait, the harder it is to start back.

There’s been a few people that seem to have fallen into this trap recently. I really miss their being in class and I hope that they will come back if they truly enjoyed their Tae Kwon Do training. It really makes me wonder what their reasons are for not coming any longer. I wish I knew. Maybe that black hole appeared outside the dojang and sucked them into it.


Marie said...

That's the very reason I try to avoid missing class as much as possible. I HATED having time off over the Christmas break. It's hard to get back into the training mindset when you've had a break and the longer it goes on the harder it is to go back. That's one good thing about DH and I making our karate journey together. It's guaranteed that one of us before a Sunday class will utter the words "I'm just not feeling it this week" when we're heading out. Cue for the other to point out that once you get there, it'll be fine. It's nice to have each other to keep us motivated.

I always get a little sad when students inexplicably leave and don't come back. I wonder if I could have done more to make their karate journey better and help them stay.


Michele said...

I have witnessed the black hole phenomenon in karate too. There are many students and training partners that I miss seeing in the dojo.

Hopefully they know the dojo door is always open!

SueC said...

One of our new black belts seems to have fallen into that black hole. The girl I partnered, Charlotte, back in November hasn't been back to class since her grading. To be honest I feel a little cheated by her absence as I sweated buckets training with her before hand and helping her prepare - but that's life!

Fran said...

It happens at our Dojo. Seems Students start off and come religiously. Then they seem to trickle off. And then they stop coming. As the Attendance Keeper at my Club I see lots of names that have been placed in the Archive File. So there is a "Black Hole" in Karate. Some started at the same time as I did and then over the past two years they've fallen into the hole. It's kind of sad.

Slayr said...

This is an all too common occurance. I find it very common, actually, when a student gets really close to being able to test. After getting a new rank, they come a lot, then tend to come less as they get further into the rank. Its as if we don't get something brand new every night and are perhaps refining what we know, we stop attending. Kinda that instant gratification thing with culture today.