When I opened my first martial arts school, a lot of barroom brawlers and street fighters came through my door. Some grew up in environments where they had to fight to survive while others just liked looking for trouble.
I wasn’t necessarily targeting them in my “marketing” plan. Most of them were there to challenge me or one of my students to a fight. I earned their respect with my martial art skill which was gained partly through traditional training and partly through my own experiences with street fighters in the Dominican Republic.
Many of them stayed on as students. As an instructor, I had to integrate these natural fighters into a class with the average martial art student who just wanted to exercise and learn a little self-defense.
I had a few challenges dealing with street fighters in the dojo. Some are there to prove a point and you have to worry about them causing a lot of trouble, both physically and legally. So I recommend strict supervision on the part of the instructor.
In addition, fighting outside of the dojo or tournament setting lacks rules and regulations. Basically, anything goes for these guys, so the first lesson for the martial arts instructor to convey is the ethics of training in the dojo. Every martial art style has some form of ethical code and it’s the instructor’s job to make sure everyone in the dojo adheres to it or they’re out!
There are a lot of positive aspects about training street fighters. They show up with something that you can’t teach…guts! Just because someone has a black belt doesn’t mean they could fight. There are a lot of black belts out there who would be demolished in a street fight or a real self-defense situation. They may have a lot of technical skill, but no toughness to carry it out.
Street fighters have a fighting spirit and that enthusiasm can often encourage and inspire classmates who lack that quality. I have seen many of them push their more timid classmates to come out of their “shells.”
Street fighters make good full contact fighters because they have the raw talent needed to get into the ring. The instructor’s job is to polish the skills they had when they walked in the door, introduce them to new ones and channel that talent and raw aggression into the ring.
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851