Fitting in at my dojang

Discussion in 'General Taekwondo Discussions' started by james driscoll, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. I have being doing wtf taekwondo now for 5 months...i only grade when i feel im at the level that suits my belt colour......i really enjoy it and the club is gr8 aswell as the instruction but im quite shy and dont really dont or mix or say a lot in class..i train and do circuits on tuesday and thursday and thats it and some folk are a liitle standofish and dont even agnowledge im there but yet say hello etc to everyone else...i had a tough upbringing and struggle to laugh when everyone else laughs....its strange but i feel like they think im weird or something. Should i be concerned or just ignore it and carry on cos i am who i am and have a goal of becoming blackbelt however long that takes.......any thoughts 37 years old.....cheers
  2. Tom.D

    Tom.D Active Member

    Heya James, pleasure meeting you. If you're passionate about it, stick with it, and you will notice you're shyness will be replaced with confidence :D . Another thing you should do is try and interact with your club mates a bit more by starting conversations of your own as that will also help you fit in more maybe?. The biggest thing I can say to you is only focus on yourself the most to improve your taekwondo experience and not be too bothered about who says hello or hi to who's in class, as most of us only meet in our clubs and not socially, so we dont know each other much at all. thats why I would say focus on your blackbelt the most, and before you know it, you could well be representing your club in competitions :D . You dont know it yet, but you're part of the club and they will support you! all you have to do is start a conversation or interact with some of them tomorrow night( Tuesday) and you will see what I mean :D best of luck James.
  3. p4key

    p4key New Member

    hi James I think you might be just a little bit too gun shy in that might be creating a little bit of tepidation from others but when you're in a good school that kind of attitude is will fade away. most students in a good quality school want to learn from each other and want to share from each other. Our journey never ends so it might be a little awkward now but I think in the long run you'll find some of the best friends you ever know.
  4. Gazzer

    Gazzer Active Member

    Sounds like your perfect for TKD :D its not a team sport so its still great to train and just concentrate on your self if need be...
    Me I like the interaction and to be chatty but there are a lot that dont.
  5. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    I know the feeling, sometimes you need to take a deep breath and go for it.

    Sometimes people have been training for a long time and have created friendships, and it can feel difficult to break the ice.

    Think of a technique you are not very good at, go up to a group or an individual, and ask them to help you out. Most people are happy to help, then you can start the, how long have you been training, maybe talk about stretching what part of TKD do you enjoy the most, you can mentally give yourself a list of questions.

    Human beings are naturally social animals, we group together, I have been on many courses, not just martial arts, but numerous times I found that you learn so much in the coffee breaks, between the lectures.

    Some people as some have said don't chat, OK that's fine, its their choice. Others maybe feel that because you don't talk, the reason for this is because you don't want to, so they stay away.

    Think of it this way, If you try and it does not work what have you lost, but if it works :)........... You only need a couple of people and then you will be able to join in socially,

  6. michael mckenna

    michael mckenna Active Member

    doesnt sound like a club i would want to be in. how old are the rest of the students ?
  7. Hiya,

    I think that RR is more than likely correct. It's always hard meeting new people and often if we ourselves don't go for it then others often think that's how we want things. I suggest go for RR's advice and have a mental note of questions to ask then possibly as a last question ask what they do outside of tkd.

    good luck and if anymore problems ask away as there are lots of helpful people on this forum.

  8. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Seems like neither party wants to break the ice. Once oneof you does it should be alot better
  9. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Work on breaking the ice with specific people before or after the session as you are changing, or as you are coming or going. Work on them one at a time or in small groups. If one person is talking with you, the others will follow. Don't feel like you can't talk with higher grades either - they should be quite down to earth.

    As part of my job, I do a lot of work teaching German people how to make small talk with other people in English, as it doesn't seem to be as much a part of the culture here.

    Small talk is the route by which we English speakers break the ice and move to more meaningful relationships with our colleagues and peers - but they don't seem to do it so much here. So, based on my experiences here breaking through a wall of ice at a Taekwondo club in the land of strictly business, I'd recommend the following:

    See individuals, not a group. Introduce yourself to people individually. This is as easy as saying something like 'Hi, I'm James, we've not really talked properly yet", and offering your hand. Smile and make eye contact. Make an effort to remember people's names and what they tell you, greet them by name and use the information the next time you see them. People are worth the effort. They will recognise the effort you make if you show them that they are important to you, by remembering who they are. I also find people are often grateful that I've taken the initiative and broken the ice, because it's something that they themselves find difficult too.

    Small talk relies on choosing a topic you have in common with your intended conversation partner - in many cases in English, this is the weather - a cliche, but it can work if you segue seamlessly to another topic before the conversation runs out of steam. After training, you have a shared training experience to comment on.

    Before training, finding shared experiences can be difficult - perhaps on a monday night it's appropriate to ask people what they did over the weekend. On other days it might be appropriate to ask people if they've come straight from work, and segue into what they do for a living, from which you can quite easily get to other hobbies and what they like to do with their free time. People generally like to talk about their own interests, especially those about which they feel passionate. It's great if you don't ask more than 3 questions (feels like an interrogation), so perhaps try to steer the conversation with statements e.g. 'Oh yeah, that movie was great, wasn't it', rather than too many questions.

    Questions beginning with Who, What, Where, Why, When, How, and Which are you friend here. You'll get more information with those than with a 'Do you' type question.

    Specifically for Taekwondo, you can ask about equipment, technique, training habits and recommendations, nutrition, flexibility, etc. There are a wealth of shared topics. Ask people for advice or help, they will be glad to give it and you will automatically break the ice without having to really try too hard. Choose someone who smiles often and ask away.

    If I can break the ice with a language barrier and a cultural barrier, you can do it in English. Be confident that people will like you - you have to do something pretty horrible for people not to like you immediately. I'm a little eccentric too, I think perhaps it goes with the territory, as does the fact that some people just want to turn up, train and go home. It's not being standoffish, it's just people are different - they perhaps consider themselves shy too. Shy and standoffish look a lot alike from outside looking in. Try to focus outward and find out about other people and whether you like them instead of worrying about what they might think about you.

    A lot of my Taekwondo colleagues have had rough experiences in the past and have been more than willing to share their experiences once the ice was broken. You might find you have more in common with the people than you think, but you'll never find out unless you spend the time and effort on those people. There's a reason why they call it 'winning friends'. It takes a bit of effort. One key thought here: assume everyone is more shy than you are, and that if you don't act first, they definitely won't. This attitude is very liberating as it allows you to choose who you want to spend time with, instead of being stuck alone or with settling for friendships with people with whom you might not have much in common.

    Additional thought: if none of the above works, you could always try what one of my German TKD colleagues here does to break the ice. He waits until you've got soap in your eyes and then turns the showers to 'ice cold'.

Share This Page