For any athlete there comes a time when he or she thinks about retirement. It can be retirement from competition, or retirement from teaching. When is the best time? Some say that it is best to retire at the peak of their career. Like Michael Jordan, one of the best and calls it quits. Others say to use your talents in other ways. That is not as a physical athlete but a mentally strong teacher and mentor.
Which is best? Probably the best is different for everyone. As a Martial Arts instructor, knowledge is as important as physical prowess. Students may ask why the instructor no longer participates as often and as competitively as they used to. This is what is proper for many years of Martial Arts involvement. One learns to fight so they do not have to fight. The value of a 25 of 30 year veteran in any pursuit is the experience gained over those years.
If an instructor is generous enough to share his or her knowledge, the student will receive a great gift. As a student you must except that gift and use it with respect for the art and yourself. Final judgment of a Master instructor is by what he or she has given the Art, not what the Art has given him or her. That is to say that Martial Arts in the beginning will give you competition, challenge and reason, all of which are for you alone. As you near a Master’s rank you give back what you know by teaching and example, which is for those around you and not yourself. Is it time to retire? I don’t think so!
by Master John Rankin