The author of the handbook of principles for adult learning that I cited in the previous post (Teaching adults martial arts) lists six factors that motivate adults to get themselves into learning situations like martial arts
- Social relationships: some adults particularly enjoy the social aspect of martial arts classes - getting to meet and hang around with interesting people. For some of these people the before-class and after-class interaction cna be the most fulfilling part of the experience.
- External expectations: This is probably the least motivating factor in the martial arts. Adults just don't usually seem to get into classes to comply with some formal authority's instructions. The exceptions to this include someone who might get instructions from their doctor to get some exercise or maybe police or paramilitary personnel for whom it serves as part of their job requirements.
- Social welfare: This is not cited as much as it once was, but it is certainly a motivating factor. Some people get into martial arts practice because they see it as their duty to become better prepared to help serve their family or community. They see it as a benefit to their society to make themselves better people.
- Personal advancement: Some adults are purely intrinsically motivated. They do it for no reason other than to improve themselves. These are probably the instructor's favorite students.
- Escape/Stimulation: Some adults especially enjoy the martial arts for the simple reason that the dojo is not real life. For these folks, martial arts provide a de-stressing break from their daily routines.
- Cognitive interest: to simply learn something of interest. Some people see martial arts as an intellectual puzzle to solve, and as such it can provide a lifetime of diversion.
I doubt if any one person is motivated by only one of these factors, and there are almost certainly other reasons to participate in martial arts, but these six provide a pretty good start. Our advertising tagline at Mokuren Dojo falls directly into several of these categories:
Fun - Fitness - Discipline - Defense
Do you have a motivation for practicing martial arts that does not readily fit into one or more of these six categories? If so, let me know...