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The nightmare interview

Updated: Sep 3

Real Aquifer Freestyle Martial Arts - Newbury - Thatcham - Basingstoke - Calne


It's here. The day that you have been both looking forward to and dreading for a little over a week has arrived.

You spend all day wondering what to expect, who will you meet? Will they be kind? Will they eat you alive? What on Earth will they make you do? Your interview day is upon you.

You spend all day thinking about it, worrying about it, excited about it. You know that this could be the day that changes your life for the better or it could be the day you are pushed into your shell so far you may never want to go near a group of people you do not know ever again.

Before you know it you are at the gates of the organisation. You can hear everyone inside already making noise and bashing around. You think to yourself "what could they be doing? Am I expected to do the same?".

As you walk in you are greeted by a friendly and smiling representative and whilst you came dressed in what you thought was appropriate attire you can see that the representative is dressed in a company suit, a suit that is far better than what you are wearing and looks so much more professional. They take you into a large room where they ask you to sit and as you escorted across to the seats to wait you notice that not only has everyone started looking at you but even worse, they too are all wearing the same suit and you stick out of the crowd. This is a room of experts and you are the trainee. You may as well be wearing a label that says "Fresh Meat".

Everyone seems happy and everyone seems friendly but non of that is enough to take away from the feeling that you are out of your depth and whatever you feel you can do is not going to be anywhere to the level that this organisation is clearly looking for. It isn't too late, you could still get up and walk out, the interview has not started yet, there is still time.

Just as you get up to go a person walks over and introduces themselves as the head of this organisation. The head of the organisation? How is my first day in front of the head already? I can't escape now, I left it too late.

The head brings me over to the crowd and introduces me to everyone and says how pleased they are to see me and how everyone is to make me feel comfortable and help if I get stuck today. What do you mean? I have to have my interview not only in front of the head of the organisation but all of the members as well? This is truly the worst interview of my life.

So here I am, under dressed in front of a professional organisation where everyone has skills that far surpass mine and everyone is wearing a professional uniform with the head of the organisation watching me the entire time, and so the interview begins.

How am I going to get through today?

It is so easy to forget that for some one who is brand new to martial arts has no idea what to expect. Most of the time their only exposure to what we do is what Hollywood shows them and that is very often so far removed from what the reality is.

Teaching from ages three and upwards, it is easy to see how the above may well be exactly what is going through our new students minds. This is why what we call the 'Meet and Greet' is one of the most important parts of a new students journey. Remember you might feel like you are being welcoming but if the reason they have come along is to gain confidence, lose weight or learn self defence because they have had a traumatic experience, then all they might be feeling is how on display they are and how vulnerable they are feeling in a very new and unfamiliar setting.

It is our aim as instructors to build confidence and bring out the best in our students. The best way to start doing that is to make them feel safe and welcome. This starts right at the beginning from the first contact they have with you. This very often is before they arrive at your school either they called you or used some form of social media to contact you. That is the very first time you have the chance to make them feel a little more at ease.


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