On teaching

Its Wednesday, July 6, 2011 and this is The Side. I'm still hanging in there. The whatever bug I caught is still sticking around. It is amazingly hard to write when you don't feel good. Ah well.


When you engage in practicing the fighting arts its important not to delude yourself. You need a firm grasp of your personal strengths and weaknesses. This takes time to develop. You can't expect a white belt to know where his weaknesses are. That's why you need a sensei. A good sensei knows how to spot problems and make corrections. The student hopes to improve. The sensei wants to bring out the best in the student. This is the sensei/student relationship at its purest level and casting aside things like wanting a black belt to impress their friends, wanting to make a ton of money, and the like.

Years ago at a tournament my father saw a forms competition and the black belts were really going for it. When it was all said and done one of the competitors won over his instructor. The instructor was a bit upset afterwards. He couldn't believe that his own student beat him. Dad looked at him and smiled and told him, "That just shows what a great teacher you are." He hadn't really thought about it like that, and Dad saw him smile before he walked off.

I always told my students that I was training them to be better than me. The results have gone well since many of my students have surpassed me. It became pretty evident when I sparred one student in a demonstration point fight in front of the class. I was ahead 4-0 and then he got going to beat me in a 5-4 win. I was a little ticked at myself for not being able to cap off the victory, but moreso I was proud of my student.

There are some instructors that hold back knowledge keeping certain techniques to themselves even in the case of working with advanced students. They want to keep a few tricks for themselves, and keep some air of superiority to them. This is pretty foolish and its how some techniques get lost. The knowledge is meant to be passed on. If you don't pass them on then how will they be taught to the next generation of students.

So I am proud to say that two people I have taught have moved on to better things. They're running their own dojos now, and they're doing quite a bit better than mine. My little club is doing alright, but its dwindled a bit in numbers. The other clubs have swollen in the ranks. This isn't me being down on myself, or jealous, or trying to take credit as being some great instructor. This is me not deluding myself.

I've accomplished what I've needed to as a martial artist. I've played my part in producing quality instructors who can pass on the knowledge. Sure, I'll be a little footnote in the Karate genealogy charts but that's not really what's important. What's important is that the knowledge didn't end with me and those received it are going great things with it.


And now: the 5, 6, 7, 8s!

That's it for today. See y'all Friday and we'll see what comics were in my pull box this week.

1 comment:

nightxade said...

That is an excellent philosophy, especially in regard to knowledge being lost.