Your association has a syllabus you are given for examining students for ranks? If so, you probably teach to this syllabus more than you know. My recommendation: Dump the syllabus – both for your classes, and for your students. Instead, teach what you love.
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You attend a children’s or a beginner level class, but you are not a beginner. There are quite a few of you out there. The advanced class is too late at night, and you have to get up early the next day. Your kid takes karate, and you drive them, and they can’t just sit around in the lobby or off to the side while you work out for an additional hour or two. You are attending a beginner class, but you’ve been training for years, and you want to do more.
An Ideal Karate Experience Featured
You cannot teach a five year old to swim by tossing him into water ten feet deep. He doesn’t swim when you do that. He drowns. You cannot teach a teenager to drive a car by tossing them your keys and then watching some television. They do not learn to drive when you do that. They drive the car into the nearest obstruction and wreck it. You cannot teach a pilot to fly a plane by handing him a radio headset and putting him behind the joystick by himself. He doesn’t fly when you do that. He can’t even figure out how to start the plane’s engine.
So why do karate instructors think it is a valid teaching method to show someone how to do something and then ignore them? Why do they believe that insight gained from experience is some sort of spiritual way to enable people to learn physical skills like punching and kicking?
“Shut up and train.”
“You need to figure it out for yourself.”
“Keep training. You’ll get there.”
That’s not teaching. That’s just stupid.
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to join the best karate club you could imagine? Not everyone wants the same thing out of a karate club, so there are going to be different opinions about what would be great about a club. Here’s my vision of what someone might write about their experience if they attended the best karate club imaginable.
Beyond Fight or Flight Featured
It is commonly taught that when an organism is threatened it will respond with one of two instinctive reactions: fight or flight. In other words, when an animal or a person is threatened it will instinctively stand its ground and fight or it will run away.
Most of my teaching now is done by seminars so one thing that I get very often is afterwards people tend to come up to me and ask questions like, “this has made me want to start taking martial arts lessons, what style or school do I recommend?” I get asked for recommendations on martial arts schools and styles quite often and I have two responses that I typically give.
In the Summertime it is easy to tell if you are putting enough effort into your karate training. Your body soaks with sweat. Your uniform starts to stick to you. You find yourself wiping your brow to get the stinging, salty water out of your eyes. Your stances start to become sloppy because your feet are sliding around on the floor. You are standing in a puddle of sweat.
The movie the “Karate Kid” really only had one villain. Johnny, the blonde antagonist of Daniel LaRusso is a punk kid that can’t be held totally responsible for his actions because he’s following the tutelage of the real villain Sensei John Kreese. The Kobra Kai Dojo, under Kreese’s leadership, instructed young kids to be bullies and to prey on the weaker members of society. It is quite possible that a true life John Kreese has just stepped forwards.
A classic method of intimidation, both in movies and in real life, is for someone to put a knife to your throat. Feeling the sharp sting of the metal blade as it digs into your flesh definitely bring to the forefront of your mind the fact that you are merely mortal. For the most part criminals with weapons like to get as close to you as they can with those weapons because the natural instinct is that the closer they are the more control they have. Therefore, guns, knives, and many other weapons are often held very close to the victim so that there is no mistaking the grave situation they’ve found themselves in.