THE FORGOTTEN ART OF STRATEGIC LEARNING
One of the challenges of any martial arts teacher, sensei or instructor is to get the best out of your students without it being too difficult, too easy yet still making it interesting so that the students will want to learn and become fully engaged in the process.
Just getting students to the club/dojo or training hall is a feat in its self given all of life’s distractions and that coupled with family commitments makes it a formidable task. Then getting them to commit to learning a martial art that will take many years to master is another stumbling block. We live in a fast paced world due to the internet where everyone wants things quickly; get there as fast as possible. In martial arts this is not possible ‘‘There is no such thing as a young master.’’ There is a natural maturing process and many levels to go through before getting anyway near this accolade and even then a genuine master is always seeking ways to improve and evolve their knowledge and then of course relaying this new found knowledge back to their students.
‘‘I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” Albert Einstein
The students that you come into contact with can vary so much from the ones who are so motivated that the lessons just happen and their child like curiosity makes you question and refine what you doing and teaching at every step of the way. There are others who turn up with all the worries in the world and you wonder why they even came to class that evening. Let’s be positive though I love the inquisitive learners, they are the ones that raise the standard of your instruction and the quality of the class as a whole.
Sometimes as a martial arts teacher, sensei or instructor it is easy just to do things that you are good at and forget that you are helping your students to progress and learn, not just showing how much you know and how far advanced you are compared to them, that is not teaching and they are not learning.
For me I always have a rough class plan but this is flexible as don’t know who will be there or what questions the students will pose and sometimes you will have the whole lesson material on just a question that popped up during class time.
There are times when you can go off on a tangent when too many questions arise but we should be conscious to bring it back to the principles and the learning process. Questions should always be encouraged but remember students learn new things with the knowledge they have already but not the knowledge they need. This is why it takes time for the mind and body to work through the understanding of what is being taught and how it relates to each individual student.
Too many martial arts teachers, sensei or instructors rely on social media to promote their programs as the ultimate self defence or beat any terrorist attack scenario, for me it just becomes a self gratification exercise aimed at public mass hysteria and to make money instead of offering quality instruction to help your student’s progress in their studies and reach their true potential. After all they are the martial arts teachers, sensei and instructors of the future.
‘‘Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.’’ Pele
Best Wishes GM Angelo