- DO AS I
SAY, NOT AS I DO
follow to closely
- I have seen it many times.
- I bet you have too.
- A class full of students,
all working hard, all trying their best. Most of them
just want to get better at what ever it is that they are
learning to do at that particular moment in time. Some,
however, whether they know it or not, may actually have a
somewhat loftier goal. Hidden away deep in the back of
their mind is one over riding thought, they want to be,
"just like sensei".
- Now don't misunderstand me,
there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of us
emulating those we admire, or for that matter wanting to
be more like them.
- The trick is not to try and
be, "just like them".
- After all, it is our
individuality that makes each of us who we are.
- What I mean to say, is that
as instructors it is our job is to turn out students with
good basic skills in all aspects of our chosen style of
karate, or any other martial art for that matter.
- But not clones.
- Having our students copying
our good habits is one thing, but having them also copy
our bad habits as well is something that we definitely
need to avoid at all costs.
- So where do we draw the
- When and where do we say to
the student, " do as I say, not as I do".
- It should begin when we
first recognize that a desire to be "just like us"
exists in some students. After all the real goal of any
good instructor should be to develop the uniqueness that
lies within each individual and to bring out the best in
them, but as themselves. Not to try and make them into
what ever we as instructor have ourselves become.
- This is why it is very
important that we make every effort to control those
nasty little habits that we all have, and that we really
need all of our students to avoid, or at least postpone,
until they are much further along in rank.
- For example.
- Many experienced
instructors, in order to help themselves relax between
techniques, will often make a habit of opening and
closing their hands between movements, even when going
from one closed handed series of techniques to another.
- While there is nothing
fundamentally wrong with this, provided the instructor is
of a significantly high enough rank, and they understand
when and why they are doing this tyoe of action, it may
not be appropriate for them to do all of the time.
Especially when teaching a class. Otherwise they may
suddenly look around one day and find that kyu belts of
all ranks are starting to do the same thing, and for no
other reason than the fact that they have seen their
sensei doing it on a regular basis.
- Doing something as
instructor because you meant to do it is one thing.
Allowing the students to copy your "every movement"
just because they admire you is quite another matter
- One way to avoid this is to
learn early on to recognize the natural flow that exists
within each student. What works well for them, and what
does not. You must then nurture what works for each
student through good training, while at the same time
also modifying what does not work for each student, but
also through good training. Beginners and middle level
kyu belts, and for that matter students up to the rank of
Ni Dan should always be encouraged to adhere strictly to
proper technique, without any short cuts, and without
putting in any additional movements, especially in kata.
- Once you have had your
input into how the student should be doing things, you
should then leave the student to practice on their own,
to make mistakes, to notice them, and to correct them on
their own. Naturally you must continue to monitor their
progress and to make comments, and adjustments when
needed, but constantly hovering over a student and
commenting on every move they make, or saying to a
student "do it like I do" is the wrong
approach, and teaches them nothing.
- If they are going to truly
learn and progress in their karate they must often do so
on their own, and learn to separate what should be, from
what should never be. At the rank of San Dan, however,
freedom of action between movements should not only be
tolerated it, should actually be encouraged, as this will
open up a whole new aspect to their training and personal
growth within the art of karate.
- So by all means pass on all
your knowledge, and all your skills, keep nothing back,
keep nothing hidden, but be sure and pass these things on
only at the appropriate time, but only in a manner that
allows the students to better themselves, not just so
they can become a copy of you, or anyone else for that
- Clearly in karate-do and in
life all knowledge is meant to be shared, what, when, and
how is the question.
- The object
of any karate lesson must always be,
- to develop
the character of the individual,
- not to try
and re-create the teacher.
- Part the
clouds - see the way.
objective of karate-do is to contribute to the evolution
- of the
human spirit through physical and mental training."