How We Teach/ Why We Teach (continued) by John Johnston

From time to time my wife Elaine and I take the opportunity to observe other Martial Arts clubs training. There are several reasons for this:

1)      Because we enjoy Martial Arts

2)      We learn a lot from observing

3)      It helps us to understand other styles and systems

4)      On a commercial basis we can see what the opposition is about

5)      As Martial Artists, it is good to be able to have a positive interaction with other instructors and their students.

Having said that we have often seen some atrocious training sessions.  We find it hard to get our heads around the Instructors motivations. We understand the commercial reasons but some of these sessions don’t have enough students to make the session pay, so is it ego? Because it can’t be the love of the art or to the benefit of their students. One club we observed on two seperate occasions at different venues about 18 months apart, the Instructor conducted the whole of both sessions sitting down. The whole session lacked any dynamics, energy or structure. The students looked incompetent, lacklustre and undisciplined. In contrast to the previous, we watched a session where the Instructor ( we nick named him Rat Boy) drilled his few students, 5 in total, 2 young boys, 1 girl, 1 teenage boy and 1 older man all of various grades. They, regardless of grade or age, were given combinations to perform at full speed from the outset. Rat Boy shouted at them to perform stronger, there was no correcting or coaching, just dictorial bulling. They then went on to do Kumite which was poorly demonstrated and would be totally ineffective with no explanation as to objectives. Kata came next but at this point we had had enough and left.

Recently we visited a local McDojo. The session had just started. There were 40 plus students on the floor, 5 or 6 adults the rest were children. The session was being ‘overlooked’ by a senior Instructor with about 8 junior Instructors of an estimated average age of 16. It looked like playtime at the park. I will not describe the training but it wasn’t what I would call Martial.

These are only 3 examples, there have been many more but I feel these are three extremes. In the first example we can only surmise that the Instructor believes that he is providing a service. The second example (Rat Boy) was exercising his ego and satisfying his bullying nature. The third was purely commercial. It certainly was not for the benefit of the students.

We fail to see why in this age of the internet & available good Martial Arts Clubs as to why parents and adult students would wish to pay for this type of tuition.

Buddha say’s “speak well of others, not of their faults” Buddha’s not paying or having to sit quietly by and watch the harm done to others.

Children need correct guidance and support in their Karate



One thought on “How We Teach/ Why We Teach (continued) by John Johnston

  1. As a newbie instructor I couldn’t have made the transition from student to teacher without having watched how other good teachers run their sessions! So many little ways to communicate the same concepts and make them fun and interesting for the class, after all.

    Found you by searching for “shotokan karate” in the keywords. Rock on, great to connect with you!

    Osu from Winnipeg Canada
    Jill Lampi

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