Assist instructor requirement

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Faith, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. Faith

    Faith White Belt

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    I've been in a few taekwondo clubs where one of the requirements to be a Black belt is to be an assistant instructor.
    How common is it to have it as a requirement those days?
    I understand that it might be to teach the student how to run a class, and to be more comfortable to instruct claases, but I don't see the point of having it as a requirement.
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Black belts are expected to be leaders. They should be respected by the other students of the school. This teaches them the responsibility to handle that level of respect.
     
  3. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    The assistant instructor designation should not be mandatory. Black belt does not need to equal teacher.
     
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  4. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    In many places that I've trained at or visited, blacks belts aren't always instructors, only those that wanted to be took up teaching. I don't think it should be mandatory, only those with a passion for teaching should do it.
     
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  5. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I think a black belt should have a complete enough understanding of the system to teach. That doesn't mean that must teach, just that they COULD, if they wanted.
     
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  6. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sometimes teaching does give you a deeper understanding of your subject so it can be useful to teach as part of your training to black belt but it's going to depend on the student I think.
     
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  7. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    There is some teaching assistance requirement for my son's style. Its just a easy way to see that a student understands the techniques.

    Its not running classes....its more helping the instructor in class. Stuff like taking the lower belts off to the side and teaching them their next kata, demonstrating techniques and combos for the class, or walking around helping correct mistakes in techniques during beginner classes.

    In the beginner class after free sparring, my son will spar a round with each student while the instructo is giving them and the class tips.
     
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  8. Gweilo

    Gweilo Master Black Belt

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    Becoming an instructor or an assistant instructor, as already stated will give you a deeper understanding of your art, but it will also test you and your skills aquired, under a different type of pressure, thats a good thing, you should test yourself under different types of pressure regularly.
     
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  9. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I agree but instructors do need to be taught how to instruct. In nearly all other sports/activities you need to be qualified to teach, not just know your subject but how to teach it and this I think is something that doesn't happen a lot in martial arts. Often a black belt is awarded and it's hey ho you're an instructor which isn't something that should happen. Some associations do offer courses to become instructors but mostly it's about getting your black belt.
     
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  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I personally don't like that idea. Simply not everyone is made to be a teacher. It's just not for them. I don't think they should be limited or penalised because of it. Maybe the higher Dan grades sure but for first I think it should be based on your ability.

    One thing I have seen is people given black belts who have awful skill but they get it because it's justified because they teach well.

    Personally I think first Dan black should be purely based on skill level of your style. Later on sure move onto teaching but tbh making people teach to get rank....seems like a easy way for the instructor to get people to run his club without having to pay them
     
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  11. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Ive got a friend who's a very good martial artist in kenpo better than me imo but he's had a lot of mental health issues and has to be careful with his stress levels and anything he does has to be planned out in advance and he struggles if thinks don't go well.

    He's someone who couldn't and shouldn't teach. I mean no disrespect saying that but because of his issues teaching wouldn't be a good thing for his health and it wouldn't be good for the students either. But he is very talented in his skill level. Why should he not be able to get a black belt when he's better than a hell of a lot of black belts just because his mental health means he can't teach
     
  12. Monkey Turned Wolf

    Monkey Turned Wolf MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I find it unfair to the other students to force someone to teach. You are giving them sub-optimal training, in order to train someone who doesn't want to or isn't suited to teach long-term. It's different than training someone to teach who wants to, where everyone will benefit in the long run.
     
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  13. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I think a lot of you are putting more expectations into your post than assistant instructors actually have. At my school, the assistants will do simple things, such as making sure the little kids are lined up right, holding targets, or helping setup and break down for drills (i.e. putting out cones and such).

    Those who want to teach get a chance to teach, but most assistants don't have that responsibility.
     
  14. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    ^^^^^ This...Yep...this.

    Now in my mind there are instructors and there are teachers. There are differences.
    An instructor is a person who tells other whats to do for them to develop a specific practical skill and helps with their skill development. A instructor tells what to do and how to do it.
    A teacher is a person who imparts knowledge to students. More of the why, when, and where is it to be done along with problem solving. What to do when it all goes wrong.

    To be a good instructor one needs to know what is to be instructed and how to present it for all to learn and develop good skill.
    To be good teacher one needs to know much more.
     
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  15. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Mostly though, at least here in the UK, the word 'teacher' is used almost exclusively for those who teach in schools, I never hear it used in martial arts or any other sport where 'instructor' ( sometimes coach) is used as it is for those teaching in institutions such as the military, the police etc. I don't think one word denotes more expertise than the other, the words 'teach' and 'instruct' are synonymous. It's more the subject and sometimes the age of those they teach/instruct that will denote which word is used.
     
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  16. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Here for many 'teacher' and 'instructor' are used interchangeably.as well. As I stated "in my mind" there are differences.
    I consider myself a martial arts teacher for I do for more than just tell students what to do. I get a lot more into strategies, histories, and a lot of the when and why. I also teach several different martial systems. I call myself a martial arts coach because of the different systems as well coaching fighters.
     
  17. isshinryuronin

    isshinryuronin Purple Belt

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    I see no problem in having a black belt candidate acting as an ***'t instructor. In teaching a student, explaining details of the technique, critically judging posture and execution, etc., is a great help to the instructor, himself. I consider it an excellent vehicle for an instructor to polish his own basic technique. When demonstrating a move to a student, the instructor would be careful to do the moves extra precise to set a good example.
    And while explaining a technique, or answering a question, one can often clarify concepts in his own mind, leading to a further understanding of what he is teaching. Teaching is great prep to be a black belt.
     
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  18. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    I just like how your abbreviation of assistant ended up getting censored. :p
     
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  19. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    The censorship thing on here has gone a little overboard!
     
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  20. JR 137

    JR 137 Grandmaster

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    Doing something and teaching it are two almost entirely different skill sets. While on paper it seems like teaching something gives you a deeper understanding of what you’re doing, realistically speaking I don’t think it does. There are many people who are very good at what they do yet don’t have a clue as to how to teach it effectively. And there are many who are very good teachers who can’t do what they can teach.

    Not everyone can nor should teach. And no one should be forced to do so as a requirement. Some people should be urged to do so to help them realize their potential in that area.

    I used to think teaching equals a learning a greater understanding of the subject matter. The more I’m around different things (including being an academic teacher and assistant MA instructor who lead some of my own classes, among general life experience), the more I realize teaching is far more about effective communication than anything else. Being a chief instructor or teaching higher level classes requires a higher level of understanding the material; but to assist another instructor? It really doesn’t take much understanding beyond how to communicate what’s going on and possibly demonstrate it.

    A CI shouldn’t need to see a student teach to if they understand what they’re being taught. Watch them do it under different scenarios during class and ask questions to check their understanding.

    I think teaching is an essential part of reaching higher dan ranks like 6th and above, as those ranks IMO are more about what you’ve contributed to the art and advancing the art than your own physical skill level is. But under that level, requiring teaching is a great idea on paper that IMO genuinely doesn’t mean much. Especially for someone who has no desire to teach nor should be teaching. And for the people who I say shouldn’t be teaching, it isn’t a shot at them at all. There are great people who just don’t have that skill set and won’t develop it no matter how hard someone pushes them. Teaching effectively is really more about a personality and mindset than anything else. I know plenty of great MAists that can easily help practically anyone understand how to do MA stuff in a brief one-on-one setting. Getting up in front of the class and running it effectively is an entirely different thing.123
     
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