Enough experience to teach? Yea or nay?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Oni_Kadaki, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Orange Belt

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    Hello friends!

    Haven't been on the forums for awhile due to grad school, military stuff, and actual practicing martial arts. However, I have an ethical dilemma on which I would like the opinions of seasoned martial artists. To briefly reiterate my background:

    - Two years of Hakkoryu Jiu Jitsu in high school
    - Seven years of Aikido as my location allowed (bounced around a lot on active duty)
    - Two years BJJ, not very good, but have used it in an actual self-defense situation to great effect
    - Two years between Shorin-Ryu and Chito-Ryu Karate
    - Six months of American Kenpo Karate
    - Three months Krav Maga
    - Three months Tang Soo Do
    -Certified level-one instructor of MACP (Modern Army Combatives Program)
    - No dan/black belt rank in any of the above, though I'm approaching it in Aikido

    Earlier this year I was hired by my local YMCA to teach a self-defense class. As the YMCA did not have a pre-existing curriculum, I was given free-reign to build my own from the ground up. I did so, and I received very positive feedback. The YMCA wanted me to teach another session of my class, but military duties are going to conflict with that. As such, they are looking at replacing me. With that in mind, I'm considering trying to start my own business teaching my own, personal mix of techniques gleaned from all of the above over the years. My question to you good people is, knowing my time/level of training, and knowing that I DO NOT have a black belt in any single martial art, would you think it reasonable for me to consider teaching as a side-job?
     
  2. Azulx

    Azulx Black Belt

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    I would give your class a try and I only have 5 years experience with Taekwon-do and I head instruct my own club.
     
  3. wab25

    wab25 Brown Belt

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    As long as you are honest about your background... go for it. I might suggest leading with the "Certified level-one instructor of MACP." Also add the successful YMCA class as well.

    Don't bill yourself as Grand Master Super-Soke 13th dan of whatever... But it doesn't sound like thats what you are doing.
     
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  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    If you start a school and people learn and like it, that's good.

    However, the thing that stands out to me (that might not to a newcomer to martial arts) is that there's only one art that you have more than 2 years of experience with, and a lot of these are pretty different. A year each in Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, Shotokan Karate, Muay Thai, and Kung Fu would be 5 years of training similar striking arts, but two years each in boxing, wrestling, BJJ, Taekwondo, and hapkido means you have 2 years of training in each situation. It would seem Aikido is a primary art, you've cross-trained in BJJ, Karate, and Hakkoryu Jiu Jitsu, and then you've dabbled in Kenpo, Krav, and TSD.

    With that said, I agree with @wab25 that "Certified Level-One Instructor in MACP" is a good thing to lead with, the 7 years of Aikido is the other. You could list the others as "7 years cross-training in other martial arts, to include: 2 years of HJJ, 2 years BJJ, 2.5 years of Karate, Krav Maga, TSD." Grouping them together makes it seem like a curriculum where you've learned different things, instead of a long list of short stints.
     
  5. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    yup.

    Just as long as you are up front with your resume and not claiming rank and expertise in things you don't have rank it, you're good. MACP works well for a school of Self-Defense. And as you gain rank in Aikido, maybe later you can then also teach Aikido.
     
  6. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    IMO don't even bother teaching or mentioning the stuff you only did 2 or 3 months in since basically you only the beginner material focus on the ones you've had longer experience in and don't lie either. Don't go saying how your an expert in kenpo when you've only done 6 months and things like that
     
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  7. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Orange Belt

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    It seems that MACP is drawing a lot of positive attention, which is ironic, seeing as the Army certifies instructors in level one after 40 hours of training. Granted, it's pretty brutal (in the Texas sun for hours at a time), but it's still only 40 hours. I got a lot more ground-fighting training in my civilian BJJ training.

    @Headhunter, I wouldn't dream of it. I certainly understand that I have retained very little from Kenpo that I can teach effectively (though I did once drop an Aikidoka on his butt using a Kenpo move when he tried to full-nelson me... I do like that one. A lot). Rather than teach individual Kenpo techniques, what's more valuable to me is certain philosophies of training in the art, such as practicing self-defense moves solo in order to build muscle memory of some kind. That is relatively unique among the arts I've practiced, and I find it extremely valuable.
     
  8. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Don't mention that part.
     
  9. Buka

    Buka MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess it depends. Can you teach?
     
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  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I believe he should mention it. A teacher should be totally honest with students if he starts lying and says the course was 5 years long or something then he meets a potential student who's done that same course he's going to look like a total *** and lose the respect and trust of his students
     
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  11. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    There's a difference between lying and not saying something.

    "Certified Level 1 Instructor in MACP" is not a lie. It is a truth. If anyone asks what the qualifications are to be certified, he can be honest about those, and I'm not saying he withholds that information. Also, anyone doing their due diligence can look it up and see what the qualifications are.

    But the general public is going to see "Certified Level 1 Instructor in MACP" and just see he's a certified instructor.

    It's kind of like a poster I saw on Facebook recently, about how "Military grade" sounds good in advertisements, until you learn that military gear is often made by the lowest bidder.
     
  12. Oni_Kadaki

    Oni_Kadaki Orange Belt

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    Truer words have never been spoken. But yes, the entire reason I posted this thread is that I don't want to teach if I'm not qualified to do so, and part of that inherently involves accurately representing myself and my experience. I had good results with my students at the YMCA, as well as teaching MACP to fellow airmen, but that doesn't necessarily mean I can ethically teach independently. That being said, the general consensus I seem to be getting is that it's fine as long as I don't misrepresent myself.
     
  13. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Senior Master

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    the main concern is do you feel like a fraud if you teach? if in your heart you feel like its the right thing to do then that honesty will proceed you with your students, likewise the reverse is true. the second concern is what type of program will you be teaching. short term self defense courses would be more authentic for you. while long term students would be cheated by a lack of a long term destination in their training. back when i was an instructor under my teacher, i was teaching all the adult classes and i began teaching on my own with my own curriculum. in hind sight i was not ready for that. what i was teaching was clunky and not refined. it took another 20 years before i was ready to actually teach in that format. there is a big difference between teaching a style that your training in under a higher authority and doing something on your own.
     
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  14. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I don't think there's any qualifications required to open up your own school with your own system. That's the free market at work. If you open up under another system, i.e. an aikido organization, there will be requirements.

    On the one hand, if he's still learning from others, then he can continue to bring more to the table and hope to stay ahead of his students. I've been taking guitar for almost 2 years, and I'm still pretty horrible, but I just started teaching my nephew. I figure if I can stay ahead of him I can still teach him, and if he learns on his own and gets better than me, then he can teach me.

    For me, personally, I'm looking now at what I want my curriculum to be like, even though it will be at least 7 years before I get there. This way, I can have it well thought-out before I get there.
     
  15. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Years don't tell much. I personally like the mix you've been exposed to, and would be personally curious to experience what you teach. I have more than 35 years of martial arts, and wouldn't hesitate to learn from someone with your years and mix of experience if you taught well and the material was interesting, useful, or both.

    My point is that your resume in MA won't tell the story. Can you teach people to fight? By that, I mean, can the people you teach use what you teach to do something direct and physical in a defensive situation? If so, it'd be worth teaching. If folks learn what they want and enjoy the process, then go for it.

    Give yourself a reality check. Think though the actual curriculum you'd teach week after week, and the progression you'd go through. How will you tie together those disparate pieces. What will you discard as either not useful, or simply not coherent with the rest? What will be the foundation? (There can be more than one, but probably not more than 2.) Now, after you've answered those questions to yourself (not to me or anyone else, necessarily), ask yourself how well you think you can really do. If you think "really, really, awesome", you probably are kidding yourself. If you think "probably pretty danged good", that might be realistic. If you're not sure, you're probably not ready yet, and you need to ask yourself why not.

    The question of grading is another issue. I'll be happy to share my thoughts if you want, but it's not directly relevant to your question, in my opinion, so I left it out.

    This got a bit rambling. I do that sometimes. I hope I made sense.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I appreciate your reasons for posting this thread. Let me give you something to chew on. I'd gladly take classes from a BJJ blue belt, if they were a good teacher. That's not a lot of experience, but I know they're likely to have spent a good deal of that time rolling, and will be better at BJJ ground fundamentals than I am.

    At the same time, there are Aikido yudansha with more than a decade of training (some with more experience than I have) I wouldn't take classes from, because - though they are good at what they teach - their teaching is too cooperative and too far removed from what I want to work on.
     
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  17. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't know if long term destination is a good thing. I would have suggested better basics for self defense.

    Just refining the high percentage techniques and tactics in more and more adverse conditions.

    We still do the basic situational drills that we did when we started. Just the good guys are impossible to hold down or put down.

    Anton 'The Professor' Zafir on Instagram: “Putting in that work up against the wall got to love wrassling Tuesday and Thursdays. King of the wall with @remi_vigor @smaifitness…”


    Anton 'The Professor' Zafir on Instagram: “Great wrestling class Tuesday working same cage defense and takedowns. Awesome class and solid energy @whoisiandreadlox catching some of…”
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  18. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

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    Plenty of certified 'black belts' couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag, and that doesn't stop them from selling 'self defense'. Self defense is a nebulous term that can mean anything.

    I chose not to go out tonight, therefore nobody had the chance to jump me. Leet sd skills.

    Anyway, as long as you keep it realistic and don't sell snake oil (That most of your experience is in aikido is troubling on this front, but I don't know you at all so who knows), go for it
     
  19. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    A couple of questions...
    Can you teach? Are you an instructor or a teacher?
    This is the most important question. You need to question those who have actually attempted to pass on knowledge and skills to give you a review.

    As to certifications...they are for those who have enough experience to be dangerous to themeslves.
    I've been instructing and teaching the martial arts for 35 years. I've never been asked about my certifications by anyone who was just getting into wanting to train. Never!
    I have been asked by persons who have had a few months to a couple of years experience.
    Then those who have lots of experience who watch a few moments and say something like; You've been doing this awhile haven't you.

    If you can pass on the skills, while being honest with your students, making it fun and keeping it fun for them you will do fine.
     
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  20. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    theres another way of looking at it , as your teaching self defence, have you much experience of defending yourself, if not your in much the same position as most other self defence teachers, and as they cant expect to get their money back if they get beaten up theres not much to loose.

    you need a catchy street name for it, something like ultimate military street defence system, a few vids with compliment partners throwing themselves over if you look at them hard and your well on your way to your first million
     
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