Respect for younger instructors

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by kempodisciple, May 2, 2019.

  1. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I just finished reading the Then vs. now differences thread in the TKD sub-forum, and it made me wonder how people would treat younger instructors with more experience than them. I'm going to use myself as an example for this. With overlap, I have around 23 years of experience, without considering overlap, it's over 30 years experience. However, I'm only 25 years old myself. How many of you would be willing to accept a 25 year old instructor, who had 20 years experience in an art you have no experience in? Alternatively, how many of you would accept a 50 year old instructor in the same art, who had 10-15 years experience in the art. From my personal experience, the answer in reality tends to be that more adults (over 30 or so) will rather learn from the 50 year old with less experience than the 25 year old with more experience. But those same people are fine with their kids learning from the 25 year old, as long as he isn't the "head instructor". If you were to start a new style, which would you rather learn from, and why?
     
  2. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I'll learn from anyone as long as they know they're talking about. There's so much arrogance around from some older people. Who think just because someone's young they haven't got a clue or they're to immature. When I was 25 I was basically running my karate club for the head instructor. Not all young people are idiots who take no responsibility and not all older people are wise experts.

    A true martial artist will learn from anyone not put someone down just because of their age
     
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  3. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Martial arts is time sensitive. What a young black belt knows today will not change later on except for scope and depth of that same knowledge. Both sides of the coin are needed which makes martial arts a life time pursuit for those so inclined. In time for those that realize this the rewards are well worth it.
     
  4. W.Bridges

    W.Bridges White Belt

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    When I pick a place to train I do look for a good instructor it does not matter their age or if they are male or female. If they do know what are doing. For instance I'm taking Taekwondo from a female instructor and she knows her stuff. But a lot of people don't want a female instructor. Before I started taking Taekwondo I did look around at other instructor before hand that did have more years experience but seemed like they was in it for the money and not actually teaching.
     
  5. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Age does play a little part in it. There are things that I, as a 30-year-old, know about learning and teaching, that no 12-year-old would know. Things like how to teach different people, how to adapt your teaching when it's not working, how to present information to people who don't know what you know.

    Also, The older someone is, the more likely they are able to separate themselves from the teaching (i.e. a 16 year old might be about showing you how good of a martial artist he is, a 46-year-old is more likely to help you be the best martial artist you can be).

    There's also a slight difference in how they understand concepts. A 4-6 year old is going to be more likely to be trying to mimic the instructor, where a 46 year old is trying to understand the movements. Someone who is 14-16 with 10 years experience, has probably only been critically thinking about the art for a few years, but will have a much crisper technique, than someone who is 56 and has 10 years of experience.
     
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  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think age can be a factor. Let’s be honest, there is a mental, emotional, and physical maturity issue in the mix.

    All other things being equal, a student who begins training at age 16 or 20 is going to get much more out of his first year and his first five years of training, than someone who begins at age 4 or 5.

    For that younger student, that first year or more is more about learning some physical coordination, playing games, having fun, and honestly, it is often daycare in a Karate gi. The older student can get right to the martial training in those first years, and his understanding and retention of the method will be much greater.

    When does the younger student catch up? I don’t know. But If someone starts at age 5, my guess would be that the first three or four years might not have a lot of substance to them. I’m sure there is no perfect formula to equate the two, it depends on the individuals. But when someone says they started at a very young age, such as five, I automatically write off the first few years and don’t count that as significant experience.

    That is just my opinion.
     
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  7. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I started teaching as a blue belt, at age 25. Only 1 person ever questioned my authority as a teacher, and that was a yellow belt. Even the people who were a higher belt than me, such as red belts and even a 2nd-degree black belt (who was taking the beginner class) respected me and deferred to my authority. There's the big caveat that the authority was granted to me by my Master.

    And I think that's a key point to this discussion - what are we defining as "instructor". Is it:
    • The person who holds pads and gives you pointers on your technique when you're drilling?
    • The person who leads warmups and then defers to a senior instructor?
    • The person who runs some of the classes, but under the direction of the Master and his curriculum?
    • The person in charge of a satellite school in a chain run by a higher level Master or Grandmaster?
    • The person who owns the school or has the freedom to teach their own curriculum as they see fit?
    There's a big difference between a 16-year-old running warmups and maybe a whole class here or there (which is fine), and a 25-year-old owning their own school with their own curriculum.
     
  8. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I've seen people of all ages where the first year (or more) are about physical coordination. 4, 6, 16, 25, 45, I've seen it all the way up.
     
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  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Sure, absolutely. I just think it’s much more likely with the youngest students.
     
  10. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    At first, yes. But the learning curve is a lot quicker for the younger students.

    My favorite is the kids who get their intermediate or advanced belts right around the time they start hitting their final round of growth spurts. They were learning kicks when they were 4 feet tall, and all of a sudden they're 6 feet tall and their movements are so awkward.

    Once I point out that they need to re-learn where their hands and feet are, they focus on it and figure it out pretty quick.
     
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  11. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    if I was to start a new style I'd be good with whoever was teaching. That being said - any of us who have trained in a dojo that has multiple instructors, we all have a favorite instructor. When you're pulling up to the school, about to workout, you have that "I hope so and so is teaching tonight" in your head.

    But other than that, I don't care how old they are - within reason.
     
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  12. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    I have a favorite instructor at my dojang! The problem is, he can't teach me anything I don't already know.
     
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  13. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I'd love to work out with everyone on this forum, I'd love to take a class from everyone on this forum.
    I'd have a ball. Even if I was lost in a sea of new material.
     
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  14. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    So long as the person is mature, has enough depth of knowledge, and can actually teach, age doesn’t matter to me. Neither does anything else really. Young, old, elite athlete, decrepit, and so on. As long as they can keep making me better for the foreseeable future and don’t act like a jackass, I’m in.

    If they suck as a teacher, nothing they can do will get me to stay. Everything else is insignificant. If they’re a jackass I don’t respect, nothing else is going to make up for it.
     
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  15. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    I learn from everyone. Even if it's what not to do.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Age has no real bearing for me. I've taught folks more than twice my age, and been taught by folks younger than me. I started MA when I was 12, but my current art at 18, so there are a few folks younger than me who have a few years more experience. Had I started later, it would be easier to find someone younger with more experience.

    Personally, I don't even care if they have more experience or not. I had a visiting student from Germany a couple of years ago. She was visiting a company here in the US. She was probably in her 20's, and had about 12 years of experience in Jujutsu (a standardized German variety). She came to learn, since there's a lot of overlap in what we do. I made sure I learned a few things from her while she was here. If I'd run into her as an instructor (me looking for a class), I'd have had no qualms joining the class. She knew her stuff, could apply it fluently, was fearless against resistance, and displayed no ego issues. (And she wasn't even officially at "instructor" level yet).
     
  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I think this can be true at an individual level (as a person matures), but I haven't seen it true as a general rule. Some of the showiest instructors I know (always wanting to make sure you know how good they are) are some of the oldest. And some of the humblest are some of the youngest. And vice-versa.
     
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. When I consider how much experience a person has, I discount (as in, reduce the value of) training before age 25, 18, and 12 by progressive levels. It's an approximation I do automatically, and doesn't mean much, except to acknowledge that someone with 20 years of experience probably knows more if they are 45 than if they are 30.
     
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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    That's definitely true. In fact, it's more true of the youngest and folks over about 35 than about the folks in their teens and 20's. But even that's a generalization, and doesn't provide much predictability for an individual.
     
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  20. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't yet met a good instructor who couldn't teach me something I don't know. I have a former student (he has about 8-9 years of experience) who I learn something from almost every time I go to his class. It might not be something entirely new, but he'll point out something I've been ignoring or something I just hadn't thought of before. Sometimes, it's a question he asks that sends me down a rabbit hole.
     
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