Taking a Student as Your Martial Arts Apprentice

Discussion in 'Jujutsu / Judo' started by Grasshopper22, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Grasshopper22

    Grasshopper22 Orange Belt

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    My dream (and I know it 99% won't happen but as I said, it's a dream) is to later on in life, become a sensei of martial arts and move to Japan and own a dojo. I was wondering (and please excuse my ignorance), you know in Kung-Fu films where the Sifu takes a particular liking to one student and trains him up as 'his own', does that happen in real life? Because if they do, I'd one day love to be the sensei and put my time and dedication into the learning of a student.
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Senior Master

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    Yes it does. You're better off trying to be that student first.
     
  3. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    It does happen from time to time, but it's pretty darn rare. It's also pretty darn hard to get to a point where students want to be your "disciple." I can tick off on half of one hand the number of instructors I'd even give half a thought to being Deshi to if they asked me and none of them that I'd go and ask. I've got a life, wife, kids, job, etc. How god-like would someone have to be to get me to humbly beg to come be their live-in servant for the privilege of learning directly from them full time?

    If this is something you really want, and I'm not trying to discourage you from it, you need to first be a (the?) student. Learn all you can from the best that you can. Maybe if you're talented/skilled enough, humble enough, and persistent enough, some Sensei will agree to let you be his Deshi. But, honestly, I really believe that the deshi/disciple/medieval-apprentice paradigm is well past obsolescent in post-Industrialized society. Teachers don't need indentured servants any more and students don't need, any longer, to be indentured servants to get the highest quality instruction. Crap, you've got bona-fide 5th Dan Judoka teaching at the YMCA for nickels-per-hour these days.

    Be a student first.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  4. WC_lun

    WC_lun Senior Master

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    You have to understand that in those movies, the students' families paid for the student to live in the instrcutor's household and learn martial arts. The students helped take care of the household, or in the case of temples, took care of the neccesities of running the temple. This type of relationship is no longer normal. In today's world, martial art instruction is a service rendered. Much like paying a dance instructor, music teacher, or riding instructor. You pay them to teach you and that is the end of the contract. In most cases you do not live with your instructor and are not responsible for the upkeep of his house. Though I have seen a few modern day instructors that try to treat thier students like endentured servants, it is wrong.

    There are schools, particularly in the Chinese martial arts systems, that have what are called "outter door" and "inner door" students. Outter door students are the ones you see the most as an instructor. They come and go, often switching from school to school. While instructors teach these students, they rarely achieve much in a particular system. For instructors these outter door students' tuition helps pay the bills.

    Inner door students have put the work into a particular system. They've been at the school for a while and the instructor trust them to a certain extent. These students will often have classes that other students are not invited too...such as advanced classes. The material trained in these classes is for serious students and for those that have shown they can grasp the concepts and principles of that particular system. Often these same students will be the ones responsible for the future of that particular system.

    Occasionally an instructor will take specific interest in a rare student. That student will have shown to be what epidemizes the system that is being taught. The instructor will pour everything they can into those rare students. Eventually those students will be named the inheretor of the school. Sometimes there will be a group of these type of students.

    Now having said all the above, none of it matters. If you train religiously, show a good attitude, and work your tail off, you will get what information you should get from a quality instructor. Be wary of any instructor that starts talking about getting this or that special knowledge, or being a certain kind of student, especially if such honors can only be achieved by paying him extra. Leave such an instructor immediately because niether you or advancing his art are his main concerns.
     
  5. Josh Oakley

    Josh Oakley Senior Master

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    And from personal experience, even being that student... Not always what it's cracked up to be. But you WILL learn more about that instructor than you ever expected. For better and sometimes for worse.

    Sent from my ADR6350 using Tapatalk 2
     
  6. oaktree

    oaktree 3rd Black Belt

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    Just show up to train, train hard and let your teacher decide
    What he or she gives you. The teacher will give you what you
    Need and knows when you are ready.
     
  7. Haakon

    Haakon Blue Belt

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    One has to be Daniel before he can be Mr Miyagi. :)

    One student isn't going to be able to support a dojo so Grasshopper had better also plan on a full time job or winning Lotto to support it.
     
  8. zDom

    zDom Senior Master

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    I want to be that old master living in a shack or cave that students seek out and beg me to teach them because for whatever reason I decided to stop teaching anyone martial arts but I tell them all NO! GO AWAY! until one day a very special student comes along who has a genuine need for martial arts, some social problems that martial arts would fix for them and they are direly in need of a mentor but I still say NO! GO AWAY! but then they prove themself worthy and so I relent and decide to make their life miserable to test their dedication but then the persevere and pride for their hard work and love in my heart grows but then I get sick and die and they perform some marvelous martial art accomplishment that gets me to admit my fondness for them and I finally give them some small compliment but considering how I never complimented them before he or she knows they have pleased me and in that knowledge find self confidence and peace and I die happy to know that I have passed along the legacy to a worthy student who is well on their way to becoming a true master of the martial arts.


    Um .. except I don't want to live in a cave or shack. Can I change that to a modest palace with broadband Internet and an enormous flat screen TV?

    And the dying part: can that be at age 120?
     
  9. Gentle Fist

    Gentle Fist Master Black Belt

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    As stated earlier, enjoy being a student first... Thats the best position to be in...
     

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