At what point should you refuse or stop teaching someone martial arts?

mrt2

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Ok but realistically, how often does a teacher find himself actually engaged in combat with his student? The kind where they are actually trying to put the other in the hospital or the morgue? Exceedingly rare, if ever, I’ll wager.

By challenge, do you mean an intellectual challenge of what is being taught or how it is being taught? Or business decisions about running the school? Sometimes a separation is appropriate, but I would like to think that reasonable adults can make room for disagreement in their relationships, without it becoming an irreparable rift.

I think that sometimes teachers think they ought to be able to hold long term control over their students and what they do. This is a mistake. This approach can ultimately lead to an irreparable rift. Teachers need to be able to let go of that control. You teach your students, and eventually you need to trust that they have learned it well and they can be trusted to do what they will with it. And if not, well you don’t get to control everything. People will do what they do, with you or without you if you drive them away. A teacher needs to give students room to breathe and develop their own place within the martial arts community.
In the two Martial Arts schools I have been associated with, challenging the Master to a fight would definitely be grounds for getting kicked out. Come to think of it, challenging any student to fight outside of the spirit of the training would probably be grounds for getting kicked out.
 

Flying Crane

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In the two Martial Arts schools I have been associated with, challenging the Master to a fight would definitely be grounds for getting kicked out. Come to think of it, challenging any student to fight outside of the spirit of the training would probably be grounds for getting kicked out.
And it should be. But how often realistically, does that happen, especially by a long-term student who has shown dedication to the training? It seems like a fantasy to me.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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But how often realistically, does that happen,
It had happened to me 8 times. Some students may think after they have received their black belt, it's time to test their skill against their instructor.

My Chinese wrestling teacher was too old when he taught me. If he was younger, I would also like to test my skill against his. Why? In 1933, the 5th National Kuo Shu Tournament (also called the "All China Full Contact Tournament"), he won the heavyweight division over several hundred other practitioners. If I had the ability to deal with him, I would know exactly where my skill level was.

So from the students point of view, I have no hard feeling on this.
 
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Flying Crane

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The rule was still followed. Take down or knock down would end the fight.
Ok, I guess I’m trying to understand if this was actually malicious, or if he was just testing his ability and you went along with it.

If it was malicious, then that is bizarre, sociopathic behavior. What would he think he was going to accomplish? Take your other students from you, his teacher? What kind of sociopathic mindless stooge of a student would go along with that, if you had lost, and go to him as the new teacher? Does anyone subscribe to that behavior, in the modern age?

At any rate, if it poisoned the relationship then it would be appropriate to separate and he is no longer welcome in your school.
 

Hanshi

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This thread brings up both serious and confusing questions. I've asked students to leave, refused to accept others and found myself counseling a few more times than I like. My dojo was, as students often described, family. I've had them come to me to talk out personal issues, sometimes in tears. I tried to avoid such but this is just the way I was seen. I loved them all and kept an eye out for any signs of misbehavior. When a student righteously defended themselves out in the world I always had their back. Sometimes a student would get expelled because of something that happened in the dojo. Occasionally a particular person simply wasn't a good fit. It was rare that dismissal was required but it did happen; and each was based on the individual and only after much thought and with consult.
 

dvcochran

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It had happened to me 8 times. Some students may think after they have received their black belt, it's time to test their skill against their instructor.

My Chinese wrestling teacher was too old when he taught me. If he was younger, I would also like to test my skill against his. Why? In 1933, the 5th National Kuo Shu Tournament (also called the "All China Full Contact Tournament"), he won the heavyweight division over several hundred other practitioners. If I had the ability to deal with him, I would know exactly where my skill level was.

So from the students point of view, I have no hard feeling on this.
I think I get this, sort of. When I went through my Olympic run I can say with certainty the the guys who could not fully control their emotions and were out to hurt people or on a roid bender did not go the distance. It was not about crippling the other person; for me at least that mindset could not be entertained. Finding the same energy from within and using it to it's fullest, now that is a great thing. When you walk away from a match knowing you did your best is a damn good feeling. Getting bested in a battle that does not have mortal consequences and is rules bound is not always a bad thing.
Conversely, many of the guys I played college football with were all in for a cheap shot and for causing an injury. But very few of those guys had ever been through any kind of martial arts discipline and more over had been encouraged much in the opposite direction. And then there were some that will never have that kind of mindset. Just not in their nature.
 

gpseymour

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It had happened to me 8 times. Some students may think after they have received their black belt, it's time to test their skill against their instructor.

My Chinese wrestling teacher was too old when he taught me. If he was younger, I would also like to test my skill against his. Why? In 1933, the 5th National Kuo Shu Tournament (also called the "All China Full Contact Tournament"), he won the heavyweight division over several hundred other practitioners. If I had the ability to deal with him, I would know exactly where my skill level was.

So from the students point of view, I have no hard feeling on this.
If it's a student asking to spar with the instructor, I don't see why there'd be a problem. I've had students who were as good at sparring as me. it'd be fun to have one who was better at it. So if that's the "challenge" referred to in the CMA saying, I can't say I agree with the saying.
 

dvcochran

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If it's a student asking to spar with the instructor, I don't see why there'd be a problem. I've had students who were as good at sparring as me. it'd be fun to have one who was better at it. So if that's the "challenge" referred to in the CMA saying, I can't say I agree with the saying.
Fully agree. I think if we are all being honest with ourselves we have all had students that were better than us, at least at some things.
For me this was a tough segway for a bit; admitting/giving up some aspects of the competitive spirit and picking up more of the coaching aspect of helping better those students in the world of competition.. Turned out to be even more satisfying watching others succeed. Great times.
 

Lilly Walker

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First it would depend on if he was the one who initially abused the girl, or if she was abused by someone else. If he was the one who abused her, then no. If he's being abused, I would strongly recommend that he press charges and/or leave. But if he refused...I'm not sure.
Lilly Walker
 

Buka

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There was no need to issue a challenge where we trained, as everybody fought everybody all the time. Want to try and test your mettle against one of the fighters, go right ahead.

With an open door policy sometimes an unknown outsider would come in looking to spar. They were always welcome. As for "challenging" someone, never really saw too much of that. Maybe a couple of times. Those people went down in the lore of "one time this fool came in..."

Think about it, if you're really a good Martial Arts fighter you don't go around issuing challenges. You don't have to. Because if you do, you become one of those stories.

Had a kid in Law Enforcement when I was teaching DT. After an eight hour block I was changing to go home. He walks up to my locker and throws a slow side kick up in front of my face, not trying to hit me, but to show off his flexibility. It was cute.

Long story short he wants to come to my dojo to do some sparring. I give him directions. He comes. He watches some sparring. But he doesn't want to spar with anyone but me. Okay. So we start to spar. Within thirty seconds I realize he has no fighting ability whatsoever, I mean, he's just awful. I do not wish to embarrass him, so I just move around, slapping away what he throws.

He suddenly takes an honest to God hissy fit. Starts screaming at me to "try and hit him". I'm kind of stunned, hadn't seen an adult brat in my dojo before. I try to talk to him - more hissy fit, even louder screaming. One of the black belts speaks up and says, "Coach, you always taught us to grant a guest his wishes." (I've learned just as much from my students as they've learned from me.)

From that moment on, I hit this boy with everything. Not hard, you could go to hell for that, just often. I was sweeping him, head kicking him, scissoring him, slapping him, spin kicking him, hitting him with things I didn't even throw anymore. And it's when the devil grabbed my soul and I started yelling at him, "You come in here and disrespect our dojo you M%#*//*^er!

He faked being dizzy from a backlist that wouldn't have broken an egg and stopped sparring.

I had to talk to my bosses at work the next day, let them know what we had in our midst. He was still on probation and was let go immediately. Next think we hear, not a month later, he married a hooker - who stole everything he had, including his car and bank account.

So one of the few times I've been challenged was by a foolish fruitcake. I'm not proud to be 3 and 0 against such fruitcakes. It's actually rather embarrassing.

I've become close friends with some of my black belts over the years. Some still tease me about it, saying, "he slapped around a mentally challenged kid one time. Next week he's going to fight a blind guy."
 

Buka

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First it would depend on if he was the one who initially abused the girl, or if she was abused by someone else. If he was the one who abused her, then no. If he's being abused, I would strongly recommend that he press charges and/or leave. But if he refused...I'm not sure.
Lilly Walker

Welcome to Martial Talk, Lily. :)
 

dvcochran

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Long story short he wants to come to my dojo to do some sparring. I give him directions. He comes. He watches some sparring.
This reminded me how many times people came to our school thinking they 'wanted' to spar but never did. Like you we will workout/spar with anyone and everyone. Just check the ego at the door.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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There was no need to issue a challenge ...
Some challenge can be very civilized.

When I was in Taiwan, someone told me that there was a school that students in that school all used wooden stick to hit on their own arms. There was a guy who used iron bar to hit on his own arm daily. Local TV news went to interview him. No doubt that he was considered as the toughest guy in that school. I went to challenge that guy. We hit arm against arm until blood came out of both of our arms and nobody wanted to stop.

If you don't test your MA skill against the best of the best, how do you know where you stand? Some people may not care. But some people do care about it. We could only be young once. When we get older, we will lose that chance forever.
 
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