Favoritism or just lack of help? Both?

ShelleyK

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Ive been noticing a few things lately in my Dojang.

Now please do not get all feisty on me (especially you masters here) but I have been keeping tabs lately in my school on who gets the most help in class.
One thing I REALLY noticed is that I BARELY got any help from my master in the month of June to help me prepare for my blue stripe belt test last week.

On June 11th I got my first tip for learning Pal Gwe Sam Jang. However...I KNEW the form over a week before that...I competed this form on June 6th and came in 2nd place! I waited a week before my instructor finally took me aside and had me do the form for him to get my tip.

My next tip was for learning the 1-step sparring, which again I already knew and was teaching to other students with the same belt level as me, I got that tip on June 19. I asked my master if I would be testing for my blue stripe on June 25th and he said no so I was like ok, I guess Im not as proficient as I thought I was!

I missed my Monday class the next week as I was sick, and came back on Wednesday and my noon class belt partner Joe had his 3rd tip, which is for the self defense. So I knew he was going to test. He asked me if I was and I said no that Master Moon said I wasnt. THEN after doing warm ups and some drills Master moon told all the testers to go into the other sparring room to practice for the test which was the next day...he called me over and told me to go in there and I got all confuzzled and reminded him that he told me I wasnt testing, then he says he was mistaken because I only had 2 tips and he realized that he hadnt been watching me carefully enough to see that I knew my self defense.

Now normally you have to get the testing form and fee in TWO days before the testing! I had to cram to fill out my essay form and come up with the fee...which I wasnt prepared for, all because of his lack of observation! Luckily for me my husband had some money put away so I was able to use that.

Now back to playing favorites....this does all tie in....While the 3 weeks went by I noticed that there are a couple of students that master Moon "prefers" to help more than others. Even my belt partner Joe noticed that Master Moon rarely glanced our way while we did our curriculum. We literally had to learn ALL of the techniques on our own by watching our instructional videos or studying our manuals. Now dont get me wrong I dont mind learning that way but when its obvious that a student is struggling....as I was on my 3rd self defense technique....because class always ended as we were getting to that part LOL....you would think that the teacher would step in and give some instruction. My noon class isnt normally very big...anywhere from 6-12 students at any given time...sometimes more sometimes even less. And when a student is pretty much ready for a belt test and the teacher doesnt even realize it...I feel that there is a problem.

I dont want to seem petty and complain to the other staff either...one of whom also plays favorites but I am kind of at a loss of what route I should take next?

Just on Friday, the day after my belt testing I luckily brought my manual which had the steps of the form in it. When it was time to do curriculum again I grabbed it because I KNEW I wasnt going to get any help. I stood there staring at the manual and trying to imitate the hand/arm placements. And not once did my teacher glance my way, instead he concentrated on another student that has been on her belt level for 2 months now. When class ended I grabbed one of the other instructors/director of the school to at least help me with the first 4 moves of my new form. Im getting more frustrated as the days go by...

Any thoughts on what I should do?
 

just2kicku

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Hey Shelley, have you tried talking to him about this? I would tell him that I'm not getting the instruction that I'm paying for. If that doesn't work I would think it might be time to leave and find a dojo that will instruct you the way you need to be instructed. Just my $.02
 

Tez3

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Shelley, I don't understand what the 'tip' thing is? Are you rationed or do you have to have so many before you can grade?
 
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ShelleyK

ShelleyK

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Tez,
In my school and in many others Ive noticed...When you have learned a certain part of your curriculum you get a white or a colored "tape" tip on your belt (depending on what level belt you are...for my green belt I needed 3 yellow tips and the black testing tip), they are meant to be used as "mini" goals towards achieving your next rank belt
 
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ShelleyK

ShelleyK

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Hey Shelley, have you tried talking to him about this? I would tell him that I'm not getting the instruction that I'm paying for. If that doesn't work I would think it might be time to leave and find a dojo that will instruct you the way you need to be instructed. Just my $.02

See thats the thing, I am not sure if I SHOULD speak to him about this. I do not want to seem petty and maybe my observations are way off based, I just dont know.
As far as leaving the school I am not sure I can do that. I have a 3 year contract with them to achieve BB status, and I am in my 2nd year now. The location of the school is perfect and most of the students are pretty great....
 

Tez3

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Tez,
In my school and in many others Ive noticed...When you have learned a certain part of your curriculum you get a white or a colored "tape" tip on your belt (depending on what level belt you are...for my green belt I needed 3 yellow tips and the black testing tip), they are meant to be used as "mini" goals towards achieving your next rank belt


Ah, I was reading it as you were being given tips as in how to perform techniques! I couldn't understand why you seemed to be limited on how many you got though it did go with you're being ignored!
 

dortiz

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This happens not only in martial arts, but also in school and work. I am personally very aware of this as someone that coaches others in the work place.
My biggest down fall is when I have full faith in someone that I dont focus enough on them. Many times the teacher thinks the student has it down or always pulls it off because they work harder and is not aware that the student feels the way they do.
The funny thing is the student feels like they are being treated in a lesser way when in truth its because they are truly regarded in a higher fashion.
May not be the case but consider it.

Dave O.
 
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ShelleyK

ShelleyK

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Thank you so much for this insight Dave! I had not thought of it in this light.
This could be the case but again I dont know...maybe I should wait another month and see what July brings as far as instruction?
 

Tez3

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This happens not only in martial arts, but also in school and work. I am personally very aware of this as someone that coaches others in the work place.
My biggest down fall is when I have full faith in someone that I dont focus enough on them. Many times the teacher thinks the student has it down or always pulls it off because they work harder and is not aware that the student feels the way they do.
The funny thing is the student feels like they are being treated in a lesser way when in truth its because they are truly regarded in a higher fashion.
May not be the case but consider it.

Dave O.

That is an excellent post! I don't know if it's that in Shelley's case but it's certainly a good likelihood!
 

dancingalone

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Shelley, if you are learning your belt requirements from a DVD or from other classmates instead of your instructor or one of his designates, there's definitely something wrong. I understand it's hard to keep up with everyone if one has a large school, but your story seems to relate that Mr. Moon has ample opportunity to observe you and help you with corrections.

Has this 'neglect' always been the case for you? If so, it may be time to reevaluate your instructor. There is a certain ebb-and-flow you must take into account. It naturally happens particularly if you have just made a new grade and the instructor wants to focus on someone else who might need more help, but it should not be a consistent ongoing event.

When I intend to spend a little less time with one of my students than usual, I will make an effort to let him know, but I have relatively few students. Maybe it is simply a misunderstanding or a mistake and you should have a talk with Mr. Moon to air things out.
 

dancingalone

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See thats the thing, I am not sure if I SHOULD speak to him about this. I do not want to seem petty and maybe my observations are way off based, I just dont know.
As far as leaving the school I am not sure I can do that. I have a 3 year contract with them to achieve BB status, and I am in my 2nd year now. The location of the school is perfect and most of the students are pretty great....

Sometimes it's possible to bribe yourself into the instructor's good graces. Try springing for a few private lessons if you can save up the cash somehow. I wouldn't recommend this path myself just on principle but if you like the school and you want to stick things through, this could be the right step to make. Are you considered a serious student by your instructor? No insult intended at all, but I have noticed a natural tendency by instructors to spend more time with those they think have the determination to stick with it and really excel. It's human nature, and I find myself having to check my impulse to work too frequently with my senior students too.
 
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ShelleyK

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Shelley, if you are learning your belt requirements from a DVD or from other classmates instead of your instructor or one of his designates, there's definitely something wrong. I understand it's hard to keep up with everyone if one has a large school, but your story seems to relate that Mr. Moon has ample opportunity to observe you and help you with corrections.

Has this 'neglect' always been the case for you? If so, it may be time to reevaluate your instructor. There is a certain ebb-and-flow you must take into account. It naturally happens particularly if you have just made a new grade and the instructor wants to focus on someone else who might need more help, but it should not be a consistent ongoing event.

When I intend to spend a little less time with one of my students than usual, I will make an effort to let him know, but I have relatively few students. Maybe it is simply a misunderstanding or a mistake and you should have a talk with Mr. Moon to air things out.

Well Ive only REALLY been keeping tabs since the beginning of June, which is why Im a bit hesitant to speak up right now.
I did notice that there were a few times when Master Moon would start to watch Joe and I, then look the other way and totally space on us, this happened for 2 weeks straight and we were getting a little irritated because we were trying to get our tape tips. So he would see maybe the first 6-10 steps in our form and the next thing we know he is gone instructing someone else! :idunno:

Now as I said before, the manual we have and the instructional DVD that we get with each new belt rank has all the techniques and forms on them so we can learn that way as well, BUT...I cant learn from the DVD if I have not yet learned how to execute the new moves...right? So I kind of felt stupid standing all alone with my manual trying to figure out which hand is placed where and when do I move my feet and into what position?

So Im wondering now if I should see what happens over the next 4 weeks...and if it continues...who should I go to first? Master Moon, one of the directors who also teach classes? I really dont like to CAUSE confrontation and I feel that if I speak up that his view of me may change. I dont want to create hostility and I certainly dont want to be "singled out" for more instruction than others so I wont feel slighted...Know what I mean?
 

arnisador

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If you passed, maybe he was correct in knowing who needed more help and who didn't?

I might counsel patience here...keep watching, but give him some time. Maybe others truly need extra attention now, or he thinks he's teaching you something about perseverance or the like. Or perhaps he thinks you need more time on the basics...I would focus on my training and give it three more months.
 

Tez3

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Shelly, not criticising here just curious, I watched your grading DVDs, which I thought were great but I was perplexed by the fact you (as in your school!) do self defence techniques so formally and that you spar non contact, is that normal? Do you go on later to do self defence with resisting ukes and do you spar full contact later too?
It seems very formal and I'm not sure about doing self defence in a way that doesn't get you used to being attacked but if you do it usually with ressiance it's maybe just the impression I get along with you having to learn things out of books and watching DVDs, that grading seems important to the school rather than fighting or techniques?
 
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ShelleyK

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Shelly, not criticising here just curious, I watched your grading DVDs, which I thought were great but I was perplexed by the fact you (as in your school!) do self defence techniques so formally and that you spar non contact, is that normal? Do you go on later to do self defence with resisting ukes and do you spar full contact later too?
It seems very formal and I'm not sure about doing self defence in a way that doesn't get you used to being attacked but if you do it usually with ressiance it's maybe just the impression I get along with you having to learn things out of books and watching DVDs, that grading seems important to the school rather than fighting or techniques?

My school only does no contact sparring during class and for testing purposes. There is a full contact sparring class once a week that is offered though.
I am unclear as to what you are asking about the self defense. can you please rephrase for me what you are asking?
 
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ShelleyK

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If you passed, maybe he was correct in knowing who needed more help and who didn't?

I might counsel patience here...keep watching, but give him some time. Maybe others truly need extra attention now, or he thinks he's teaching you something about perseverance or the like. Or perhaps he thinks you need more time on the basics...I would focus on my training and give it three more months.

Well yes I passed but that was because I KNEW the techniques (but I still struggled with the 3rd self defense foot placement) The point is that my Master didnt know I knew everything because he didnt take the time to find out or instruct me all through June. He didnt even know that I knew the 1 step sparring or self defense until the day before testing! I have an issue with that. I still think that Master Moon is an exceptional teacher. He knows how to teach, he does it well, he adds humor to the class and he is for the most part very attentive....But it just seems that he likes to give more attention to certain class members. Im not going to name names or anything like that because I DO like these classmates of mine and Im not jealous, but I just feel that the distribution of instruction needs to be more level rather than focusing on someone that already KNOWS what they are supposed to be doing AND they are doing it

Can you explain to me what you mean by I may need more time on the basics...the basic what? LOL I havent learned ANYTHING but the first 4 moves for blue stripe yet and I ONLY got instruction on it because after class ended I pulled the director aside and said can you please help me with at least the first 4 moves....
 

Tez3

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My school only does no contact sparring during class and for testing purposes. There is a full contact sparring class once a week that is offered though.
I am unclear as to what you are asking about the self defense. can you please rephrase for me what you are asking?

When we do self defence especially in a grading we have the person actually going to attack you so that you have to defend yourself realistically. The person you are defending yourself against resists your techniques to make sure you know what you doing. The person being attacked doesn't know what techniques are going to be used so it's testing there quickness of thought and reactions, it's made a lifelike as possible. The Uke usally ends up with a few bruises but it's worth it to make sure the person grading knows how to defend themselves.
In the video the self defence techniques looked formal and mapped out even down to signalling when you were both ready? The foot placement worries me as if you are attacked how can you place your feet exactly as the drill?
 

Tames D

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If you passed, maybe he was correct in knowing who needed more help and who didn't?

I might counsel patience here...keep watching, but give him some time. Maybe others truly need extra attention now, or he thinks he's teaching you something about perseverance or the like. Or perhaps he thinks you need more time on the basics...I would focus on my training and give it three more months.

I agree with Arnisador. But if you really feel your instructor doesn't notice you during class try this experiment: Miss a scheduled payment and see if he notices you then
icon7.gif
. Might be fun...
 

RobBnTX

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Three year contract!!

That alone is setting off numerous red alarms in my brain. When I recently was checking out various schools in my area, if they didn't offer month to month, I never gave 'em a second look. Does the school guarantee a black belt at the end of the three year contract? If so, that again is sending off red alarms, at least for me it does.

Keep up the hard work,

Robert
 
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