First time as instructor

Olde Phart

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In my dojang, we usually arrive a few minutes early for black belt class. The class before us is usually a beginner or intermediate class. Just recently, I was the only black belt hanging around and the instructor called me up to the front of the class to assist. The main problem I had at that time was the fact that ALL of the practice routines and katas had to be done BACKWARDS from my viewpoint. Since I am facing the students, they are going to mimic everything I do. My "righthand" downblock will produce a "lefthand" downblock from them. It was kinda herky-jerky for a while but I survived. Any first-time or early "hiccups" in your experience as an instructor?
 

skribs

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During my first year as an instructor, I know of at least half a dozen kids that left crying and never came back. I had to learn that white belts are white belts in attitude and discipline as much as in technique, and to take a bit of a softer approach to new students.
 

Damien

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In my dojang, we usually arrive a few minutes early for black belt class. The class before us is usually a beginner or intermediate class. Just recently, I was the only black belt hanging around and the instructor called me up to the front of the class to assist. The main problem I had at that time was the fact that ALL of the practice routines and katas had to be done BACKWARDS from my viewpoint. Since I am facing the students, they are going to mimic everything I do. My "righthand" downblock will produce a "lefthand" downblock from them. It was kinda herky-jerky for a while but I survived. Any first-time or early "hiccups" in your experience as an instructor?
That's why I always demonstrate facing the same way as my students for the first few runs of a sequence/drill. Then you can turn round so they can see other details and you can see them.

If they aren't quite getting it right on the first few run throughs, it's not the end of the world, and it gives them a chance to self correct when watching you.

I got used to mimicking an instructor who was facing me quite quickly. I mean it's not that hard of a concept to understand that their left hand appears on my right hand side! I get confused when people mirror when instructing! :p
 

Holmejr

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I typically demonstrate in 90 degree positions, with the few first examples facing the same direction as the class. But have no fear, those students that stay will eventually get it.
 
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Olde Phart

Olde Phart

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We'll be doing some drill and, say, be in a front stance. There's always someone that has the wrong leg forward. Someone will do a loud "stage whisper" and tell them to switch legs. Once the world is in alignment, we can continue.
 

tkdroamer

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In my dojang, we usually arrive a few minutes early for black belt class. The class before us is usually a beginner or intermediate class. Just recently, I was the only black belt hanging around and the instructor called me up to the front of the class to assist. The main problem I had at that time was the fact that ALL of the practice routines and katas had to be done BACKWARDS from my viewpoint. Since I am facing the students, they are going to mimic everything I do. My "righthand" downblock will produce a "lefthand" downblock from them. It was kinda herky-jerky for a while but I survived. Any first-time or early "hiccups" in your experience as an instructor?
Congratulations for your first teaching experience. I have seen it done three different ways. The most common is to explain to the class that they are looking in a mirror and you and the students use the same side body part. The second most common and very close to first is for the instructor to turn around so that everyone is facing the same directions. Each have their own advantages for seeing the movement. The last and (usually) most difficult for the instructor is to do it as you mentioned. You have to practice it regularly AND do your forms in both directions to become proficient at it.
Well done.
 

Jimmythebull

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Most good instructors i織ve seen or trained with also come to the side of the class & join in with them correcting people as they do so.
 
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Olde Phart

Olde Phart

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Congratulations for your first teaching experience. I have seen it done three different ways. The most common is to explain to the class that they are looking in a mirror and you and the students use the same side body part. The second most common and very close to first is for the instructor to turn around so that everyone is facing the same directions. Each have their own advantages for seeing the movement. The last and (usually) most difficult for the instructor is to do it as you mentioned. You have to practice it regularly AND do your forms in both directions to become proficient at it.
Well done.
My 75+ year old Grand Master used to take delight in having us do hyungs/katas to the opposite side, all the while counting at normal speed. It was hilarious . . . to him! But, I can see the point in it. What is to guarantee that the attacker will always come from the "correct" side? Most of my current activities revolve around making small suggestions to hand positions and basic movements. It may look easy to the outsider, but MA is hard to perfect. It takes practice and patience. That's my favorite "tenet" in martial arts: IN NAE - Perseverance.
 

Gerry Seymour

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In my dojang, we usually arrive a few minutes early for black belt class. The class before us is usually a beginner or intermediate class. Just recently, I was the only black belt hanging around and the instructor called me up to the front of the class to assist. The main problem I had at that time was the fact that ALL of the practice routines and katas had to be done BACKWARDS from my viewpoint. Since I am facing the students, they are going to mimic everything I do. My "righthand" downblock will produce a "lefthand" downblock from them. It was kinda herky-jerky for a while but I survived. Any first-time or early "hiccups" in your experience as an instructor?
We never did things backwards when demonstrating- students learned to not mirror us. I can see where that would be difficult the first time. If I tried to do my long forms backwards, I would not do well.
 
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Olde Phart

Olde Phart

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Now that y'ns have beat me up about doing things backward . . . what I was actually aiming for in this thread was some comments about YOUR early attempts at teaching so we could learn from what others have done.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Not quite my first time as an instructor, and I was still a teen at this point. A friend of mine started learning, and was having a huge issue with flinching. Biggest issue I'd seen at that point, and probably the biggest one since. We spent a week doing a drill where I'd put him against a wall, and throw punches while having him avoid flinching, as I came as close as I could to hitting him before stopping while going close to full speed.

Then after a week (I think-could have been more or less), I had him do the same except this time blocking while against the wall. Looking back, not the smartest idea and probably would not do the same again. Just let someone learn to control that reaction naturally.

Nowadays, if I'm teaching kali, I do 5 strikes and footwork to start off, and if I'm teaching general fighting, I start people off with boxing's 4 basic punches and half-moon work. Seems more useful, less dangerous, and more likely to keep them around than what I did with the above guy.
 

skribs

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Not quite my first time as an instructor, and I was still a teen at this point. A friend of mine started learning, and was having a huge issue with flinching. Biggest issue I'd seen at that point, and probably the biggest one since. We spent a week doing a drill where I'd put him against a wall, and throw punches while having him avoid flinching, as I came as close as I could to hitting him before stopping while going close to full speed.

Then after a week (I think-could have been more or less), I had him do the same except this time blocking while against the wall. Looking back, not the smartest idea and probably would not do the same again. Just let someone learn to control that reaction naturally.

Nowadays, if I'm teaching kali, I do 5 strikes and footwork to start off, and if I'm teaching general fighting, I start people off with boxing's 4 basic punches and half-moon work. Seems more useful, less dangerous, and more likely to keep them around than what I did with the above guy.
I think there's a balance between letting people work through something and helping them work through it, and that balance is different from person to person.
 
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Olde Phart

Olde Phart

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Yeah, I've done the flinch thing, too. We didn't use a wall, but were free-standing. Actually, we weren't trying to combat a real "flinch" but it was blinking as the punch approached. Wanted us to keep our eyes open during a punch by our opponent. It was interesting. I guess the instructor thought that our opponents could land 5-6 punches or kicks in that millisecond.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I think there's a balance between letting people work through something and helping them work through it, and that balance is different from person to person.
Definitely. There's some pressure you should put on people. Sparring and certain drills help with that.

But that balance shouldn't reach the point of throwing punches and flooding them until they learn to deal with it. I don't have enough faith in my control, or anyone's control, to throw punches full speed (or close) and trust that I'll be able to stop them when the flinching person suddenly juts their head forward.

I still do like the blocking drill for it, but that's for a different purpose, and I do it with people at a higher skill level.
 
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