Master / Student Relationship, and Honest Discussions

gpseymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
26,285
Reaction score
7,853
Location
Hendersonville, NC
You should be able to ask your instructor questions. You should be able to voice your concerns. There's a caveat however. This should be done at the right place and time.

Questions or concerns about how the class is run or why something's in the syllabus or not in the syllabus should be addressed outside of class and in a one on one setting. Asking "why are we spending 30 minutes on warmup" during warmup puts him/her on the spot. Asking "why are we learning this, it'll never work" during the drill won't and shouldn't go over well.

Asking during a one on one conversation should get you honest answers. They may not be the answers you want to hear, but they should be honest. Your teacher owes you that, because he/she is your teacher. IMO a teacher owes it to his/her students to teach/explain the why and why not.

A teacher doesn't owe the student a custom curriculum, unless that's part of the agreement. I joined my dojo because Seido karate is being taught there. My teacher doesn't owe it to me to teach me BJJ submissions, Escrima tactics, nor ninja star throwing and disappearing acts. He owes me the Seido syllabus in and a proper progression and in a reasonably safe environment, and the way he teaches it and nothing else.

If I appropriate ask why, I should get an appropriate answer. If I can't accept his appropriate answer, I should find another place.
It depends upon the question, and how it is asked. One of my favorite students commonly asks questions about the effectiveness and/or reasons behind doing things. I love it, because I know I'll never put something in front of him without being able to explain why it is useful. I keep classes pretty informal, and have made it clear I have no problem with his questions. He is always respectful, and just wants to understand and make sure he knows the reasoning behind the art.

I mention this because his first few questions would probably have gotten him stern looks from some instructors, because they seemed like a challenge to the effectiveness of the techniques. I gave him some leeway early, because I believed him to be earnest in his questions.
 

JR 137

Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 26, 2015
Messages
5,162
Reaction score
3,214
Location
In the dojo
It depends upon the question, and how it is asked. One of my favorite students commonly asks questions about the effectiveness and/or reasons behind doing things. I love it, because I know I'll never put something in front of him without being able to explain why it is useful. I keep classes pretty informal, and have made it clear I have no problem with his questions. He is always respectful, and just wants to understand and make sure he knows the reasoning behind the art.

I mention this because his first few questions would probably have gotten him stern looks from some instructors, because they seemed like a challenge to the effectiveness of the techniques. I gave him some leeway early, because I believed him to be earnest in his questions.

Just like in comedy, it's all in the delivery. I didn't mean to imply it's never ok to ask why during class.

If one student has a question or even some doubts, chances are pretty good others do too. Asking questions helps everyone, even the teacher. So long as they're asked in the appropriate way at the appropriate time.

But erring on the side of caution, it's best to ask afterward if you have strong opinions that have been building up for quite some time and are contemplating leaving because of the disagreement with what's being taught and/or done.
 

gpseymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
26,285
Reaction score
7,853
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Just like in comedy, it's all in the delivery. I didn't mean to imply it's never ok to ask why during class.

If one student has a question or even some doubts, chances are pretty good others do too. Asking questions helps everyone, even the teacher. So long as they're asked in the appropriate way at the appropriate time.

But erring on the side of caution, it's best to ask afterward if you have strong opinions that have been building up for quite some time and are contemplating leaving because of the disagreement with what's being taught and/or done.
Agreed. My comments are more for the other instructors who may read this. I've known some who would use a withering glare to shut down questions like the first few I received, and others who would have dismissed them for later to keep the class on track. They sounded like challenges. I'm honestly not sure why I handled them the way I did - perhaps I'd figured out the student a bit by then, because what could have been a "challenge question" from someone else just came across as this student wanting to understand. I'm glad he asks those questions (though he now seems to apologize every time he asks one), to give other students and observers a model that it's okay to ask pretty much anything if it's asked with curiosity and respect.

It was a lesson for me.
 

TrueJim

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
1,006
Reaction score
370
Location
Virginia
That would probably refer to wearing school-themed shirts, etc.

Like...tee-shirts or ball caps or whatever with the name of your kid's school on them, to show "school spirit". The PTA usually sells school spirit wear as a way to raise money for the PTA. Some small businesses help promote the PTA's fund-raising efforts by giving additional incentives for wearing spirit-wear (like, "free sprinkles on your ice cream if you're wearing your school's spirit wear!"). That also helps the small business because then the PTA promotes the incentives in order to sell more spirit-wear ("Buy our spirit wear, and get free sprinkles at Pop's Ice Cream Parlor!").
 

Latest Discussions

Top