To the Teachers of Martial Arts

Taiji Rebel

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How do you continue to learn and development as a teacher?

Do you attend courses on becoming a more effective teacher?

What books on teaching are in your library?
 
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Taiji Rebel

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I'll recommend the following approach.

Step 1 - fill tools into your toolbox.
Step 2 - fill principles/strategies into your principles/strategies kit.

Start to develop/grow your MA skill/ability from there.
Those are very generalized statements Kung Fu Wang.

You mention MA skill and ability, which is fair enough.

What I am really talking about though is teaching methods, not martial arts techniques.

Perhaps somebody with a professional teaching background will be able to offer more specialized suggestions.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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What I am really talking about though is teaching methods, not martial arts techniques.
I'm also talking about teaching method.

For example, if your teacher taught you the "groin kick, face punch" combo, it won't stop you from teaching your students the "side kick, spin back fist" combo.

In other words, as a teacher, you will need to grow beyond what your teacher had taught you.

- Your toolbox contains words.
- Your principles/strategies kit contains grammar.

You can then construct as many sentences as you may need.
 
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Taiji Rebel

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I'm also talking about teaching method.

For example, if your teacher taught you the "groin kick, face punch" combo, it won't stop you from teaching your students the "side kick, spin back fist" combo.

In other words, as a teacher, you will need to grow beyond what your teacher had taught you.

- Your toolbox contains words.
- Your principles/strategies kit contains grammar.

You can then construct as many sentences as you may need.
No, you are still talking about martial arts techniques - not teaching skills.
 
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Taiji Rebel

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How do you teach English? You teach vocabulary and grammar, right?
What you are saying is very generalized.

Do you take any courses on coaching and teaching?

Can you recommend any books or materials on how to become a more effective teacher and communicator?
 

Instructor

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I attend seminars, conferences, and I read a lot. In all honesty I think my instruction has improved organically just from getting better at my art over the years and getting better at teaching it.
 
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Taiji Rebel

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I attend seminars, conferences, and I read a lot. In all honesty I think my instruction has improved organically just from getting better at my art over the years and getting better at teaching it.
It does get better over time yes, you are 100% correct about that. What kind of seminars and conferences did you attend - MA ones? And are any of those books related specifically to coaching/teaching? Or are they just MA books?
 

skribs

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I was the main instructor at my last TKD school. I was mentored by the Master and his wife. I also learned a lot through trial and error.

Sites such as this, martial arts subreddits, vlogs on youtube, and facebook groups have been helpful as well.

I think my next big area of growth is going to be when I'm running my own school where I can make my own decisions and see what works and what doesn't out of my own ideas.
 

Instructor

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It does get better over time yes, you are 100% correct about that. What kind of seminars and conferences did you attend - MA ones? And are any of those books related specifically to coaching/teaching? Or are they just MA books?
My taste in books is diverse. I guess I lift nuggets of wisdom from all kinds of places. My Grandmaster hosts seminars and conferences and I try to attend those although I'm due for another one, it's been awhile. He's good about inviting teachers and masters from other disciplines besides ours so we can cross pollinate so to speak.
 
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Taiji Rebel

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Alongside organizing classes and thinking about techniques etc. do you consider thing such as:
  • Safeguarding
  • Counselling
  • Mental health
  • Equality
And other areas of training along these lines?
 

skribs

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Alongside organizing classes and thinking about techniques etc. do you consider thing such as:
  • Safeguarding
  • Counselling
  • Mental health
  • Equality
And other areas of training along these lines?

These opinions are for when I open my own school in the future:

Safeguarding - yes. This should be a big priority for any martial arts instructor. Martial arts is often about handing your safety over to your training partner. The instructor should make sure the environment is conducive to that being a safe thing to do.

Counseling - yes. I don't think this is mandatory of a martial arts instructor, but is something you might expect, especially in a more traditional art. I can offer counseling specific to martial arts, and I can be an extension of the parent's will to have their kids grow up as strong members of society. But I'm not a replacement for parenting or therapy.

Mental health - no. Well, a little bit. I'll keep things in mind from student-to-student, but that's mental health as much as it is just personality and character. Martial arts can help with minor mental health problems, but major issues and you should seek someone who specializes in helping with that (psychologist or psychiatrist).

Equality - no. If we're talking about ESG-score type equality, it's not something I consider, because it's not a factor. Just like I'm not going to factor in that all of my students are from Earth, I'm not going to worry about what demographics I'm hitting or give anyone favors or problems because of things like this.

If we're talking equal attention, equal reward, etc. for all of the students, also no. If I have some students that are struggling and some that are excelling, I'm going to focus more attention on those who are struggling, and give more rewards (i.e. belt promotions) to those who are excelling. When those who were struggling overcome, they will get rewards based on that achievement. I will give people what they need and what they earn, based on that, and not based on any measure of equality.

I guess you could say that focusing more on those that are behind is helping equality amongst the students, so maybe I do a little bit. But it's less about trying to make everyone equal, and more about trying to find the best use of my time.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I've tried to read some books on coaching, but haven't found any that really connect with me.

I have worked hard to become a better teacher over the years, but it's been a combination of learning by example and trial and error.

When I encounter an instructor who does a really good job of explaining a concept or structuring class time or showing effective learning drills or just being generally encouraging and inspiring, I try to emulate what they are doing and see whether it works for me.

When I teach a subject and have someone present who is more knowledgeable in that particular area, I seek feedback from them on what I might improve.

I also just try different things and see what seems to be most effective in helping my students to progress.
 

a.v

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While we may teach, we will always be students.

I find the following can all help progress, most of which go without saying though.
Invest time, experiment both logically and not logically, reflect, connect and communicate, engage and challenge yourself.

Most instructors also seem to make great progress simply teaching simple concepts to others.
Having to idiot-proof an explanation so that it reaches a large audience, as well as adjust it to individuals, provides a deeper understanding than learning.
 

skribs

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I've tried to read some books on coaching, but haven't found any that really connect with me.

I have worked hard to become a better teacher over the years, but it's been a combination of learning by example and trial and error.

When I encounter an instructor who does a really good job of explaining a concept or structuring class time or showing effective learning drills or just being generally encouraging and inspiring, I try to emulate what they are doing and see whether it works for me.

When I teach a subject and have someone present who is more knowledgeable in that particular area, I seek feedback from them on what I might improve.

I also just try different things and see what seems to be most effective in helping my students to progress.
I've seen your videos and would love to be your student.

The commute would be hell, though!
 
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Taiji Rebel

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The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin is a good story with lot of informative titbits scattered throughout. Like you guys, I read a lot. Have my own mentors. Invest in various courses on coaching and other related fields. Continue with my own practice/teaching. After every class I reflect on what worked, look at what did not go so well, and then consider what I can do better next time. Experience of course is the greatest teacher, but it is also a great idea to learn from those who walked the path before us. Those we teach are also teaching us. It is not always easy, but I maintain the beginner's mindset as much as humanly possible. Humility is also a key quality.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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As a teacher, you have to know what kind of problems that a student wants to solve.

All students want to solve the following problem.

- Boxer's punch.
- TKD guy's kick.
- MT guy's clinch.
- wrestler's shooting.

You will need to help them to find solutions for all those problems.
 
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Taiji Rebel

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As a teacher, you have to know what kind of problems that a student wants to solve.

All students want to solve the following problem.

- Boxer's punch.
- TKD guy's kick.
- MT guy's clinch.
- wrestler's shooting.

You will need to help them to find solutions for all those problems.
Thank you for your insight Mr. Wang :)
 

Hyoho

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How do you continue to learn and development as a teacher?

Do you attend courses on becoming a more effective teacher?

What books on teaching are in your library?
Easy answer for me. Spent most of my life working from kinder to higher education and taught MA as a Phys/Ed subject in Japan. As mentioned we teach but are always students. I try to follow my founders words of "without adaptation". I always tell my students that I am not teaching what I know but what my headmaster handed down to me. Of course there is that grey area but we have to try and add our own character to the fundamentals of what we do. Good teachers come in waves.
 
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