What the student is responsible for.

JowGaWolf

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This is something I read on facebook today. I think it puts into perspective the reality of training anything for whatever reason. (This refers to things are valid to their function)

"My Sifu once said that when it comes to student development in martial arts, 75% of the training is up to the students, while 25% is up to the teacher. This is an old phrase many teachers are aware of: “If you stop rowing your boat, it will drift backwards downstream” Jik Seui Haang Jau 逆水行舟. "

Thoughts?
 

MadMartigan

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when it comes to student development in martial arts, 75% of the training is up to the students, while 25% is up to the teacher.
I agree in principle. As a way to illustrate self responsibility, I like it.

Alternatively, as a teacher I feel we shouldn't shift too much responsibility off our own shoulders. For a brand new student, I'd put the ratio more like 80% teacher and 20% student. They still have to do the work... but it's my job to show them what to work on.

Following some time with solid instruction, the balance shifts more and more to the student. Obviously, for someone in my position (over 23 years in the martial arts) I put nearly 100% responsibility on myself (to seek out quality instruction and self-motivate to improve).

Really, the percentage ratio is fluid; and we're all at our own place on the spectrum.
 

MetalBoar

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This is something I read on facebook today. I think it puts into perspective the reality of training anything for whatever reason. (This refers to things are valid to their function)

"My Sifu once said that when it comes to student development in martial arts, 75% of the training is up to the students, while 25% is up to the teacher. This is an old phrase many teachers are aware of: “If you stop rowing your boat, it will drift backwards downstream” Jik Seui Haang Jau 逆水行舟. "

Thoughts?
I think it's tough to quantify. Both the instructor and the student are responsible for different things. The student should be responsible for a lot more than 75% of the motivation in my opinion, but maybe not 100%. It's probably ideal if the instructor and the student can feed each other's motivation, but mainly the instructor just needs to avoid being demotivating. Obviously, especially at first as D Hall implied, the instructor needs to provide something like 100% of the instruction and provide the student with tools so that they can begin to take a more and more direct role in their own development. Fitness and conditioning are another area where the student should be responsible for a lot of their own development, but again, in the beginning the instructor may need to provide more guidance. I think this is a dynamic process and that will be different from one individual to another and from one point in training to another.
 

geezer

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This is something I read on facebook today. I think it puts into perspective the reality of training anything for whatever reason. (This refers to things are valid to their function)

"My Sifu once said that when it comes to student development in martial arts, 75% of the training is up to the students, while 25% is up to the teacher. This is an old phrase many teachers are aware of: “If you stop rowing your boat, it will drift backwards downstream” Jik Seui Haang Jau 逆水行舟. "

Thoughts?
Attitudes on this vary depending on culture and generation.

Such thinking was more common in America my father's generation ...that's the WWII generation, he's 96. He often talks to me about some of his outstanding teachers in high school and college. But he also talks a lot about no matter how knowledgeable and inspiring the teacher was it was up to the student to shoulder the responsibility to do the work necessary to succeed.

My old Chinese sifu had similar ideas. He explained it this way. We paid him to present the knowledge he felt we were ready to receive, but whether we trained hard enough to learn it well was entirely up to us. He felt it was a grave mistake, all too common in these modern times, especially in western nations, that it was up to the sifu to motivate the student to train. And he had a point.

I am a school teacher in a public high school. In the state and district where I work, individual teachers, and the entire school collectively are evaluated according to student performance and test scores. If the students perform poorly in individual classes, the teacher receives lower pay, and if they do poorly on state mandated standardized tests, the entire school is also penalized in ranking and funding. These standardized tests do not, however, affect the students' grades.

When I reprimanded one student for putting his head down and napping during a review session prior to one of the aforementioned tests, he quipped, "Why should I bother listening to you? If I fail it won't affect my grade. I hear it will affect your salary though! Ha ha ha..."

I looked straight at him and told him that he was exactly right, and that it was a shame because in the long run he had more to lose than I. Needless to say that after 26 years working for that district, I have a couple of reprimands "in my file" for speaking my mind to students. But I also had a lot of support from my principal. Unfortunately he just retired. :confused:

So, back to the OP. Do you have similar policies at your dojos, dojangs, kwoons, and gyms? If students slack off, do you think the teacher is to blame?
 

MadMartigan

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So, back to the OP. Do you have similar policies at your dojos, dojangs, kwoons, and gyms? If students slack off, do you think the teacher is to blame
If ALL the students are slacking, perhaps there's a problem with the instruction. It also says alot about where north American society has come to.
As you said, it's the teacher's job to present the information in a way they can learn. It's their job to actually learn.
These standardized tests do not, however, affect the students' grades.
Another thing I love about the martial arts. The only tests I give are standardized. Your stance is correct or it isn't. Their 'grade' is 100% dependent on their performance against this objective standard.

EDIT: Maybe 100% is an exaggeration. There are subjective elements as well (taking physical limitations into account and individual sparring prowess etc)
 

geezer

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EDIT: Maybe 100% is an exaggeration. There are subjective elements as well (taking physical limitations into account and individual sparring prowess etc)
Yeah, I think 100% is only possible relative to their rank and experience. Even the basics like stance, steps, posture... should continually improve. Maybe these are things taught in your white or yellow belt curriculum, but a master's basics are better than a newly minted black belt. And the black belt should be better than a green belt and so on. :)
 

Anarax

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I don't think there is a definite percent of responsibility between teacher and student. However, each instructor should have a general idea on what kind of student(s) they want and vice versa. That will help them dial in what kind of training culture they want their class to have.

Personally, I think the student must be willing to engage themselves and the instructor should make training engaging. Both share a level of the responsibility, but trying to overcompensate for someone's disinterest/lack of motivation is problematic(student or instructor)

I've left instructors for not showing up to practice multiple times without communicating it beforehand, disrespectful behavior or distasteful favoritism that threatened the student's safety. I thought they weren't fulfilling certain responsibilities as the instructor, thus I moved on.

I had moderate standards for my students when I taught. Show up to practice when you can, be open to learning, apply yourself and train safely. Some students left because of it, but I applied those standards knowing what kind of training culture it would form.

Overall, I think both instructors and students have separate and shared responsibilities.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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Many people complain that they don't spar/wrestle in school. IMO, that should be the students responsibility to do so.

If you spar/wrestle 15 rounds daily, you will be good after 6 years. No school environment can set up that kind environment for you.
 

_Simon_

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Yeah for sure, I do agree, although it's a bit murky and hard to delineate at times.

I'd say each side is responsible for exactly what they CAN be responsible for (a bit of a non-answer but hope you get what I mean haha).

The worst student will simply just not learn even with a great teacher. BUT there are incredible teachers out there who can adapt and are able to find ways of engaging with and communicating with maybe trickier students. But it's not a guarantee that it will get through still and be taken on board.

Just like in spiritual circles, the phrase "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" I think is applicable here too.

So ultimately it comes down to the student when under a capable teacher. But a not as great teacher may be very well pointless so to speak, even with a very receptive and disciplined student. And many more variables on top of that too huh...

An interesting topic, and really insightful responses too!
 
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hoshin1600

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learning martial arts is 100% the responsibility of the student. they need to show up for class, they need to do the work, they need to stick with it for the long term. if they are not getting what they need from teacher A they need to take responsibility and ownership and to change to teacher B.
leaning Martial Arts is like a dance between teacher and student, yes one is the leader but the student gives the teacher that role. its said that a leader with no followers is not leading, they are just out for a walk. so a teacher with no students is not a teacher. its a symbiotic relationship, however the responsibility of learning falls on the student. the teacher is only responsible for the material that is put forth.
 

Anarax

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Many people complain that they don't spar/wrestle in school. IMO, that should be the students responsibility to do so.
It depends on how experienced the students are and the type of sparring. Having new students sparring each other without an instructor present can lead to escalation and injuries. The instructor supervising the sparring also helps the instructor to see what each student needs to work on and can cover it in training.
If you spar/wrestle 15 rounds daily, you will be good after 6 years. No school environment can set up that kind environment for you.
IMO, that seems excessive and might not be the most effective way to improve in sparring. Drills to build up the fundamentals and to refine the body mechanics has always helped me to improve in sparring.
 

geezer

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I don't disagree with anything said in this thread, it's all good.

To me, what the student's responsibility is - just show up.
I like it better when they show up not-smelly. And even better, not-smelly and with money to pay their dues!

But honestly, it's gotta start with just showing up. :)
 

KenpoMaster805

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I think it’s 50%the instructor and 50% the student. In order to learn you have to have a good instructor who can show u and teach ya the right way on how to do technique or basic or even the katas. The instructor should be able to explained it step by step and by detail and it’s up to the student to learn what they learn.
 

gpseymour

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I agree in principle. As a way to illustrate self responsibility, I like it.

Alternatively, as a teacher I feel we shouldn't shift too much responsibility off our own shoulders. For a brand new student, I'd put the ratio more like 80% teacher and 20% student. They still have to do the work... but it's my job to show them what to work on.

Following some time with solid instruction, the balance shifts more and more to the student. Obviously, for someone in my position (over 23 years in the martial arts) I put nearly 100% responsibility on myself (to seek out quality instruction and self-motivate to improve).

Really, the percentage ratio is fluid; and we're all at our own place on the spectrum.
This is a good summary. The student has to put in the work, and the instructor has a responsibility to guide that work (with both feedback and curriculum). I can't blame a student for following what I teach, so if what I teach (including what I suggest they do outside class) doesn't include something, it's not really their fault they didn't figure out it needed to happen.

In short, everyone should assume it's their responsibility - both student and instructor.
 

gpseymour

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Attitudes on this vary depending on culture and generation.

Such thinking was more common in America my father's generation ...that's the WWII generation, he's 96. He often talks to me about some of his outstanding teachers in high school and college. But he also talks a lot about no matter how knowledgeable and inspiring the teacher was it was up to the student to shoulder the responsibility to do the work necessary to succeed.

My old Chinese sifu had similar ideas. He explained it this way. We paid him to present the knowledge he felt we were ready to receive, but whether we trained hard enough to learn it well was entirely up to us. He felt it was a grave mistake, all too common in these modern times, especially in western nations, that it was up to the sifu to motivate the student to train. And he had a point.

I am a school teacher in a public high school. In the state and district where I work, individual teachers, and the entire school collectively are evaluated according to student performance and test scores. If the students perform poorly in individual classes, the teacher receives lower pay, and if they do poorly on state mandated standardized tests, the entire school is also penalized in ranking and funding. These standardized tests do not, however, affect the students' grades.

When I reprimanded one student for putting his head down and napping during a review session prior to one of the aforementioned tests, he quipped, "Why should I bother listening to you? If I fail it won't affect my grade. I hear it will affect your salary though! Ha ha ha..."

I looked straight at him and told him that he was exactly right, and that it was a shame because in the long run he had more to lose than I. Needless to say that after 26 years working for that district, I have a couple of reprimands "in my file" for speaking my mind to students. But I also had a lot of support from my principal. Unfortunately he just retired. :confused:

So, back to the OP. Do you have similar policies at your dojos, dojangs, kwoons, and gyms? If students slack off, do you think the teacher is to blame?
An instructor can't make a student motivated or dedicated. They do have the power to inhibit or inspire those things, but they aren't really in control of that. If no students are inspired, that's probably on the instructor. They should be pushed to achieve more, but there's only so much any instructor can do.

One option is to refuse to teach anyone not displaying high motivation/dedication. Another is to do the best for everyone who enters the door (within reason). The latter ends up being a compromise, of course.
 

gpseymour

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Many people complain that they don't spar/wrestle in school. IMO, that should be the students responsibility to do so.

If you spar/wrestle 15 rounds daily, you will be good after 6 years. No school environment can set up that kind environment for you.
I don't think that is or should be entirely on the student. Learning to use the skills safely in sparring is a skill, itself, and one that should be taught in the school if the student is expected to explore beyond. If I want a student to spar, I should teach them to spar. If I want them to spar outside class, I should tell them that, and probably should have at least some advice on how to find sparring partners.

Personally, I think it's unrealistic to expect many hobbyists to spar outside class. If someone works 50 hours a week, has kids' events to attend, and has to deal with the rest of life, they may simply not have the time and opportunity to make connections with other places for that sparring. If you think sparring is necessary to development, there should be sparring within the curriculum.
 

gpseymour

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learning martial arts is 100% the responsibility of the student. they need to show up for class, they need to do the work, they need to stick with it for the long term. if they are not getting what they need from teacher A they need to take responsibility and ownership and to change to teacher B.
leaning Martial Arts is like a dance between teacher and student, yes one is the leader but the student gives the teacher that role. its said that a leader with no followers is not leading, they are just out for a walk. so a teacher with no students is not a teacher. its a symbiotic relationship, however the responsibility of learning falls on the student. the teacher is only responsible for the material that is put forth.
I don't think we can reasonably place it 100% on the student. Someone new simply doesn't have enough information to know what they need to work on. In fact, saying they should change instructors if they aren't getting what they need is an acknowledgement that the instructor has a responsibility to provide something.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I have very rarely worked with a student who didn't really want to be there. Especially among adults, if they show up, they are motivated to learn. That's just my experience.

Everyone learns at a different rate, and some progress in a series of progressions, followed by long periods of what appears to be stagnation. But I have been astonished by how much many have changed. One of my sensei refer to it as 'one day the karate fairy sprinkles karate dust on you and you get it like magic.' I know what he means; sometimes the transition can appear nearly overnight after a long time of, well, apparently not improving.

One thing I have learned as I assist with teaching adults and children is that they each have their own way of learning, and it really helps if you can find what they respond to and concentrate on that. Sometimes I let obvious mistakes go, because I want them to get some larger concept, but eventually I have to circle back and fix the smaller details as well.

I also realize that we all have lives outside of the dojo - kids and adults. Things which happen outside the dojo can have a severe effect on training, and although it is none of my business, it helps to understand that if they are working through other issues, it's better to work on things they can deal with at the time, whatever that might be.

Ultimately, I think students and instructors share a responsibility to teach and learn. I often learn from students, who instruct me on how best to reach them if I am open enough to realize it. They also imitate me and sometimes I see my own flaws in their mimicry. Then I have to correct myself as well as them. I've apologized more than once for teaching incorrectly, and no doubt will again.

I don't know about percentages. It's like when a student asks our sensei how much the back leg should be bent in a cat stance. "Slightly." How much is "slightly?" It's not precise. It's "slightly."
 
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