Why do you require your Black Belts to teach?

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Tames D

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something about teaching makes you better is what ive noticed in my own personal exp. :yoda:

I don't think anyone will dispute this. I know I won't. But that is not what this thread is about,or suppose to be about.

Why do some school owners, instructors, Masters etc, demand that their students "teach or don't bother coming to class"?
 
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Tames D

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Bingo!

Great way to get an employee that you don't have to pay. More to the point, I'm really impressed with the places that can convince the student to keep paying to come to classes and teach as a part of the deal. They are paying for the honor of being exploited. Its a good scam and speaks volumes about the character of any teacher that engages in such behavior.

While we're on the subject. What makes a black belt holder automatically qualified to teach? Have they gone through classes on teaching methodology, exercise theory, or do they have professional teaching certification from the state that their school is in? Hell, do they have any actual training in how to actually instruct? Not just "Sensei does it this way", but actual training in teaching methodology?

I grow more and more amazed every day at all of the things that small strip of fabric is supposed to represent.
Mark


Thank you. I think we're on the same page
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Tames D

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Hello,

Why do I require my black belts to teach???
Simple...

It is required because when you teach, your level of understanding becomes deeper. You become a better student AND practitioner when you teach. Especially when you teach regularly.

To be a good teacher, you have to be a good student. To be a good student you have to become a good teacher. A Zen thing, I think?

Thank you,
Milt G.

Would you allow an excellent student, with a great attitude, to continue training under you if he wasn't interested in teaching?
 

Sukerkin

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A thing to bear in mind is that, sadly, most schools I have heard of in America are run as businesses and that means that some of the points made about 'free labour' have merit.

I am fortunate in that my school is not run that way. The fees are laughably tiny and are only as high as they are because of the cost of the hall we hire. Before we had to shift location I paid 瞿1 a week ... now I pay 瞿4.

To my mind that is how MA schools should be - it is the passing on of an art to the next generation with no other motive than a commitment that this stuff is worth preserving.
 

Milt G.

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Would you allow an excellent student, with a great attitude, to continue training under you if he wasn't interested in teaching?

Hello,

Yes, but they would never reach their potential in the art.
Althought they would, probably, not advance much higher then Shodan. Not bad, as that is most students "goal", anyway.

That because they would not be able to reach their real potential as a practitioner. Teaching helps allow that. Of course, rank is fairly meaningless unless you choose to be a teacher. It is fairly meaningless even it you don't, oddly, in the big picture. :)

I have noticed it is more "uncomfortable" for one to make mistakes if one has many "stripes" on their belt. This is counter productive to learning, as learning requires making some mistakes. Teaching helps put that into perspective, as the teacher learns that mistakes are fully necessary for learning. Both their mistakes, and the students mistakes. :) In the end we are all just human and are bound by the pluses AND minuses of that condition.

A student of teaching level does not HAVE to teach, but I will encourage it wholeheartedly. Especially if they wish to continue to advance. In knowledge, and in rank. Hope this helps...

Thank you,
Milt G.
 

Twin Fist

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there are some people that have NO BUSINESS teaching.

call it personality quirks, whatever

they can still be great students, but never great teachers.

I would keep them on as students, but they would never get past 1st Dan.
 

Big Don

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The single hardest class I've had was when my Sifu had me teach one of the Yellow Belts his first Orange Belt technique.
He was on the mat, I had my nose against the wall behind him, I wasn't allowed to move just to talk him through it.
 

Carol

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This is an area where students are often exploited by their instructors, IMO.

Requiring someone to work for free (in the US) is against the law. See 29CFR8, which is the Fair Labor Standards act of 1938. These laws are enforced at the federal and state level. Humility, tradition, "that's how I learned" or "everyone else does it" does not preclude one from the law.

I'm not an attorney but I suspect requiring that a student work as a teacher may be permissible if the organization is not a business...such as a group that meets in the park, or a teacher that holds class at rhe Y. But for a storefront school, requiring a student to work without clearing that they are legally able to work in the US, taking them on as an employee, and compensating them for their time is something that can cause a teacher to run afoul of federal and state law.
 

MJS

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I'm always curious about this. And although I know the reasons for some who require their BB's to teach as a stipulation for their certificate, I always come back to the same question, and that is, WTF? And to take it a step further, some require their students to teach for free. Again, WTF?

Upon earning our high school diploma and our college degree, we're not required to teach. Those that become teachers, are usually studying for that profession. Why is Martial Arts different?

Maybe I'm missing something. That's why I would like to throw the question out, and see what comes back. I'm hoping someone could give me a reason to change my opinion of this practice.

This is not meant to offend anyone who doe's require their students to teach, but for me to have a better understanding.

The BBs are usually looked up to at the school by the lower ranks. They're often used to assist with classes or to take over a class if the regular inst. isn't available to teach. Teaching also makes the BB have to really think about what it is that they're teaching, which in turn, gives them a new understanding of the tech, kata, kick, etc.

As for the free part...well, the schools that I've been at, do not charge the BBs for any lessons, with the stipulation that you give something back, which is teaching at least a class. Once I reached BB level, I no longer paid for any classes, other than a private lesson, and I had full access to the school any time I wanted it.
 

tshadowchaser

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I require ALL students to teach. They start at white belt level and continue as long as they are with me.
After i know a student is capible of preforming a technique , form, whatevre, I have them start showing it to newer students. I watch, correct, or give hints as how to instruct better.
If they are unable to pass on their knowledge then I am not sure they really have that knowledge
 

shihansmurf

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A thing to bear in mind is that, sadly, most schools I have heard of in America are run as businesses and that means that some of the points made about 'free labour' have merit.

I am fortunate in that my school is not run that way. The fees are laughably tiny and are only as high as they are because of the cost of the hall we hire. Before we had to shift location I paid 瞿1 a week ... now I pay 瞿4.

To my mind that is how MA schools should be - it is the passing on of an art to the next generation with no other motive than a commitment that this stuff is worth preserving.

I like this. This is how I run my class at the moment. We meet in my backyard most of the time, one of the student's backyard other times, and we rent a room one day a week at a local recreation center(they have mats that a Danzan Ryu class uses). Everyone pitches in for the room rent, including me, and the class is as close to a not-for-profit venture as one can get. I much prefer things this way as I don't have to worry about compromising my teaching style or lowering my expectations in order to keep students and the accompanying revenue stream.

All that being said, I have no problem with the idea of a commercial school. There is nothing wrong with making a living, even a good one, from teaching the martial arts. Where I see an issue is when an instructor uses a student as a labor source without compensating them. I also don't think that equating any rank with either teaching ability or responsibility is a good idea, in and of itself. Being good at martial arts is one skill set and teaching is another. Qualifications in one should not be dependent upon the other.

Mark
 

Haze

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I was involved in a program at the YMCA. The head instructor was compensated by the Y (part time staff ) but none of the other BB's that taught got anything.

Another school I was at, we could teach several hours per week and we payed no fees if we did this. Free tuition
 
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Requiring someone to work for free (in the US) is against the law. See 29CFR8, which is the Fair Labor Standards act of 1938. These laws are enforced at the federal and state level. Humility, tradition, "that's how I learned" or "everyone else does it" does not preclude one from the law.

I think I need to hit up my instructor for some back wages now... lol nah. I might pressure him for a rate at 2nd degree here pretty soon lol. But even then, I'd only ask minimum wage (or a tank of gas if it gets much higher again lol).

Yes, but they would never reach their potential in the art.
Although they would, probably, not advance much higher then Shodan. Not bad, as that is most students "goal", anyway.

Some sad stats I recently heard from Grandmaster Pellegrini in a seminar: 5% of the US population get into martial arts, OF that 5%, only 2% of all THEM are still training (very few indeed). Only some of those people get their little 1st degree and just quit... thinking it's the end of the road... but we know it's not.

Imho, you're not a blackbelt if you get that 1st and quit. If you give it a try and stop at a color belt, you may wanna try a different style or instructor. If you come back from a break with a vengeance and get your ranks, *much respect*... but just stone cold quit...
*shakes head in dissappointment*

If you have a gifted student, and he is not interested in teachng, would you throw him to the curb for that reason? I wouldn't, and never have.
Guess I misunderstood the first few posts... My answer: No, as long as they trained earnestly and stayed out of trouble to the extent possible. But... Why the heck don't they want to teach!? Teenager? Child black belt? Irritable old fogey? What..?
 

Bruno@MT

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I think it is important for the art itself, in order to survive.
To put this in Japanese context: some lineages are extremely fragile, and have only 1 menkyo kaiden holder left. If he dies before he has had the chance to pass on the line, the entire lineage is dead. For this reason I think it is important to teach if you reach that level. I think this is also why Tanemura sensei requires students to earn a number of menkyo and menkyo kaiden in order to progress beyond 6th dan. This way, the old systems have a much higher chance of survival.

Whether this should be free or not is a secondary discussion, and depends on the context imo. Over here, dojo are usually organized as non-profit orgs for administrative reasons (insurance, bookkeeping, etc) and teaching is done with only expenses paid (gas etc) or a small compensation. Definitely not much. I am not counting private tuition of course.

Now, in such a system, I think it is normal that if you start out teaching, you do it for free or only expenses, since you are still 'learning to teach'. Even after that, noone is making much money out of it.
If, otoh, someone is running a dojo as a for-profit organization and gets a good paycheck out of it, then it would be in bad taste imo to treat your blackbelts as unpaid employees.
 

TigerLove

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Here is a standing from green belt!! Every month, each of us leads the 3 trainings, takes the role of master. Completely, from warming up, strecthing, fitness, and martial arts tehnique. We say what others do, and first show how, and explain why. Since we do that (and that's just 3 time a month!!) i learned so much ang get so better, that it's almost weird - because we "lead" the training, and that's good way for master to see exact our level of skill and where are we doing wrong, and according to that, he can react proper. Well, i am green belt, but i can say i started learned much more since i am "teaching".

I think it's a litlle bit different from case when some black belt real learns somebody, from this case where we leads the training to discover our mistakes.

But, maybe interresting to someone, so i exposed it.

:burp:
 

Daniel Sullivan

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The BBs are usually looked up to at the school by the lower ranks. They're often used to assist with classes or to take over a class if the regular inst. isn't available to teach. Teaching also makes the BB have to really think about what it is that they're teaching, which in turn, gives them a new understanding of the tech, kata, kick, etc.

As for the free part...well, the schools that I've been at, do not charge the BBs for any lessons, with the stipulation that you give something back, which is teaching at least a class. Once I reached BB level, I no longer paid for any classes, other than a private lesson, and I had full access to the school any time I wanted it.
I was going to type out an answer, but MJS sums up my own thougts quite well.

Daniel
 
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MJS

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A thing to bear in mind is that, sadly, most schools I have heard of in America are run as businesses and that means that some of the points made about 'free labour' have merit.

I am fortunate in that my school is not run that way. The fees are laughably tiny and are only as high as they are because of the cost of the hall we hire. Before we had to shift location I paid 瞿1 a week ... now I pay 瞿4.

To my mind that is how MA schools should be - it is the passing on of an art to the next generation with no other motive than a commitment that this stuff is worth preserving.

I like this. This is how I run my class at the moment. We meet in my backyard most of the time, one of the student's backyard other times, and we rent a room one day a week at a local recreation center(they have mats that a Danzan Ryu class uses). Everyone pitches in for the room rent, including me, and the class is as close to a not-for-profit venture as one can get. I much prefer things this way as I don't have to worry about compromising my teaching style or lowering my expectations in order to keep students and the accompanying revenue stream.

All that being said, I have no problem with the idea of a commercial school. There is nothing wrong with making a living, even a good one, from teaching the martial arts. Where I see an issue is when an instructor uses a student as a labor source without compensating them. I also don't think that equating any rank with either teaching ability or responsibility is a good idea, in and of itself. Being good at martial arts is one skill set and teaching is another. Qualifications in one should not be dependent upon the other.

Mark

IMO, I think alot of times, when people hear the word 'commercial' that alone, paints a bad picture in their mind, and in some cases, rightfully so. I suppose we can look at it a few different ways:

1) A school in which that is the bread and butter for the owner. Meaning that school *is* his only business. If he makes no $, he doesn't eat.

2) School that is run part time. The inst. has a full time "day job" with the school being run during the evening hours.

Is one better than the other? I guess it depends. I've heard some people on this forum say that the commercial schools water down the art. IMO, the people who say that, lump all commercial schools into the same group. Is it not possible to have a commercial school, but you're still teaching quality material? I would say it is, as I know a few that fall into that group. Of course, I've also seen the PT schools fail as well.

Personally, I enjoy the smaller, informal, backyard type groups. Sure, at times, money is paid for the lessons, and other times its a group of people just getting together to train. No ego, no belts, no fancy stuff, just some hard work. :)
 

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Our school provides a living for our head instructor. Brown belts are required to be assistant instructors in order to make it to black belt, but are given free tuition. Black belts don't pay for training in any circumstances, but, as a courtesy, assist in any class they attend if needed. Black belts who have their own classes are paid for teaching them, though they don't make much.
 

tonbo

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Here's my 2 cents' worth:

I've never been *required* to teach, so I can't speak to that. I would say that is kind of a sketchy practice at best, but hey....different people have different methods.

All of the Black Belts that I have known as teachers *wanted* to be a teacher. My former head instructor/school owner worked out deals with everyone who was a teacher: as teachers, we got our tuition free, as well as got paid by the hour (not a whole LOT, but hey, classes were free!). I think that work ought to be compensated, definitely -- I think anything else is a little shy of legal, but that may just be me...;)

We had a "student teacher" program, more or less, where students who were high enough level (brown and up) could train to be teachers by being assistant teachers: helping lower belts one on one, holding bags, etc. while observing/shadowing the teachers. That way, they got training on how to not only do the techniques better, but how to teach them better.

As for the reasoning behind why one would want to teach, aside from helping to make the art really *live* for students, it also helps the teacher deepen their own knowledge of the art (at least, if they are paying attention). That's another one of those zen things -- "A good teacher can learn from his own teaching". I have had many "AHA!" moments when teaching....where a move/technique I've been doing forever suddenly takes on a whole new light....

Basically, I don't think it's right to make teaching a *requirement*. In some cases, that may do more harm than good....just because someone is good at something doesn't necessarily mean that they are qualified to teach it right.

Your mileage may vary.

Peace--

--Tonbo
 

celtic_crippler

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"Knowledge is not enough, one must apply." -Bruce Lee

A "black belt" proves their understanding by being able to relay what they've (hopefully) learned and pass it on to another. Consider it a long-running test of sorts... or perhaps an internship, like many must serve before recieving a degree.
 
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