Why do you require your Black Belts to teach?

Flying Crane

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I think that there are some real problems if the school is a for-profit endeavor, and students are required to teach for free. But I think a lot of it depends.

People have cited over and over the benefit in your own learning, thru teaching. Agreed. And it could be viewed as part of the apprenticeship is learning to teach, and in doing so you need to practice teaching.

I think there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. In one of the schools where I train, this is how it works. The head teacher is always present, and is in charge of class. We usually have a group training session, and later break off by level. Often, he will assign a higher belt to teach something to a lower belt, but he is always there overseeing the process. These teaching sessions might last for half an hour or so, he doesn't just turn the class over to the student and then head out to the bar or something.

Likewise, if he needs to be absent from class, he will ask one of the senior students to take control of the class and give a good session. This doesn't happen often.

In this way, the students are getting the experience from teaching, but it's not a burdensome responsibility. In addition, the tuition we pay is very very low compared to most schools in our area.

On the other end of the extreme would be if the head teacher assigned certain classes to the senior students, and told him, "you are now responsible for wednesday and friday night classes, you need to be there and teach every wednesday and friday night. Don't miss it". And then he continues to charge tuition to the senior student as well, while collecting the profit from the school and not bothering to even show up on wednesday and friday nights himself. I think this is a problem. It's even worse if the head teacher also begins to neglect the training of the senior students who are doing much of the teaching. There is a difference between teaching someone how to teach, and treating someone like an employee but without pay.
 
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Tames D

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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

How much is their salary, if I may ask?
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Tames D

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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.

There is no question about this. It's been done this way for as long as I can remember. But how do we justify it? How do we justify forcing our students to teach, when they have no interest. What if they just want to train?
 

jks9199

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I The head teacher is always present, and is in charge of class. We usually have a group training session, and later break off by level. Often, he will assign a higher belt to teach something to a lower belt, but he is always there overseeing the process. These teaching sessions might last for half an hour or so, he doesn't just turn the class over to the student and then head out to the bar or something.

Likewise, if he needs to be absent from class, he will ask one of the senior students to take control of the class and give a good session. This doesn't happen often.

Excellent point. The head instructor (or a qualified instructor) should always be present and is always responsible for the activities of the class. You can delegate tasks and authority -- but not responsibility.
 

Grenadier

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A yudansha will end up teaching others in some way, shape or form, regardless of whether or not he directly instructs a class.

I've seen many yudansha who never taught a single class, yet their technique was so good, that the other students couldn't help but learn from their excellence. Thus, they are still teaching others in ways that are not quite as direct.
 

ACJ

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There is no question about this. It's been done this way for as long as I can remember. But how do we justify it? How do we justify forcing our students to teach, when they have no interest. What if they just want to train?

How do you justify everyone doing a certain drill that is quite core in your art if some people don't have any interest in that drill, if they don't want to do that drill? Think of instructing as another drill, one that may or may not be crucial to your art.

It's not perfect, but it's a new way of thinking about it. I agree, we don't force black belts to teach or kick out those that don't, but we do ask them to teach and they usually do, that is teaching in the sense they work with a group of students for one segment of the class.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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There is no question about this. It's been done this way for as long as I can remember. But how do we justify it? How do we justify forcing our students to teach, when they have no interest. What if they just want to train?
This question has been adequately answered multiple times. Yudansha who teach are generally not being charged to show up to train.

And I would not consider it forcing. It is openly known that yudansha are expected to take on some level of teaching, be it simply helping out or actually teaching the occasional class. If you do not want to teach on any level whatsoever, then simply do not test for first dan and be done with it, or find a place that does not require yudansha to teach. They do exist.

Honestly, if all that one wants to do is train, then they really do not need a black belt. Part of being a black belt is learning to do things other than just to train.

People who want to be doctors, broadcasters, and researchers will go to school and also work as an intern for no money because it is part of the learning process.

But if all you want to do is to know how to do first aid really well, play around with a home made radio rig, or just like science class, then you do not need to really go any further.

There is a point where if you wish to go further with the system, teaching is considered an integral part of that advancement.

If all a student wants to do is fight (and there is nothing wrong with that), stop at first kyu and just compete. If they want to compete without concern of belt ranking holding them back in competition bracketing, MMA is ready and waiting to receive good fighters.

If you have a teacher who offers material past first dan (more than just more forms), then simply accept that your teacher includes teaching as part of the learning process.

As I said, if it is really that big a deal, then simply find a school that offers what you want and tell the instructor that you do not wish to teach, just to train past black belt level. There certainly are such schools.

Daniel
 

bluekey88

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Let me say something else (and if it's been said before, my apologies)...I didn't get good...really good, until I started teaching.

Now, if a BB just doesn't want to teach, that's fine....but I can almost gaurantee that any BB that does teach will benefit from improved skills and understanding of the art.

Peace,
Erik
 

dancingalone

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I don't require my dan students to teach. Why not? Well, frankly there's an art and science to teaching too, and I don't pretend to be able to pass it along to my students.

I also don't believe in short-changing my other students by asking them to be patient with an apprentice teacher. They come to my dojo to train with me. And they do. When I am no longer able to teach, I will close my school.
 

celtic_crippler

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IMHO...if one can not adequately demonstrate and communicate an understanding of the material; concepts, principles, applications, etc then they have no business strapping on a black belt.

Requiring "black belts to teach" is the simplest way of gauging this for an instructor.

If one only wants to mimic motion without understanding, to "bang" when given the opportunity...then they can remain a brown belt... No shame in that. However, if they desire the coveted black belt they need to demonstrate a greater understanding....IMHO.

That's why... If you do not agree then so be it... I have no control or influence over you, your organization, or system. Do what you like, but I and others have higher standards and expectations of our students and that is evidenced in our requirment that black belts teach.

...not to mention that it's only polite to show gratitude by giving back to something that's given one so much.
 

Xue Sheng

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Tames

I think part of the problem you are having is that you are approaching this from a different cultural perspective than those that require their Black Belts to teach. San Soo has its roots in CMA and TCMA has no belts and TCMA Sifus have their favorites (no different than any other style form any other culture) However not all students of a CMA Sifu are required to teach, actually none of them are. However there are those that the Sifu wants to teach and if they do they tend to be inside students that get more training because they are teaching and they are teaching because, as it is with most good TCMA sifus, the Sifu knows they are ready to teach because they have watched them over the years.

However if they do not or do not want to they will not be thrown out or no longer taught. A senior student is a senior student. My Sanda Sifu and I had an agreement actually, he taught me and I taught no one that I did not know rather well or trust, just like he did. But I taught no one until he said I could and at that point he would be done teaching me so if I were to teach it was for me not for him. My taiji Sifu I do teach for, but it is generally push hands, not forms so much these days and he is always there teaching and watching me teach and I do get corrected from time to time.

However not all CMA sifus are the same and some do take advantage of their students from time to time. But that would mean I would be typing more about my first Sifu and that is another story

But more to the topic, IMO, there are a lot of (not all) MA schools out there that are questionable and basically give away belts for a price I do not feel requiring someone to teach to get a black belt is showing anything other than their ability to write out checks to pay for the privilege of training others so the person in charge can get a paid night off.

There are those that are following tradition or to actually gauge a students ability and I have nothing against that but Im sorry not all are doing this and same are simply taking advantage of their students. IMO, It is kind of hard to gauge how well someone understands the material if the person that is going to judge it is not even there


 

Carol

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People who want to be doctors, broadcasters, and researchers will go to school and also work as an intern for no money because it is part of the learning process.

This is another area where students are commonly exploited, and not just in martial arts.

There is no FLSA definition of "student intern". The FLSA does allow for a person to work as a "trainee" and not be subject to the law regarding payment of wages and overtime. However, the FLSA also mandates that six conditions are always met, at all times that the trainee is not working as a paid employee.


http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/advanced_flsa_issues.html#interns_trainees


The bullet points are from the 1974 FLSA opinion letter, the italics are commentary from the Texas Workforce Commission (Texas follows federal law regarding payment of wages). Conditions 3 and 4 are the most difficult stipulations to meet. Also note that this only gives the employer a repreve from wage and hour laws, this does NOT preclude the employer from ensuring their trainees are legal to work in the US, or meeting other appropriate labor laws such as age restrictions.

How many martial arts instructors are in absolute compliance with federal and local child labor laws? How many have I-9s properly completed and filed for all their black belts "trainees" that they expect to teach without compensation?

Hmmm...is that crickets I hear?
 

ATC

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This is another area where students are commonly exploited, and not just in martial arts.

There is no FLSA definition of "student intern". The FLSA does allow for a person to work as a "trainee" and not be subject to the law regarding payment of wages and overtime. However, the FLSA also mandates that six conditions are always met, at all times that the trainee is not working as a paid employee.


http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/advanced_flsa_issues.html#interns_trainees


The bullet points are from the 1974 FLSA opinion letter, the italics are commentary from the Texas Workforce Commission (Texas follows federal law regarding payment of wages). Conditions 3 and 4 are the most difficult stipulations to meet. Also note that this only gives the employer a repreve from wage and hour laws, this does NOT preclude the employer from ensuring their trainees are legal to work in the US, or meeting other appropriate labor laws such as age restrictions.

How many martial arts instructors are in absolute compliance with federal and local child labor laws? How many have I-9s properly completed and filed for all their black belts "trainees" that they expect to teach without compensation?

Hmmm...is that crickets I hear?
You sound like my HR lady friend. Josie is that you?
 

celtic_crippler

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How many martial arts instructors are in absolute compliance with federal and local child labor laws? How many have I-9s properly completed and filed for all their black belts "trainees" that they expect to teach without compensation?

We don't have child black-belts so it's not a problem. LOL
 

James Kovacich

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This is another area where students are commonly exploited, and not just in martial arts.

There is no FLSA definition of "student intern". The FLSA does allow for a person to work as a "trainee" and not be subject to the law regarding payment of wages and overtime. However, the FLSA also mandates that six conditions are always met, at all times that the trainee is not working as a paid employee.


http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/advanced_flsa_issues.html#interns_trainees


The bullet points are from the 1974 FLSA opinion letter, the italics are commentary from the Texas Workforce Commission (Texas follows federal law regarding payment of wages). Conditions 3 and 4 are the most difficult stipulations to meet. Also note that this only gives the employer a repreve from wage and hour laws, this does NOT preclude the employer from ensuring their trainees are legal to work in the US, or meeting other appropriate labor laws such as age restrictions.

How many martial arts instructors are in absolute compliance with federal and local child labor laws? How many have I-9s properly completed and filed for all their black belts "trainees" that they expect to teach without compensation?

Hmmm...is that crickets I hear?
That would depend on if it is "instructor training" or not. I can see how some schools could misuse this type of training. But the bottom line is it is still training and as long as they are students in training (which they pay for) and not employees of the school. They are there for their education.

When I was a lower level apprentice instructor and the other instructors could not make it in, my brother-in-law (who was my instructor at that time) put me in front to teach his class and I made a lot of mistakes. Thats how we learn what it takes to teach.

But you wer probably referring to the mis-uses.
 

Carol

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Flashlights fear me. :lol2:

I'm in engineering, not HR...employment law is basically a hobby of mine. Hey, some people collect string. ;)
 

Tez3

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We only have two blackbelts, me and the chief instructor so I don't have a lot of choice lol!
We have other instructors for MMA but they aren't graded, they fight.
 
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