Why do you require your Black Belts to teach?

kingkong89

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When one becomes a bb they teach because that is thier way of learning.they learn by teaching others,they learn how to teach the other students so in a way they are still a student of sorts
 

jks9199

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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.
This is a very valid point that I tried to allude to earlier.

To me, every black belt should be CAPABLE of teaching a class or single student. Every black belt has the obligation to assist in ensuring that the style continues to the next generation. But that isn't to say that every black belt must constantly teach a class or run a school. Some folks just don't have the talents along those lines; they may (as was said above) simply be an example for others to see, or provide the occasional tip while training with other students. Others aren't interested for one reason or another, perhaps nothing more than simply lacking the time in their lives to dedicate to teaching on a regular basis.

Yes, you learn a lot by teaching. But there are other ways to learn and grow, and for some people, the best choice is simply to train and and help along the way, rather than a formal instructional position.
 

Carol

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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.

Yup, I was referring to the misuses.

A black belt candidate/student shouldn't be exploited for illicit labor, and the other students at the school shouldn't have to feel the effects of litigation (should something go wrong).

Sorry to be on the soapbox about it :eek: this issue in general is a major pet peeve of mine -- not just with martial arts but in other environments as well.
 

dbell

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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.

When my students reach 1st Dan, they are required to teach for free (although they no longer pay for their classes once they reach 1st Dan, unless it is an outsider's seminar or some such), if they wish to continue to be belted upward. When they are 2nd Dan, they still teach for free and are required to teach, and when they reach 3rd Dan, IF they want to teach, I'll pay them to teach.

1st and 2nd Dan's to me are "assistant teachers" and need the experience to more understand the art by trying to pass what they have been taught on to others. The student teacher begins to now look at the art closer and in telling and showing it to others they will hopefully get a better understanding of what they have learned/are learning themselves.

Once they have the 3rd Dan, which is when they have their "license" to teach, it is their call if they want to teach or not. (If they don't teach, they probably won't be going up the ranks from there, but then again, that is their call.)
 

dbell

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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?

Yes. Once my students reach black belt they don't pay to come to classes anymore anyway. But, if they want to go to 2nd Dan, 3rd Dan and on they need to teach with me in the room watching (I don't just have them teach and leave the room/dojo/etc, I hang there with them, helping when needed, etc.). When they get their 3rd Dan, that gives them the ability via my giving them a Menkyo/License to teach the art by opening their own school. If they haven't taught in front of me, I'm not going to give them that ability.

(Doesn't stop them from opening their own school anyway, under a different name and a different art name, but if they do that, I don't want them teaching or training at my school anyway!!)

I will continue to teach them the black belt things as if they were belting up, but will not belt them beyond 1st Dan.
 

MJS

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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.

I agree, but this is why in my post, I suggested that the new teacher is gradually brought into the teaching phase. I do think there should be someone capable of teaching. If I were the sole teacher, this means I can never get sick, injured, take a break, take a vacation, etc. So, in a way, I'm still shortchanging them if they come to the school, but I'm too ill to teach and have to close down for a day or two.

Edit: Ooopps..I stand corrected. I looked back and didn't say what I thought I did. Let me clarify. When I started teaching, I was gradually introduced into it. I just did the warmups, then the other inst. took over. Eventually I did the warmups and the punches and kicks. Eventually more and more duties were placed upon me, until one day I went in and was told the entire class was mine. The head inst. was there in case I needed help, but for that entire hour, it was all me. Everything went well. :)
 
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ap Oweyn

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I don't think that black belts should be required to teach. I was asked to teach by instructors I greatly respected and liked. So I was happy to do so. I was also not paying for tuition at that point. So I could come and go as I pleased, taking any class I wanted, for free. So that doesn't seem like an unfair deal to me.

That's my personal situation though. I understand it doesn't work that way everywhere.

The idea that teaching is required because it enhances a student's understanding of their art seems slightly flawed to me. Because it overlooks the fundamental fact that time NOT spent teaching could be time spent training. And the unassailable fact that training also improves your understanding of your art.

I think you could even go so far as to say that teaching is something of a sacrifice in terms of your own training. My conceptual understanding of it increased when I started teaching. Finding ways to convey understanding to other people forced me to crystallize my own understanding first. And that's a valuable exercise. At the same time, when you're teaching, you're often not training. And if you've only got finite time, then one is going to take place at the expense of the other.

It's also an unassailable fact that practicing teaching will make you a better teacher. And since most black belts I know had a clear interest in teaching, then getting experience as a teacher only made sense. I'm of the mind that you're going to be a bad teacher before you're a good one. And doing so when you've got the backup of a good teacher is a good place to start.

Basically, it comes down to your conceptualization of what the black belt (or whatever measure you choose) means. Does it denote proficiency in performance? If so, then each rank beyond that would suggest heightened performance. And that would likely require more training than teaching. But if the black belt denotes a level ownership of and responsibility for the future of the art, then teaching is probably a big part of that.

I think this is going to vary from school to school. One thing I would say, though, is that the priorities of the school are going to affect the perception of the black belt. If your school has some strong competitive format, for instance, some arena in which performance can be evaluated, then teaching may not be such a focus. For instance, a BJJ school may have more vested interest in seeing their black belt further his fight record than in getting free teaching out of him.

Take another school, one that doesn't focus on a format like that, and there are fewer analogous ways to assess proficiency. So the ability to teach and convey technique may be focused on more heavily.

Either way, I wouldn't insist that a black belt teach. If he wants my endorsement as a teacher, then I would. But if he simply wants to train, compete, whatever, then his understanding of his art is going to benefit just as much from the doing as it would from the explaining. Maybe more.


Stuart
 

James Kovacich

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I don't think that black belts should be required to teach. I was asked to teach by instructors I greatly respected and liked. So I was happy to do so. I was also not paying for tuition at that point. So I could come and go as I pleased, taking any class I wanted, for free. So that doesn't seem like an unfair deal to me.

That's my personal situation though. I understand it doesn't work that way everywhere.

The idea that teaching is required because it enhances a student's understanding of their art seems slightly flawed to me. Because it overlooks the fundamental fact that time NOT spent teaching could be time spent training. And the unassailable fact that training also improves your understanding of your art.

I think you could even go so far as to say that teaching is something of a sacrifice in terms of your own training. My conceptual understanding of it increased when I started teaching. Finding ways to convey understanding to other people forced me to crystallize my own understanding first. And that's a valuable exercise. At the same time, when you're teaching, you're often not training. And if you've only got finite time, then one is going to take place at the expense of the other.

It's also an unassailable fact that practicing teaching will make you a better teacher. And since most black belts I know had a clear interest in teaching, then getting experience as a teacher only made sense. I'm of the mind that you're going to be a bad teacher before you're a good one. And doing so when you've got the backup of a good teacher is a good place to start.

Basically, it comes down to your conceptualization of what the black belt (or whatever measure you choose) means. Does it denote proficiency in performance? If so, then each rank beyond that would suggest heightened performance. And that would likely require more training than teaching. But if the black belt denotes a level ownership of and responsibility for the future of the art, then teaching is probably a big part of that.

I think this is going to vary from school to school. One thing I would say, though, is that the priorities of the school are going to affect the perception of the black belt. If your school has some strong competitive format, for instance, some arena in which performance can be evaluated, then teaching may not be such a focus. For instance, a BJJ school may have more vested interest in seeing their black belt further his fight record than in getting free teaching out of him.

Take another school, one that doesn't focus on a format like that, and there are fewer analogous ways to assess proficiency. So the ability to teach and convey technique may be focused on more heavily.

Either way, I wouldn't insist that a black belt teach. If he wants my endorsement as a teacher, then I would. But if he simply wants to train, compete, whatever, then his understanding of his art is going to benefit just as much from the doing as it would from the explaining. Maybe more.


Stuart

I think your view weighs heavily on the statement "At the same time, when you're teaching, you're often not training. And if you've only got finite time, then one is going to take place at the expense of the other."

If a school only has one class a day, then I see your point. But if you looked at your instructor training (which should start before BB) as assisting with classes that are not your own. It's actually much harder to assist for 1 or 2 classes and then train in your own class.

At one point in my brother-in-laws school, I assisted for 1 or 2 classes and trained my classes which were separate: Karate and Judo/Jujutsu and Kobudo.

When Aikido and Kumiuchi (which is full contact kickboxing annd Judo) were integrated in as the school grew, the schedule got divided into alternating days with Karate achoring 1 day and Judo anchoring the other day.

But either way, even after the classes got divided up into 2 days, you can see that one could easily do 3 or 4 classes in a day.

It's a part of the learning process. But there was an option to train as a fighter where the standards were differant and teaching was not required. But teaching certificates were also separate.
 

MJS

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I don't think that black belts should be required to teach. I was asked to teach by instructors I greatly respected and liked. So I was happy to do so. I was also not paying for tuition at that point. So I could come and go as I pleased, taking any class I wanted, for free. So that doesn't seem like an unfair deal to me.

That's my personal situation though. I understand it doesn't work that way everywhere.

The idea that teaching is required because it enhances a student's understanding of their art seems slightly flawed to me. Because it overlooks the fundamental fact that time NOT spent teaching could be time spent training. And the unassailable fact that training also improves your understanding of your art.

I think you could even go so far as to say that teaching is something of a sacrifice in terms of your own training. My conceptual understanding of it increased when I started teaching. Finding ways to convey understanding to other people forced me to crystallize my own understanding first. And that's a valuable exercise. At the same time, when you're teaching, you're often not training. And if you've only got finite time, then one is going to take place at the expense of the other.

It's also an unassailable fact that practicing teaching will make you a better teacher. And since most black belts I know had a clear interest in teaching, then getting experience as a teacher only made sense. I'm of the mind that you're going to be a bad teacher before you're a good one. And doing so when you've got the backup of a good teacher is a good place to start.

Basically, it comes down to your conceptualization of what the black belt (or whatever measure you choose) means. Does it denote proficiency in performance? If so, then each rank beyond that would suggest heightened performance. And that would likely require more training than teaching. But if the black belt denotes a level ownership of and responsibility for the future of the art, then teaching is probably a big part of that.

I think this is going to vary from school to school. One thing I would say, though, is that the priorities of the school are going to affect the perception of the black belt. If your school has some strong competitive format, for instance, some arena in which performance can be evaluated, then teaching may not be such a focus. For instance, a BJJ school may have more vested interest in seeing their black belt further his fight record than in getting free teaching out of him.

Take another school, one that doesn't focus on a format like that, and there are fewer analogous ways to assess proficiency. So the ability to teach and convey technique may be focused on more heavily.

Either way, I wouldn't insist that a black belt teach. If he wants my endorsement as a teacher, then I would. But if he simply wants to train, compete, whatever, then his understanding of his art is going to benefit just as much from the doing as it would from the explaining. Maybe more.


Stuart

Bold part mine. IMO, I thnk you hit the nail on the head with this. This is something that I experienced as well. While I have no issues with teaching, I also wanted my training time as well. There were many times when I'd show up for a class, with the intent of taking it, but ended up helping to teach. Every now and then...sure, no problem. All the time..well, thats not right IMO.
 

ChingChuan

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I also wanted to point that out ;).

As far as I know, as a black belt you're not required to teach in my style, but you can be asked to keep an eye on a beginner and teach them some basics. If the beginner stays, you'll be asked to teach them a lot - and that means you'll miss quite a few classes... 'black belts' still have to pay for their classes and I really can imagine them getting a bit sick of teaching beginners while they can't improve their own skills. I've never heard them complain of it, but for me, it would be a bit of a problem. Especially as we've only got three classes a week (I can only attend two). There are so many things to learn, as people here often point out, reaching 'black belt' isn't the end of the learning process - there are many forms and techniques and applications still to learn and by being forced to teach (too much), you're essential sacrificing all of your hard work in order to help others learn. It's alright if you realize this and voluntarily choose it, but I think it is wrong to demand something like that from everyone...

However, I agree that teaching aids your understanding of a technique. But teaching, to me, isn't the best or only way to deepen your understanding of the art...
 

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Teaching allows you to catch things you might of overlooked otherwise. Even at the most basic level, asissting beginners, you should catch things that are wrong that you've done yourself from time to time but didn't necesarily see it as wrong.
 

ap Oweyn

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I think your view weighs heavily on the statement "At the same time, when you're teaching, you're often not training. And if you've only got finite time, then one is going to take place at the expense of the other."

If a school only has one class a day, then I see your point. But if you looked at your instructor training (which should start before BB) as assisting with classes that are not your own. It's actually much harder to assist for 1 or 2 classes and then train in your own class.

At one point in my brother-in-laws school, I assisted for 1 or 2 classes and trained my classes which were separate: Karate and Judo/Jujutsu and Kobudo.

When Aikido and Kumiuchi (which is full contact kickboxing annd Judo) were integrated in as the school grew, the schedule got divided into alternating days with Karate achoring 1 day and Judo anchoring the other day.

But either way, even after the classes got divided up into 2 days, you can see that one could easily do 3 or 4 classes in a day.

It's a part of the learning process. But there was an option to train as a fighter where the standards were differant and teaching was not required. But teaching certificates were also separate.

If you've got that kinda time, sure. Personally, my work-life balance doesn't really afford me that sort of liberty. It did back then, and so I did that. But now? Nah. And I'm sure I'm not the only one in that boat.

None of which is an argument against it being valuable for black belts to teach. That's a different question.


Stuart
 

Brandon Fisher

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I expect my black belts to assist when needed not teach their is a difference. Teaching is my responsibility as the senior black belt of which I teach or am present to observe each and every class. I have 2 others that take lead and teach one is a 4th Dan and the other is my wife who is preparing for her 3rd Dan. I have a shodan who I have work with one or 2 students during class if needed. I don't pay my black belts I still believe in helping your sensei when needed not for pay but for what has been given to you over many years. I always felt it was a honor to have sensei ask me for help, it meant they had the confidence and trust in me to do a good job.
 
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Tames D

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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.quote]

I'm sorry, but I don't think of teaching as just another drill. Teaching is an important responsibility, and a job. If a student is not interested in doing the drills, then I have to wonder why he's enrolled in the class in the first place. I think that is quite a bit different than a student that is not interested in teaching.
 
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Tames D

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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.

Well said.

I remember being invited by a friend to observe a class at the school his son was attending. The 7th degree head instructor/owner never came into the dojo. Instead, he spent the whole class time smoking outside the entrance door. The "instructor" that night was a brown belt, who in my opinion, didnt have the experience or the skill to be in that position. I felt bad for him because it was obvious he was in over his head, and was very uncomfortable.

My buddy (who has no MA experience) asked for my opinion after class, and I basically told him he should have a talk with the "Master", and insist he get his *** inside the dojo and teach.
 
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Tames D

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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.

I respect what your saying CC. and I'll just leave it at that.
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Tames D

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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.quote]

With all do respect James, how did your students benefit from this?
 

Brandon Fisher

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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.quote]

With all do respect James, how did your students benefit from this?
So you have never learned from your instructors mistakes?
 

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I'm sorry, but I don't think of teaching as just another drill. Teaching is an important responsibility, and a job. If a student is not interested in doing the drills, then I have to wonder why he's enrolled in the class in the first place. I think that is quite a bit different than a student that is not interested in teaching.

You shouldn't think of instructing as JUST a drill, but if you just say a drill is a skill building exercise, then teaching IS a drill, under that definition. So why should a student say "Well I'll do those punching drills, but I won't do this drill to deepen my understanding of the art because it includes teaching."?
 
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