It’s sad really that these stock methods of teaching have almost become an industry standard in most schools. And unfortunately most schools today focus more on the quantity of students (and therefore money that they receive) rather than the quality of instruction. Many times you will find students from these schools who will hold the title (like black belt) of someone who is supposed to be proficient and knowledgeable in a given art but one glance at their techniques and it is obvious that their knowledge is rudimentary at best.
In my lifetime through both teaching and training I have tried very hard to reflect upon many of the moves I’ve learnt and attempted to fully understand the mechanics behind them and in so doing, I’ve found that it puts me in the position of being able to pass on what I’ve learnt both effectively and efficiently.
Now unlike most instructors or coaches who have been taught to teach only one way i.e. these stock methods, I try to adapt to each student. Some instructors may find this tedious, but each person is different and moves and learns in their own unique way. Most students won’t be able to pick things up after showing them just one basic way of doing it. At points like that the teacher must adapt to the student and create a way to pass on the knowledge that he has. What this requires is an in depth understanding of the art and the will to want your students to improve.
Through years of teaching experience, I have developed methods of teaching that have allowed my students to learn exponentially faster then I have. Skills that took me months and months to learn have been learnt by my students within a few classes! I couldn’t believe it! It actually made me a little jealous at how rapidly they were able to learn what had taken me several times longer! The reason they picked these things up so quickly wasn’t because these students were “naturals” but because of the teaching methods I used to teach them.
Part of my experience comes from self observation. I have never been an incredibly fast learner, but I have always been a perfectionist. So whenever I’ve started to train a new skill or technique I would spend hours and hours trying to understand the mechanics behind the movement both inside the gym trying the move, and outside the gym thinking about them. And after attempting a given movement and failing, and attempting it again, and failing, and so on and forth, when I finally do I get it, its because I’ve made practically every mistake in the book, until I not only fully understand the move itself, but the mistakes most commonly made when learning it. So in teaching, I am able to see what a student is doing wrong immediately and correct them saving them a lot of time and energy.
Through training and teaching I have come to understand my body and have developed the ability to accurately apply new movements to my limbs in order to learn new techniques even faster. This comes not necessarily from a lifetime of training the body, but a lifetime of careful observation and then subsequent application of the observations to the body.
“The master sculptor chips away at the unnecessary pieces to reveal the statue underneath.”