instructor qualities

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by kempojosh, Mar 3, 2006.

  1. kempojosh

    kempojosh Valued Member

    when looking for an instructor, which is more important, his knowlege of the martial art of his ability to perform the techniques of the art?
  2. Dr.Syn

    Dr.Syn Valued Member

    I believe that they are equally important..Most important is his passion for teaching..Does he really LOVE what he's doing??Does he make you want to train??? Or is it "this is just a job attitude"
  3. Alansmurf

    Alansmurf Aspire to Inspire before you Expire Supporter

    Can the person teach....this would be the most important factor for me ...
    there are great fighters , great scloars of the arts but they must be able to communicate the knowledge and skills to be a good instructor... :)
  4. dbmasters

    dbmasters Valued Member

    In addition to what was asked, I would suggest an important factor is experience actually fighting, real world experience to supliment the theory and help solidify the practicality of the techniques.
  5. Joe V.

    Joe V. Valued Member

    For me BOTH are equally important... You can give me all the theory you want. Personally, I need to see the application to grasp the essence of any technique.
    To be honest, I have never met someone who called themselves an Instructor and not have both of those aspects... I guess I am lucky to have only had Instructors that were so talented!
  6. Andy2DWK

    Andy2DWK Valued Member

    As has been said, i think its more important to be a good communicator and get knowledge accross to lots of people who will learn and understand things in different ways.

    Of course if that person can demonstrate material with great talent too then that helps a lot.

  7. Red J

    Red J New Member

    Well the ideal instructor needs the following:

    A knowledge base to draw from (ie experience, BB or above)

    An ability to relate to people (some people are great MA with no people skills)

    The ability to demonstrate techniques properly and to modify them, if necessary, for different levels and body types.

    Must be able to speak the language of the beginners yet still engage the advanced, motivating all he/she teaches.

    Should always be learning and continuing his/her own skills.

    They should also have maturity, reliability, credibility, and patience.

    How's that? :)

    Now what's more important, knowledge or ability? They are really close. Like Joe V. mentioned, I have been lucky to have instructors with both, but if I had to pick one to edge out the other for an instructor it would be the ability to pass on knowledge.
  8. AuntiePink

    AuntiePink Naughty Member

    You forgot 'Must look damn hot!' ;)

    Lucky for me I've found an instructor with all of the above :D
  9. Colin Linz

    Colin Linz Valued Member

    When we believe we are ready to start teaching we need permission from our Hombu (headquarters). To get this permission we need to have the required minimum rank, usually san dan, although in some cases they will make an exception if another Branch Master offers to act as your coach. We also need to have completed a Branch Masters course and have an interview with a senior member of WSKO were they will want to know why you want to start a branch, how you plan to start it and manage it’s success (business plan if you like), do you have a student base, do you have a training venue and is it suitable, and finally when you have permission to apply you write your essay on your motives from establishing a branch and submit the correct paperwork. Usually this requires a trip to Japan for the course and interview, but sometimes it can be done at a regional Taikai.

    This may sound like a lot of mucking around, and it is. It may also be one reason that Shorinji Kempo has not spread very fast outside of Japan; another could be that Branch Masters are not allowed to make money from instruction. These could be seen as negative policies, but I think that in time they offer a sort of safe guard to Shorinji Kempo kenshi (people that do Shorinji Kempo). These policies help make sure that instructors are doing it because they have a love for the art and a love for teaching it. They also help make sure that the instructor has some sort of business plan to aid in the branches success. Hombu is very focused on its students, and the failing of a branch leaves students with no place to train at. Because of this, Hombu wants to ensure that the prospective Branch Master has everything in place to ensure their success.

    Now to the question of what I consider important for an Instructor.

    They need to really love their art.
    They need to really love teaching it.
    They need to be able to demonstrate it adequately.
    They need to understand the physiology of exercise.
    They need to be competent at first aid.
    They need to be able to teach the art to a wide verity of people.
    They need to be able to motivate and inspire people.
    They need to be able to empathise with their students.
    They need to think of their students concerns as genuinely important.
    They need to consider the safety of their students.
    They need to have the administrative skills to run the branch.
    They need to ensure they comply with any legislation that might apply.
    They need to have insurance cover to protect themselves, but more importantly their students.

    Martial arts can be dangerous, and everyone that participates should do so understanding this and accepting the risks; however if I caused an injury that put one of my students out of action and employment, I would want them to be able to access some insurance so their family could survive and they could get the medical attention they need.

    That’s about all that comes to mind at the moment. As to which is more import, I think that while the need to adequately demonstrate technique is high, the need to teach and relate to people is higher. I know some older sensei that no longer move as well as they used to, but I when I have had the opportunity to learn from them it has always been highly beneficial.
  10. Tripitaka of AA

    Tripitaka of AA Valued Member

    A model answer from Colin. Worth reading twice.

    In fact, it is worth printing out and putting on your fridge door as you strive to meet the criteria and look ahead to the day when people look up to YOU and call you Sensei.
  11. Dr.Syn

    Dr.Syn Valued Member

    I couldn't agree more..

    Already done,,,
  12. Les

    Les Valued Member

    I was giong to write a long post on the required qualities for teaching but Colin has done the job for me. (Thank You Colin)

    One point I would make though.

    Having a Black Belt is the mark of a persons PERSONAL achievement. It DOES NOT automatically qualify someone to TEACH the Art.

    Imparting the knowledge is a very different thing to having the knowledge.

  13. MaxG

    MaxG Valued Member

    This is kind of along the lines of this thread so I thought I'd ask you guys. I posted a topic in the Hapkido forum awhile ago asking whether being able to instruct someone should be a black belt consideration.

    Please read the post before you vote. I'm not saying a 1st degree black belt should go open up his own school or anything like that.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2006
  14. dbmasters

    dbmasters Valued Member

    doing and teaching are two entirely different skills.
  15. Dr.Syn

    Dr.Syn Valued Member

    I couldn't agree more...
  16. Colin Linz

    Colin Linz Valued Member

    My opinion on the issue of needing to be able to teach to have a black belt is no. It is not a requirement for black belts to teach, I know of some dojo’s in Japan where there are a number of students that are 6th dan and many more below this. They are not instructors but students. Yudansha gradings are separate skill tests and generally have nothing to do with teaching; all they do is demonstrate a level of technical knowledge. To teach or not is an individual decision and should not be forced upon students. A better way would be to create a separate training and mentoring program catering for those that want to teach.
  17. MaxG

    MaxG Valued Member

    I guess I'm in the minority then. If I have a white belt in my school needing help on his required techniques to get to yellow belt I expect a Black Belt to be able to do so. I guess not all instructors have that expectation.
  18. dbmasters

    dbmasters Valued Member

    Being able to help you out is a given, anyone can "help out"...being a teacher is the ability to teach in a class environment effectively, at least in my's a totally different thing to say "oh, yeah, do this" and show you a move then it is to run an effective class.
  19. Colin Linz

    Colin Linz Valued Member

    We should all be able and desire to help our fellow students, but as dbmasters has expressed this is a far cry from teaching. When doing this we are tutoring, we are not introducing new material or planing lessons and we are still working under the guidance of the teacher, their lesson plan and syllabus.

    I say this knowing it is a huge generalisation and that I know nothing of your syllabus, and these comments may not apply. Black Belts rarely have the required skills to teach without some form of specific teaching or coaching training. I’ve seen a number that are just plain dangerous in the way they structure exercises and conduct their training. Many have not the required first aid skills to handle accidents if they happen. I would be happy for a senior student of mine to help out in class or to take a class if I were unavailable, but I would have to have the confidence that they had the skills needed and would follow established lesson procedures and not introduce new material to the students. This of course would only be done if the student was accepting of this, I would never force a student to do this.
  20. MaxG

    MaxG Valued Member

    Hmmm.... I apparently you guys didn't read the original topic like I asked. It's not about opening up your own school or making up your own curriculum or anything like that.

    Definition of teaching:

    1. To impart knowledge or skill to: teaches children.
    2. To provide knowledge of; instruct in: teaches French.
    3. To condition to a certain action or frame of mind: teaching youngsters to be self-reliant.
    4. To cause to learn by example or experience: an accident that taught me a valuable lesson.
    5. To advocate or preach: teaches racial and religious tolerance.
    6. To carry on instruction on a regular basis in: taught high school for many years.

    So semantics aside if you have a Black Belt assisting/tutoring or whatever word you want to use. The fact is he is "teaching" that lower belt.

    EXACTLY my point! There wouldn't be that problem if this standard was put into place.

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