Author Topic: Teaching Yourself  (Read 6303 times)

ShaolinKempoSensei

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Teaching Yourself
« on: March 19, 2003, 04:59:16 AM »
It is my belief that one needs a teacher for only so long.  Then they can 'become' their own teacher.  Yes, we can still learn from everyone.  Our students, our children, etc.  However, speaking in terms of Kempo, at what point do others believe you can begin to grow on your own (and keep growing) without your instructor with you all the time?

In my school I teach a curriculum up to 3rd dan.  At this point I tell my students that they should be able to take what they have learned and 'go off on their own'.  That doesn't mean they get kicked out of the school, but just that I won't be 'holding their hand' any longer.

I personally have been without a formal instructor for the couple of years.  (Hanshi Bruce Juchnik is my instructor currently, but I only have lessons with him a few times each year.)  However, I am still learning, growing and becoming a better martial artitst everyday.  I believe that is because I have been doing this for nearly 20 years.  I don't need someone to remind me to keep my knees bent, tighten my fist, ect.  I have developed the self-discipline to refine my movement, make it more efficient, etc.  

I welcome everyone's thoughts on this.  


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2003, 06:02:38 AM »
Well, I can see no one wanted to respond to this.  I wonder why though.

Perhaps everyone agrees with me!!   ;D


« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Karazenpo

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2003, 06:58:05 AM »
You have a good point, Sensei Evans. From what I've discovered, many of the root arts of the old days basically had information up to black belt, some maybe to 2nd dan. Many notable instructors from the past teaching valid and respected systems today started with that much information and refined it into what they have today. ;)  Respectfully, Shihan Joe
                                                              
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Nagi

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2003, 08:23:42 AM »
Sensei Evans,
I agree with you... A Marial Artist needs to blossom on there own after getting the proper training and start refining the system so it fits there needs. After 20 year's you know what work's for you and what dosen't due to build, athletic ability, flexibility etc... But you still have to teach the moves that might not work well for you, or maybe they might not be your personal favorites to your students because what dosen't work for you might work very well for them.(John not aimed at you, just in general) It's kind of like going to the dentist a few times a year for a check up, the dentist doesn't have to be there 3-4 times a week to watch you brush and floss.  
But rather to be there to assist and remind you .

Ron
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »
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Offline D-Man

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2003, 08:29:01 AM »
I noticed that you said that one NEEDS a teacher for only so long.  Is one still useful?  Do you mean in one art?  Do your students at this point "go off on their own" to start their training in a different art under a new teacher?

It seems to me that having a teacher can always assist in growth, perhaps speed up the learning process.  Isn't the old addage, "two heads are better than one"?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2003, 09:44:31 AM »
We can always learn.  And we should forever.  However, I don't believe that my students will "NEED" me forever.  If they do, I am a terrible teacher and need to do something else.

My job as a Kempo teacher is to get a student to a level of self-instruction.  All we need to know exists in the world around us.  However, most people don't know where or how to look for it.

I can teach 200 katas that take 80 years to learn.  But it won't make my student any better if he doesn't understand how to adjust what is taught in the katas for use in an actual situation when it is actually taking place.  To even think that one could teach so many katas to cover every situation is ridiculous.

So a student must begin to understand movement, timing, positioning, etc. on their own.  

Studies have been shown (I watched a special on the discovery channel about this) that students who are forced to understand or come up with the answer through their own work are much more intelligent in that subject matter than those who are given the answers by their teachers.  My goal is to guide the student in the right direction and then let go of his hand.

Yes, working with someone is a great asset.  However, to limit yourself to one teacher is foolishness.  Since no one person can possibly contain all the knowledge, we are only forcing ourselves into a limited understanding.

I am not sure how much training everyone has in their particular art.  But if you have been training with someone (and no one else) for let's say, 10 - 15 years.  It's time to venture off and look at what you're doing from a different point of view.  If you don't, you (not anyone specific) could very well be missing out on something that could bring you to the "next level" in your training / understanding.

It's only my own ego that will make me believe that my students are better off with me, forever.  Once I let go of that I can truly be a teacher by guiding them to the source of knowledge that suits them best.  I don't do this after a year or two.  But when someone reaches 3rd dan with me, they can, and I hope they do, keep training with me, but I won't be there correcting their every little movement.  I want to see if they have what it takes to get themselves to the mastery level of understanding.  If they don't, then they don't deserve to keep advancing.  I encourage them to try something else out.  Perhaps something totally different like Tai Chi or healing arts.


Two heads are better than one.  But three or four or five, is even better!

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline Mike Nagano

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2003, 11:41:06 AM »
I think the role of teacher, whether that be for the martial arts, for grade school, or even for parent, is to prepare "students" for life on their own.  I as a special ed teacher by profession try to prepare my students for further education and for life outside of school.  As martial arts instructors, our "job" is to teach students the requirments of our respective martial arts schools and to prepare them as best we can for life outside the dojo doors.  Hopefully we've prepared them well enough that they take initiative in their own lives and seek ways of furthering their own education.  This may be by training with other teachers, researching other styles, by opening their own schools, or by some other way they find necessary.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2003, 11:47:32 AM »
Mnagano, I don't think anyone could express it any better than that!!! ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2003, 12:06:10 PM »
Mnagano,

Perhaps my next teacher should be you in showing me how to express what I want to say with fewer words!   ;)  I believe you and I are thinking about this in the same way.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

adacas

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2003, 12:22:26 PM »
Just to throw my two cents in.

I remember reading several biographies on Bruce Lee explaining how in the begining as a student he praised Kung Fu as the ultimate most complete martial art.  Then as he progressed his mindset changed.  He began to see holes and flaws and began to look for ways to fill them.  He then set out to learn from many different styles their strengths and weaknesses and incorporated them into his own style.  Jeet Kun Do was the result and he then advertised that as the ultimate martial art.  Again though with time he realized that even Jeet Kun Do was not perfect and continued unto his death to pick apart and put back together martial arts to find out what was not a perfect fighting system that everyone can follow but was someting that worked for him.  Bruce Lee encouraged those around him to not look at any martial art as the way to be but to go out in search of what was right for you.  Teachers can go only so far.  They can give you what they know but what they know may not be the truth to you.  They prepare you for the journey ahead.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

adacas

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2003, 12:50:26 PM »
You know I believe that teacher are really around not to regurgitate information but to instead give helpful information that you will need and then give you a good kick to the butt in the right direction.  The path you take should be the path you chose.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »

Offline John Bishop

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2003, 03:53:02 PM »
I guess that I'm a little old fashioned in believing that one could have the same teacher for a lifetime, (as long as that teacher did not retire or refuse to grow.)  

I see many people who acquire 2 or 3 or even more black belts, but have very little understanding of the martial arts.  They know the required physical techniques for each system, but after that point is the period when a martial artist matures and really gets to understand his system.  

I consider the attachment to one's instructor and school like a family bond.  You may find other teachers that teach you additional things, but once you've found "your" teacher, he is yours for life.

I am a seventh degree, and have had my own school for 12 years, but I have never felt that my instructor has taught me all that he can.  I mean I learn things everyday from my students, and some of them are white belts.  Sometimes the teaching and interacting in a school is your best teacher.

If a instructor continues to grow from his teaching and training he will always have something to offer his students.  

In life you learn a lot from teachers, books, and manuals, but nothing replaces that which is learned from real life experiences.

Your Kwoon, Dojo, Academy, or Studio is where you learn and grow from the years or decades of interaction with your instructor or fellow students.  This is not to say that one should not go out and learn new things.  But just like real life, you can travel the world, but their's no place like home.  

As you can see from my picture  I wear 2 patches.  The one on the right is my school patch.  That one has changed a couple times.  The one on the left is my instructors.  That one will be there until I die.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »
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Karazenpo

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2003, 04:38:54 PM »
Sigung Bishop, I started my training in '73 in Goju and switched to Kempo in '74 under Chief Instructor Craig Seavey (when he was with Villari) who brought me to Black. I also trained directly under Professor S. George Pesare in the late 70's when Craig was in California. Although I have trained with other instructors from time to time, it's 2003 and I just got off the phone with Hanshi Seavey (Co-Head of Nick Cerio's Kenpo) and ended the conversation on me coming down to train on one of my day's off next week and the following Saturday I have a lesson at Grandmaster Pesare's Kaito Gakko.  Am I in a time warp! :D  I think its kind of nice. ;)      Shihan Joe

PS: Let me also note that Professor Nick Cerio (of my lineage) whom I was a private student of passed away on October 7, 1998. :'(  God Bless Him!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:03 PM by -1 »

Offline Mell

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2003, 06:25:06 PM »
I'm grateful I have found an instructor who I believe I can stay with for all the days of my training.   Because I will never have everything down pat and perfect, instuction will always have value to me.   I've found someone who can keep me motivated, someone who believes I can continue to improve.  He strives to build relationships with other martial artists; to bring new thoughts and techiques to our school.  

If your instructor is not continuing to grow himself/herself, you should look for a new one.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »
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ShaolinKempoSensei

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Re: Teaching Yourself
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2003, 04:56:54 AM »
I agree with you Sigung Bishop that you should keep a bond with your instructor.  But I also believe that one should go off and study other things.  And that should not be something your instructor interferes with.

Maybe this is due to me having had instructors which I couldn't stay with after learning certain things about them.  But through my years I have had the chance to train with many fine teachers.  I am grateful for that.

If I had just stuck with my original teacher, I would not be at the level of understanding I am today.  My first teacher is now my student.

I hope no one thinks that I am advising a student to leave their school for good.  Do that if you need to, but hopefully you can stay and train there until you die.

What I am suggesting is that once you have gain a good understanding of what is being taught at your main school, (I think this should be around 3rd dan) then go and try something else.  Look at your martial arts from a different point of view.

Be well!

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by 1054443600 »