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Helping One Student

Our typical classes have between 20 and 30 students. I am lucky to have several yudansha (black belt holders) who help me. With their help, we can separate the students into groups. That way, they can focus on what they are learning at thir particular level.

Each class, I try to help at least one student move in a way that they never did before. There is nothing better than watching a student who has had problems with a certain movement of a kata suddenly do the movement correctly. This is especially true in our stye of Karate because of our focus on body dynamics. When a student suddenly moves correctly, it is a qualitative leap -- the character of his movement changes.

If a student can learn to do one movement correctly, then he can apply that form of mechanics to all related movements. A single case of improvement can positively "infect" many others.

For example, if a student can learn to throw a proper shuto (knife hand strike or block), the shuto mechancis can be applied to almost every block in one way or another. Students do not have to learn dozens or hundreds of ways to move -- there is basically only one!

My second son also tries to work on at least one student each class. It is hard to help an entire class learn something truly new. Concentrating on one student it is at least possible.


Charles C. Goodin