Karate Thoughts Blog

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A Teaching Problem

I realize that I have a teaching problem.

The more advanced I become (because of the number of years I have practiced), the more I want to concentrate on teaching the fine points, the smallest details. I would be perfectly happy spending an entire class on how to shift weight, or how to step, even how to turn from one body alignment to another. In fact, I have spent many classes, even weeks on these and other fine points.

But it is also good for students to practice all the kata over and over, to punch and kick in stationary and moving positions, to pair off, to practice breakfalls, to practice kobudo, etc. There are so many things that we could do... and should do.

The problem is that I hate to see students making mistakes. I realize that we all make mistakes, but I feel that it is important to teach the proper form. Then doing kata over and over is good. But doing kata with mistakes only reinforces those mistakes, in my opinion.

But I do realize that there is value in a good workout. It is good to stand in a puddle of sweat with a gi soaking wet, and you cannot do that if you are spending time on the fine points.

I think that this is one reason that it is good for the senior instructor to let other instructors lead the class. The senior might work on the fine points with selected students, while the rest of the class gets a good workout.

It is just that I really do hate to see mistakes... because every mistake in the dojo, whether done by a student or an instructor, is my own.


Charles C. Goodin