To Teach

corby's picture

Sometimes I wonder if these articles can make a difference. I can't imagine a few words on a web page causing someone who has been doing it wrong for five years to suddenly realize what a mistake he's made, to introspectively think back over all the people who have come once or twice to a fight practice and never returned. Those "teachers" think those who don't come back just "weren't tough enough" for heavy fighting.

No, this article is for those readers out there who may, someday be put in the position of teaching a new person, or running their own ongoing fight practice. Especially, this article is for the person about to participate in their first fight practice. Because you may not be as lucky as I was. I'm not tough, and if I'd been subjected to a pounding my first time out, I don't think I would have been back. And that thought makes me very sad.

Everyone Needs Discouragement

Fighting is hard and physically demanding. But it is very cool. Lots of people come to a practice and decide they want to try it, regardless of their actual ability to learn, practice, improve or stick with it. By no means do I want to discourage people who will do the work, who will stay with it, but every practice and every teacher needs to find a way to separate those who will waste everyone's time for 3 months and then never show up again from those who are interested in fighting for the long haul.

Notice I did not say "those who will be good fighters." It's not our place to say how good someone has to be to be "successful." Is it fair to say that someone's fighting career isn't "worthwhile" unless they get knighted? No. That's like saying no one should go to school unless they can graduate with honors. Fighting is its own reward for me, and should be for everyone, regardless of their talents and skill. So we have no right as instructors to select people based on how fast they will be how good, no right to insist on the gifted or those with high pain tolerances.

But we do need to run practices that discourage the dilettantes from those who will actually make it to authorization and beyond. There are two main ways to do this:Physical Punishment or Boredom

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