Teaching can be Painful

Sciatica pain, as a result of my back injury, during the last 4 weeks in particular,  has been the most excruciating experience of my life, to say the least.  This painful experience has virtually immobilized me.  Richard Norton calls it the tooth ache of the back.  Now I can really appreciate the saying, ‘pain in the back’ (or whatever).  However, I have slowly been improving and trying to get to the schools and contribute in some way whilst I’m there.

I have noticed something extraordinary when teaching from an armchair.  Students were able to follow my instructions quite well, if not, better.  I have never known to teach without physically demonstrating so I put this success down to the verbal communication which is all I have for the time being.  The students, in turn, pay extra particular attention to what I say because that is all they have.  I asked the higher grades to do a jumping back kick, the other night, which nobody had any real idea what it even looked like.  But by breaking it down to a handful of moves and getting the students to practice each move until they got it right, then ‘voila’, the jumping back kick was born!  Wow, I thought; I must be good.

After discovering this I now realize instructing doesn’t always need to be hands on.  What is more important is to get the students to be more attentive.  It would be great to have a balance of both but sometimes when an Instructor tries too hard the student starts to turn their hearing volume down ie ‘why bother when somebody else is going to do the work for you’.  This doesn’t mean when I get back on my feet and teaching I am going to put my hands in my pockets. 

There is a realization that clear, correct and appropriate communication is the key to success for effective martial arts instruction.  The importance being what the Instructor says, how it is said, and if and how well it is being received by the student. 

Overall, the Instructor does a great job to develop young persons’ listening skills which is what the parents and schools always strive for. 

To finish off this blog, the clichè, NO PAIN, NO GAIN is wearing a bit thin with me.