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#430701 - 10/27/10 04:12 PM Black Belt = Teacher??
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573

This is an issue I've come across quite a bit in a lot of different martial arts classes directly (by being in the class and seeing what's going on) or indirectly (by talking to people who are involved in different classes).

Once a person reaches a certain level (e.g. 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree black belt in a martial art, or some such equivalent) they are encouraged to start teaching classes or setting up their own club/school.

How would you feel if you went to a certain class for a long time, gained a high amount of proficency in whatever MA it was you were studying, then the coach asks you to take over some of his/her classes or encourages you to start your own group???

As has been said before, MA can be pretty much a selfish activity. Some people view teaching as giving something back. Or perhaps teaching is merely taking the self-interest that is at the heart of a lot of martial arts classes and pushing it further (e.g. a person only sets up a new class to make money for themselves).

Should getting to a high level in martial arts automatically mean you should be teaching a class?
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

#430702 - 10/27/10 04:30 PM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: Prizewriter]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Automatically? Lord, no. Just because someone has gotten a black belt does not mean they are capable of relating what they know. Theoretically they should, but this is not always the case. In American kenpo, students are required to have 50 hours of teaching time between brown belt and black belt. This gives them some experience with what it's like to have to answer questions, as opposed to asking them. But not all styles have such a requirement, and many kenpo schools don't enforce that one, either.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#430709 - 10/28/10 04:13 AM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: MattJ]
Dobbersky Offline
Peace Works!!!!

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 921
Loc: Manchester United Kingdom
I know of one school, Which has its founder and Head Office (honbu) in Austrailia, which has presence in many countries and they are still allowed to train and "teach" where the students are put on "Instructor Training Programmes" and given a "Black and White Belt" and are expected to teach classes with only 2 or 3 Kyu grades "passed" experience!!!! And they are called "sensei" without even passing a 1st Dan grading!!!!!
To me its seems like Pyramid selling Karate as you have to door knock and sign people up to "courses" before they've even stepped foot inside the Dojo.

So to me if someone has a 1st Dan grade then he has far more experience that the "Outfit" described above. I have 15 years experience of Martial Arts but I am only graded to 2nd Dan, does that mean I'm not experienced enough to teach?
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.


#430710 - 10/28/10 08:43 AM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: Dobbersky]
iaibear Offline

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
[quote=] I have 15 years experience of Martial Arts but I am only graded to 2nd Dan, does that mean I'm not experienced enough to teach? [/quote]
It depends on the art, the dojo and your teacher.
With your teacher's permission you can teach.

#430715 - 10/28/10 10:30 AM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: iaibear]
hope Offline

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 149
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
It's not a bad idea to take a coaching course if you want to teach. When I was a student, it was no secret that some of the most brilliant professors were lousy teachers. We read their books and avoided their courses. I was a teacher for years before I took a teaching course; some of the content was old-hat to me, but I learned some techniques I was glad to use.

Of course, some ability in the area you're teaching is a good pre-requisite to teaching, but no way is it enough. Watching great teachers helps. Trial and error helps; it would be a lot faster to take a teaching / coaching skills course.
God grant me a good sword and no use for it. -- Polish proverb

#430720 - 10/28/10 04:24 PM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: hope]
Kathryn Offline

Registered: 09/24/09
Posts: 262
Loc: Washington, DC
Don't most schools expect their advanced students to take on minor teaching duties anyway?
Be nice, until it's time to not be nice.

#430721 - 10/28/10 05:25 PM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: Kathryn]
TaekwonDoFan Offline

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 271
Very often, it's just an excuse for the mcdojo's macmaster to avoid doing his job.

That said, a lot of genuine masters can pay their students to help them with the onerous task of teaching over a hundred students. IOW, it all depends - does the master delegate everything, or does he take an active part in the teaching?

#430722 - 10/28/10 09:16 PM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: Prizewriter]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Prizewriter:

A misguided parallel.

Dan ranking means solely that one has a particular foundation of techniques, a partular understanding and ability according to the person who specifically issued it.

From a capasity based on technical knowledge one can share how to perform many things and aspects of the larger art or practice. But the art of teaching, the passing on of knowledge whether to one person or many is a very different creature. Teaching is far more complex than simply sharing tidbits, small pieces. Teaching has a map, very specific landmarks and a timeline of events to be met in a precise sequence.

Teaching is not haphazard, not random in the least. The skill of developing a student is a different skill set than the ability to demonstrate, share.

A teacher can a yudansha but a yudansha is never automaticly a teacher. The assumption or retroactive belief of those skills is a tragic mistake.


#430723 - 10/28/10 09:37 PM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: Kathryn]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello kathryn:

What's the definition of "minor" teaching exactly?

A punch, a kick, a whole kata, basic waza, principals... at what point does minor become signifigant and extremely important to be taught professionally by experts?


#430725 - 10/28/10 09:56 PM Re: Black Belt = Teacher?? [Re: TaekwonDoFan]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3116
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello TaekwandoFan:

Never known a live bone-fide MASTER... are they common?

Teaching is onerous <sp.?> ? Going to look that term up, be certain it means what I believe it to mean. A hundred students... I hope we are not talking in a single class, correct?

Even so, men and women who are the head teachers are responsible for And to a greater extent I propose we are responsible for teaching ourselves. Further I contend we learn as much, or more from our classmates the finer points, the refinements taught by each body.

Merely my opinion I could surely be mistaken,

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