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#435256 - 05/30/12 06:54 PM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: Chen Zen]
iaibear Offline

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 1304
Loc: upstate New York
The more of this thread that I read, the more grateful I am to my instructor who told me that at sandan I was not yet qualified to teach.

#435257 - 05/31/12 07:59 AM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: harlan]
duanew Offline

Registered: 06/28/08
Posts: 326
Loc: MN
Originally Posted By: harlan
Ditto! smile

As for the original post, 'Yes', I am choosy - because 'No', it's not my job to instill any values.

I would respond to your comment like I would several pro basketball players who got busted for crimes and then said, "I don't want to be anyone's role model."
Regardless of if you want the job or not it's yours. If you choose to do the job or not is your choice-it is still your job. Teaching is not just passing on information and techniques it is being a model of what the student should strive to be.

#435258 - 05/31/12 08:51 AM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: duanew]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Please do not preach to me about what MY job is. I don't take on inferior students, and the ones I do take I don't expect to become little 'mini-me's'. I am too old a beginner to take on that responsibility and know my limitations.

I have ALWAYS stated that one should choose one's teacher carefully. Character has always been my most important criteria because trust is so integral to transmission. I tell my students to 'Choose carefully...and NEVER leave your mind at the door.' My feeling is that a lot more than technique is transmitted when someone puts their hands on you. I tell them, 'Never let someone you don't trust put their hands on you, and only train with good people.'

So, if they are developing character or absorbing values from me, that is what they are getting.

Edited by harlan (05/31/12 09:05 AM)

#435259 - 05/31/12 09:20 AM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: harlan]
Cord Offline

Registered: 01/13/05
Posts: 11399
Loc: Cambridge UK.
I am with Harlan on this one - if TMA is so damn awesome at instilling some hybrid east-west hybrid fortune cookie morality into people, then why get sniffy about 'wrong types' of students? Hell, you should be seeking out thugs and a-holes to help them out right?
If the morals passed on by an MA teacher only resonate with the already law abiding, modest and peacefull, then they are not being taught, nor changing anyone for the better.

If a MA teacher thinks that getting a kid to bow and pull a couple of shots in sparring in the 2 hours they see them per week is going to make a difference where parents and schools have not, the that is true arrogance and ego far greater than a bit of trash talk before a sporting contest, which is all theater to sell tickets anyway.

Edited by Cord (05/31/12 09:21 AM)
Don't let the door hit ya' where the good lord split ya'

#435260 - 05/31/12 10:02 AM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: Cord]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Wow, the world must be ending because I agree with Duane! LOL
"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

#435261 - 05/31/12 10:15 AM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: Cord]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Well, I suppose I might have been a bit hasty in my reply...but I am starting to see it more of a case of splitting hairs on exactly what it means 'to teach'. Duane, I think, is correct in that one is always a model, even if one is unaware of one's impact on others. I see it more of an unconscious meant by my insistance that 'a lot more than technique is transmitted'. When training, one is completely present, is 'all there', the whole package focused on the task at hand - in sharing everything with one's partner. The person goes along with the knowledge. (At least, I hope it does.) And, I've learned recently by starting teaching, that that process goes both ways.

Don't want to belabor it, but I'm of the opinion that one should try TO BE a better person, and have only recently discovered that many people do not share that same view. That they are 'fine' and that 'self-improvement' is not necessary nor something to strive for. This is why one chooses carefully one's students. Yes, it sounds very elitist, but I teach and train with people I like. Of similar mindset. As Cord states, folks that resonate.

Originally Posted By: Cord
If the morals passed on by an MA teacher only resonate with the already law abiding, modest and peacefull, then they are not being taught, nor changing anyone for the better.

#435263 - 05/31/12 01:28 PM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: harlan]
Chen Zen Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 7043
Loc: Ms
Matt, Cord, Hello again.Long time.

I can understand not necessarily striving to get these points across to adults, however I think younger students deserve and require these things.
You are teacing them how to effectively hurt people, you should also be teaching them why they shouldnt. Remember that for most children, Mommy didnt sign them up to improve their hook. They likely put them there because perhaps the child needs more discipline,respect, selfcontrol, or patience, or a rolemodel to look up to.
Im not saying those are the only reasons a student joins but a a large portion do.I was one of those kids.

If you are ina teachingposition, you are a rolemodel whether you choose to be or not.
"When I let Go of who I am, I become who I might be."
Lao Tzu

#435264 - 05/31/12 03:19 PM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: Chen Zen]
Zach_Zinn Offline

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 1031
Loc: Olympia, WA
I think it's not about "fortune cookie wisdom" or any of's a simple thing.

If you teach people things that our potentially dangerous to themselves or others, you have a responsibility to vet the people somewhat, and to at least make sure there is a very basic code of conduct going along with the training IMO.

You don't need to try to actively convert people to any kind of philosophy etc...but I think we do need to make sure the people we are teaching are getting all the caveats that go along with stuff, for instance if someone teaches people to spar or train with stuff like kicking a downed opponent, we'd better be damn sure to include not only some basic ethics there, but the bare bones understanding of the legal possibilities of a thing like that as well.

If that isn't happening, IMO bad news - people always have less common sense than we think.

It's worth noting, there is plenty of both TMA and MMA that is probably deficient with stuff like this, in fact i'd wager the majority of publicly available training is. It's easier to put out a bunch of platitudes about building character and that's usually what you see.

Edited by Zach_Zinn (05/31/12 04:09 PM)

#435265 - 05/31/12 04:12 PM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: Zach_Zinn]
gojuman59 Offline

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 224
Loc: Missouri
I agree Zach. One shouldn't just teach sometimes brutal techniques and then not shoulder some responsibility should they be misused by the student. I'm not saying that the charactor of the student has to be sterling, but thugs need not join either. Have seen people join in the past who only wanted to learn to **** people up as they put it. Usually they don't have the disipline to stick around anyway. These types should just keep on walking to the local Mcdojo who will meet them with open arms.


#435266 - 05/31/12 05:15 PM Re: Character developement and values in MA [Re: gojuman59]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2577

Couldn't the whole "ethical teachings" some martial arts schools offer muddy the water a bit? Could a student hold back from using their training when they actually need to use it because "Sensei told me not to" or "I must follow the way of the warrior and refrain from violence". Couldn't the whole dynamic of telling your students when to use their training/when not to use their training inhibit your students ability to think for themselves?

Personally speaking as an adult, I'd be highly alarmed if a person I was training with was getting their information on what was right and wrong from a guy with fancy pyjamas and a black belt, or some guy wearing a Tap Out rash guard. Adults should have enough about themselves to know right from wrong without being told. And as for kids, surely Ma and Pa should be helping them calibrate their moral compass, not someone, as Cord said, they see a couple of hours a week in a martial arts class.
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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