Hi, Sensei Glen here. I was putting together my first class ever last week as our Sensei was at the AAU national tournament. My first question was “What would I want to learn if I was a student in my class?” Then I asked by black belt wife, always a good call. She had a few ideas for me which I planned to use.
My initial instinct was to teach basic punches and kicks and only teach what I am 100% sure of. So, then I got to thinking. “What do we learn at the dojo?” The easy answer is that the class curriculum consists of striking, kicking, stances, blocking, fighting, self-defense, kata and weapons.
Is that what we learn? Yes, we do learn that every kick has four parts; we learn how to make a proper fist. We learn how to throw others and how to defend ourselves. Even adding that, is that all we learn? We learn discipline and order as well as how to line up and show respect. What have you learned in class? Please leave a comment below.
As I was preparing to teach, I kept in mind the saying “Communication is what the listener does” [by Mark Horstman Manager Tools]. So, what do the students hear? Like all of us, we hear what we are expecting to hear or sometimes want to hear.
Students join karate to work out, have fun, learn a new skill, protect themselves or gain confidence. From this list I know that already any teacher is at a disadvantage. While we are teaching strikes the student may only want to hear about how to use any skill to show off or have fun. How do I connect a skill with the student’s desire for learning? For example, kicking is fun or kicking is good for self-defense or kicking will give you a good workout… I realized that as the teacher for the day my job was to match what I was teaching with what the students needed. My Sensei says that you teach what you need the students to learn.
How did my students do? They were able to punch and kick as directed and all were happy at the end of class. I learned a lot as well. Sensei always makes it look natural. It is hard work to make teaching look natural.
What do you as a student or as a teacher want to learn and are you communicating? See you in class soon.