karate~3.jpg (11683 bytes)"Don't Over-explain"

By David Silverman, Director
Maple Leaf Karate Club
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

When I started teaching Shorin-ryu in Toronto, I found that I really had to change my style of instruction.

While at Midtown, I taught occasionally and always focused on over-emphasizing techniques. This resulted in a slower paced class. In a dojo with numerous instructors, this was fine, as a class such as I taught could be tempered by other instructors who focused on workouts and strength exercises.

When I took this approach in Toronto, I found an interesting development. The workouts which were so wonderful at Midtown were lacking in my classes. This was because I would spend far too long explaining the purpose of a technique. For students who did not have other classes to develop stamina and strength, it was too one sided. In addition, students would also have too many corrections to focus on. I blame this on my immaturity as a teacher. Now, though still focused on techniques, I try to explain only one each class and focus instead on kata and exercise repetition. Feedback from my students is more favorable for this style of teaching, as they feel that they are getting a greater health benefit from Karate. This train of thought follows the "Karate journey" philosophy. Karate is a path, and students must follow it at their own pace, don't try to kick start them!

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