This week's thought is from Barb Schaefer, Sho-Dan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club State College, PA
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
THE POWER OF MODELING
In class, proper karate techniques are taught and modeled by instructors. For many deshi, learning to correctly copy and consistently perform the specific movements may seem like a fairly simple task, but this can be a challenge for many of us. Observational learning principles of attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation are needed. Deshi need to carefully watch technique demonstrations, remember salient components of the technique, reproduce an action that is an approximate copy of the technique, and experience feedback to refine their technique. Shaping one's skills to more closely approximate perfect technique is an ongoing, lifelong pursuit.
Essential to improving our practice are good models to follow. Senior deshi who diligently attend class, train hard, and strive to offer sound models for junior deshi to follow are crucial to bettering the dojo. When senior deshi observe inaccurate techniques of junior deshi, we need to provide effective correction appropriate for their level -- without such feedback they don't won't their technique is incorrect. Just as our senior sempai, Sensei, Kyoshi, and Hanshi have invested in our development as karateka, we have an obligation to do the same. Not only must we keep training at a high level, we must keep teaching, as well. As we do every practice, we must turn to those who came before and honor their efforts by carrying on the strong traditions of Ueshiro Shorin-ryu karate.
Barb Schaefer, Sho-Dan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
from Kyoshi Kaplan: I would like to add that Sempai Schaefers
interest and expertise in the topic of modeling stems from
her experience as an educator (she is an Associate Professor
of Education [Educational and School Psychology] at Penn
State University) as well as her years of karate training