Thought For The Week

"Teach By Example"

By David Silverman, Ik-kyu

As my training continues in Toronto, I find that it has become more important to teach by example. The old phrase "do as I say, not as I do" does not apply in Karate, as students will not follow the application of a technique if they do not see it in the instructor.

This became apparent to me at my last visit to Midtown Karate dojo in New York. It was pointed out to me that my stance was very high compared to my previous visit. When I returned to Toronto, I noticed this same trait in all of my students. They had adopted my bad habits! Since that time, I have tried to over-emphasize this correction to make up for my mistake.

In the past, teachers who influenced me most always led by example. One instructor who always concentrates on a different aspect of his own Karate each year would conduct his class so that we would work on this same skill. For example, one year he was working on body shifting. In every class, we would work on a different aspect of body shifting through a different exercise. To emphasize these tasks, the instructor would always participate in the exercise and hi-light the important points by repeatedly showing us. Seeing the instructor practicing what he preaches made a large impact on my Karate performance and helped me grasp principles much more easily.

This is perhaps most important when we do kata. No matter how we may instruct someone in a technique, nothing re-inforces instruction as well as a demonstration of the principle in the kata. The body shifting technique as noted above could be interpreted in numerous katas including fukugata-ni (6th move) and pinan shodan (5th move). It is also integral to all pre-arranged fightings. By viewing various instructors performing these kata, once can have a better understanding of the principles involved.

David Silverman, I-Kyu

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