When it comes to teaching karate, what excites me the most is when you can see the “lightbulb come on” in a student.
What I mean is when they finally realize or understand something. Recently, I taught a class for Shihan David Pyke at the Amherst Shotokan Karate Academy. The class was made up of all ages and ranks. We worked on some basic stances and understanding blocks. Then as class was winding down, I asked them to do one of my favorite things. Dissect the kata. I asked each student to pick a kata. Preferably the one that they are working on. Then I asked them to take a few minutes and try to come up with an application of the kata that was different from what they have been previously taught. I emphasized take-downs, throws or whatever else they could think of.
I was pleasantly surprised when the young female yellow belt was coming up with some ideas beyond her level. The two young boys who are brown belts in the class were interested in take-downs. After giving them some pointers I told them that when tournament preparations are being made I would help them form an Enbu if they had a team.
Today, the yellow belt asked me to show her Enbu. She has been very impressive in her training. I recall her asking about dojo kun back when she was a white belt.
To see student light up when they understand something makes me so happy. Especially if the student is lower ranks and has a break through that will cause improvement in their training.
To learn the martial arts is such a difficult thing. It takes so long to master each movement physically but to truly understand what you are doing takes twice as long. When the body and mind come together in any practitioner you can tell that they have been practicing for a long time. No one will ever be perfect! I know that there are some people that train that are amazing but if you put them into a tournament they will not always win.
So if you are training listen to your instructors, watch other students who are higher rank but also watch lower ranking students. Sometimes it doesn’t matter the rank. Someone might pick up something quick. Always ask questions and try your best. Your instructors want you to do well. I for one want to see my students excel. I want to see that look that they understand something. And if you had an “Ah Ha!” moment, tell your instructor. Tell them what caused the moment. Was it something the instructor or another student did or said? Was it something that you seen or heard outside of class? Whatever it was, it could help the instructor explain the technique to others.
OSU. Continue your training, work hard and always strive to perfect yourself.