Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Teach and Learn.

"Learning is finding out what you already know, Doing is demonstrating that you know it, Teaching is reminding others that they know it as well as you do. We are all learners, doers, and teachers." - Richard David Bach

Monday's class was an interesting one. There were quite a lot of people there. Sixteen students by my count (ranging from white belts to brown/black tip) exluding Shinan and the two senior Sensei. It was quite cosy :) I've never been in a class quite so full before so it was a bit strange.

We had to line up in two lines for kihon which was odd. I'm not used to having people behind me and kept thinking I was going to step back into someone! LOL. We covered loads of blocks, strikes and kicks though including a fairly new one for me - haito strikes. I'm just about getting my head around those now. The set up and body movement still feels a bit strange.

The most interesting part of the class for me came with the pad work. Shihan had all the coloured belts team up with one of the lower grades (white or yellow) and help them with the punch combinations we were working on. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It was great to be able to help the young man I was paired up with and really good to see him finally clicking with the drill we were doing. What I also found was how much I learned from emparting knowledge to others. It really made me think about my form, about how and why we do things. Definitely a two way street.

When it came to kumite I also nabbed a couple of the younger students to partner against and really enjoyed getting them to think about using their punches and blocks properly. One of the white belts in particular really impressed me. She's way better than I was at that stage. She's really quiet and reserved (quite shy even) in class but clearly pays attention and is learning well. It was great to be able to give her some positive encouragement. I did find it quite hilarious that she was frightened of me when we first faced each other. How times move on. LOL. 7 months ago that was me quaking in my gi!

As it happens it's quite fortunitous that I actually enjoyed this portion of the training. Grace's "Little Dragons" class on a Monday is normally taught by Sensei Chrissy (with Shihan and a brown belt Senpai assisting). Sensei and Shihin are off on holiday in a few weeks time and another of the Sensei (Helen) is stepping in to take over the class. As two of the instructors being off leaves them an instructor down, and being that I'll be in the building, with my gi, anyway Shihan asked if I'd be willing to act as an extra body at the front for Grace's class for a couple of weeks. I'm quite looking forward to the challenge, I have to say. I can't help wondering if I'll have any better luck getting Grace to pay attention to me as a Senpai than I do as her Mum! Lord knows most of the time she doesn't pay attention to me at home (6 year olds eh? Who'd have 'em?).

I wonder what I'll learn from helping with a class of 16 small people? I'm sure they'll have plenty to teach me.



  1. Sixteen is a fairly normal size class for us (and that's just the senior class - purple belt upwards!), though, for the summer sensei has decided to combine the junior and senior classes together as it is much quieter at this time. We had our first combined class on monday and so had a good mix of grades as well as adults and children. Like you, I enjoy working with more junior grades ocassionaly as you do learn a lot when teaching others (and it makes you realise how far you've progressed yourself!).

    Usually I help as an assistant instructor at the Monday Junior class and I love working with the little 6 year olds - I'm sure your daughter is a delight to teach. They are so funny and eager to please if you get them in small groups, though you have to vary the activity quite frequently to keep their attention. I generally kneel down to talk to them and show them punches and blocks - if I don't then they keep looking up at me and punching above their heads as if they are aiming for my head! Enjoy your teaching sessions.

  2. Fantastic! Teaching really is a great way to learn, isn't it? I know the lower grades appreciate your help. Good luck! :-))

  3. I just found your blog, and I like it! Little kids can be difficult to teach, but they do listen if you say things just the right way. I learned "turn 90 degrees to the left" doesn't really click with eight-year-olds too well. ;) Good luck!


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Maira Gall