Wednesday, May 06, 2009

thumbnail

The AMAZING Trade


I have enjoyed a love affair with the martial arts for over thirty years now. It occurs to me that during that time I have taught more than 25,000 classes. Certainly, I have taught approximately 10,000 classes during the past decade of my martial arts life. During the course of this instructional experience, I have learned a thing or two …
One of the most important things I have learned is that each and every student is the centre of his or her own universe. That is to say, they are equally central to the teaching/learning equation, as I am myself. I am acutely aware that the person I am teaching has paid for my time, not only with their hard-earned money, but more importantly, with their time. Each of us has a limited amount of time left to them; my students are trading precious amounts of this time, to undergo learning and training with me on the mat – I should respect and acknowledge this amazing ‘trade’; and I should pour my heart and soul into doing the best possible job I can.
To do my job well, I need to be 100% fully engaged. I need to be fully engaged both during the class I am offering and during the preparation phase of my class. During the class – that’s the easy part. I have long since developed that habit. But the prep-phase, is another matter entirely. I am always doing research on how to improve both my teaching/delivery/communication skills and my physical/technical skills. I never just rest on the skill-sets I currently have. This is all part of full-engagement.
I have also, over the years, come to understand the importance of being totally authentic. I am what I say I am – I deliver what I say I can deliver – I am true to myself – and true to my students. Authenticity is very important to me and I believe that people, more than ever, are seeking the authentic experience and become more fully engaged themselves when they are exposed to it.
Space for one more important idea – and that is the idea that a teacher needs to move people from where they are rather than from where he or she is. In taking people on a journey from their present state to another desired state, we need to get in the trenches with them and guide them through the process of making that journey, a single step at a time. This is vastly different from preaching, where the teacher yells down from his or her pedestal. I will never be content with getting peoples heads nodding – I want them to experience profound shifts and measurable growth. In short – I am obsessed with actual results. That’s what people want – that’s what we, the teachers, need to provide.
The past 25,000 classes have taught me far more than I have taught my students. I will not rest, till they catch up.
JBW

Subscribe by Email

Follow Updates Articles from This Blog via Email

9 Comments

avatar
Anonymous 2:19 am

do you have any "must" reads to improve my teaching skills?

Reply Delete
avatar
Anonymous 8:09 am

Top stuff sir. Having been in your classes at Black Belt Studios I can agree fully with you that you do get in and teach well rather than preach your classes. Thanks a bunch
- Dale

Reply Delete
avatar

Sorry - anonymous 1 - no 'must reads' come to mind. I have gleaned my teaching skills form 25,000 classes of experience and hundreds of various books on a wide variety of subjects. I wish there was 'ONE' great book. perhaps there is - I havn't found it. In the back of my mind I have the idea of writing such a book on SUPERCOACHING Secrets - one day. perhaps.
JBW

Reply Delete
avatar

Thanks Dale,
I love being at my school - and being 'on the mat'. I hope you are enjoying your training. Best wishes to you,
JBW

Reply Delete
avatar
Anonymous 9:05 am

Top stuff John. If more instructors/teachers/coaches had this level of understanding, awareness and engagement with respect to the learning process then students of the world would be in much better place. I also believe that you are a great teacher because you are a great student. Thanks for the knowledge transfer…can’t wait for my next training session! Craig

Reply Delete
avatar

Oh do I wish I had a teacher like you.

Reply Delete
avatar

Fintaine ... thank you for your kind comment. I do appreciate it. However, without wishing to come across as ungrateful ... I have to say, I have never relied on 'great' teachers in my own training - I have taken 'self responsibility' ofr my own learning - in other words, I have been a great student - that way I don't have to rely on my teachers 'teaching skills' (or lack thereof). I humbly take your point though - the perfect situation is one where the teacher is competent at their skill-set and the student is competent at theirs - one is a good teacher, the other a great learner - this mix produces magic!
Thanks again,
JBW

Reply Delete
avatar
Korbett 4:49 am

John...

I am going to keep bugging you for the super-coaching book. After Rogue Black Belt III pleaze. It is something out industry is lacking. Your teaching on command, hourglass theory, mono-sylabic commands just those things alone you could structure a book about.

Reply Delete
avatar

Hi Korbett,
thanks for 'bugging me' - if I feel there is an interest out there for that ind of book, I am far more likely to write it. I hope you and your are well - can't wit to see you up in sunny seattle again.
John

Reply Delete

Blog Archive

Powered by Blogger.