Know when to go ...

There are many challenges for the student to overcome in trying to make the considerable leap from the learning environment to real-world environment/scenarios. One of the biggest hurdles is that students can easily become over-reliant upon the verbal commands of their teachers – when to move, what to do, when to start, when to stop, etc – whereas in real-life they are on their own.
One example of this can be seen when students are told to hit the pads, or do the technique – on verbal command. On the surface of things, this seems like an orderly and good idea; the student even develops good technique; but then if the situation should ever arise in real-life, where the student needs to use the same technique – how do they know when to go?
Eg: On the firing range the new police officer is clearly told – ONLY FIRE WHEN THE COMMAND TO FIRE IS GIVEN. Sounds good – safety and all that – but what happens in real life? The bad guy aims his gun at the officer, who has even drawn his weapon and is looking down the barrel at the nasty perp – but what needs to happen before the officer pulls the trigger? There is no-one giving him or her the command to FIRE. This can lead to problems.
The fix is simple: in the classroom, we might well start out by giving the students verbal commands as we walk them through the technique or combination – but at some point it is a good idea to wean them off a reliance on those verbal commands and transition to a model where they are responding to a visual cue given to them by their training partner instead. Eg: our partner drops his right shoulder back – we hit the pad; our partner puts his hand up to push at our face – we armbar, etc.
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Liam H Wandi said…
great idea. I especially liked the police officer analogy.
Louis Thompson said…
This is great John.
My dad taught me something similar for pre-emptive strikes. He always asks a question before he hits. This cretaed a trigger in his mind to strike and also engages the opponents brain creeating the opportunity to strike and relxes the jaw making a KO easier.

Hope you are well,

Louis Thompson
Karate Depot said…
Fully agree with your concept here. In my school after students have achieved shodan level, we actively wean them off of a lot of that structure which has taught them basic technique.

We feel it's time for them to utilize that technique in a much more natural and free fashion, responding to various uncertain threats rather than an a-response-to-b-situation.
Kris said…
That's a good idea - visual commands have many advantages and will help students adjust to real life situations where they will have to read their opponents movements, not verbal cues.
Korbett said…
John I use your teaching "on command" , we call it "OC", structure with all my students with one word "bark" commands. A few summers ago you started talking about getting students to delete the pauses by going "at the speed of life". This has really helped out not just my students, but allows my staff to teach like a pro. Kids especially need this sort of structure when teaching. Thanks for being the coaches coach.
JBW said…
HEy Korbett
as instructors who teach by the OC-method - we are partly responsible for hardwiring the pauses that we build into the lelarning process - the 'fix' for this is as follows:
Once the students fully understand each step in the process, we then get them to work the technique or combination at HALF SPEED - until the SMOOTHNESS is there and all signs of PAUSING are gone. Only then, do we ramp up the pace. The reason this works is because when we do things at a radically different pace, the brain starts writing the neural pathway as if the activity is a completely new activity - and this tie, it doesn't write the pauses in.Hope this clarifies for you,best wishes

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