Learn And Teach, Teach And Learn
If you’re going to teach,
DO IT RIGHT
Wing Chun is not a ‘One size fits all’ martial art.
Many years ago my Sifu (Ip Chun), said to me:
“Fifty percent of your Wing Chun will come from your teacher,
and fifty percent will come from you”
Now this is something I believe gets misunderstood A LOT.
This mysterious fifty percent may be played with, altered, developed, call it whatever you will, the important thing is that the fifty percent you decide to play with is YOUR fifty percent and not the core fifty percent.
A lot of the time your fifty percent is how you play the techniques yourself, (Turning stance for instance) but not everyone can do what you can do, so remember this when teaching, your shoes are not going to fit everyone.
As I’ve said before, let’s say you finally learn ‘All of Wing Chun’ (a sweeping statement I grant you), so you’ve now acquired, let’s say, fifty techniques (a made up figure to include all of your blocks, strikes, weapons, Forms, attitudes, whatever you wish to call them) the truth is, in reality, you will only ever choose ten or twelve of these, and, without you knowing, basically ones that are your favourite, and that you personally can do very well.
This is what Bruce Lee did.
Do not try to be like Bruce Lee if you want to be a good teacher.
My point is this, when everybody saw Bruce Lee and how good he was at using Wing Chun, all they ever really saw was ‘HIS‘ ten or twelve favourites, and when he created Jeet Kune Do and started ‘teaching‘ Wing Chun, he only ever taught HIS ten or twelve.
Now if these people really wanted to be like Bruce then they should find a teacher who can and will teach them the full fifty techniques, then allowing them to have the ability to choose THEIR ten or twelve.
So if you want to be a good Wing Chun trainer and teacher, teach fifty/fifty, but always make sure the core is included.
Whenever you teach, always offer all of your students the full confection of fifty techniques, that way you allow each and everyone the opportunity to discover their own ten or twelve, time and time again, while still keeping the Wing Chun pure.
Think of this in the same way car designs differ vastly, yet they will all still need an engine, wheels, steering, brakes and so on, THAT is the core fifty percent how you dress its body shape and interior is your fifty percent.
The most important piece of advice I give to all my instructors is:
‘If you are not learning through teaching then you are not teaching properly’
THIS is what I mean when I refer to people teaching for the right reasons.
Here’s a good way of thinking,
If you are standing in front of a group of students, and you see their mistakes, BEFORE you start to call out these mistakes, just check that you are not making the same mistakes yourself.
Now I DO NOT mean that you should not tell them these mistakes, I simply mean, sort yourself out immediately (because you should also be in line, doing the same drills, and leading by example), then correct them, and then remember YOUR mistake for future drilling.
NEVER ask your students to do anything that you are not willing to do yourself, SHOW them how it is done, by training along with them.
Will you be a Boss or a Leader?
With a very similar train of thought, I found this article which I would like to share with you.
She has a wonderful view on teaching too.
Written by Digisha Kothari,
We learn by teaching. The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious. I believe that learning can be done in many different capacities; however, it takes a strong blend of certain personal characteristics and instructional techniques to become an effective teacher. Being a basketball player myself I could stand in front of a gathering of students and teach them successfully how to dribble a basketball but it is much more difficult than that. Students are as different as snowflakes, each with many characteristics different than the other.
To use the analogy of a key and lock, the key being the presentation of the material and the lock being the students, I feel that many teachers try to use the same key on different locks. That does not really work.
“In learning you will teach and in teaching you will learn” – Phil Collins
I believed in having a strong relationship with my students. During my tutoring experience I realized how important it is to hear what the kids want to share. By demonstrating a certain level of compassion for my students, they felt more comfortable with me as a teacher.
By nurturing their open minds, a teacher can be successful. It is important to let the students ask questions and let them think for themselves. At a young age, children are full of imagination and ideas, and too often teachers take their intuitive instinct away from them by not letting them share their ideas or punishing them when they make a mistake out of the exploration of their imagination.
I believe that setting goals has got me where I am today and that the concept of goal setting should be reinforced. Without goals students are apt to stray from little educational endeavors that end up being the little holes that sunk the big ship.
In high school, I was a student who was at the top of the class in subjects that I enjoyed and mediocre in subjects that I did not find appealing. As a teacher I want to make students enjoy my class no matter what their interests, by finding a common ground between their interests and the material.
I come from a strong teaching background. The skills that I have learned by watching my mother teach, gives me confidence as I enter the teaching profession. And the most inspiring individual aside from my family was my high school math teacher. Aside from being my teacher, he was a motivator and a role model. His teaching methods and his passion for teaching were unparalleled.
The job of educators is to prepare students for the next level and in my experience preparation is a key. Self-Directed Learning made the teachers act more as guides than broken records, and let the students learn to manage their own time, set goals, and work effectively in a group setting.
Thank you for taking the time to read.