Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

Martial Arts Blog

normrobitza On April - 25 - 2013

_0_bg15Guest instructors are common within many karate organizations. I know that the JKA, ISKF and IKD use guest instructors for clinics and gradings. Some organizations rarely have visitors come to perform gradings but I find this to be wonderful. In my opinion, it gives you a different perspective on techniques. It allows you to learn something new or a spin on something that you already knew.

Over the past 14 years, I have had the opportunity to train with some great guest instructors. Some of the highest ranking Masters on the planet have visited our region to conduct gradings and clinics. I have trained with the likes of Teruyki Okazaki, Yutaka Yaguchi, Shojiro Koyama, Frank Woon-A-Tai, Maureen Woon-A-Tai and Josef Woon-A-Tai. Each one traveled to our region to conduct clinics and pass on some of their knowledge. It was amazing to train with them. Having has the opportunity to train with men that were students of Gichin Funakoshi takes you one step closer to the Father of Modern Karate. Many students of Shotokan Karate can not say this.

Recently, I was asked to teach a class at a dojo in our region. I know some of the students from clinics and them coming to the dojo where I train. I was a little nervous about what I was going to teach and if they would enjoy it. I have been teaching at my own dojo, Mount Allison University Shotokan Karate,  for over 10 years and on occasion teach at the dojo where I train, Amherst Shotokan Karate Academy. The ASKA is the headquarter for the Maritime IKD. I train here three times a week and teach when my instructors are away. I, however, find this very different from teaching at a dojo where the students you may have only met a few times before.

I thought about going into the dojo and accessing where these karateka were in their training. I changed my mind and taught some basics techniques and showed them how to achieve better kime (power). I had the students do Heian Shodan at full power. So the techniques were slow and strong the entire way through. Then I had the perform the kata at an accelerated speed with no power and flowing techniques. After having them perform the kata that way a couple of times, I had them put the two together. I explained that karate techniques need to be fast then strong. Fast from the beginning of the technique to the end then strong at the completion of the movement. I was told that they had a problem with their kicking. There wasn’t enough snap in there kicks so I had them do mae geri over a student that was on all fours on the floor. If they didn’t raise their knee high enough for the kick they would kick the other student. Their kicks were okay before we started the exercise and they seemed a little better afterward. I ended the class with one of my favorite self defense techniques. It is easy to teach and even easier to perform. It is an armbar technique used against someone that grabs your shoulder from behind. They really seemed to enjoy this. I love this technique. I teach it to prospective students each fall when Mount Allison University has a clubs and societies fair. It has drawn in many students to my classes.

I enjoyed teaching this class. It was a nice change of pace. The classes that I teach at Mount A end in early April. This spring we ended even earlier as our Spring Clinic was in mid-March this year. Classes there end early because the majority of the students in the dojo are university students. They need to focus more on their studies in April than on karate. This is only the second class I have taught in over a month as I filled in for Shihan David and Sensei Janice Pyke on the occasion of Sensei Janice’s birthday. They had tickets for an event in Moncton, NB and I was honored to be asked to teach in their place.

I find teaching karate to be a true passion of mine. I love to pass on the information that I have gained from training over the years. If you asked me to stand up in front of a group of people 20 years ago I would have laughed in your face and probably walked away. Now it is a full 180 turn and I have karate to thank for that. My confidence in myself has changed so much in the past decade. I love being in front of a group of people teaching karate. This is something I want to pursue further. That is why I am enrolled in the IKD Kenshusei program. It is a training program that was originally designed in Japan by Master Nakayama over 5 decades ago to turn out qualified instructors. Someday, I hope that I will be a visiting instructor/examiner.  I know that is a long way off but I really what to pass on the knowledge that I have received from all the great instructors I have had over the years.

If you ever find yourself in a class with a guest instructor, open your mind. Gather as much of their knowledge that they are passing on as you can. Each instructor you will have will help to define the karateka that you will become. And who knows maybe someday you will be referring back to something that they taught you when you teach others.

Categories: Teaching/Training

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