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Do you question your teacher?




I think that this question is a very important one. I have been to a lot of schools where the teaching style is very rigid, and traditional in the Asian sense of the word. I have also been to some schools that were very non-traditional. My question for you all is, do you feel it is okay to question your teacher? Would it offend your teacher if you questioned their techniques? Personally, I feel like you should be able to. If you are paying someone, or endorsing their product or service, or whatever, I do NOT think that is disrespectful to ask some simple questions. I don't mean in the "my stuff is better than your stuff"manner of questioning. I mean, if something does not make sense to you, do you feel comfortable questioning the teacher? Alright folks, here is the Reader's Digest answer. I would type more, but umm, well, I ummm, awww just read.


A true teacher is a person who never stops learning. I have been told by many martial arts greats both known and unknown, that your martial arts die the second you think you know everything their is to know about martial arts. They have suggested that martial arts are living through you day by day, and that you should always do more to improve not just your physical abilities, but your teaching methods as well. Now personally, after 45 years of Martial Arts as of 2024, I find myself amazed at just how much there is to learn in the martial arts. I don't mean the new trendy martial arts fads(and there are a lot of them). I mean the basics, and the applications of the basics. I honestly think that I could spend the rest of my life studying what has already been discovered, and have a full day every day. That said, I think that many teachers are still content to do "x" because that is how they were taught. Well folks, times change, and so do the ways in which we fight. What may have been great in the 1700's might get your face caved in in the 21st century. Sure the old moves may have some value, but I think that a lot of modern theories are much more effective in terms of saving our lives. To draw an analogy let's try something like this......In the Middle Ages, the people handled their waste business in something called a chamber pot. Now in 2024. a chamber pot would still work, but I am very glad that we now have flushing toilets.


If you cannot ask your teacher a question about WHY a technique should be performed that way, here are 3 options of what you might hear. First is the very common," Well, back when I learned this technique, this is how we were taught." Second, and equally common response might be," Well, one time, my teacher absolutely creamed a guy doing this exact same technique." The last one, and disappointingly rare response is," When I learned this technique, I took it home and studied it with a couple of other students. And I will be darned if it didn't work in almost every situation I tried it in."


That last response is a good one, but not one that I hear very often at all. I submit that those who do it because" so and so " did it the exact same way, are really cheating themselves out of a learning experience. I think that doing things the old ways frees people from having to think for themselves. Fact is, the teacher may not have put any thought into the technique at all. Asking them a question may expose their ignorance, and nobody likes that. So if your teacher does not really want to answer any questions, you just might have to ask yourself why not. Do they consider it disrespect? Or maybe they just don' know. Or care to.......

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