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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1250

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:16 am    Post subject: Some students will never "get it" Reply with quote

There are many ways to teach and just as many ways people learn best. Some students take longer to learn than others, but is it possible for something physical such as martial arts that some will never learn? Is there, in your experience such a thing as a person who will never learn despite consistent efforts? Why so or why not?
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Lupin1
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 15 Dec 2009
Posts: 1449
Location: NH USA
Styles: Isshinryu

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We have a few students with (mild) learning disabilities.

One is a 2nd degree black belt who's been studying with us since the early 90s. He took much longer than normal to reach black belt and the standards for BB that my instructor had for him were a little different than the standards required for your average person testing for Shodan. He still had to learn all the material, but he wasn't expected to know it with as much mastery and was allowed more mistakes and more help on his test. At that point you need to grade based on the individual's personal journey and improvement.

We also have a high school girl with a learning disability who has been training with us since she was in 6th grade. Her disability affects her coordination. She's advanced much more slowly than the average student. Despite having been with us almost four years now, she's just a blue belt. The other blue belts started a year and a half ago. She has a great attitude about it and doesn't seem discouraged at all and as she's getting older she's making some great strides in her coordination. Again-- we've promoted her several times with performances that would not result in promotion for other students-- but you have to look at how she's advancing on her own journey and reward the great strides she's made despite her challenges.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26655
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think everyone can learn, but I also think that some people will top out at a certain level, and some people will learn quicker than others. Everyone is different, and in the end, so are their capabilities. As an instructor, what's important is maximizing the student to the best of your ability, and hope the student keeps on trying along the way.
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Nidan Melbourne
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 21 Aug 2013
Posts: 1981
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Styles: Goju-Ryu, BJJ, Balintawak Arnis

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Every person can learn, i teach several people with either physiological or psychological disabilities/disorders and they can learn. All I had to do as an Instructor was change how i taught the curriculum and make adjustments where required.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1250

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The original question assumed the case of normal individuals who have no disabilities of any kind. Even among such people not everyone will learn in exactly the same way or understand instructions equally.
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ashworth
Green Belt
Green Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2006
Posts: 489
Location: UK
Styles: freestyle, shotokan, IJR Karate, Iaido

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do believe that everyone can learn, even if they may have a certain condition that prevents them from performing how they would like, but they can certainly understand how to do it just takes a bit more time. I have had a couple of students that seemed to really struggle getting certain things, we could train for months and they simply can't get it, then all of a sudden one day something just clicks.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 26655
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some people are just more naturally acclimated to picking up certain things than others. For me, its math; can't stand it, and never liked it, and it was always my toughest subject. I could learn, but I had to work a lot longer and a lot harder than it seemed like everyone else did. Now, its not something I would intentionally subject myself to.

I think everyone has their "thing" that just seems to come to them. They probably also have something that doesn't come to them easily, and requires more work on their part.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 12352
Location: Houston, TX and/or Van Nuys, CA
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because a student, at the assumption of the CI, just doesn't get it, there's no reason to give up on said student. Learning curves and the like vary from student to student.

It took me 6 years to earn my JBB; I never thought I was going to get it, the things of the MA. I failed and failed and failed and struggled and struggled and struggled...with no hope in sight. None that I could foresee in the future.

Still, I pushed and pushed...within the learning curve, I was of the mindset that speaks the old idiom...Having been knocked down 7 times, but no matter what, negates all of that when said individual stands up for the 8th time.

It's during those trials and tribulations within the MA, that we get knocked down within our learning curve, that we fight to get up, no matter what, dusting off the dust. Dai-Soke NEVER EVER NOT ONCE ever gave up on me.

Was that because I represented a steady cash flow, and nothing more. No! His patience was far beyond that of a normal CI. If one way wouldn't reach me, he'd show me another way, and so on and so forth until I had an "AHA" moment.

Sometimes I was quick, while others, I was slower than molasses on a freezing day or night. Because of the way Dai-Soke was, I emulated his teaching ways to the Nth degree, still to this day. Albeit, intertwined with my own methods of teaching.

Quote:
Some students take longer to learn than others, but is it possible for something physical such as martial arts that some will never learn?

I suppose there's something to that. Nonetheless, not everyone can be a pilot or a steamfitter or a doctor or NFL player or whatever; everyone with his own talents; to each his own!!

Quote:
Is there, in your experience such a thing as a person who will never learn despite consistent efforts? Why so or why not?

Yes AND No! Why? The summation of 'why' is to the summation of 'because'!!

Yes, because those type of students do exist. No, because in spite of myself and/or the student, I never give up on a student, and I will not allow a student to give up on themselves. At the end of the day, after all's been exhausted by either parties, the student might painfully make that decision to walk off the floor; that I can't stop, and that is within the student to decide. My floor is always open; welcoming them back when it fits them to do so.

Sometimes, one can lead a horse to water, but getting the horse to drink the water, well, that's another thing. One, to me, is not harder than the other, and it's the job, imho, of the CI to do all that it takes, and then some, to help the student to reach each and every "AHA" moment.

Alas, despite the consistent efforts on both parties, a CI, at times, must re-invent teaching methodologies/ideologies tailored to the individual student. It's my responsibility to teach, and the students responsibility to learn. However, the fault isn't always that of the student...not at all!!

It's very quite possible that the entire fault belongs to the CI, and the CI alone!! We CI's easily place the fault somewhere else, time and time again, when all they have to do is look into the mirror. That, which is looking back at you in that reflection, might be the sole reason as to why the/that student just isn't getting it.

After all, maybe the CI, just isn't getting it...getting it across to the student so that the student can understand, and then learn. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

I once did a seminar with a group of CI's. The title of the Seminar was..."Say what you mean, and mean what you say!!"

To highlight the title, I had, in front of me, a small table. On the small table, I had 8 loaves of bread, 4 large jars of peanut butter and jelly, each, 6 rolls of paper towels, and one regular kitchen knife. Over the next hour or so, we, as a group, never ever once built one PB&J sandwich; not one!!

We went through everything, made one big gigantic mess!!

I played the role of a 2 year old learning to make his very first PB&J sandwich!! All the CI's had to do was teach me how to make a PB&J sandwich. Not hard, not difficult; quite simply. After all, it's just a PB&J; and every single CI at the seminar claimed they all had made their share of PB&J sandwiches their entire lives. So, it should be very easy to teach this 2 year old how to make one...right? Huh!! Hardest thing they ever did, trust me!!

Sure, we had fun...I know I did!! One doesn't really know just how many steps are involved in making a PB&J sandwich...the nomenclature of making a PB&J sandwich is mind-boggling, to say the least.

Why couldn't this 2 year old make a simple staple of a sandwich?? Was the fault of the 2 year old?? NO!! The fault lied within those adults...those CI's...those highly skilled masters on and off the floor...couldn't properly instruct a 2 year old to make a PB&J sandwich!!!!! Btw, I play a 2 year old to the Nth degree and then some!!

Preconceived Notions; with the 2 year old, there wasn't any!! However, with these educated adults, who've been teaching the MA for quite some time, there was plenty. All that 2 year old expected was that a room full of smart adults could TEACH that easily impressionable tot how to make a PB&J sandwich!!

It became quite evident that the adults' task was more daunting than they ever realized!! Panic began to set because they were frustrated and slowly becoming agitated. I don't know why. All they had to do was instruct one simple task. Not like they were teaching nuclear physics or something like that...it was a PB&J sandwich!! How hard can that be?? Apparently, it was very hard!! The 2 year old was just as an emotional wreck as the CI's!! There was no rhythm...no reason for it, and completely unnecessary!!

It was evident that too many cooks spoil the pot. These experts of the MA, stumbled and struggled in ways they hadn't even imagined. Why? They couldn't convey proper instructions that could be understood and followed by a 2 year old. Trust me, 2 year old's are not dumb, they're unlearned, and that's it. Kind of like MA students. We, CI's are trying to get our students to make this enjoyable, eatable, delicious, and very nice looking PB&J sandwich...BUT WE'RE NOT BEING EXACTING IN OUR INSTRUCTIONS!! And then we wonder why the student just isn't getting it...yet!!

So, just whose fault is it, after all?!? It might be both, or it might be one or the other, but that answer must be exact and honest, with no hearsay and/or conjecture; either it's 100% true or it's not!!




EDIT: Spelling
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Last edited by sensei8 on Sun Feb 12, 2017 12:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1250

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Balance and coordination for instance, are basic skills which are essential parts of the mechanics involved in every martial arts technique. The explanations and instructions can make sense, but applying them is not without challenges. It can be compared to learning to ride a bicycle . Usually this is something done when one is a child and around age 8 most are able to do it. A few people however, struggle until much later.
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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 5655
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Students have different learning styles and it's important to realise this. Some do better with solo work and trying to figure out the movement on their own, some fare better in group work with targeted direction and so on. That's what sets apart a good instructor and a great instructor; sometime who can impart knowledge in a variety of ways depending on the needs of the student.

Anyway, to the original question. I have to say yes you can have students who never get it. Some are just not physically gifted. But that should not be a barrier to them training and learning if they still enjoy it.
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