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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 5:00 pm    Post subject: Am I a nightmare student? Reply with quote

Hi all.

A thought occurred to me.

I wonder if I am a nightmare student. I don't want to be and I try not to be. But I analyse everything. Absolutely everything. I have my own ideas about when I'm ready to grade, in that I get put forward but refuse to grade unless I personally think I'm at the required standard.

For example. Classic training tool. One person offers predesignated attack, the other offers predesignated counter. Everyone is happy. Except me. I want to know what if the attack comes from a different angle? What if I fail to get the technique on? What if it goes on OK but the 'attacker' manages to fire off another strike? A million other what ifs.

I also don't accept the standard explanations of various techniques. I know that 'blocks' are not blocks. Or some are, but not the way we're taught. So I want to know how they are supposed to work, how come so many people can believe that in the time from seeing a punch setting off, you can extend one arm, twist the body, strike across with the other arm etc. In forms, the standard explanations just don't work. They're often either anatomically impossible, or so convoluted that they could never work under pressure. But I know they represent stuff that does work. Sometimes I find it. Some stuff still puzzles me.

Worst of all, sometimes I feel that while my current school can still teach me a great deal, I'm not convinced that my instructors could answer my million questions. That's fine. I don't expect anyone to know everything. But I suddenly wonder if I'm a nightmare for even questioning everything.

I should add, I don't question that much vocally. But because I've become a friend to our instructors and we chat informally outside of class, I know they know how I think.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14268
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2018 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, you're not a nightmare student!! You're being accountable for your MA journey!!

If you trust in your Sensei across the board, then let him teach and you learn; in short, he's the Sensei and you are the student!! Never forget your role, and never assume a position that you don't rightfully possess!! There's nothing wrong with questions because that's how one learns. Just be respectful when asking about things that concern you.

Answers to "ifs" are never a guarantee of success. Why? The practitioner is responsible for the success of said technique, and not the Sensei, and not the style, and not the Governing Body...you and you alone must bear that.

Time is a wonderful creation!! In time, through rigorous and dedicated serious training, knowledge and experience are the acquired by-products of being on the floor.

Ask all of the questions...doubt until the doubt is erased...you're the practitioner of your chosen MA, and you must be proactive across the board; you're not a robot, programmed to blindly obey everything. Remember, you came to your Sensei, and your Sensei didn't come to you.

I strongly suggest that you study up on the Shu Ha Ri concept; it'll address what you're going through...it's natural...some students are more shy than other students to ask/doubt what they're being taught.

I say ask/doubt away...it's natural!!

Your Sensei will teach you, but over a course of time, and no time faster, and may not answer your questions in the manner you're accustomed to...again...he teacher, you student!!

Self discovery is a staple of any MA school.



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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6118
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Am I a nightmare student? Reply with quote

Yes you are

In all seriousness, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with how you approach your training. It's your training after all. But to play Devil's advocate:

OneKickWonder wrote:
I have my own ideas about when I'm ready to grade, in that I get put forward but refuse to grade unless I personally think I'm at the required standard.

Now I'm sure this probably isn't the case with you, but sometimes I see students not wanting to grade because they prefer to coast rather than force themselves out of their comfort zone. For example, I know of a
4th kup teenage girl who has spent 2 years(!) at that grade because she doesn't feel ready to test. By her own admission, she is scared to face the grading panel, and I half suspect she is also scared to move away from her comfort zone and step up to the next difficulty level. Sometimes a teacher needs to push their students to tackle new challenges even though they may not feel ready.

OneKickWonder wrote:

For example. Classic training tool. One person offers predesignated attack, the other offers predesignated counter. Everyone is happy. Except me. I want to know what if the attack comes from a different angle? What if I fail to get the technique on? What if it goes on OK but the 'attacker' manages to fire off another strike? A million other what ifs.

That's the problem, there are a million "What Ifs?" and you cannot possibly cover all of them. Self Defense comes from the repetition of movement so that you ingrain it to your muscle memory. Volume of reps are what count and for efficient training it makes little sense to prepare for "What if my attacker somersaults in and then uses this obscure restraint he learned from the ancient monks on Mt. Everest?". You have to simplify things in training and teach concepts, not specifics. In the heat of the moment it's guaranteed you're not going to remember the answers to all the "What Ifs?".


OneKickWonder wrote:
I also don't accept the standard explanations of various techniques. I know that 'blocks' are not blocks. Or some are, but not the way we're taught. So I want to know how they are supposed to work, how come so many people can believe that in the time from seeing a punch setting off, you can extend one arm, twist the body, strike across with the other arm etc. In forms, the standard explanations just don't work. They're often either anatomically impossible, or so convoluted that they could never work under pressure. But I know they represent stuff that does work. Sometimes I find it. Some stuff still puzzles me.

Probably being a nightmare teacher here But the bold is your answer to this one. Whilst your teacher can guide you, a lot is up to you to discover yourself.

OneKickWonder wrote:

Worst of all, sometimes I feel that while my current school can still teach me a great deal, I'm not convinced that my instructors could answer my million questions. That's fine. I don't expect anyone to know everything. But I suddenly wonder if I'm a nightmare for even questioning everything.

I should add, I don't question that much vocally. But because I've become a friend to our instructors and we chat informally outside of class, I know they know how I think.

No one has the answer to everything. This is why it's good to train with other teachers of the same style and even cross train in different disciplines. Empty your cup and just train.
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"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it." ~ Confucius
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Am I a nightmare student? Reply with quote

DWx wrote:

That's the problem, there are a million "What Ifs?" and you cannot possibly cover all of them.


Spot on Advice.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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JR 137
KF Sempai
KF Sempai

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2332
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a school teacher and a karate student, I can say this...

We are all nightmare students. And for the most part, we are all model students. “Nightmare” in some ways, as we can challenge our teachers (in a good way); and model in other ways, as we accept our teachers’ teaching.

I currently have and have previously had many “nightmare students” who always asked questions and wanted to know more than what I was teaching at that moment. The more questions that were answered, the more questions arose. As with any half-way intelligent person, the more they learn, the more they realize they don’t know.

I currently have and have had many “model students.” The students who do everything as they’re told, accept the teacher’s explanation, and keep at it.

The best students are the “nightmare students” as you’ve put it AND the model students simultaneously. Being the nightmare student is extremely aggravating if they’re not buying into anything being taught. The teacher feels like “if you don’t believe a word I say, why are you here?” The model student who isn’t a nightmare simultaneously is the most boring student. I say, they do. No questions, no answers unless I ask them specifically.

My first year teaching, I had easily the most overall intelligent group I’ve ever taught. Everyone did pretty much every assignment, and did it to the best of their ability. It was also the absolute worst group I’ve ever taught - no one said a word. I don’t lecture very much; I give a brief explanation to get things going, then I ask a lot of questions. I let them come to the answers; my job is to keep them on the right track and tweak things. This group said nothing and offered no answers. Every question was like an interrogation. At least 10 times during the 40 minute class everyday, I’d say “don’t be afraid to be wrong. If you’re capable to answering every question correctly, you shouldn’t be here. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong; I’m wrong way too many times a day to criticize anyone.” Then someone would finally raise their hand. And it was pretty much the same person every time. I really liked that group, but I despised teaching them. They were the truest nightmare class for me. It was 40 minutes of pure torture for me. I felt like I was the only person in the room. Every one of those kids scored 90 or higher on the state exam, and they were taking a 9th grade class and test as 8th graders.

Be the positive challenge.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know that I am a nightmare student because I have been training and teaching so long that I am much more critical of others teachings. This is not to say that I am argumentative nor rude. I am polite and allow the instructor to teach without question. However I do question everything in my mind and thus I'm far less pliable than say someone that has never trained before.

The funny thing is I am very inquisitive and love learning. I'm always looking for a new view point or a new fresh perspective to look at the same things which contradicts how I accept the information. I am truly a contradiction and an enigma.

I think that once you make the transition from student to teacher and you have 10 or more years of teaching under your belt you become less accepting of just anything and a little more critical and thus this does not exactly make you the best student.

Yes I'm sure I'll get the "empty your cup" comments or "you of all people should be open to others points of view" but I have noticed that the older I get and the longer I teach the less accepting I am of others teachings until I can verify it's effectiveness. In a word I'm much more critical than I used to be.

That is not however to say I know best. In no way am I saying this nor want it to be construed that way. Just that it now takes proving where as a new student it took no proof to fully accept what was being taught. I blindly accepted it as so. So to a new teacher I am a nightmare because I analyze and will constantly proof everything they say and worse, only accept that which is proven effective. Thus I would not practice that which I feel is worthless whereas the new student must accept and practice everything.

So that makes me a nightmare student.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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Luther unleashed
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 30 Jan 2014
Posts: 661
Location: Phoenix
Styles: A few!

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I certainly can’t say you are, but I can describe what stands out as a student that’s not easy to teach.

As you mentioned you question consistently, I think this is great and instructors should allow this in my opinion but some do not always. Where it becomes a big problem is when a student tries to suggest using the other hand for a technique or coming from a different angle, questioning why the instructor has this approach is one thing but offering suggestions to a new approach is not really OK in that in my opinion is stopping over lines because I have been in the situation where it eats up a lot of class time having to explain to a particular student why that is not the best way to do this particular technique. Usually when somebody is like that it’s not a once in a while thing it’s typically how they are.

The class time is valuable, so if questions turn into suggestions then your eating up class time by challenging what’s being taught. THAT is a very hard to teach student. I can’t say whether you meet that criteria LOL. Again, questions are good, and I encourage them because they create a relationship and class environment that makes it fun to learn through interaction. The old “I say, you do” mentality is not quite as fun and everybody learns more when they’re having a little fun.
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Hustle and hard work are a substitute for talent!
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OneKickWonder
Purple Belt
Purple Belt

Joined: 17 Feb 2018
Posts: 513

Styles: Tang soo do

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good insights here. Thanks all.

Just to pick up on a few points.

I never undermine any of our instructors. In that I'll never say in front of another student that I'm skeptical about a technique for example. If I don't believe something would work under pressure, I'll ask my instructor quietly if I'm missing something because I can't seem to make it work well.

With regard to playing with different angles of incoming, I dint mean radically different. For example, if a preset routine calls for a high block against a punch to the face, I wouldn't ask how it would work against a foot sweep for example. But I would ask what if the straight punch was a hook or a haymaker. Or what if the right straight punch was immediately followed by a left.
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MatsuShinshii
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 15 Aug 2016
Posts: 1423
Location: Kentucky
Styles: Machimura Suidi Rokudan, Ryukyu Kenpo, Kobudo, Judo

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luther unleashed wrote:
I certainly can’t say you are, but I can describe what stands out as a student that’s not easy to teach.

As you mentioned you question consistently, I think this is great and instructors should allow this in my opinion but some do not always. Where it becomes a big problem is when a student tries to suggest using the other hand for a technique or coming from a different angle, questioning why the instructor has this approach is one thing but offering suggestions to a new approach is not really OK in that in my opinion is stopping over lines because I have been in the situation where it eats up a lot of class time having to explain to a particular student why that is not the best way to do this particular technique. Usually when somebody is like that it’s not a once in a while thing it’s typically how they are.

The class time is valuable, so if questions turn into suggestions then your eating up class time by challenging what’s being taught. THAT is a very hard to teach student. I can’t say whether you meet that criteria LOL. Again, questions are good, and I encourage them because they create a relationship and class environment that makes it fun to learn through interaction. The old “I say, you do” mentality is not quite as fun and everybody learns more when they’re having a little fun.



Great points. And I must thank you for not stating the obvious that I am a bad student. I didn't used to be but as I age I know I am. To thine own self be true right?

To be clear I do question what is taught but to myself. I don't question while the instructor is teaching. I have a rule that all questions are kept until after class. I reserve 15 minutes to answer all questions and explain in depth if required. Suggesting something is as you said disrespect. This I would neither put up with from a student or myself.

When I first started teaching I told my students that they should question everything they are taught and verify it's effectiveness for themselves. This was mistaken for an opportunity to interrupt class, constantly.

Since all students come to learn and their time is valuable, students have to wait until after class. That way no ones time is wasted.

Having said this I maintain this policy when in the role of student myself unless it's a one on one situation during an exchange of idea's with another instructor. Even then I try to be as respectful as possible and ask in such a way that it does not come off as questioning their methods. In a group I feel this is disrespectful of the other students time and that of the instructor.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
Charles R. Swindoll
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singularity6
Pre-Black Belt
Pre-Black Belt

Joined: 26 Jun 2017
Posts: 958
Location: Michigan
Styles: Jidokwan Taekwondo and Hapkido, Yoshokai Aikido, ZNIR Iaido, Kendo

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we all need to remind ourselves to show up to class with "an empty cup."

Students typically expect to learn from their instructors, but instructors can (and should) also learn from their students.

“Throughout your life advance daily, becoming more skillful than yesterday, more skillful than today. This is never-ending.”

― Yamamoto Tsunetomo
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(Never officially tested in aikido, iaido or kendo)
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