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Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 169
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:30 pm    Post subject: Switching from Chito Ryu to Isshin Ryu! Reply with quote

Just kinda feel like sharing this in case anyone can relate. I received my Shodan in Shorin Ryu and due to work, wasnít able to train at a dojo until the beginning of 2020 when I lost my job as a yoga teacher (my classes were all during karate classes). At the beginning of 2020, I had to move and started training in Chito Ryu around the time I got back into college.

I was told to learn as much of their system as I could, remaining a white belt, and eventually theyíd test me on what I picked up with the possibility of jumping straight to Shodan. I thought that was cool, and I really didnít mind being a white belt for awhile. However, as the months went by, I started learning more about the dojo I was training at...

The instructors are out of shape. No big deal, as I know plenty of instructors that are out of shape but have a wealth of knowledge to share. Thatís what I thought these teachers were like - and donít get me wrong, theyíre plenty knowledgeable. But they have the attitudes of an irritated child. Let me explain!

1. Initially, you think theyíre just tough on you. But over the course of 8 months or so, I not once heard them encourage or congratulate one of their students. Never giving any positive feedback, only pointing out what was wrong and needed work.
2. They only have one way of teaching everything. If you canít understand what theyíre saying the first time, instead of trying to say it or teach it differently, they get frustrated and walk away.
3. They wanted to test me in kobudo, a class thatís held once a week. I was having trouble learning what Iíd need to know for my test because they were always having me practice different weapons and rarely repeating what Iíd be tested on - on top of the class only being once a week. When I first went to the instructors and said that I didnít feel confident in knowing what I need for my test, they told me to act like Iím confident and then walked away. When the test came and I told them Iím not going to participate in the testing, they told me ďthatís not what I wanted to hearĒ and then walked away.

These are the main examples of many, but the ones that stood out to me. I knew Iíd have to find a new dojo, so I started looking around. When I found this Isshin Ryu place, and Isshin Ryu feels somewhat awkward to me because of the difference in how they do techniques, I knew I was in a better dojo (with better teachers) at the beginning of the class. I did something wrong, but I tried and did it a little better, and the instructor said ďgreat job!Ē I made the decision to stay there at that moment. And although Isshin Ryu is different, I truly enjoyed the instruction of the class, as well as the personalities of the teachers.

Iím not sure if anyone can relate or has any input on my previous instructors. But Iím good at karate. Iím not the best by any means, but I know Iím not bad and I know I make kata look good. The Chito Ryu School was lacking experienced black belts, some of which were exceptional. But most of the black belts, even brown and green belts, had a hard time remembering the curriculum. No class structure.

Although I was really disappointed and frustrated, Iím thankful I had this experience and Iím thankful that I had enough self respect to find a new place to train. Iím looking forward to learning Isshin Ryu!
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29040
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like you made the right decision for yourself and your training, which is great. As Bob is fond of saying, "not all black belts can teach."

Now, I'm not going to go so far as to say the black belts you had at Chito Ryu couldn't teach. It does sound like they tended to be quite reluctant to teach in any other manner, and it sounds like they don't adjust their teaching style very well. When I'm breaking in new instructors, I try to get them to be flexible, and figure out different ways of getting the same points across, because not everyone learns the same way.

It also sounds like your new instructors are into positive reinforcement and constructive criticism, which are two more traits I find highly valuable in an instructor. And people respond to praise differently, too. Some people need it, and some just want to know what to fix and how to get better, regardless of how they are fed the information.

All in all, it sounds like you've found a school with some instructors that fit what you want, and that is great.
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