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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16104
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:20 pm    Post subject: The, "I'm Better" Mindset!! Reply with quote

Instructors of the MA come and go; that's a sad, but necessary, fact that oftentimes has to occur. The blame stems from certain instructors; not all black belts can teach, nor should they ever try.

Teaching is a gift, no matter where it's birthed from. Whether it be from God, parents, mentors, or naturally, teaching is a blessing. That teaching blessing shouldn't ever been taken advantage of in any shape, way, and/or form.

Being a teacher doesn't mean that the teacher is better than anybody, especially those of that teachers students. I agree that the MA instructors has more knowledge and experience than that of their students, but that doesn't mean that that instructor is better than his/her how.

Just as soon as an instructor...a teacher...of the MA sets themselves above their own students, is the very second that that instructor declares themselves better than their students. As though they were all that, and a bag-of-chips, and that the sun sets and raises because of them alone.

The, "I'm better" mindset, is nothing but an illusion. Why?? Nothing is certain until it's certain, and that certainty isn't absolute. Why?? There's not one person that is perfect, and to embrace that absolute certainty one must be perfect.

The, "I'm better" mindset, tells that instructor's students that they've nothing else to learn...that they've learned all that there is to learn. That's where the illusion begins. That type of instructor has forgotten one very important fact, that ALL are students ALWAYS. If one's always a student, than how can that instructor be better than anyone else?!?!

The faster that instructors who've fallen on the wayside learns that, and accepts that, the better off will that instructor be, and more importantly, the far better his/her students will be.

If the "I'm better" mindset is predominant with an MA instructor, perhaps they forgot or had never been taught...

**Seek Perfection of character
**Be Faithful
**Respect Others
**Refrain from Violent Behavior

No rank is more important than the White Belt because without the White Belt, no other rank can ever be earned. Without humbleness, knowledge bears no fruit whatsoever. Without students, no instructor exists, and without instructors, no school of the MA exits, and without MA schools, the MA becomes extinct.

Those MA instructors who've fallen into the dark side through having the "I'm better" mindset have forgotten or no longer care about anyone else but themselves have either chosen that mindset or have been too weak to fight that which was presented to them in their MA past.

I've been on the MA floor for over 5 decades, and have been teaching the MA for over 4 decades, and not once, have I ever adopted the "I'm better" mindset in any shape, way, and/or form. My knowledge and experience is more than my students, but I'm NOT better than my students because I too, am a student of the MA; constantly seeking that which I still lack.

"Well, I'm a black belt, so I'm better!!"
"Because I'm your instructor, I'm better!!"
"Seeing that I'm a black belt and your instructor, I'm better!!"

Better is an idle measuring stick without substance, but even then, the black belt and/or MA instructor isn't better, just has been practicing/training longer than those who've not been on the floor as long than a black belt and/or a MA instructor.

Show me someone who claims to be better, and I'll show someone who's not!!

Any thoughts, please!!

**Proof is on the floor!!!
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Fat Cobra
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 14 Jul 2018
Posts: 324
Location: Carthage, NY
Styles: Ryukyu Kempo

PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2020 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe being a black belt and instructor means that you have dedicated a lot of your life to studying the art, practicing it, and potentially getting hurt and injured all in the name of the art. This person had to have a lot of dedication and love for the art to pursue so long and intensely. This person probably has a lot of pride in themselves for doing this, as well as loyalty to the art they love so much. There is nothing wrong with this.

Does that make you better than anyone else? No. Does that make you better than your students? No.

Every student is unique. Some may learn faster than you, some may not. Some may be stronger than you, some may not. Some may be more athletic than you, some may not. All of them, at least those that stick around, have one thing in common. They want to learn what you are willing to teach. So, to me what that actually means is that you are the student's servant. Without them, your martial arts life would only be partially complete.
Yondan in Ryukyu Kempo
Head of the Shubu Kan Dojo in Carthage, NY
(United Ryukyu Kempo Alliance)
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JR 137
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 10 May 2015
Posts: 2442
Location: In the dojo
Styles: Seido Juku

PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The difference between a teacher and a student might not be that the teacher is a better practitioner (technique-wise) and/or more knowledge even.

Often enough, what separates a teacher from a student is the teacher knows how to teach. The teacher can explain things is a logical and realistic way. The teacher is capable of saying “you’re struggling with that because you’re not doing this” or “this is how you can make that better/more effective.” The non-teacher simply says and/or thinks “how can you not figure this out?”

Allegedly, Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura has said he’ll never accept a 10th dan because he’ll never stop learning. I’m not 100% certain he said that, it was something someone told me someone else told him. But knowing Kaicho Nakamura and his track record, it definitely seems to be the case, regardless of if he actually said it or not.
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KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29847
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see what you are saying here, Bob, and I think it's a good idea as an instructor to keep things like this in mind. I've never really thought about actually being better than the students around me. Sure, I teach them, and they learn, but I view it as more of an equal partnership type of thing, I guess.
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Alan Armstrong
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 28 Feb 2016
Posts: 2468

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A student teacher relationship based on mutual respect to help each other improve and grow from the experiences shared.

I like to look at it as the fire in my candle can light up anothers and the combined light makes everything more illuminated and clearer than before.

If my teaching method doesn't agree with the student I will change my way of training to make sure it does, without consulting the student, as my best intentions and interest is already their for the student.

Who is better never enters my mind, prioritising what is better does.

Enjoying the freedom to change mid stream for the advancement of the student is something which is very liberating, as being able to switch from TMA to Boxing from one class to the next.

As for example one student X rugby player, teaching him katas was obviously very frustrating and to remember the movements was more than difficult for him.

His self esteem was getting lower and lower, by switching to more sparring and with more physical contact he started getting in to the training sessions with enthusiasm.

Lets face it, we are all better at some things than others, this dosent mean that we are better than others, it just goes to show how different and unique we all are.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1876

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everyone who has an instructor made the conscious choice of training with that person. They know and are convinced that their instructor is better then them at what they aspire to learn, but more importantly that said instructor is better than them at understanding and explaining things in a way that the student themselves will become better.

As for instructors, there is nothing wrong with knowing that they are more knowledgeable and skilled than their students. In that way they are certainly better, if only at the physical techniques. Like all the rest, though instructors and students alike must never forget that some tout there is always better in one way or another.

Each instructor is different and it would be a safe bet to say that in martial arts, one could hardly find an instructor who believes he has surpassed all those who have taught before. Remembering this is how a worthy teacher keeps his feet on the ground and we can all realize that we can only truly succeed at surpassing ourselves rather than trying to be better than others. Anything else would be idle speculation and would take our focus away from where we ought to seek even the slightest improvements.
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