Add KarateForums.com
Username:    Password:
Remember Me?    
   I Lost My Password!
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> KarateForums.com Articles Archive
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
 See a User Guidelines violation? Press on the post.
Author Message

monkeygirl
KF VIP

Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 3677
Location: Oregon
Styles: Tae Kwon Do

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 10:00 pm    Post subject: White Belt: Learning How to Learn Reply with quote

Opening Points to Remember:
1. While this article refers to the training of white belts, it is meant to cover the first six months of training. Depending on the style, your students may or may not still be white belts after six months of training. For our purposes, this article will refer to the process of “learning how to learn” as the stage of white belt. With that in mind, don’t be discouraged if your students are still “learning how to learn” as green belts.
2. This article mentions the term “techniques” many times. However, it should be made clear that this does not necessarily refer to a kata. The term “technique” could very easily refer to a sparring or self-defense technique; whatever applies to your particular style.


If you ask a student of the martial arts “Which is the most important belt in your ranking system?” he or she will probably tell you “Black Belt.” However, if you ask an experienced instructor the same question, you’ll get a very different answer: “White Belt.”

How can this be? Generally speaking, white belts learn relatively few physical techniques. On the surface this would make it seem as though white belts don’t have much to learn. How could white belt possibly be the most important? Let’s take a deeper look: you may be surprised.

There are several things that white belts should learn, regardless of style:

How to tie the belt — new white belts usually practice this with dedication, as if it were a complex kata.
Respect — white belts should learn how the chain of command works in the dojo.
Proper dojo etiquette — when to bow, who to bow to, etc.; this may include calling the instructor “Sensei” or a similar title.
Discipline — white belts should learn to focus their eyes, mind, body and learn to have good behavior.
Coordination — some white belts need to go through an adjusting period to get used to the awkward and demanding movements of the martial arts.
Technique Constants — white belts should learn the small things that will remain constant throughout the rest of their training. For example, a dojo may have its students always step forward with the left leg when beginning floor work techniques. If this is a constant, unchanging truth, white belts should learn this as soon as possible to prevent any confusion.

When you add this mental training to the physical training and techniques, white belts have just as much — if not more — to learn as the higher ranks do. It is up to the instructor to make sure white belts receive proper training in the above areas, as well as give the white belts a good foundation upon which they can build the rest of their training. The following section explains and stresses the importance of certain mental training aspects.

Learning how to learn is a very simple concept. Just as learning how to read helps you to learn history, science and other subjects, being a white belt helps you to become a martial artist. Learning how to learn involves the following (which will be discussed later):

Adjusting to instructors’ teaching style
Gaining self-confidence
Memorizing technique constants/Learning how to analyze techniques
Discovering how to approach new techniques


All of these are important parts of a white belt’s basic training.

White belts must adjust their bodies, coordination and mental attitude to that of the martial arts, but that’s not all. One of the first things they should adjust to is the teaching style of their instructor. This can include speech patterns, body language and the general attitude of the instructor. Once the student has adjusted, they should be able to learn from the instructor easily.

The most important thing about teaching white belts is to instill a sense of confidence in them. They need to understand that nobody is perfect and that they must learn from their mistakes. Positive reinforcement and recognizing achievements will often make a student be more willing to try new things in the future. If a student has confidence in themselves, they will have confidence in their technique. Confident technique is more likely to be fast, sharp and strong than un-confident technique, which usually consists of limp wrists, loose fists and zero enthusiasm.

White belts have their entire training ahead of them to focus on mastering physical techniques, however. By teaching respect, technique constants, and other things that will stay with the student forever, instructors are preparing students for what lies ahead.

These concepts will stay with them! It doesn’t just sound nice, it’s conceivably true. Even simple things can stick, such as how a foot should be positioned during a stretch. If the student’s mind is eager and uncluttered by thoughts of complex katas/techniques, they are more receptive to the important basics. In other words, their “glass is empty.”

Take advantage of this! Limit the amount of techniques for white belts and focus on preparing them mentally for what’s to come.

An added benefit of having few techniques: white belts can slow down and focus on the details, such as chambers/foot positions of kicks, position of punches in relation to the body and so forth. By making it simple for white belts to break down techniques like this, they will develop good practicing habits. However, if white belts have a vast number of techniques, practicing them in a meaningful way will be time-consuming and difficult.
Instructors should encourage students to analyze techniques for themselves, and also point out what to look for when doing these analysis's. By doing this, the moves become more personal: they become the students’ own. Moreover, by practicing breaking the movements down, the students will learn what to look for in other techniques, such as hand/foot placement, speed, arm/leg positioning, etc. Careful observations of new techniques allow the students to perform them accurately the first time. By practicing these observation skills at white belt, they have learned how to learn!

To a brand-new white belt, many aspects of the martial arts are foreign, difficult and confusing. If properly encouraged and motivated, they will face their personal challenges and overcome them. Say a student is having difficulty remembering which kick to do when the instructor calls for a front kick. If the instructor suggests to the student a memory trick, such as “for a front kick, turn your body to the front” or something similarly helpful and it works, they may use such memory tricks in the future when learning new techniques. Through trial-and-error, they will learn how to approach new techniques in the most efficient way for them, a way which will ensure they remember the technique for a long time. If the instructor does not encourage students to do this, they are in danger of mindlessly wandering through their training, just barely getting by.

We’ve already discussed how techniques at white belt should be a limited few, but what about the techniques themselves? Which techniques should a white belt learn?

White belts should learn the basic, but essential, techniques. These are techniques that are simple and easy to learn, but still very useful. These techniques are usually also good training tools. Take the sidekick, for example: it is very easy to learn and arguably one of the most effective kicks to use in sparring. An instructor might teach a student (of any rank) how to break a board with a sidekick, thereby teaching the student speed, power and accuracy. A jab is also good for the same reasons, plus it can be used during drills that build hand speed.

To summarize: White Belt is a journey of self-discovery for the martial artist. The goal of training at this stage should be to build a good, solid basis for the rest of that person’s martial arts career; the student should learn how to learn.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger

Patrick
KF Administrator

Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 27039
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the submission.
_________________
Patrick O'Keefe - KarateForums.com Administrator
Have a suggestion or a bit of feedback relating to KarateForums.com? Please contact me!
KarateForums.com Articles - KarateForums.com Awards - Member of the Month - User Guidelines
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger

gheinisch
KF VIP

Joined: 09 Jan 2003
Posts: 2140
Location: Newnan, Georgia
Styles: Hon-Shin-Do - Shodan

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2003 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice article! I think some schools today may forget how important the time that someone is a white belt truely is. Why rush when we have the opportunity to learn!
_________________
"If your hand goes forth withhold your temper"
"If your temper goes forth withold your hand"
-Gichin Funakoshi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger

Guy_Mendiola
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Posts: 269
Location: Waimanalo, Hawaii
Styles: Boxing and Tae Kwon Do.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2003 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i agree also and great article.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Thatmanwaters
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Posts: 3
Location: UK essex
Styles: GKR Tang soo Do

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good article,and one we can all learn from.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

monkeygirl
KF VIP

Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 3677
Location: Oregon
Styles: Tae Kwon Do

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks
_________________
1st dan & Asst. Instructor TKD 2000-2003

No matter the tune...if you can rock it, rock it hard.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger

CaptainHeelHook
White Belt
White Belt

Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 5

Styles: Kickboxing, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 3:16 am    Post subject: Re: White Belt: Learning How to Learn Reply with quote

monkeygirl wrote:


How can this be? Generally speaking, white belts learn relatively few physical techniques.

Ummm, I would find this a waste of a perfectly good belt. As a white, I've learned a TON of techniques.
Quote:
How to tie the belt
Someone tossed me mine and said "you know how to tie it right?"
Quote:
Respect
I treat my instructor the same as the newest member
Quote:
Proper dojo etiquette
We don't bow, and I call my instructor by his first name

I however, agree with the rest of your post. I am one that thinks the white belt is no time to be mired down with formalities. They need to be learning good habits that will carry through with them for the rest of they're MA lives. Not who they need to bow to first.
_________________
I'll procrastinate later
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

monkeygirl
KF VIP

Joined: 22 Feb 2002
Posts: 3677
Location: Oregon
Styles: Tae Kwon Do

PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this will vary from style to style, school to school...
In your case, proper dojo etiquette does not include bowing or any special treatment for your superiors. In quite a few schools, however, respectful treatment of instructors (as well, as students...don't get me wrong, everyone should be treated respectfully, but instructors are often supposed to get "more" respect in that sense) is very very important.
In my personal experience, I found that white belts often felt overwhelmed by everything they needed to learn in addition to their physical techniques. However, if your school doesn't have a lot of extra things to learn, or just doesn't place an emphasis on them, then you have a little room to add a few techniques. But still, I think the student's attention should be focused on discovering their own MA learning style, and learning how to perform a technique very accurately after seeing it done once or twice. Furthermore, it's incredibly important for the student to recognize what good technique looks like. I can't tell you how many students I've seen wobbling their heads around or throwing loopy techniques because they thought it "looked better" or "felt better" than the clean, straight in techniques we tought them. Taking it slow and doing it right (rather than rushing ahead and learning many techniques) will pay off enormously in the future, in my opinion and personal experience.
_________________
1st dan & Asst. Instructor TKD 2000-2003

No matter the tune...if you can rock it, rock it hard.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger

Cybren
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 187
Location: New York
Styles: Ji Do Kwon Tae kwon Do

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2004 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

(This post might seem as if I'm intentionally being argumentive, and I don't mean any offense by it)

I concur with CaptainHeelHook. If you spend months learning how to "tie a belt", then you must not be very coordinated.
Surly you can be taught technique while being exposed to ettituite?


Quote:
I can't tell you how many students I've seen wobbling their heads around or throwing loopy techniques because they thought it "looked better" or "felt better" than the clean, straight in techniques we tought them.

Perhaps that could be a good moment to reevaluate your own technique. If they're doing something "wrong" because it feels more natural, it may very well work better. Generally the human body likes to keep itself balanced.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger

jeffrogers
Blue Belt
Blue Belt

Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 322
Location: Camp LaGuardia, Uijongbu, South Korea
Styles: BJJ, Hakutsuru (White Crane Karate), Shaolin Kenpo

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2004 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Intersting Article, You have a lot of good points monkey girl. Very nice post. -Jeff
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    KarateForums.com Forum Index -> KarateForums.com Articles Archive All times are GMT - 6 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Page 1 of 4
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


< Advertising - Contact - Disclosure Policy - Staff - User Guidelines >