It is the obligation of a martial arts instructor to correct his students’ technique and attitude. Some students are grateful that their instructor cares enough about their training to say something. Others find this offensive, and may even put the instructor in the same category as an “an employee.”
I was trained by “old school” instructors who wouldn’t hesitate to humiliate and embarrass you. I’ve learned over the years that getting angry or overwhelming students gets me no where. I had to learn to adjust and be more flexible in my approach when making corrections. This doesn’t mean that I stopped…just adjusted.
For example, if I’m telling you to make sure you pull your non-striking hand into chamber when executing a traditional karate punch. Let’s say I’ve had to correct you three times and you still didn’t listen. Then asking you to drop down and do 10 push-ups would be a reasonable request! This correction is very direct and to the point.
Other forms of correction are subtle and indirect. Sometimes it’s important to take into account the student’s personality. What works with one person, does not work with another. A teenager I was training was terribly uncoordinated. I used every ounce of skill I had to get him to improve, but nothing worked. My choice was to either throw up my hands and send him home or wait until he matured. The most promising thing about this student was his attitude and willingness to calmly work through the corrections I made. Eventually, he started coming around.
Another example was one of my best students, who trained with me for 8 years. He reached a point in his training where he was burned out and arrogant. He wouldn’t accept corrections from anyone and had a horrible attitude. The last time we saw him, he was gently corrected for performing a sit-up improperly. Instead of going head to head with him, we left him alone and he left the school. A while later, I received a 4 page letter from him, thanking me for the lesson we taught him, just by letting him spin in his own anger. He later saw for himself what he was doing wrong and how his attitude got in his way.
Whether it’s a direct or indirect correction of attitude or technique, it is the only way to progress as a martial art student. Accept what the teacher has to offer and be grateful for the attention. All it means is that your instructor wants you to progress physically and mentally. Anything less and you would be wasting your money.
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851