Friday, November 9, 2012

Words Matter

  As an instructor, I am acutely aware that how I state, or phrase something to my student's is of the utmost importance. If (or when, LOL) I make a statement that is vague or indefinite, I know that there exists an even greater potential for that statement to be misconstrued and/or misunderstood (by my students).
  This is a situation that I am continually striving to avoid. It's also one that should be the easiest to avoid as well. Unfortunately, it isn't, not every student has the same level of vocabulary skills as the next. This can be from differing levels of schooling, or even occupations. Very often, it's only a difference in ages that can cause misunderstanding's (in the interpretation of the particular verbiage used).
  This (especially) becomes apparent when teaching some (any) form of martial art. Typically, those arts have originated in the Far East, and therefor will commonly utilize a great number of foreign words to begin with (usually Japanese, and/or Chinese).
  In our classes, I tend to avoid, or (only) briefly utilize those kinds of (foreign) words, if I do at all. Unfortunately, in many cases English can (easily) be misunderstood as well. For my student's who have began teaching (their own student's), I suggest that they have (at least) 3 different ways to explain every application, motion and (especially) concept and principle that is presented in the RyuTe® system.
  To simply be “shown” an application is insufficient (IMO), to explain a "new" technique. Not every element (of a technique) is readily (and/or visually) apparent. This means that numerous concepts must be explained to a student (and in a manor which they will understand). The phrase “My way, or the Highway”, is nothing but a confession of one's (own) inability to teach and/or learn.
 As instructors, we are there to provide guidance and to answer our student's questions. Likewise, it is the student's responsibility to ask questions and to say (something, LOL) when they don't understand what's been shown to them.
  I've previously written about the "thumb" debacle, and the implications that misstating something can cause/create. Off-the-Cuff statements (such as that one) can cause students to come to completely erroneous understandings of debated subjects. 
 Making ambiguous statements when attempting to teach someone something, is a sure way to confuse them. I've listened to a large number of lectures and seminars (over the years) and (unfortunately) making obscure and vague statements seems to be the norm for martial arts lecturers.  
 I think it may very well be done on purpose in many instances (it provides an excuse for the lecturer). It's easier to say that someone misunderstood what you said, than to admit that what you said wasn't correct.
 For many of the subjects that are being (exploited?) peddled to the martial arts community, it's that ambiguity that seems to be the most prevalent (it helps maintain the repeat customers, LOL). 
 The most popular subjects being taught (at these seminars), have to do with the subjects of kyusho and/or tuite. Though neither is an individual pursuit/study, that doesn't prevent the huckster's from attempting to exploit as much money out of people that seek the easy way out of doing something (or more accurately, out of the lazy people, LOL). What I've been seeing taught (at those seminars) has been pitiful.

 Being that we're in the midst of rewriting our Tuite manual, this is something that we've had to be particularly careful of. All one has to do is look upon the internet, and you can see/hear the erroneous claims, statements and explanations being made in regards to that subject. 



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