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George C
18th March 2003, 03:03
My former teacher asked me to study videos of kata he received from his teacher. He claimed that he was to busy to learn all of the forms and needed my help. He wanted me to learn the forms on the videos and then teach the katas to the class. I felt this was not fair to me or the students since the students and were paying for the lessons to be taught by him. I am wondering if maybe I made a mistake by leaving the school. Is this something that is common among schools? Do instructors assgin such tasks to their senior students?

Thank you
George C

Rogier
18th March 2003, 05:30
well they sometimes ask students to teach some things to a class. But I've never heard of a instructor asking someone to teach his class something he doesn't know himself.

If he is the teacher he should know everything he needs to teach the class including the forms he claims he is to busy to learn.

Striking Hand
18th March 2003, 05:33
Senior students assisting the Teacher or teaching a beginners class is not that uncommon.

The scenario you described sounds fishy and not good in my opinion.

Apart from that see Rogiers post.

sinta
18th March 2003, 06:26
I agree with Rogier.

Though one would think it an honour that the teacher would assign senior students the responsibility of helping teach the class (meaning you must be good enough to have that responsibility), teaching something that the teacher himself doesn't know sounds rather strange. -_-

I wouldn't just up and leave. Why don't you confront him and ask why he wants to teach the class something, the teacher himself doesn't know. Again its not uncommon for senior students to receive assignments from the teacher...but assignments that teachers can also do themselves.

George C
18th March 2003, 13:37
Hello everyone,

Thank you for your replies they all have been helpful. I am not sure if this will post in the right place so please bear with me. He asked me to learn off the tapes because his teacher was 2000 miles away. When I started learning the new system I thought he was taking trips to his teachers school to learn new material and then he would pass what he learned on to his black belts and intermediate students. I later learned that this was not the case. He explained to me that he learned most of the forms off the tapes and then taught them to us. His teacher would come to seminars to our school but we would hardly ever go over forms except the special kind not covered in the regular classes. I didn't confront him about this because I trusted him, that he knew what he was doing, "blind loyalty". Then things got worse. I mentioned to him I had an interest in learning Arnis or similar art. Since in my opinion what we were doing was similar to Arnis. I said to him that I wanted to learn from a reputable teacher and then if its ok with my Arnis teacher bring it back to the school and teach what I learned. He implied that this was not necessary. He said he was going to buy a tape series from the head organization and my new resposibility would be to learn off the tapes and teach it to the class. Thus, earning the title of densho for stick fighting. There is more to this story but I do not want to go into detail here. I know for a fact that the people I am speaking about watch this stite.

Is this what is done in traditional schools? Am I wrong in my thinking that this is not fair to students? Is it wrong for me to feel ripped off for teaching and paying for my lessons(tape lessons)? This among many others experiences have left me outraged and I have given up training all together. I have spent a lot of time and money in this school. I am not sure the ranks, yes plural two black belts from two diffrent systems, are passable by traditional standards. I feel like I have been duped,hoodwinked, and conned on a grand scale. I have never confronted the head master because to put it simply, I do not trust him nor my former teacher.

Thank you
George C

sinta
18th March 2003, 13:55
I don't know if this belongs into the bad budo section (does it meet the criteria?), but my thoughts on a teacher teaching his students only what he learned on tape is total crap. perhaps others have a different opinion.

No one can learn everything from tapes. Your teacher should be taught my someone who also knows the technique and make him aware of mistakes. I mean, when most people learn from tape, they aren't always aware of these mistakes.. and seeing its your teacher, he might pass on these mistakes to his students.

Now the idea of loading this off at you, you have the right to get mad. -_- If you want to learn Arnis (Eskrima) I recommend you to not just learn from the tapes, though they can be helpful, but get an instructor. I've had my experiences with Arnis, also known as Kali, because it's a Philippine Sport and I've lived there for 12 years. It's easy to overlook mistakes in it, as with other MAs.

Again, i cannot stress it enough, the videos are only there to help guide you, not teach you the technique perfectly. You need a qualified instructor (which in my point of view, your teacher is not) to teach you techniques and point out overlooked mistakes on your part.

I think you better rethink about where you are and where you want to go. I personally would not accept being taught by someone who learned his techniques just off tape and is trying to load of such a job onto me.

I hope things work out for you.

Amir
18th March 2003, 14:04
This doesn't sound normal at all

Your teacher could have assigned you to try learn from some tape and then show him what you have learned, and compare your nderstamding with his. While such an assigment is definitly not orthodocs/traditional, it would have been a mind opener.

But even this road assumes you are very proficient in the art (not just shodan) and he believes most of your current progress is dependent on self-understanding. And he has learnt the materail himself (Personaly I wouldn't consider video-tape as learning unless you have a teacher for the same materail as well). So it's the assigment is like an "un-seen" exam.

Another element in your message is disturbing in my eyes - he prefers the cassetes to learing from another teacher.


Amir

Andy Watson
18th March 2003, 14:54
George

If you have indeed left the school then don't look back. You have definately done the right thing as indicated by everyone's contribution on this thread.

Learning from tapes is one thing once you have been instructed and corrected from a teacher; teaching from the knowledge gained from watching tapes is something completely different (and wrong).

Good luck in the future in finding a better teacher.

Benjamin Peters
27th March 2003, 19:30
Mr C,

I'm sure e-budo moderators would appreciate a complete name at the bottom of your post, in accordance with the member policy.

I'd have to agree with your posts. Teachers travel far and put in what they can call research time to further their study when they are 2000 miles from their class room; as you aptly put it. Teaching is a loney job when you think of it as instructing, but maybe more fruitful if the character of continuous learning is adopted (ie always a student). The point is, teachers have less to rely on than a regular attending student at the Dojo. They have to setup and administer the Dojo as well as refine their own technique. It brings us then to the point of their integrity and responsibility, as you have eluded to.

I think that blind loyalty (as you put it) is what shields these types from students and people knowing that video learning has occurred. It may be argued that videos provide a good reference for learning, but I cannot suggest that it is a sole tool for complete learning. It would be definately be argued by some people, that video learning makes no difference, that skills of a certain method can be adopted and learned from videos with existing knowledge. But the bigger picture isn't just the technique as you mention, it's the representation (or lack thereof).

Traditions (ie traditional schools and others) are shrouded in mystery and ritual. They provide a further buffer, in addition to the blind loyalty, for the instructor to pass themselves off as personal students and recipients of direct knowledge transmission.

Should the instructor represent themselves in this way, or web elements of history into their story, I feel that it would be time for you to take a mature stand and leave with integrity and immediacy (however traumatic leaving your place of ritual for the past x years). You have obviously learned the true lessons and see the cracks in the representations your instructor has made. I feel that because of this, you'll have no trouble in handling this situation well.

If your instructor does go about this video learning process with clear intent, announcement to the class and acknowledgement of all his learning sources, that is a different matter. To some, traditions are filled with rituals, lessons on integrity, human character and loyalty. To others, it is just a skill bought and sold - in this case on video.

Benjamin J Peters


Originally posted by George C
Hello everyone,

Thank you for your replies they all have been helpful. I am not sure if this will post in the right place so please bear with me. He asked me to learn off the tapes because his teacher was 2000 miles away. When I started learning the new system I thought he was taking trips to his teachers school to learn new material and then he would pass what he learned on to his black belts and intermediate students. I later learned that this was not the case. He explained to me that he learned most of the forms off the tapes and then taught them to us. His teacher would come to seminars to our school but we would hardly ever go over forms except the special kind not covered in the regular classes. I didn't confront him about this because I trusted him, that he knew what he was doing, "blind loyalty". Then things got worse. I mentioned to him I had an interest in learning Arnis or similar art. Since in my opinion what we were doing was similar to Arnis. I said to him that I wanted to learn from a reputable teacher and then if its ok with my Arnis teacher bring it back to the school and teach what I learned. He implied that this was not necessary. He said he was going to buy a tape series from the head organization and my new resposibility would be to learn off the tapes and teach it to the class. Thus, earning the title of densho for stick fighting. There is more to this story but I do not want to go into detail here. I know for a fact that the people I am speaking about watch this stite.

Is this what is done in traditional schools? Am I wrong in my thinking that this is not fair to students? Is it wrong for me to feel ripped off for teaching and paying for my lessons(tape lessons)? This among many others experiences have left me outraged and I have given up training all together. I have spent a lot of time and money in this school. I am not sure the ranks, yes plural two black belts from two diffrent systems, are passable by traditional standards. I feel like I have been duped,hoodwinked, and conned on a grand scale. I have never confronted the head master because to put it simply, I do not trust him nor my former teacher.

Thank you
George C

George C
29th March 2003, 15:04
Thank you for the replies. I want you all to know that I have left this school and I do not plan to go back. There is more to my story but I am not quite sure if it belongs in the bad budo section or here. Stay tuned!

Thank you
George C

:p

George C
2nd April 2003, 19:30
When a student reaches black belt level(2nd Degree) , is a student obligated to open his on school and contiune teaching or are they expected to run their teachers school? If a student teaches for his sensei should he do it for free or should he accept payement?

Thank you,

George C

Amir
3rd April 2003, 11:03
I donít know of any such obligation.

However, most teachers would be happy to have at least some of their senior students teaching. I know my teacher encouraged several of the Ni-dan students to try and teach, and I am assisting him in his own Dojo (I have Nidan too). My teacher even said he would require some teaching experience for one to pass the Yon-dan rank.

But, there is a great difference between teaching one group or assisting in teaching in the Dojo, and holding your own Dojo. From my teacher's point of view, the former is giving back to the art, but the latter is selecting a profession - which is a decision every student should hold for himself.

As for payment - I know of varying definitions, in some places, the teacher pays membership just like anyone else, in others, he is free of the membership but isn't paid any fee, and some other places pay for teaching.

Hope this gives you some help
Amir

Stevo
17th April 2003, 15:15
Originally posted by George C
If a student teaches for his sensei should he do it for free or should he accept payement?



Would you be teaching for the enjoyment and the benefits it brings, or would you be teaching for the money and a sense of obligation? I teach because I enjoy it, and I learn as much (if not more) from teaching as I do from training. Getting paid is a bonus, but if I didn't get paid, I'd still teach.

In my opinion, good instructors don't make you feel obliged to teach, they make you WANT to teach by setting the example and leading the way. That aside, everyone has different areas of expertise, and all can contibute to the success of the school in their own way.

Our only real obligation is to learn the whole art to the best of our ability, adopt the principles of the art as a way of life, and set a good example for others by "walking the talk". I'd be very happy if I could do that for my students, and if they reciprocated by doing the same for theirs. My Senei never asked this of me, but I know it's the only obligation that he expected his students to fulfill.

George C
18th April 2003, 23:36
Steve Moller:

Thank you for responding to my post. I couldn't agree with you more. I really enjoy teaching and learning but when my sensei turned my enjoyment into a job that ended. I tried to explain to my him that I needed to get a "real paying job" and continue my education. His answer was always if you teach your problems will be solved, not in those exact words but the implication was there. In the begining he offered some pay but I could not live on it. He implied that I owed him my time because it was tradition and since he claimed to be having financial trouble too. He said he needed help because his beginner students were leaving????? It is pretty hard to believe someone is having money problems when they buy $1,500 custom swords and $600 gold rings. He made it clear that all my outside activities came second to his classes including my job, family, friends, and college. In fact the head master said at a seminar that we all had to "sacrifice" for the preservation of the old teachings. One student even asked "Does that mean if you have plans with your family, you should cancel them to attend seminars"..the head master implied in a cloaked way yes! I didn't mind at first because I thought he was teaching me "the Way". At that time I was having financial difficulties. You see to make a long story short, I have Epilepsy and getting a job isn't easy. At age 29 I was living with my parents and being the responsible guy that I am I knew I had to leave and get out on my own. One day I made a special trip to the dojo and explained to him I could not help him as much anymore. I told him that I planned to take a job that was quite a distance from home. He became very angry with me and his body language appeared threating. He said things such as "What am I suppose to do?" "What about me", "I should have a staff by now". I simply responded I need to work. He didn't want to hear that my priorities changed. He implied that training came first regardless. I am still not sure if this is traditional or not if it is martial arts is not for me. Another note when we (other teachers) would meet in his office he would complain about all his problems with money and the school. Literally in his next breath he would look at me and say "This would be a great school for you, You should buy it from me" I am not that stupid!!! Why would I want what you just complained about???? I do not trust my former teacher and a I am very suspicious of the whole art and the head master himself!!!!

I sorry but I needed to vent!
Thank you
George C

Amir
20th April 2003, 11:24
George

Your story does sound most troublesome.

I am lucky enough not to have encountered such a teacher, that places his priorities above mine. In my case it's the opposite, when I can't help, I feel uncomfortable, and my teacher tells me there is no shame in putting my (and my family) needs first, and his after.


A teacher such as yours, sounds like a person I would keep my distance from. Rather then the one to teach my road through life.


Amir

shinbushi
22nd April 2003, 16:31
Originally posted by George C
If a student teaches for his sensei should he do it for free or should he accept payement?
Thank you,
George C
I don't know how the laws work in your state but, in California, if you are required to teach at his school but, not allowed to teah at other venues (in the park, a garage, or at another school) you are an employee and required to payment and he has to pay taxes. This is true even if you are required to teach for promotion. The only way he would not have to pay or at least consider you a contractor is if you were also allowed to teach elsewhere.

George C
22nd April 2003, 23:13
Thanks for the tip. I am not sure about the laws in Pennsylvania. I will have to look into that. All I know for sure is that you have to be certified to do CPR.

George C

sepai 85
30th April 2003, 22:44
martial arts cant be learned of a video plain and simple you must go to the dojo have a reliable source of info and ask as many questions as possible. You will not properly learn something from a tape it lacks the one on one interaction neccesary to properly teach a technique.

StanLee
1st May 2003, 11:58
George you seem to have been in a bit of a pickle!

Your instructor did seem to sound extreamly dodgy. The fact that he was in financial trouble from buying things gor himself and then forcing these issues to his senior student was bad, his comments about nothing else except training at his dojo is important is worse.

I quite often assist my sensei in instructing, but I make sure that the things I transmit is in accordance to his teachings. But if a student teaches for his sensei, I would feel that it is a previlage to do so and not ask for payment in return. Although it is good when your sensei gives you something back in return, and this does not necessary mean money.

Just one final suggestion though... Since you have left your sensei, and you seem to have doubts about his methods / training, may I suggest that you find another sensei in your art and go to it as a complete (or more or less) beginer. I am not saying that the skills your sensei taught you was bad or illegitimate, or that you do not deserve your rank title. But just as a precaution to make sure your own understanding and training has not been tainted.

Good luck and let us know of your progress. I'd like to find out.

Stan

George C
5th May 2003, 03:31
Stan,

I left my previous teacher, but due to current financial circumstances I haven't been training in over a year. I do not trust any teacher of the style because I feel that the group may have been a cult or cultlike??? I still question this today??? It is possible that my experiences may be localized but going to other teachers of the style would mean facing my old teacher eventually. For instance, they regularly have seminars and having the Nidan rank I would be expected to go. I mentioned before that this style, in fact both styles I trained in are surrounded with controversy. I am not sure where I will train next but for now I am focusing now on finishing my college degree. The degree I stopped pursuing to attend my kempo-karate classes. Yes, believe it or not I quit college and jobs to attend classes. "What was I thinking?" This experience has left an emotional and psychological scar that I am not sure I will ever get over. I often think about taking jujitsu or arnis classes but I haven't found any teachers near my area.

George C

Phil Farmer
6th May 2003, 17:00
George,

I am sorry to hear of these sorts of trouble. This is why we have bad budo and baffling budo, to catch these sorts of people. I will not even dignifiy your former teacher by refering to him as Sensei or anything else. From what you described, he is without honor.

Please do not think of all martial arts schools or styles in terms of your past experience. In fact, if you wish to send me a private message (I am sensitive to others who might wish to cause you problems if they read it directly)and tell me where you are in Pennsylvania. We have two schools in the state and it is possible you are close enough to train with two people I know to be good teachers. Hey, any of you out there who have instructors you know near this guy, let's help out and see if we can show him true martial arts training.

Phil Farmer

MarkF
7th May 2003, 08:49
I have opinions about what I have just read, but you were actually lucky, you got the hint a lot sooner than others I have known.

It may be a good idea to take up a grappling, taijutsu combatives, like Judo. The founder of judo is the one who founded the dan-I system of grading.

This may sound similar to you, but Jigoro Kano said "You must never stop training in Judo." By itself, it is somewhat similar to what you went through, but the difference is that judo is more than coming to class and training, Mr. Kano explains that it extends to your personal, private lives, your working lives and your family. Everything you do should be as the way, Judo."

Training all the time is not what he meant. He said you must abstain from drink and tobacco and devote time to your family. He goes on to explain that if you haven't physically been training, you should take it easy in your training when you begin anew. You do not have to start where you left off, you can work up to it.
*****

Anyway, the stories about your teacher certainly are not new so don't feel alone. Most go through a period in which the training they receive is not what it seems, chalk is up to a lesson learned and let it work for you.

Teaching should be nothing more than another way to train. It is for your education in the art you have chosen. My own teacher, after I had taken second in the AAU Junior nationals, and had made the Jr. Olympics Team asked me to teach a class or two weekly. I was fifteen and scared to death. This feeling left quickly as I parroted or monkeyed my teacher's teaching style, and pretty soon I had the key to the dojo for opening on saturday for randori only workouts for four hours.

Your teacher sounds like he would benefit from more classes from a stern teacher. You, however, have learned more from your experience than most. You relalized things were not kosher and you questioned them. I say good for you. A good instructor would invite questions, would answer them without thinking, and would probably take an interest in you. Most don't ask which makes the teacher have to guess their reasons for being there.

I don't know how much your seizure condition (I have one, as well, but is not epilepsy) limits your participation, but you may want to check out a local judo dojo. In most dojo, is is lacking in specifics, ranks are called grades (If you don't have at least shodan you are ungraded), but it is so very less specific in these areas, IOW, grade does not mean as much as does waza. Waza is king, but fun is to break up the monotony of training, training and training.

I suggest it not because I am judoka, I suggest it because you it may provide just what you need, Robert W. Smith, researcher, writer of books on budo, many with the late Donn Draeger, calls judo "Our Jacketed wresting." It will give you a good base for any other budo you decide you need in the future and if you are lucky, it may be your answer. Most of all, attendance is not mandatory, but is suggested, as is shiai, but you don't have to win, as participation is much more important.

So don't beat yourself up. Give it a break (or not, it is always your choice, and if you are not interested in quick grading, it may be just what you need).

Anyway, I have been playing judo for forty years this summer, and while I did spend a year with a teacher known to most as Jack Seki (real name was Jack Haywood). He was 'hapa' his father being a caucasion military man, his mother was Japanese. In one year, he went from his legitimate membership in the Nanka Yudanshakai, a sandan, to godan in what he called jiu jitsu, and later that year, 8-dan in his jiu jitsu. Proplem: He did not teach a single technique which was not part of the Kodokan Judo syllabus. I had about eight years of judo when I joined that dojo. We all make mistakes. I, however, did learn from my experience and it wasn't a total loss. We did have intraclass shiai in which we removed our keikogi. It hadn't even occured to me, but I also learned and still make it a part of class to fight sans uwagi. So many judo technique can be done without a jacket, you just have to figure most of it out yourself, and after some six months, perhaps less, you will learn or get thrown through the floor.


It is fun, and as Meik Skoss said "At the end of day of training, and you feel good about it, it doesn't matter what you are training for."

It is more difficult for adults to learn, but only adults can apply waza with effectiveness. You won't find it unusual to find ungraded students (below shodan) after ten years changing, but I doubt, after a while, you will find it necessary anymore. And many judo instructors don't test, relying instead instead on their ability of knowing which student should be graded another grade. And some do.

Anyway, it is a good combative to learn your basics, and if you can stay for twenty years you just may find out all there is to offer providing you live long enough to learn them. None have, but a few ten-dan have come close. There are no Kododan Issued 10-dan right now, though Antonius Geesink has been recognized, along with the late Charlie Palmer, by the International Judo Federation.

Anyway, I am dying for new students.;)


Mark