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Thread: Questioning your instructor/s?

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    Default Questioning your instructor/s?

    I got this idea form Mr. TerryL965 over at Martial talk.

    Why do new students or lower rank students question their instructors? I know when I was a white belt, yellow, orange, purple, blue and all the advanced belts in-between I questioned my instructor. Not to disrespect but, for me its more of a hands on issue. I can read something 20 times and well 19 of them I have to ask what? But you let me take it apart and rebuild it and I own it for life.

    When you were coming up through the ranks were you aloud to ask and question your instructors? Or was it just understood that they hold all the cards and I am to just shut up and do as I am told?
    A black belt covers 2" of your butt. Covering the rest is soley up to you

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Yes, ask a question, on anything. If I can't answer it, I will find someone who will. If you start detracting from other peoples learning or diverting the intent of the lesson, I will let you know that we can cover your questions later, usually right after class.

    Lamont
    Pekiti Tirsia Kali and Kenpo Karate
    www.blackbirdmartialarts.com

    He, who will not reason, is a bigot; he, who cannot, is a fool; and he, who dares not, is a slave.
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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    We were encouraged to ask questions. But questioning too much can cause problems. The perpetual "What If" student was always singled out to be the dummy for their scenario until they learned to listen more.

    Questioning the instructors authority was never allowed and I only seen it once and that person was removed very quickly.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Rob Broad For This Useful Post:

    John M. La Tourrette (02-18-2007)

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Same here, if you have a question they'll answer it but don't be disruptive.

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    sifuroy is offline In Memory of our Departed Friend
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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    By all means,ask questions about anything you don't understand. Most Instructors want to know if you don't understand something. I know we sure do. There are enough instructors in our class that one of them should be able to answer it. If they can't then they need to find out the answer too. If you don't understand there is probably someone else that also dosen't understand
    and you will be helping them too.

    I am Most respectfully,
    sifuroy

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    Kosho Gakkusei is offline
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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    How do you learn anything unless you ask questions?

    _Don Flatt

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    You have to ask questions in order to get answers.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Any good MA instructor, kenpo or otherwise, will welcome your questions, so long as you do it respectfully. Every instructor I've been in front of has always had the attitude of "okay you don't understand it? That's fine, come here, let me show you" and they proceeded to work through the answer with me. Not just the "how", but the "why" as well. I think that's what differentiates the good instructors from the average.
    "Your kung fu's no good..."
    *Warrior, Scholar*

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    I encourage questions to the point that I occasionally give that as homework. I say practice this a few times and when I come back ask me a question... (This is for folks who are sorta shy)

    Or after class I say, Google Kara-Ho and next time I see you, have a question for me. LOL
    The above is just my opinion.

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    I encourage questions and I ask a lot. There are some instances where it's best to hold off until a more appropriate time.

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Quote Originally Posted by hemi View Post
    I got this idea form Mr. TerryL965 over at Martial talk.

    Why do new students or lower rank students question their instructors? I know when I was a white belt, yellow, orange, purple, blue and all the advanced belts in-between I questioned my instructor. Not to disrespect but, for me its more of a hands on issue. I can read something 20 times and well 19 of them I have to ask what? But you let me take it apart and rebuild it and I own it for life.

    When you were coming up through the ranks were you aloud to ask and question your instructors? Or was it just understood that they hold all the cards and I am to just shut up and do as I am told?
    Instructors who dont share either dont know or come from a TMA that frowns upon "questioning the master".

    You should ask questions, you should get answers, some you need to find on your own as this is part of your journey.

    Personally I encourage questions.
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    >Any good MA instructor, kenpo or otherwise, will welcome your questions, so long >as you do it respectfully. Every instructor I've been in front of has always had the >attitude of "okay you don't understand it? That's fine, come here, let me show you" >and they proceeded to work through the answer with me. Not just the "how", but >the "why" as well. I think that's what differentiates the good instructors from the >average.

    I agree with this and…

    …many of the replies to that “Ask questions of the instructor” confuse me.

    Here’s why I say that.

    It is NOT a simple this or that type of answer. I.e., “Yes answer questions. NO, don’t answer questions.”

    Questions about what specifically? Are those questions about history, reasons, philosophy, Waza, Master Keys, the 8 directions, Zero Perception, “the Full Course Meal” attack plan, or what?

    Some things in Kenpo Karate you “talk” about. Other things you “do”.

    First, are their questions a “learning style” thing? Three basic learning styles are visual, feeling and hearing.

    Many people are auditory learners and need to talk INSIDE their head before they can “do”. So, allowing these people to “ask questions” is very BAD for them learning Kenpo Karate.

    Here’s why. Kenpo Karate is a “see”-“do” art. That means they should “see” the incoming attack (or the target) and then they should “move” to avoid, pre-empt, or counter attack.

    There should be virtually NO TALK in that FIGHTING REACTIONARY SEQUENCE.

    If you allow talking in that sequence, you are building in a delay in reactionary time that can get them hurt. i.e., you yell DUCK, and he says, “Duck? I don’t see any ducks”, and then the kick hits him in the head.

    So, to install proper fighting reactions in a student, a GOOD INSTRUCTOR will make them process visually and kinesthetically, and will drum out of them the auditory, self-talk component.

    The trainer does that by saying, “watch me”, as he does the skill. Then when done, he’ll say, “Did you see how I did that?” Good. “Now do it!”

    Some students are kinesthetic. To them they have to do it many times to get it. So you have them throw a punch at your head. Then you do the technique to them. You anchor in a sight picture at a specific location and then you have them step into that location and have them do the block on a ½ speed incoming punch. You break down the technique into one step at a time. Have then do it 3-5 times so they can do it easily. Then you add in the next one step. They do it 3-5 times. Then you have them do both steps 3-5 times, blab, blab, blab.

    This does not mean that the instructor needs to be a hard ass. If you smile at the proper time, you can still seem friendly, and he can still quickly and easily learn the way that teaches him how to “see/do”.

    What it does mean is that the instructor needs to have pre-planned what is to be taught, and has a schedule of when to teach those concepts and moves to the student. That means the student is kept busy and does not have time for questions.

    Second. Are you an EXPERT at Kenpo Karate and teaching Kenpo Karate?

    If you are a teaching expert then you will preframe any Waza in such a manner before you teach the chunk-sequential steps, so that those questions are answered in advance, before they learn the steps though “doing the steps” with another live human.

    In teaching a Waza, there are always six steps that need to be explained before they can get the understanding of the technique. Understanding those six steps is a cognitive thing and does NOT mean they can “do” the Waza and the Master Keys of the Waza automatically.

    1. Awareness of the attack
    2. Decide on what to do
    3. Prepare to do what you have decided to do
    4. Do what you decided to do
    5. Get feedback if what you’ve done, worked
    6. If it did work, then exit. If it didn’t work, then proceed to alternate Waza using steps 1-5.

    Third, is the student just a blabber mouth? If he is, and just asks stupid unimportant questions because he feels it makes him seem smarter, then tape his mouth shut so he can learn. Many people, when they talk and ask questions, have turned off their kinesthetics and their visuals so it is impossible for those to “do” any Waza.

    Here’s a funny story. A few years back one of my clients was just that way, and he did want to learn. So I made him shut up. He was NOT allowed to talk at all during his lesson. In fact I threatened to duck tape his mouth (smile when you state that).

    He’d been a student for about 3 months and was NOT making any progress. After I told him to “shut up” or go somewhere else, all of a sudden he got real good real fast. He actually came to class wearing a mouth piece, knowing that if he had it in his mouth he would blab as much.

    Now he is really getting the Master Keys and is on the list for becoming an Assistant Trainer.

    FOURTH, is it an ethics question? i.e., “Dr. La Tourrette, I just can’t see me smashing his testicles against his pubic bone. It’s just not me. Why are we so mean?” In a situation like that you need to reframe when it is appropriate to do that, and when it is not. It must fit their moral parameters, and society’s legal parameters. So, get them to read Massad Ayoob’s “The Truth About Self-Defense”. Teach them Mr. Parker’s Kenpo Creed and the meanings of that creed.

    FIFTH, have they trained in something else first? In my last 37 years of teaching Kenpo Karate, most of the meaningless questions have come from people that have trained in another style and then have came to us for more training. So they are lacking the basic Master Keys of how we move, of how we hit, of why we do the “Full Course Meal” Attack Plan, blab, blab, blab.

    So they incorrectly believe that a Horse Stance is for balance and stability from the front. They incorrectly believe that they can use a spear hand and rip out someone heart. They incorrectly believe that Kenpo strikes are ineffective because they are different than Taekwon-do lock out punches, and the sissy steps they used to do going up and down the gym floor, etc.

    So their questions are NOT questions, but something else.

    Many of them are arguing, and attempting to validate their “wasted motion” or their “lack of proper centering” or their “sissy stepping drills hitting air”.

    To convince these lock-out specialists of your Kenpo Karate Master Keys you usually have to inflict some pain upon them, which means you need to prove your skills to them. And not only do you need to prove those skills once, you need to prove them again and again. To me, that necessary positive reinforcement is a lot of fun for them and for their trainers.

    Others are attempting to see the difference between their old reality and their new realities and the CONFLICTS between them. These are also the hardest ones to convince because they literally CANNOT see what you are doing. When they think “horse stance” they automatically do the habit they’d learned before. That means that you must be a master at pointing out the valid and provable differences between what you do and what they’d done before.

    And, the last type of talker I’m going to go over is the psychological mismatcher. This is the guy that will question everything. If you say that “it’s a nice day”, he’ll answer with, “I don’t think so, I see a cloud over there. I’m sure it’s going to rain”. If you say that you can hit a man eleven times or more in one second or less, he’ll demand proof. After you’d demo’ed on him those hits, with other black belts watching, he’ll then say, “Yea, but they won’t hurt anyone”. If you knock him out, he’ll say you are mean.

    Most questions any student asks can easily be pre-answered if you preframe the answers to the following four things.

    ONE. What it is. This is normally historical. i.e., “We call this Waza ‘14 Blows of the Dragon because’…”

    TWO. Tell what the benefits are they get out of learning this Waza. i.e., “On the basic level, this technique is for when a man pushes you on the chest with his right hand. So we teach you how to step to the Chi-Kung (off the Path of Aggression) at his point-of-no return so he can’t touch you and you can easily counter-strike him 14 times in about 1 second. These striking techniques give you the ability to (fill in those blanks with criteria that match his personality profile and are actually in the Waza)…

    THREE. You teach him the steps at about ¼-1/2 speed so that he can do them fairly easily for a first time. After he has the basic learning and he has practiced the Waza, they it’s the Trainer’s job to correct any Master Keys. You also let him know that to do it right, by habit, he’ll need to reinforce that Waza 2,000-3,000 times before it is a natural unconscious skill that he owns.

    FOUR. After he’s learned the skill then you can teach alternative additions to that skill. You can teach “what to do when he steps with his right foot instead of his left foot, ECT.”

    If you have sequenced your trainings properly, the private sessions, the Mastery Group sessions and the Sparring Mastery Sessions, they WILL NOT have any slack time to think up any questions.

    This type of teaching presupposes that you actually have “lesson plans” for all the different types of training IN ADVANCE, and you can also prepared in advance answers to any valid question that you can thing of.

    You are keeping their minds and bodies focused and busy.

    There are some that say, “There is NO such thing as a stupid question”. I do disagree totally. There are many types of stupid questions. Some people don’t pay attention. They don’t have the right to ask a question unless they are paying attention. If they are paying attention and you didn’t get it across, then YOU need that question to help you grow.

    Some people don’t practice what you’ve already taught them several times. They don’t have a right to ask questions unless they’ve practiced. If they have practiced and they don’t get part of the Waza, have them demo the Waza to you ON AN UKE and you will “see/feel” what Master Key they’ve left out.

    In my own studios a tape recorder is mandatory. So is a notebook.

    All our clients also take private one-on-one trainings with a certified (trained to teach) black belt. The student must tape the lesson, and then at his next lesson he is required to bring an outline of that taped session and hand it to his instructor BEFORE his lesson starts.

    If there are any questions he can at that time tell you what they are, or show you where they are. Then, a question is really a question and not a “slacker’s” excuse for not doing well.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette
    Author, “Cognitive Restructuring Techniques for Martial Arts Athletes” 1986

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to John M. La Tourrette For This Useful Post:

    hemi (02-15-2007)

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Nice points you've made, Dr. Tourrette. May I ask permission to include what you wrote as a reference into my Personal Study Guide? Thank you.

    - Ceicei
    Studying martial arts is for life, not for the color of the belt.

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    Cool Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    I Love to teach because I always learn

    something I never considered when I get

    " what if " questions , as long as they are

    not trivial .

    KC KENPO

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Dr. La Tourrette,

    Wow, thank you sir for taking the time to respond so thoroughly that gives me a lot to think about the next time I feel that I have a question in class.
    A black belt covers 2" of your butt. Covering the rest is soley up to you

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Quote Originally Posted by KC_KENPO View Post
    I Love to teach because I always learn

    something I never considered when I get

    " what if " questions , as long as they are

    not trivial .

    KC KENPO
    It's amazing what you can learn from a beginner and/or the lower ranks isn't it? They see the Kenpo world through "new eyes."
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    Quote Originally Posted by John M. La Tourrette View Post
    Third, is the student just a blabber mouth? If he is, and just asks stupid unimportant questions because he feels it makes him seem smarter, then tape his mouth shut so he can learn. Many people, when they talk and ask questions, have turned off their kinesthetics and their visuals so it is impossible for those to “do” any Waza.
    Here’s a funny story. A few years back one of my clients was just that way, and he did want to learn. So I made him shut up. He was NOT allowed to talk at all during his lesson. In fact I threatened to duck tape his mouth (smile when you state that).
    Mr. La Tourrette, with respect, your comments about taping a student's mouth shut are innappropriate and wrong (whether you say it with a smile or not). Have you ever actually done this or is it just a threat to get the annoying questioner to stop talking? While you may find it amusing, it undermines the respect that an instructor must have for his students, and they for him. While I can understand your frustration with students who ask inane and disruptive questions, I'm quite sure someone with your experience should be able to find a better way to deal with this issue.

    With your advanced age, you are from the old school and the school of hard knocks, but taping a student's mouth shut is going too far. Way too far in my opinion.
    Last edited by kenposearcher; 02-13-2007 at 12:43 PM.

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    >Nice points you've made, Dr. Tourrette. May I ask permission to include >what you wrote as a reference into my Personal Study Guide? Thank you.
    >- Ceicei

    Thank you for asking Ceicei.
    It would be an honor to have you do so.
    Please excuse the minor mis-spellings and punctuation errors.
    I normally only proof-read if I'm writting for publication.
    Feel free to ask me any questions about "teaching" that you want to know more about.
    Sincerely,
    Dr. John M. La Tourrette
    Ph.D. Sports Psychology 1987, Columbia Pacific University

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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    >Dr. La Tourrette,
    >Wow, thank you sir for taking the time to respond so thoroughly that gives >me a lot to think about the next time I feel that I have a question in class.

    Thank you Hemi.
    I love the martial arts.
    I love the respect people have for others in the arts that they have sweated with to learn those skills.
    I'm glad you noticed that my post was NOT really about questions, but about something much higher than questions.
    Sincerely,
    Dr. John M. La Tourrette
    37 years in Kenpo Karate

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    Zer0DazE is offline
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    Default Re: Questioning your instructor/s?

    everyone in our class is expected to ask atleast 1 question about what we learned that day when the class is over. we are encouraged to ask during class as well.

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