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Learning comes from teaching

Sensei Herb Blue

Teaching is where we learn

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned plenty from all of my instructors. I have learned more about myself, from every student and the challenges that arise and how I deal with them.

My student and business partner asked me to start doing a blog every week. And like my Sensei’s before when I was given a task, I did it again and again, so be prepared.

It’s different working the mind than the body. The body I have learned how to force through the pain, the mind however, has a mind of its own, so to speak. In the days and weeks to come, you will hear more from me and other students at Total Self Defense.

To be a good instructor, first I choose to be a good student. I’ve practiced for so many years and at some point, it feels like I should be only an instructor, however that would stop my growth and passion for the martial arts. That’s the reason I teach, because of my passion for the martial arts.

When I’m working with a student, they are teaching me as much as I am teaching them, for they are a reflection of my words and my actions. When I talk about a technique most students will mimic my actions more that they will do what has been said. When I look at how a student is doing a skill it helps me to focus on what I am showing them, how I am demonstrating with my body. This in turn teaches me more about my skills.

It’s the incredible feeling when I see someone’s eyes light up or have that “Ah Ha” moment, when life all of the sudden makes sense, or that skill that they’ve been working so hard at finally fits. It’s why I love to teach and why I love to learn.

Students can also teach me about dealing with challenges. When a student has trouble with something I break it down to see how I am trying to teach it. Do they learn in this way? Do I need to change my message or how I deliver my message? When a flower does not thrive, I look to change the environment, not the flower.

The more I learn the more I understand there is so much more to learn. I continue to open my mind to new things and see how they fit for me. Much like our style, Wu Ying Tao, we learn the skills to see what will fit ourselves and experiment to see how the skill fits. As in Modern Arnis I look to flow, both in and out of the dojo. And like Arnis Jitsu I look to set what is next and adapt to the situation. Martial Arts are my teacher as well as my students. They show me the truth in what I am teaching.

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