Monday, April 17, 2017

Training the Trainers

My teacher, Mark Lynn, has started a program where he is working with empty-hand martial arts instructors and their students on material that they can then turn around and teach in their own schools.

It's a classic, Modern Arnis-y, "art within your art" approach.

He's been doing this a few months now, but this session was the first time I could go and help.  Usually I've had to cover our classes at Hidden Sword that are held at the same time, because Mr. Chick was booked.

Well, lucky me, Mr. Chick was available this time around to cover classes, so I got to go out to Bridgeport, TX and assist with the third session my teacher has offered.

Lemme tell ya, I just LOVE this sort of thing.  That is, when we get to work with experienced martial artists as they are introduced to our style.

I mean, I love working with newbies regardless, but experienced martial artists present a different challenge than completely inexperienced newbies do.  I just relish that particular challenge.

I stood in as my teacher's main demonstration partner.  We worked on our defensive responses #1 (same side block-and-strike), #2 (cross body block-and-strike) and #3 (double block and strike) in our double-stick material.  We then introduced the 12 Angles of attack, supported blocking, and counter-attacking in single stick.

The #9 strike. Via the NTKA Karate Martial Arts Facebook page.

The class had some folks who had attended all three sessions, and some who had only attended one or were brand-new.  I took this group - the least experienced - and continued drilling them on our defensive responses, while my teacher worked with the rest of the group on the single stick material.

When you are teaching you are always trying to find ways to help students relate to the things you want them to learn.  With experienced empty hand players, I usually go back to motions they already know, such as down block = low backhand strike to the knee, aka our #8 strike, or the idea that you don't stop the stick before it reaches the target like you don't stop a punch before it hits the target, and so on.

It's so cool when the penny drops and the lightbulb goes on, it really is.  Aha! It's all the same!  Just as the found of Modern Arnis, Remy Presas, was known for saying all the time.

Like this.
What is different about this class, versus a typical seminar, is that this is aimed at people who will teach what we're showing them to other people.

This means we have to correct (usually) small things here and there, but we also have to show them those small things and teach them how to correct it in people they are teaching.  So we correct them and we teach them to correct others, simultaneously.

It's challenging, and as an instructor, it really makes you think really, really hard, which is always good.  So not only am I teaching others, but I'm learning too.


It was a great session for all of us, and I left physically tired and mentally stimulated.  A great day!

Tell us about your experience learning to teach others.  How did it affect your ability to understand what you do?  Any cool stories? Let us know in the comments!