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Posts Tagged ‘Advice

Giving advice in class

I was doing some dummy work at my Wing Chun class the other day, and noticed a guy working next to me. As part of the green belt test at my school we have to perform the wooden dummy form in a minute or less. This is actually quite challenging as it’s more about the efficiency of motion and proper structure then it is about speed. If you focus on the speed aspect of it, you get stuck using too much power to be fast, you have to force yourself to use relaxed energy.

This of course is just setup for my actual post. So… I was watching this guy doing his form, working on getting it under a minute, which I had just tested for 2 months ago, so it was still fresh in my head. I suggested that he relax, breath, and most of all not lean into the dummy. Leaning into the dummy is a common mistake, one that I still struggle with myself.

I gently said, “you should occasionally stop during your form, and make sure your posture is correct, it looks like you might be leaning forward.”, trying not to say “your form is wrong”. He stopped leaning forward and turned out his form was faster.

He later told me that he started out not really listening to me, to quote him “I was thinking, oh no another sifu wanna be”. This made me realize two things.

One is the importance of listening, I’ve learned things from people that had been at my school for a week, you should take in everything, filter out what doesn’t fit for you. Not just block everything out that doesn’t come from a source that you think is the only one you should listen to (heck, that person might be wrong).

The second is the importance of teaching “softly” when you are not the instructor. When you aren’t an instructor, you are a peer with everyone else in the class and everyone else in the class should be treated as such. When you give advice or direction, you need to do it from a place of respectful consideration, not “my belt is darker, so you need to listen to me”. The more respect you give others the more they will give to you.


Written by Dan

March 30, 2009 at 8:56 am