rant about the down hill spiral of my old TKD school
to start off, yes i know this has been done ad nausiem but this really bothered me. I have acknowledged that my organization has some serious McDojang tendencies, but what always made it ok in my eyes was there were still enough people running good schools that it wasn't hard to find good solid sparring and just good training in general. fortunately for me, one of those schools was a 5 min bike ride from my house. i basically got the **** kicked out of me for 4 years because they thought i was a cocky asshole (i was) but i became a fairly compotent tkd practitioner as a result. then i went off to college.
fast forward two years. ive gone back a few times here and there, but this time its been six months between visits. I go back and i am just appalled by what I see. First, the master instructor for the school, a great martial artist (though too kata minded in training), is missing because it is tax season and he is an accountant. so the assistant instructors, people i instructed on their way up, are leading class. And it was awful. no sparring what so ever in the three classes i attended, sloppy kicking, and forms dominated the class.
so its right before promotion test so we run everyone through their forms and self defense. at this point i lost it, becuase the self defense was the worst that i have ever seen, and its always been pretty bad. people are trying to do these fancy combinations that they cant pull off three feet away from their uke and calling it self defense.
at this point i tell everyone they are putting their sparring gear on and we are practicing one steps for the rest of class. i told them that if they tried a technique they couldn't make solid contact with, they were doing pushups and not allowed to do it again. I also questioned them as to why they were doing some of these weird spins and grabbing arms out of no where. they had no idea, they had seen someone else do it. i almost lost my voice that night
fast forward to the promotion test. I take aside all of the instructors one by one and ask them whats happened. they lament my departure along with the past instructors who kicked my ass, and long for a return of the old days. I was like WTF!?! U DO REALIZE U ARE IN ENTIRE CONTROL OF THIS RIGHT? they just kinda shrugged. i told them that they had the power to make sure that we were the best school in the organization, as we had been under my instructors rein, and how i tried to keep it when i was in charge briefly. It was so sad because i told them all they had to do was take charge and be athoritative and they said "but u were like that because u knew what u were doing". I just dont get it, i was there, i taught these people, they know what they are doing. they may not all be as good as me (some are better, but refuse to believe me when i tell them), but they all know what should be done.
this organization has done tons for me and i would do anything for them and our grandmaster knows that and is just a great man. i know he is sad about the way things are too, but its one of those things where he has so many students and can't be there all the time himself, and some of his BB's are just lazy and arrogant, though he has been getting better about kicking those ones out, or at least no longer letting them instruct. I just wish i could do more but I am away at college and cant make it down as often as i would like. I just want my school to still know how to spar when i get back.
/rant. and i know tl;dr
To be fair not all instructors are cut out to lead. Some people are better assistants than full on instructors. Also, how well did you guys lead them?
Not trying to be an ass but, you've been gone six months and they let you take over class. That sounds like followers not leaders. I had similar situation before, I became an instructor. The Head instructor was a fire fighter so, I was there 100% of the time he had months where he made four classes out of 20-26 classes.
We bumped heads because the students looked at me as a Head instructor.
Anyway, what I'm saying is, it sounds like you and the instructor need to retrain these people or realize the old school is dead.
I think what you have found is that turning outgood students is one thing.
Turning out good instructors is another.
How much time was spent while you or your instructor were training them, to also train them as instructors, have them spend some time teaching and then critique (Privately away from students) how they did with the students they were teaching?
I do this periodicaly and often asked why they taught something a certain way because 1. It was not the method i used to teach them, and 2. It did not seem to work!!!
I tod them that the methods I have used to teach have been developed over 30+ years and proven effective and efficient. If they think they have a better way of teaching something they need to show it to me and then we can experiment with it on a student to see how it works. Otherwise they should teach as they have been taught.
i think the biggest problem, and this is at least partly my fault, is they don't understand the REASON that i taught both what i taught and the way i taught. they don't understand the basic concepts of tkd and so they can't do anything other than parrot.
I'm going back a week from today for another week, i think i will have to bring it up to them then.
One issue to consider is the qualification and training for instructor. I took a TKD assistant instructor and referee course back in the day, and was part and parcel to getting the badge and leading the class. (I was denied the badge and further belt tests because I would not quit JJJ)
There is a huge difference in telling someone to go and teach someone a technique, it is quite another to tell them to take over the beginners class and get them ready to test in 6 months (or whatever) for yellow. Teaching martial arts is fun and rewarding, but they have to be able to assess the abilities and strengths of the students.
I am sure you do well, but how do you take those qualities and transmit them to your old school? They will fail if they try to be carbon copies of you, just as you fail to be exactly as your grandmaster. You want to be your own teacher, and you want them to find and nurture the teacher qualities that they have.
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