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MSphinx
1/16/2007 8:04am,
I apologise in advance for what is essentially an angry rant with a question tacked on at the end. I just wanted to vent.

I've been doing Muay Thai in a really good gym for a year and a half now. The class is good, the instructor knows both technique and how to teach people well, everyone spars from the beginning, the people are friendly and we have some skilled fighters at amateur to semi-pro level.

Then I found this school with a good name to it, and they offered more than one type of martial art in the membership which presented an opportunity to cross-train. Before you become a member, you get a free class, then you pay every month via standing order. I went for the free class, starting with MT since it's the one I know a little about.

After some warm up with the focus mitts and some clinchwork, the class was split into people who've been there for more than a few months and the rest. As it was my first time there I was obviously placed with the newbs, even though the instructor knew of my previous experience.

While the others sparred, we were left to train some low kicks, tapping them into each other with no force. Our instructor showed us the kick a few times then let us have a go at it. I was paired with a guy who said he'd never done this before. I said it's cool, I know a little bit about it and we'll be fine. He of course kicked too stiff, with no movement of the hips, no pivot on the standin leg, and connecting with the instep. I corrected him by showing him the proper technique, and our instructor saw what I was doing.

"Hey, don't you walk in here and assume you can teach my students".

Now, I the man probably didn't trust the fact that I told him I had some idea of what I was doing. Still, he didn't have to be a dick about it. And I'm pretty sure if the first thing your student does when you teach him how to do a low roundhouse is kick with his instep, you have failed at life.

This little argument got to me later on when we were practicing kicks with one thai pad and one focus mitt. My partner, who didn't even know what a thai pad was until I told him, held the pads nearly vertical as if for an uppercut, and I was too hesitant to correct him now in case I got my ear chewed off again. I ended up twatting my foot against my partner's elbow on the arm that held the focus mitt. Bah.

The unfortunate thing is, if I stick it out, I think I might learn something. This gym has more big, tough looking guys than my old one. I don't know how many of them are fighters, but guaranteed some of them are. The aliveness is there, just not for beginners. Also, few times we did get some instruction the guy was informative.

I'm not going back though.

Does anyone currently tough it out with a martial arts instructor they really, really don't like? Has anyone left an otherwise good school simply because they can't stand their teacher? At what point does it stop being strictness and start being douchebaggery?

plasma
1/16/2007 8:12am,
While the others sparred, we were left to train some low kicks, tapping them into each other with no force. Our instructor showed us the kick a few times then let us have a go at it. I was paired with a guy who said he'd never done this before. I said it's cool, I know a little bit about it and we'll be fine. He of course kicked too stiff, with no movement of the hips, no pivot on the standin leg, and connecting with the instep. I corrected him by showing him the proper technique, and our instructor saw what I was doing.

"Hey, don't you walk in here and assume you can teach my students".






He was in the correct and you were wrong. I would of said the same thing. When you start with a new instructor you should humble yourself to his instruction, otherwise why are you there? If you want to teach, open your own class.

You were out of line. apologize then continue.

MSphinx
1/16/2007 8:30am,
I didn't want the kid to learn a bad habit from the start.

Muqatil
1/16/2007 8:32am,
What's the point of going if you are going to hate it?

While asking the instructor to help the student would have been preferable, he didn't need to be snippy.

Maybe it was an off-day for him. Give it another try. Apologize for any misunderstanding and see if that makes a difference. If you still decide he's a dick and you aren't enjoying it, go somwhere else.

Uechidude
1/16/2007 8:37am,
I would say, you were in the wrong, but the instructor could have handled it a little better. I would take you aside and tell you how things are, not try to humiliate you in front of the class, be it his school , or not.

sochin101
1/16/2007 8:38am,
Does anyone currently tough it out with a martial arts instructor they really, really don't like? Has anyone left an otherwise good school simply because they can't stand their teacher? At what point does it stop being strictness and start being douchebaggery?

As someone who has taught (albeit only basics to new students), there's nothing more annoying than a well-meaning amateur, and I don't mean that disrespectfully to you. I'm not even going to get into students' parents calling out encouragement and technical analysis (Go on, son, punch him in the balls etc) during lessons.

If you had been in a class I was assisting in, I would have preferred you to call my attention to it and wait for an instructor to demonstrate the technique to your partner.

As for the douchebaggery... he could have been a bigger dick: I've known strictness and discipline enforced with rigorous sparring sessions against senior students. Krotty death-squad FTW.


As for the second part of your question, I stuck with a club with a poor instructor because A) we could do pretty much what we wanted. B) We got to train with a group of like-minded meatheads. C) Good organisation above him with access to some excellent courses.

HonkyTonkMan
1/16/2007 8:43am,
I understand why you corrected the guy, but it wasnt your place to do so. The best way to handle it would have been to just do it correctly, and hopefully the guy could learn from watching you.

As pl4zm4 said. Dont go into a school on the first day and correct anyone. Let the guy see that you know a little bit, before you "help out."

Of course that doesnt mean he can be a dick. If you want to stay, then go talk to the guy, and tell him that you didnt mean to offend him, or presume to teach his class. If he gives you attitude then you are in the wrong place.

The BJJ place I go to, told me up front, "We dont allow ego's here. Check it at the door, or dont train here." That included the instructors.

If you feel that you are going to have a problem with this guy, it will only hamper your training. Dont waste your time.

Tonuzaba
1/16/2007 9:15am,
My take at your problem is:
Not talking about you, but sometimes jerks come in and think they already know everything better than everybody else and thus they can spend their time explaining and "teaching". They have to be warned to change their behaviour. Unless they can beat the instructor, they have to STFU and train hard.
If you liked the gym and the training (of the advanced group), give it another humble try.
You don't have to fall in love with the instructor - if he's teaching good stuff in a good way, swallow your pride, your goal being not to wed him, but to learn as much as it's possible from him...

If you're a student: Being paired to train with a complete newb/absolute dummy sucks.

Try to do the technique as good as you can, whisper to the guy trying to correct his moves, don't stop training and start explaining - that's not what you're there for. Wait until the instructor/assistant comes near or starts to show another technique and ask him to watch if you and your partner do it right. Hope there's opponent-swapping involved...

If you're an instructor: Seeing a first time student correct another new student sucks.

Watching newbs and correcting them all around the clock - practising bad habits isn't good for anybody. Explaining to the explaining new student in a decent manner, that there are other people there for the explaining... Telling the obviously less talented person to watch the ones who are better off at that stage. Make them change training partners.

MSphinx
1/16/2007 9:27am,
Yeah, I know I really shouldn't have tried to help my partner. It's just that in my old gym it I was already known by my instructor to be competent enough to do so, and I guess I just forgot I had to start over upon entering a new school.

Thanks, I think the red mist is fading.

ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE
1/16/2007 9:31am,
It seems kinda odd to me, where I train at we're encouraged to talk to each other and correct each other when we see a mistake, if a pair is getting a technique wrong then it's the guy whos receiving the techniques fault for not pointing out the problem as much as it is the other guys fault for getting it wrong.

Having said that, if the instructor spotted you teaching something new when you yourself are a new guy you would get told to stop.

sochin101
1/16/2007 9:34am,
Yeah, I know I really shouldn't have tried to help my partner. It's just that in my old gym it I was already known by my instructor to be competent enough to do so, and I guess I just forgot I had to start over upon entering a new school.

I think if you tell your new instructor exactly that, you should be all square and ready to go.

octaviousbp
1/16/2007 9:45am,
Yeah, I know I really shouldn't have tried to help my partner.

Well, it's not a matter of not opting to help your partner, but as others have mentioned, you might want to go about it another way. As an instructor, I have no problem with students giving pointers to other students as long as it is in line with what we are trying to do at the gym. However, I won't stand by and watch someone with no experience lead a fellow student down the wrong path. Once every month or so, or when there is a noticeable influx of new students, I will remind students that if they notice something wrong in their partner's technique, to let me know (or another instructor) so that I can explain the proper way.

And on a slightly related note, in most cases, if someone comes into the gym and tells us they have previous experience, we don't really give them the benefit of the doubt. If they want to jump into a more advanced class, we ask them to take an intro anyways so we can guage where they should be. I can't count how many times someone has come in with "years of experience" and almost tripped over their own feet while shadowboxing.

Rubber Tanto
1/16/2007 9:50am,
I understand you meant well but going into a class for the first time and showing someone how o do a tech looks like your trying to show people "hey I have experience...I'm not a newb like the rest of you."

As to the instructors method of handling it, I don't agree with it, but you say there are a lot of rough looking guys there. You don't know what type of smart arses have come in being hero's in their fist class in the past. Sometimes not everything is clear in one single glance.

Art
1/16/2007 1:31pm,
I think everyone else has basically covered the reasons behind the instructor coming after you, but in terms of sticking it out there I would simply mention that even if he is an amazing instructor you have to be able to develop a connection with them. If you can't connect with them no matter how good of a coach they are you want get the maximum benifit of the training than with a coach you can trust.

Meh some instructors are just high strung and territorial. Guess that's the nature of the beast.

phuquedup
1/16/2007 1:53pm,
Instructors tend to be leery of students with previous experience attending free trial classes. He might have had a negative experience in the past and thus overreacted.

Its completely your judgment call, but all else equal I would say give it another go, maybe after talkin to him briefly. If you're able to see eye to eye in mutual respect, consider trying a month. Speakin for myself, as much as I like standup, I dont think I could go back to a single-sport school. crosstraining is just too much fun.

plasma
1/16/2007 3:19pm,
I didn't want the kid to learn a bad habit from the start.


Thats not your job, thats the instructor. If you really cared, you should ask the instructor:

"I think we/he is doing it incorrectly. Can you watch for a second?"