Training Log – Different Teaching Styles

Just did two training days this past week, Monday the 26th and Friday the 30th. A recap:

Monday – NSS did his regular schedule at my dojo on Monday nights. Honestly he seems to be in a good mood these days. I’ve seen him on his bad days and those days are not days to be making mistakes! Anyway the class proceeded without any black belts, thus it was all white belts and a handful of senior brown belts – myself included.

The class went without incident. As per his usual teaching pedagogy (teaching strategy), he’d ask the class to congregate in a circle after we’d pair up and train and uke for us to ensure that we had trained properly. I was often called out on that day and on a couple of occasions he muttered a sign of content at my display of the technique.

At one point, he called me out on “studying the technique” too much. Which also meant that I was “studying” my partner – him – too much. It has become a bit of a running gag that I am one of his student who tends to “study too much” of the movement in order to execute it. According to him, if one studies the technique too much, it’s akin to thinking or “being mindful” too much of what is happening, thus interrupting the technique.

And, but default creating the wrong technique, thus screwing up the situation if you do find yourself in a bad situation. NSS’s critiques along with JWS’s have always been some sort of variation of “studying the technique too much”. Gah! Although I’m happy to say that things have improved since the first time they’ve pointed that out.

At least I believe so.

At the end of the training, I asked NSS if he needed me to fold his hakama (since I was the highest ranking belt under 2nd Dan there), having already done it himself, he stated his thanks and perhaps a “next time”. All in all, one of NSS’s better classes.

Friday – Usually this is one of JWS classes, but I apparently didn’t get the memo (or email rather) that he had left for a couple of days. Therefore one of the other Sensei was teaching.

Let’s call him FSS. He is one of the resident 4th Dans at the dojo is around 75 years old! That’s no small feat considering he was one of JWS’s first students in the 80s. As for the two of us, he and I go way back to the first days of my arrival to this dojo, however I will admit it wasn’t under the best of circumstances. Maybe it was because of the circumstances of how I arrived at the dojo – I was in a deep depression at that time – thus my mood wasn’t the best. Whatever it was, ever since then our on-the-mat relationship has always been on-and-off affair. He would treat me nice in front of the students. However, in all the years we’ve known each other he has never picked me as an uke to demonstrate in front of the class whenever he was teaching.

I suppose this is my ego/I talking, but after all of my appearances in front of the class with JWS and NSS, I found it…weird the FSS would always pass me over. Personal preference? I can accept that but I can’t shake the feeling that he is somehow always passing me over for a specific reason (or for a set of reasons). Maybe it’s just personality? I have not been the best dojo member in the past year, but it’s just between FSS and I.

Which leads me to my main point: it seems that whenever he teaches, I feel like I’m thrown off my game. I have trained with FSS before as a student in his classes and as a training partner during mass trainings but this is the first time I feel that it seems that his teaching method is throwing me off.


Teaching method? How dare I? I can only describe what I feel. I guess I’m too use to JWS and NSS’s classes and their styles. FSS’s style just seems…dry? Underwhelming? Different? I guess all I’m describing here is something that goes through most minds of martial artists when they’re starting out and training. There are teachers who we click with immediately, those who we click with in time (as in my case), and those who we just don’t click with at all – despite our best intentions.

This add to that fact that there’s a certain uncomfortability issue surrounding the two of us an odd situation. Regardless, it’s probably a good thing that I rarely train under him. I won’t accuse of him of deliberately ruining my training – but the realization of how different he was compared to NSS and JWS was very apparent just this past Friday.

That’s all for now, till next time!


3 thoughts on “Training Log – Different Teaching Styles

  1. Rick – Absolutely
    CTK – I have thought of that. But the relationship is good to the point off the mat we’re cordial, it’s just when he’s teaching that’s when stuff happens. It’s a good divide between what he teaches and who he is. At this point I feel there’s no need to rock the boat. Thanks for the tip though.

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