Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Instructor’s Burden

the I who once was
Part of the instructor’s burden is something that did not have as much presence in the past history of karate. I am referring to the availability of the clinic.
First, I am not suggesting what I believe is in any way right for your program. Each program has its own history and rationale.
However in my case, after intense initial instruction in Isshinryu, I went a very complex course of studies with a wide variety of instructors in many arts. And as a result of the forced instruction in Isshinryu I received, I worked really hard to remember what many others shared with me.
When I relocated to Derry, New Hampshire, I integrated some of those studies into my propran, even choosing to honor those instructors by having my students studies include a kata or  form from those programs. There were many other things that were woven into the students studies too.
Now at different times I attended clinics with other instructors to see first hand what they were doing (Shimabukuro Zempo0, George Dillman and Danny Insanto come to mind) those clinics were just for me. On the other hand those who I had trained with intensively, or had the utmost respect for, did provide several dozen clinics for my adult students. I rarely had the youth attend as the material presented was way beyond their studies.
What I quickly discovered that Tris Sutrisno was presenting material at a very fast rate, really teaching me. The others that gave clinics, Ernest Rothrock and Sherman Harrill were again more presenting material I would get more from in the long run, than the students.
By way of example, as my current program had a strong structure, even incredible material often required 5 years of personal study before I found a place to introduce it into the program. That was because the existing material was also good, and nothing was readily set aside, for the new material. Then in time as all became more skilled the time it became appropriate was found in the material they were working on.
A different challenge was material such as Sherman Harrill presented, He held nothing back as shared literally hundreds of technique studies. But the same problem existed, what we were already doing was also good, And again 5 or more years would go by before I could use what they had been shown logically in the program.
I literally have notebooks of notes from those clinics, and many additional video tape records of things that transpired. But everyone knew I would not forget, and then found it easier to set that material aside, not my choice but one they allowed themselves to make.
And so much great material, truly great, that I never found a place for in our studies together.
One of the things you realize is you can’t do everything, no matter how good it is. I could never teach out all the kata, forms I studied. No one has that much free time. And being in instructor is working with the possible, not the impossible, no matter what the reason.
How others deal with this I don’t know, There is nothing wrong with letting students ‘feel’ what others are doing. It just is not the way I choose to follow.
And even to this day, I am mining those old clinics and offering to many suggestions that they might make.
 The instructor’s burden does not end when you step aside from being an instructor.


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