Sunday, August 8, 2010

How do you repay your teacher?

Many martial arts teachers devote countless hours to their classes. It begins in their training before they become a teacher; it takes years to earn the right to teach, generally. Then it continues both in class and outside of class as they prepare lesson plans, make time to practice on their own (it's often very hard to train effectively while you're teaching...), attend clinics and seminars to further their own knowledge so that they can share it with students... And the list goes on. Even for the commercial studios, I know several that the owner has to either maintain a side job or even a full-time career because the training hall doesn't come close to supporting the family. Personally... I've probably spent several tens of thousands of dollars out of my own pocket -- not even counting paying club dues when I was a student! And I don't even know where to count the time invested.

Why does a teacher do this? How do you pay your teacher back for all they give you? I'm not angling for donations or justifying class fees; I don't and will not teach Bando commercially. Trust me... our club isn't anywhere near in danger of becoming a full time job for any of our instructors!

It's actually simple. Practice. Train. If you have the opportunity down the road to pass along the art -- do so faithfully. Repay our time with your time; repay the thought and effort we put into your training by practicing on your own, by taking the lessons to heart and making them your own.

So, how much should you practice on your own? That depends. How good do you want to be? Master Manley has said:
If we are to reach
heights of extreme Excellence
Being completely without flaw
Then we must strive
to make it at least that
before we make it more.

Master Manley's response, if you ask him if he's any good at martial arts is that "They say I am... I don't know. I'm still training."

So... Ask yourself: Have I repaid my teachers? Am I still training?