Friday, May 16, 2008

Teach me to learn

I have never felt like an awesome teacher; mostly because I feel so green and unskilled myself. I am more self-conscious having people see me teach than watching me do forms in line. When Sifu is watching...forget it. I get flustered, so the person I'm teaching then gets flustered, and suddenly neither of us knows what we're doing.

But part of training is mastering yourself mentally and building confidence, so as time has gone on I have gotten somewhat more confident when called upon to impart some grain of wisdom to a newer student.

However, the last few classes, Sifu has had to come and stop me from teaching things straight-up wrong. Last night it was chuji quantuao. I was steadfastly correcting this poor girl's movement when Sifu came over and said "No," and had us revert back to doing it the way she had been originally. This has happened a few times before with other moves, and I am never certain if I was taught something that way or I changed it myself without realizing it.

At first I was pretty upset at myself, and embarrassed for forgetting the most basic form. But I figured, what with different people teaching the same move slightly differently, watching more advanced students and gleaning the details of their forms, unconsciously developing shortcuts, and just plain misunderstanding a movement, it's not surprising that one can end up doing things a little differently. I just have to train harder at always being in the moment and mindful of every move I make, incorporating corrections, and being happy when I get feedback and not embarrassed.


  1. Don't worry about it, it happens all the time. Like I said, I learned chuji quantao the same way you did, and the same thing happened to me, Shifu corrected it while I was showing someone. A few weeks ago I was showing someone fanyao and he corrected my transition.

    The little details of movements and forms aren't the most important part of teaching someone. You have to help them improve themselves and their understanding in general. The core concepts like slowing down and making sure you do a movement right, stopping after each kick or stance to check yourself and fix it, helping people develop their explosive power and extension, things like that. In the end it doesn't matter if your hand is here or there or facing whatever direction.

  2. I think my post came off more worried/upset than I intended. The moral was it's okay to make mistakes as long as you aren't making the same ones over and over again. I like teaching because you inevitably end up learning something; teaching with confidence is important, just be aware that you might confidently be heading the wrong way. :P

  3. One gains confidence from teaching...which is why Sifu asks people to teach, to help them build their confidence even more. One of the things Sifu teaches is to do things in life with confidence, so once again, he is giving you the opportunity to build your own confidence so that you can go out into life with confidence--it is all about the kung fu... :-)