Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Going Off the Beaten Track of Curriculum Training

I am a firm believer in having a set curriculum to guide students through their development in a martial art. A good curriculum is well-rounded and strategically builds a student’s skills in the long run, providing a strong foundation on which each new layer of skills is built. The curriculum is the straightest, fastest, easiest road to take to get to the destination of martial arts excellence.

That being said, there are times when an instructor will, without warning, pull her students off the straight road of the curriculum and take a more scenic route. On this route, she’ll give the students a glimpse of sights that are off the beaten track, visiting little towns that have a timeless beauty because they are so isolated from the efficiency and fast-paced lifestyle of urban centres (or standard curriculum). The instructor shows her students maneovres and techniques that follow different principles or are harder to master, sometimes a lot harder. If the instructor doesn’t revisit these little towns every so often, she may forget the complicated directions to get there.

It is unlikely that the students will be able to become competent in these techniques in such a short time. The students usually quickly forget the circuitous route to get to these little towns, but at least they’ll know of their existence. Then, one day, they’ll stumble upon one of these towns when they least expect it. And because of a side trip their Sensei took them on many moons before, they’ll better recognize and appreciate its rare beauty.

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