Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Martial Arts Training While Mute

Today, I did an interesting little experiment with my class. When we came to practice our hold escapes, I told everyone that for tonight's class, talking would not be allowed amongst the students. If students were caught talking, there were to do 10 push-ups.

Because I keep my class sizes fairly small, my students are very friendly with each other. They try to help each other in whatever way they can. What they don't realize, however, is that sometimes this willingness to help hinders their fellow students' development somewhat. Sometimes, students go into lengthy explanations about things that need to be fixed. And while I appreciate the cooperative gesture, sometimes it's better to just let the student try to work on it for themselves.

The two main things I felt everyone was able to learn from this exercise were as follows:

1. Less talking means more training. By having less discussion about the techniques the students were working on, the students were able to devote more time to practice. Much of the time, students are able to work out their own problems simply by practicing. If more explanation was required, however, they were allowed to ask the instructor for assistance. And instructors tend to be better at explaining things in a succinct, effective way.

2. Most things that need explaining could be done through gesture alone.
While sometimes it is necessary to use analogies to help students who are really struggling, 90% of the time students can be helped with minor gestures and physical corrections that require little to no explanation.

At the end of the class when I explained theses ideas to my students, I saw a lot of nodding heads. There really is no replacement for practice.

No comments: