Monday, November 23, 2009

On Being a Guest Instructor

Being a guest instructor at another dojo is an honour. Particularly so when it's a different style. Especially so when it's a completely different martial art.

I have been invited to teach a ground grappling class at the BCIT Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu dojo tomorrow night. I very much welcome this opportunity in the interest of fostering a good relationship with people in this style, but also for my own development as an instructor.

Teaching students that are not my own is a good exercise. They're used to different ways of receiving information in a different style of class. It is therefore a good way to test my own teaching abilities to help make me more adaptive, and to see the different difficulties a different set of students might encounter.

It's not just me either. I'm quite happy to say that the leadership of our two styles do teaching exchanges. Steve Hiscoe Shihan taught a class at a Shorinji Kan dojo in Ottawa. Andy Dobie Sensei taught a class when he visited Steve Hiscoe Shihan's dojo in Chilliwack.

Being exposed to different ideas allows us to expand on our own knowledge and question concepts that are may be taken for granted. I'm glad to do my part in encouraging an openness to learning in the martial arts world.


Anonymous said...

I think having a guest instructor over once in a while is a good thing for students and teachers alike: for one teachers do have their weaknesses, strengths and specialities and while a solid base is mandatory for everyone teaching everyone will understand techniques better when they're explained by an expert on the matter than someone who's merely good at them. Another benefit, besides those you already mentioned, is that you're exposed to sometimes completely different fighting styles and tactics and open your eyes to the possibilities and benefits of crosstraining. Even if you're not planning on using MMA techniques or methods in your style it's still very useful to see just how these people attack and handle things (given the popularity of this way of fighting) so you can develop effective responses to them and not get caught off guard. Having a good MMA-instructor over at the dojo is a great way of accomplishing this, as I once heard: "the style you don't know is the style that is going to get you".

Ideally as an instructor you should invite instructor either of the same style but with an entirely different area of expertise or hailing from a completely different background that you deem useful to your students and complementary to your style and its inherent weaknesses (this holds true for most styles, especially traditional ones).

Have fun teaching, in any case it is an honour to be asked as this implies confidence in your abilities and area of expertise.


Lori O'Connell said...

I had a wonderful time! Great students and great dojo atmosphere. I`ll be having a guest instructor at my dojo later in December too. :)