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17

Typically, the correct way to approach this is personally, away from the rest of the class. If you have a problem with the way an instructor conducts himself, then, if it's important enough to warrant being brought to their attention, going to them one-on-one and requesting a private moment of their time is proper. It's important to not seem combative or ...


17

Jack has some very good points. Observe a class, or better yet, join in if you may. This is crucuial. Don't sign anything, without trying it first. If they don't allow trial classes or even spectators, this is not the place for you. Also, be careful about signing long term contracts, especially if there's a clause in it that forbids you to practice ...


13

In my experience this is not a good way to learn, no matter how capable a teacher you are. I'm not saying that it won't work, just that the chance it being successful is very low. Any martial art takes a lot of time, patience and discipline to learn. Outside of the dojo these things can all be in short supply. Training at the dojo forces you to make the ...


10

What Use Lineage? A traceable lineage neither guarantees a quality training environment nor a legitimate experience. One should also keep in mind that Asian martial arts have a tendency to embellish their relationships and lineages. For example, it's common in Japanese arts for a soke to claim he was the only student of his teacher, or for a practitioner to ...


9

First off, there's a difference between teaching and doing. Depending on the art you are in, there may not be a big difference (e.g. Aikido). In different arts, particularly sport or combative arts, there's a large gulf between being a good teacher and being a good practitioner (e.g. TKD). It's not impossible to be both, or find someone who can do both ...


9

First, about children's ranks vs. adult's ranks... Child black-belts are not uncommon in the world of Karate and Taekwondo. But when there are child black-belts, they are generally awarded that rank in the "children's" rankings. This rank is not generally the same as an adult black-belt. At least in most schools. In some schools, there's no distinction ...


9

Something to understand: In Japanese society, the Sempai / Kohai relationship is largely organic. In a status-based society, the senior and junior naturally recognize their obligations to each other, and follow these social norms without issue. In Japan, the Sempai / Kohai relationship is not simply a one-way relationship. It's not simply the junior having ...


8

My answer here is going to be very similar to my answer to What qualifies a school or business as a legitimate martial arts system? The short answer is: "It isn't unless you think it is or you are operating in a culture that thinks it is, and then only to the degree that you accept it as valid." Lineage is frequently claimed, but difficult if not ...


8

Here are some things I have done before joining a new dojo: Find out if you can observe a class. This is great opportunity to observe the environment of the dojo and get a sense for the teaching style of the instructor(s). Ask to speak to the sensei before joining. Explain your martial arts background and experience so the instructor will have an idea of ...


7

You will be able to tell a good teacher by evaluating the students. Students should be: Engaged in the class Proficient in the material for their rank (Assuming they aren't brand new belts) Of a wide variety of ranks (not all brand new or been there for years) If the students display the above, then the instructor is presenting the material in a way that ...


6

Have the adult conversation with the instructor in question. Let them know that you have some feedback from people that have left, that they felt that their introduction was too advanced for a novice and leave it at that. Don't put words in people's mouths but provide the constructive critical feedback. If they are upset at your feedback, you have a ...


6

As with any type of job, class or organization try and raise the issue in private in a one on one session. This will ensure that the instructor, owner or leader does not feel threatened or disrespected and become defensive or combative. It's important to try and not make them feel threatened or that your criticizing them. Steer the conversation into as much ...


6

Slugster's answer is a good one to read (I up voted it) but I am going to play devil's advocate. If you relationship is strong and there are no underlying issues, then it can work well. She can practice the things she learns in the dojo with you so she can improve her form. Remember to criticise the actions not the person doing them. the technique is not ...


5

As an adult I've only studied Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Before starting a new gym, I do some research to see what the community has to say. For example, I would Google the gym and maybe ask for a review on a popular martial arts forum. In my opinion lineage is important as well, so before visiting I make sure they're a black belt under a ...


5

I think schools can have whatever rules they think is best. The idea people "should" do a particular thing is a bit bogus, it's really whatever they want. They could require everyone to wear pink and speak klingon if they like. You just don't have to go to those schools if you don't like the rules. I personally have never been to a MA school which has ...


5

I co-sign the preceding answers. As a ostensible "lineage holder" myself, my contribution is more personal: I'm a direct student of a famous grandmaster swordsman, from whom I have a fabulous diploma certifying me as "a master." He officially made me a lineage holder and expressly permitted me to teach the discipline, use its symbol, and propagate the art. ...


4

I view the dojo as a place to train and lean a martial art. Therefore anything that is not directly related to this, I will either ignore as a student or stomp on as an instructor. I include in this both politics as martial art organisation(s) politics and religion as in boogly and magic stuff. Now, after class and in the pub/bar, it is the perfect time ...


4

Note: This is from my own perspective training within a specific style and culture. It is skewed to my own personal experience and observations, but I hope that the thoughtfulness will be valuable to other people. Lineage's importance in relation to credibility or trustworthiness of an instructor and school depends on what you are looking for in martial ...


4

In the dojo I am studying in more senior students are responsible for helping less senior with their techniques, preparing for the tests, etc. It is custom for more senior students to work with more junior ones, which is beneficial both for beginners - they enjoy the best example while their basics are not set yet and they also are more safe since the senior ...


3

I am lucky enough to be the only westerner in an otherwise 100% Vietnamese club, so I think I can help. The words sempai/kohai are obviously not used, but I know who are my "elders" and my "juniors" (I never tried to name the difference before, sorry if it doesn't sound right). The belts have a role, but not only. The elder/junior relationship ...


3

I cannot add more to the answers already there apart form a few advice: be assertive. Assertiveness at work is a good book to have to learn how to do it. Basically, it is looking at how to criticise actions but not the person doing them while focusing on resolving the problem at heart. So instead of saying "Your classes are too hard so new members ...


3

Another couple more tips: Try find out about the lineage of the school. If the master won't reveal who taught him/her, maybe this is not the right place. Also, are members of the school active participants/judges in competitions and various associations? Ask if they have a long-term development programme. My kung fu school has the entire curriculum mapped ...


3

You've gotten some good answers here. Another approach might be to suggest to the head instructor that it might be time for the club to offer different level classes. Most schools separate out beginners from advanced students; if the club has a mix of black belts and newcomers, it would be appropriate for the club to do the same. You might have to offer ...


2

If you ask people who the greatest guitar player in the world was, you would get varied results, but someone would inevitably say that it was Jimi Hendrix. Even if you disagree about Jimmy Hendrix being the best, you have to admit that he was very good. Jimi Hendrix taught himself how to play guitar. I think training at home is fine but I have ...


2

Little Brother gets into trouble, Big Brother bails him out. If you understand this, you understand sempai and kohai. Formalized rules distract you from the main thing. The good stuff is in what's unsaid. The clever will notice that this is the essence of "splitting" in xingyiquan.


2

A senpai/kohai relationship fosters the correct attitude of respectful practice and community. It makes, in a sense, everyone responsible for everyone else's practice - always show the best example, always try your best. The downside to doing it in the US is that, unless there is already some things borrowed from the Japanese culture, it might feel overly ...


2

Just because somebody comes from a certain lineage does not mean he is a good teacher or has certain skills. Lineage charts are pointless as they encourage people to believe that an instructor is a good one just because of his lineage. What about the guys who don't have this fancy lineage? Are they bad teachers? Are they lesser martial artists? It doesn't ...


2

I'm personally skeptical of any school that advertises its lineage prominently, and have never signed up to train at one of them. My reasoning is; don't they have something better to sell me on why they're good? What about the school's values and principles that they expect students to (mostly) follow? Even if I don't feel it's for me, I'm at least impressed ...


2

I don't think the problem should come up. If people are talking so much that it's disrupting the class, that's a problem regardless of what the topic is. It doesn't matter if it's about their hair and nails, politics, religion, bowel movements, the fights on TV last Saturday, or their charity work. I like a rather loose class dynamic with a lot of ...


1

Keith's answer hits the ultimate essence of the issue - it really doesn't matter because you can always look for a new dojo. That said, no matter what, political/religious thought should not be interleaved with training. If that is the case, you are no longer in a dojo, you are in a religious/political school that is teaching you martial arts as well. ...



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