"Private praises, public reprimands"

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by greg1075, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    "Public praises, private reprimands"

    One of my bjj instructors is a boorish 3 stripe purple who never got that memo. He's not a bad guy, just a bit rough around the edges with a penchant for self-aggrandizement and sarcastic belittlement of people not as skilled as him. I don't need a hug but I don't need someone constantly telling me I suck either. Examples of self-aggrandizement include him constantly telling people "[technique X] doesn't work on me" to which I'm like "You think so? Let's see you defend that against a world class bb..."; or claims that he used to tap a guy who started bjj with him and is now a high level brown belt competitor. Our head instructor - whom I love, great guy and teacher - laughs it off and agrees that our man has some growing to do. I sorta could see that tough-love approach if he were trying to groom high level competitors maybe...but we're a small school of hobbyists most of whom stop competing after blue.

    So - "public praises, private reprimands" - do you guys view it as an important (vital?) part of good instruction or not?
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  2. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    I think it a flaw in leadership that your head-instructor would keep someone in leadership position, albeit a junior one, that he publicly admits 'has some growing to do'.

    Not a good sign, IMO.
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    I always looked at from the opposite approach - when someone does something well, I praise them publicly, when they need some advice/guidance/correction, I do it privately. As a public school teacher and martial arts instructor, it has served me well in both areas...
  4. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    suck it up and go about your business. or find another gym.
  5. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    Goofed up. Meant to say "public praises, private reprimands".
  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    It's not ideal, but sometimes it's just badly judged humour.
    Really suck it up, your an adult, your there to learn how to fight, not how to be a happy part of a mutual backslapping society.
  7. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    Thanks for the replies. I think a couple of people are missing the point a bit. I wasn’t really asking about what I should do. I’ve been there for two years (actually testing soon) and not leaving so to answer to that point, I AM sucking it up. The question was more specifically about the “private praises/public reprimands” axiom. But to answer to a couple of the points brought up, I don’t think it has to be "this way or the highway". Seems to me like a pretty callow way to look at this. We’re adults indeed. We can talk and work out differences or at least try to. Dead Pool - you're correct about the humor bit. I think the guy in part does try to be funny though he is definitely aware he is being a schmuck too. There’s a saying about the shortest jokes being the funniest – again, something he seems vastly unaware of. After a while it’s no longer funny…then it becomes a bit annoying…and ultimately frankly irritating. When someone –and an instructor at that - is constantly taking verbal jabs at his students, even if in an attempt at humor, it doesn’t create an atmosphere most conducive to learning and camaraderie, does it? Which brings me to my last point…What is wrong with expecting a decent level of positive social interactions, mutual respect and camaraderie from martial arts? It’s not because we’re there to learn grappling (or any other trade) that the basic rules of social interactions should take a backseat. That’s without even mentioning new students it might totally turn off. I’m not saying give out hugs and a free shirt to everyone who walks in the door, but don’t be a schmuck to them either.

    PS I'm passing on the techniques he screws up (seen him try to demonstrate a DLR sweep and screw it up ten times before finally giving up.

    Oh, a side question: Would you recommend the bridge and roll escape from kuzure kesa?
  8. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Different people respond well to different approaches. Some people don't need or can't take being harshly scolded. Some people work well on the "the more you hate me the more you will learn" approach.

    Personally I'm fine with public criticism (in my own teaching method) as long as it is not unjustly harsh. The goal should be correction of a behaviour or misconception. Whatever succeeds best in at task without undue emotional injury is the best tool for the job IMO.

    Of course that being said I have had instructors who have been beneficial for my education who have used both a kinder and a harsher way of teaching. As long as they are technically competent and can pass on those skills I'm not too concerned with them handling me with kid gloves.

    Your mileage may vary.

    Your purple friend though sounds like he could use a dose of humility.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  9. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Re kuzure kesa -
    It depends on where your hands and their legs are, brace, shoulder walk, bridge and shrimp is my basic approach, roll them (or sit up etc) if its there, but in the main it won't be.

    Re humour, its easy to mistake everyones attention in clasd for a chance to show off your comedy routine, a bit is fine, but too much impacts the quality of the class.
  10. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    I agree with the different approach for different people point. I think that approach is best suited for competitive individuals, a case scenario I mentioned above. When I say "public reprimands", I don't mean mere criticism but something more along the lines of "NO! THAT LOOKED LIKE POO!"...even if there's an underlying (and debatable) haha intention in it.
  11. Giovanni

    Giovanni Well-Known Member Supporter

    so did you talk to the guy? or are you just venting here?

    if you don't like it, and are not willing to talk to the guy, then really you have two choices: suck it up, or leave. of course, you can always complain here on a parallel track. it's cool, we're good for that.

    have you rolled this guy? can you take him?
  12. holyheadjch

    holyheadjch Valued Member

    I don't like the bridge and roll from there, it's too easy for them to post off their free hand when you try to roll them. I find that if I do a big powerful bridge into them, I can often shrimp out the back door, leaving me at least a scramble as they try to transition to side control.
  13. kuntaoer

    kuntaoer Valued Member

    One oh snap wipes out 10 attaboys.
  14. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Ah yes, MAP's world-renowned sense of humor - I almost forgot
  15. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    If an instructor is making students feel uncomfortable, that is unprofessional. If the instructor is unaware of how they are affecting their students, that is probably a bigger problem.

    If the head instructor knows of a problem with one of their instructors and they do not attempt to remedy it, that is also unprofessional.

    It's just poor form and bad training. And messing up a demo to the class like that is unforgivable. If you can't do it, don't show it.
  16. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    I agree, David. I go back and forth about the guy. He has his good moments and like I said he isn’t a bad person. He can be complimentary when a technique is performed smoothly, but he's boorish, cocky and lacks a filter the rest of the time. Problem is, as an instructor at your average school, you can’t go out telling people how much they suck every 2 minutes. It’s poor form and bad training indeed. I agree that different approaches work with different students but it is the instructor’s job to determine what approach is best for whom. He has no clue there. He just mocks and mocks until the technique is done flawlessly. I don’t know what person that “style” would work for, if anybody. There’s a difference between a tough drill sergeant-style training and just gratuitously mocking people for personal gratification.
  17. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    That's why I find it weird how many schools have no kind of coaching programme or teacher training. It seems some places just let anyone "of rank" teach, no matter how good or bad they are at it.
  18. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    Agreed. Regardless of the quality of my previous training, I went through a coaching program and test before I could start teaching.
  19. greg1075

    greg1075 Valued Member

    To clarify, the “he has some growing to do” comment from the head instructor was in reference to the purple belt regularly boasting that whatever technique doesn’t work on him, not the mocking students issue. The latter, I haven’t discussed with the head coach. To answer a previous question, I HAVE talked to the purple about it. He often ridicules people when they get in a bad spot during a roll, peanut gallery-style. I once told him that didn’t work for me and to cut it out. He hasn’t make any in-roll comment since (then again I haven’t been rolling lately because of injuries) but he apparently didn’t get that the comment extends to more than rolling. So I guess I have two options. Either I talk to him again and this time get a clearer, unequivocal message across; or I get the head instructor involved and let him deal with it.

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