The best instructor ?

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by Shihan, Aug 20, 2006.

  1. Shihan

    Shihan Valued Member

    Who do you believe makes the best instructor for real life self defense? Law enforcement/military personnel or a world class tournament fighter? Is it about the real skill and knowlegde, or the practical use of how they use their skills? For example: Does a good tournament fighter translates into a good street fighter? Just because a person is in law enforcement, does that make them an authority on realistic self defense?
  2. iron_ox

    iron_ox Jungki Kwan Midwest

    If these are the choices, niether.
  3. JimH

    JimH Valued Member

    To me ,the best instructor for REAL LIFE Self Defense is one who has learned their art,trained in their art,teaches the art and has tested the art in a Realistic non compliant fashion,trained through means of scenarios or Real Life which allow us to see various stages,levels and methods of attack.

    If one has never faced a threat then what they teach is threory based on some one elses views and teachings,to experience a threat we are either flung into it in real life or we make our training as close as possible to Reality to justify that what we we teach as Self Defense.

    Self Defense begins way before the conflict stage:
    Self Defense begins with awareness.
    If a threat is seen then it should be avoided if possible.
    If unable to avoid then we should try a form of dialogue,(dialogue to try to stop the fight or dialogue to engage the opponents mind so we may have a second to act).
    If dialogue fails and the fight looks or is going to happen then do we preempt (act First) or do we wait.
    Are we forced to react/reply.
    We must finish the conflict as fast as possible because the longer we are engaged the more chance we have to be injured or killed.
    Then we have post conflict actions of self triage and possible communications with authority.

    Of the three choices,the best of the three would be a police officer as they experience varied levels of violence on a changing scale daily.
    The problem is many choose one of their other weapons prior to hand to hand,(radio for help,Mace,Baton then pistol) many train H2H as a way to make space to employ a weapon.
    They are though in a better position due to their jobs to fill,use, or have seen the use of requiremnets for self defense as listed above.

    The military is under a different rule as applied to self defence.
    On the battlefield it is life or death so taking a life is justified,where as those tactics on the street would be,possibly, illegal unless modified,thus arts like WWII combatives were/are deadly and viscious,now we have sport based training as said to be a form of combatives,which it is not,it is to be used to develop a fighting spirit and allow for unit cohesion over true H2H on the battlefield.

    The sport fighter trains under a set of rules in which they know the rules and both agree to the terms for the fight.They know what is and is not allowed,in true self defense all is allowed to be done to us and will be and we are obligated to fit the response to the guidelines of the law.

    A sport fighter and a military fighter have the tools to fight on the street they just must take those tools and find out how to employ them in a Real world situation and as governed under the law.

    Just my view
  4. Shihan

    Shihan Valued Member

    Why would either be the choice, and who would you pick/suggest, would make a good instructor?
  5. iron_ox

    iron_ox Jungki Kwan Midwest

    Hello all,

    First, I just want to say that I have nothing but respect for police, military personnel. With that said, most of them don't really have the first idea about what self defense is for the average person, let alone how to teach it. Most have very limited training in enviroments outside those of their professions.

    Military personnel are trained to engage and eliminate enemy combatants - not self defense, even if they "defend" a position during a fight, I have met only a few veterans who have ever engaged in open hand combat, and those that do are simply out to kill the enemy in the quickest possible way - not really a viable solution for training the majority of people.

    Police, well, they deal with more realistic scenarios in the common mans world, but their role is the enforcement of laws - not having to defend against random assault. They are actively engaged in contacting and pursuing those that most of us in the self defense trade tell our students to stay away from.

    Full contact ring play has nothing at all to do with self defense.

    Now, while I believe that there may be some in any and all of these fields that may have the experience and even the technique to teach adequate self defense, a good teacher is (wait for it...) someone who can teach. Teaching is a skill, and although it can be intuitive in some, it is best learned by years of modeling and training with someone that is a good teacher.

    A good teacher has the ability to explian the nuance of technique, why it works and why it will work for me. I think it is very useful to train in a non-compliant enviroment when students are ready, but really see no need for some of the elaborate role-play engaged in by so called "reality based" self defense instructors - this stuff is just smoke and mirrors to me to draw a bigger crowd.

    I am also not a fan of the "I've been in ____ fights in bars and the street" - these types of guys are too dumb for their own good - and really can't model the theory most core to self defense that if you ain't there, there ain't no fight...

    A good teacher, as Jim mentioned, must have the ability to model and demonstrate awareness, and verbal skills - the two thngs that end MOST fights. In addition, the good teacher must have the ability to adapt technique to each student to suit their particular needs. I believe that this ability to model adaptation is crucial to good instruction.

    Good teachers are formed in a learning process that takes time, from other good teachers. Again, from the three examples you picked, there may be good teachers in that bunch - but based on the criteria that I use to judge, probably very few in that bunch would rate. I will also admit that I am biased - my BA is in Education, so this training forms much of what I see as needed in a good teacher.
  6. Shihan

    Shihan Valued Member

    The best instructor

    Thank you for your answer Iron Ox,

    It was honest and inspirational. I've been an asst instructor at my old dojang, and had my Sabumnim to correct any mistakes or oversight I might have made. I would like to teach in the immediate future, and would like to do my best to be what you and JimH explained in the thread. I have the privilege of training with JimH and our Sabumnim, Master Medina, so I believe I'm on the right track. But I like to get as much knownledge on a subject as possible. And I understand your bias. I have teachers in my family and have the utmost respect for them. Thanks again.
  7. Choiyoungwoo

    Choiyoungwoo Guest

    I concur. I O is right on.
  8. Developing

    Developing Valued Member

    Awesome post Iron Ox. I especially like the part where you said (wait for it) "a good teacher is someone who can teach." So simple an obversation yet so often unnoticed.

    I consider myself a "little kid" in the world of martial arts in that I've only been training for roughly 6 years. And I say that in comparison to someone who has been training for 20 to 30 yrs or more would in my opinion be an "adult" in the arts. But within that short time span I have seen my fair share of instructors. Mind you I've stayed primarily in the same system but just have come into contact with various instructors. And I have been called a "poor student," by some and a "great student" by others. One instructor called me "unspiritual" and a bad student because I didn't get a technique he was showing me immediately.

    Now this was a few years ago and that same instructor who saw me recently remarked at how much I had improved. But that was after coming into contact with an instructor who was just the opposite as he was and was willing to "teach" me. I must emphasize again how strong Iron Ox's message was. A good instructor should be patient with his or her students and should not loose it because a particular student might take a little longer to learn something than they might have.

    All the yelling, cursing, and even threatening students that I have seen from some instructors is the exact opposite of how a good instructor should behave.
  9. JimH

    JimH Valued Member

    Yes ,I agree and said someone who can teach,but teach what and from what aspect?

    We are not talking about someone who can take a student and show them how to do a good kick or joint lock or throw,we are talking about teaching someone REAL Self Defense,not something static and compliant.

    I have been around ALONG time and few if any schools do more that train in static fashion.

    Few if any even talk about awareness,avoidance and dialouge,most teach and focus soley on the contact phase and this is not self defense,this is the fight side,the "oh I am in the Real thing here and if I kept my ego in check maybe I wouldn't be fighting" side.

    I have seen so many so called Self Defense schools and Many Hapkido schools that just stand in front of each other and do techniques with compliant partners with the self throws and rolls and we have the students believe this is the real deal and this will save your butt in a Real encounter.

    I have seen teachers who say I make my students do 20-30 minutes of hard exercise before they test so they can see what it is like in a Real Fight,well tiring a student is not adrenaline training no matter how you cut it.

    I have seen few if any use dynamic pressured attacks with controlled but hard responses.

    I have seen few talk of going preemptive and striking first,because we train in self defense,so we must always be reactionary rather than actionary.

    Yes a Good ,knowledgable teacher should be able to teach you self defense,but without more than good technique and static energy exchange this is not self defense training,and if we rely on the so called battle tested,or Real life uses done by others ,when we ourselves have never had a true adrenaline dump or been in a fight that moves and flows so fast we cannot make more than one -two Real Martial arts looking moves then we are teaching theory and developing false security as a Real encounter is nothing like training.

    You want to try Real training next time you teach a class grab your senior student,without warning, and scream in his face and push him back ,then grab him in a double lapel grab and run him into a wall and see what he does in response,most will do nothing because they have never experienced this in training and this is what seperates Reality from theory.

    After it is over ask what he thought?,what was going through his mind?,why didn't they do anything?

    Don't want to do it in a class setting ,turn out a light in the dressing room or in a hall way to ,or in,the dojo/dojang and then stand in the shadows and just jump out at a student or grab them and watch them scream,yell,freak out,this is Reality and few if any do it,and in Reality this is how an attcak happens and in the time it takes the student to scream and freak they have been taken by surprise and they are so far behind the reactionary curve they will not come back and Defend themselves.

    A Scenario like that will show you more about what Reality is and what is missing in many classes and will open yours and your students eyes to what immediate reaction drills and immediate actions to attack are supposed to be.

    If you already do Realistic ,surprise scenarios then you are teaching Self Defense,if you are teaching nothing realistic but static and staged attacks and defenses then you are not teaching Self Defense you are teaching tools without truth in application.

    Hey but you are still a Martial artist, a teacher teaching what was taught to you and you do it well,you are just not a Self Defense instructor who is imparting realism.

    I can teach you to cook,but that does not make you a chef.
    I can teach you to Paint but that does not make you an artist.
    I can teach you write but that does not make you an author.
    I can teach you how to drive a car but that sure as crap does not mean you can drive as a bodyguard in Iraq or in the Winston Cup.

    I can teach you tools and techniques but that does not mean it is self defense.

    Same teachings same skills different needs in different environments.

    Just my view
    I can charge Shihan and he will either deflect me before I get hands on ,or if he allows me to get hands on he will know to move off line and respond with immediate action of application.

    When we train I grab Him and he grabs me and we push,pull shove and make it dynamic,attackers with intent to attack and immediate responses ,those make Realistic Self Defense.

    When we go into techniques we make the attacker comply by softening him at every turn,we attack,strike,create balance disruption and then attack the joint,it is not given it must be earned.
    That is Realistic training which prepares one for true self defense.

    Again My opinion based on what I see true Self Defense Training to be about.
  10. Marc Matson

    Marc Matson New Member

    I agree with you that there should be a certain degree of reality introduced when the student is ready to accept it; by this I mean strong grabs, real punches, and countering technique.

    That said I believe that while many of the "reality training" ideas can be helpful I also think that they can end up being an end in and of them self because no matter how you train you are still in the safety of the dojang.

    How can you prepare a student for the reality of someone who wants to do real damage or mayhem to him or her? You can train someone very aggressively and while this will help it is still not the same as when you are facing someone who will not stop until he is wearing your testicles as a necklace.

    How can you prepare the student for the fact that after they perform their takedown and then go to strike the attacker on the ground that they are going to have to ground and pound the guy bloody Tito Ortiz style if they have any hope of getting away. No matter how you practice it ain't the same.

    How are you going to prepare the student who has just turned a knife attack back to the attacked and he is screaming, and bleeding, and leaking fluids onto the ground as he is gripping your shirt telling you to please help him.

    These things can't be taught no matter how much "reality training" will never be able to help with.

    I your training methods may help some students overcome some of the psychological factors of a fight for your students but it is not "reality".

    A teacher should focus on teaching the techniques and subtle aspects of the art.

    P.S. Right on Kevin!!! :)
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2006
  11. JimH

    JimH Valued Member

    Hi Marc,
    I agree,reality training no matter how close we bring it in the dojang to the street is still a few levels below what a true encounter is,but it is the best that we can do and giant steps up the ladder from static training with compliance.

    You want the student to get used to blood buy some stage blood and put it on them or the attacker.
    Let's say we have our student go for a knife and get their hand/s cut,put the stage blood on and have him/her see what it is like to try and make grabs when the hands are slippery and now your grips and grabs of skin do not work and you must grab clothes and rethink you moves and techniques.
    (I would rather spend a bit of time and do that then do nothing along those lines and the student freak out when they are in that situation)

    I have done that training but not many others do it ,they just tell the student "Be prepared if you go against a knife as you most likely will get cut",well thanks for the situational awareness massage,but what the heck do I do?lol.

    Yes dojang training is limited in scope but if we do not expose the student to as much Reality as possible then we are training them in self defense,we are training them in technique.

    What seperates technique from self defense?
    The tools are the same ,the difference is in application to scenarios.

    Lets look at another Korean art,TaeKwonDo,now we have many great teachers who teach great technique and produce many great students who have perfect form,perfect technique and can win trophies out the ying yang,but should we then assume that they have taught their students great Self Defense?
    We cannot assume that Great instruction leads to Great Self Defense,that would be dependent upon the methods and ways the tools were employed and how the students are taught to act and react to scenarios.
    Exposure to various scenarios is what allows a student to be familiar in the conflict,lack of such exposure leads to questioning what to do,freezing,the Oh crap syndrome that causes the hesitation which gives the attacker the advantage.

    Any and all styles of martial arts provide the tools,it is just the implementation of those tools that lead to growth and usable skills to fit our needs.
  12. Kwan Jang

    Kwan Jang Valued Member

    The points you are bringing up have been played with for several years now. Different RBSD groups have experimented and refined methods that let you work with an adrenal dump and do so in a safe manner. From personal experience, I can recommend RMCAT and Tom Patire's LRT (Last Resort Training) programs. These principles and many of the drills they use are ones that you can adapt and bring back to your students as well. Also, I've just got a new training tool for knife disarms and fighting, it's called a "shock knife". Very good for adding realism (and adrenaline) to your training.
  13. JimH

    JimH Valued Member

    Kwan Jang,
    You are absolutely right,these ideas have been out there for a while and when I came across them they opened my eyes to what can be used and done in ANY art to make it more Realistic and to take training beyond theory.

    We allow the student to experience scenarios which can replicate any situation we desire and we can add or subtract concepts within the scenario,(the possible verbal with no contact,add contact,add a weapon,,have contact and then present a weapon,add friends of the attacker,add simulated blood,add obstacles),the situations/scenarios change or remain the same,they are not preset with the student always winning, the student encounters a situation and deals with it .

    The outcome of the scenario is the outcome then we discuss and implement changes that may work in their favor9avoidance,dialouge,try to defuse the situation,if that fails dialouge to engae the attackers brain so we have a window of opportunity in which to act) and rerun the scenario until the student sees and performs various options and feels confident in their appliance of their tools.
    (It is not a Real encounter,but close and is used to expose the student rather than leave them see scenariios for the first time for real)

    If we just run static techniques without scenario ,yes we teach technique and how to use the tools but we do not show what leads up to the contact,ways to possibly evade the encounter and bypass contact.

    If all we do is train in the contact phase then all the student knows is the contact phase and they have no option but to fight.

    I am not claiming to be talking about ideas I came up with training,but by my exploring various training out there I have seen what is usable by ALL interested in teaching Self Defense.

    I am just sharing those thoughts and concepts so those interested in increasing training, that do not know or have not seen these methods, may try them,explore them and maybe implement them in their training.

    If we claim to teach Self Defense,No Matter what art we use,we need to do more than show students just the fight/contact phase and if we claim to teach self defense it needs to be more than prearranged,static,compliant or free fighting with a goal to score points with no way to replicate the action,work on answres and truly show the student methods of application.

    Just my two cents
  14. Shihan

    Shihan Valued Member

    I also think that one of the things we tend to overlook is the psychology of a self defense situation and the pyschology one brings to a fight. To quote Tim Larkin (TFT), there are two types of violent encounters: Social and Immoral. Social violence, while dangerous is something that tends to happen accidentally. Stepping on one's toes, bumping into another person, car accidents etc. When violence erupt from these are examples, it not clearly thought out. It happens on the fly. Where as immoral violence is planned: someone starking you at the ATM machine, following you to mug/rape you etc. This individual is planning to do you harm, so their intent is different than the person who may have a chance encounter. So the only thing that will beat violence in that situation is violence. IMHO, regardless of what you know, what style you study, if the intent isn't there, if you're not willing to do whatever it takes to stop this person, you will end up hurt badly. If you don't commit to doing the most damage you can possible inflict on another human being trying to do the same to you, you will end up dead. This is not meant to glorify violence, but bring a truth to it. Sometimes compliance will not work. We must remember to teach the correct mindset for these encounters as well. I believe with the other skills sets talk about in here, will help make a big difference in real self defense. To me, it's not about winning or losing. It's about survival. IMHO
  15. Plato

    Plato New Member


    Great topic. Without reading to much of the other fine posts in this thread, here is my opinion: the World Class Tournament Fighter is also a world class athlete. The LEO's and Military know about the reality of life and death on the street and/or field. A merging of the two mindsets would make for an ideal self defense instructor, but of course nothing is ideal.

    I would say it's easier for a LEO and military to be in fine athletic shape and therefore teach self-defense from the point of view of what really happens in the street than a world class tournament fighter/athlete who may not concern himself so much with the same things as LEO and military. His main concern would be to score points and so forth. It's a different mindset all together and mind set is first and foremost in self-defense in the street.
  16. draig

    draig New Member

    I think what makes a good instructor is more of a mindset.

    Of course there is the required understanding of what they are teaching, but what really cuts to the heart of the matter is their approach to training in general.

    I think it is important they have an open mind to different ideas and methods. If they close down mentally and comes to the conclusion that the influence of others will not contribute to their knowledge or even as a "bad" influence, then their effectiveness as a teacher has ended.

    I myself have tried to go out and experience everything that was possible and think it has helped my own development as well as my students'. Once I notice I have closed my mind down I will definitely stop teaching.

    To do otherwise would just be wrong.

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