If you want to become a good fighter, become a good teacher.

Discussion in 'General' started by robertlk808, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. robertlk808

    robertlk808 Member


    I was reading the latest FMA Digest about Balintawak Grandmaster Bobby Taboada who states "If you want to become a good fighter, become a good teacher." This article brings a few things to mind.

    First, it brings the age-old saying of "Those who can do, those who can't teach." Does anyone even believe it is valid today? What is the origin of that statement? Was it made out of arrogance?

    Second, it reminds me of something my instructor in WA used to say which echoed similar sentiments Bobby Taboada but he emphasized that not all good fighters could make the transition to being a good teacher.

    While researching the quote I found this:

    Now the above reference is from a Dentist but the same thought applies, just because Chuck & Rampage can beat some a$$ doesn't meant they can teach. Well maybe they can but I have no idea....

    How many of you feel that because of teaching your fighting skills have become enhanced?

    (Don't be surprised if you see this at a few forums, I'm just curious to get peoples thoughts....)
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2007
  2. Fan the Madman

    Fan the Madman Circles with Knives

    I don't know what I know, until I'm forced to explain it to those who most
    assuredly do not know.

    As I explain what I think I know I usually wind up explaining far more
    that I didn't know I knew.
  3. robertlk808

    robertlk808 Member

  4. Fan the Madman

    Fan the Madman Circles with Knives

    Just the truth (though yes it's a bit hard to parse).
  5. robertlk808

    robertlk808 Member

    Actually it makes a lot of sense. Reminds me of when Professor Presas would say "I did not know I knew that"

    Good thought, I find that when you have to explain \ teach things you have to be able to explain it clearly otherwise you just confuse yourself and the person your are teaching.
  6. Matt Lamphere

    Matt Lamphere New Member


    Teaching makes you a better student.

    You will find out real fast how well you know your material when asked to demonstrate it. It gives you a greater level of scrutiny and understanding of your particular skill set.

    Teaching ... in no way .. replaces good old fashioned blood, sweat, reps, and floor time of your own. That is a given. You must continue to refine your skills under pressure.

    For me, balancing both has really made the difference in my personal development.

    It helps that I love to teach .. and fight :)

    Thats the great thing about the Martial Arts ... we are all teachers and students, all of the time. As soon as you know something that someone else does not, you are the teacher of that particular item.
  7. Teaching

    Greetings everyone,

    In regards to George Bernard Shaw's often quoted quip, "Those who can--do; those who can't--teach."

    I answer with Aristotle's: "Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach."

    By the way, I'm a passionate school teacher (I teach K-8th Grades) by profession and love the FMAs. I study also Muay Thai, Boxing, Reality Based Self Defense Concepts and Brazilian Jiu-Jits.

    On a tangent, but nonetheless very important, an excellent examination of Shaw's quote in regards to business vs. education can be found here
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2007
  8. What Teachers Make

    An inspiring short video on what teachers make:


    I had the pleasure of seeing Taylor live a while ago in Def Poetry Jam. We teachers love this. Enjoy!

  9. robertlk808

    robertlk808 Member

    Great Ill check out the clip when I get home.

    I love Poetry Slams! We have a pretty good sized one out here in Hawaii, sometimes the attendance can get really large like 2 - 300 people, it's awesome!
  10. Far Walkers Moon

    Far Walkers Moon New Member

    each time we teach we have a chance to see things in a differnt light and maybe learn at the same time.
    Because one is a great teacher or a great fighter dose not however mean that they are able to do the other. Some folks just are unable to make that jump in thinking
  11. StixMaster

    StixMaster -== Banned ==-

    Teaching is Good

    Teaching is communicating. Connecting to the student as well as yourself is what teaching is teaching me and it shows me different perspectives of what I am teaching. I feel that passing the knowledge on is the goal and how you arrive at the goal is what it is all about.
  12. Sheldon Bedell

    Sheldon Bedell New Member

    Well said stixmaster
  13. tim_stl

    tim_stl Junior Member

    teach once, learn twice.

    some people seem to intuitively understand fighting principles- they're naturals. for the rest of us, we need to really analyze the how and the why. by doing that, we become good teachers.

  14. StixMaster

    StixMaster -== Banned ==-

    I feel that all people have it with-in them, but are disconnected from the body's natural defense mode. Thats what I call it, an example is the fact that humans don't have to be told to move their hand when it feels intense harmful heat or when you instinctively move your hand to ward off flies ?? This is the source to every persons ability to learn , become proficient in the art they are learning and experience the natural muscle memory speed of the body. To me as an instructor I wish to help the student find their center so as to be better able to receive information. A person will only learn what he or she wants to learn so tapping into their desire to learn is an art in itself, they have to connect to their body in'no mind'.
  15. I think good fighters do not always make good teachers and while teaching can improve your skill and technique, with out proper fight training you cannot expect to be a good fighter.
  16. shrapnel

    shrapnel New Member

    In high school and college, I noticed that the worst teachers we got (including the "terror" teachers) were usually those who were honor students themselves before deciding to teach. Even back then, we theorized that probably it had something to do with the high standards these people had for themselves when they were students and the ease by which they learned. So when they started teaching, they taught at a pace and standard commensurate with their own intelligence level but that would make it difficult for everyone else of lesser level to catch up or understand. There were exceptions of course, but for the most part this is what we noticed and experienced.

    I think this applies to the teaching of any knowledge or skill set. So in the case of a good fighter, it would probably be easy for the fighter to learn techniques at a faster pace and intensity, and a lot of the qualities that make him a good fighter would probably be intuitive as well. So the problem when he starts teaching is that he could start teaching based on his learning curve, which is on a higher bar than your average person. And it would be hard to elucidate on an intuitive skill that one has, that tells him why he should use one technique instead of another, etc.

    There will be exceptions. And later on, as the guy continues to teach, if he receives a lot of feedback then he can adjust his teaching style accordingly.

    Nevertheless, teaching has benefits of its own because it allows you to experience different types of people and your technical knowledge becomes better and you may get sudden understanding of certain aspects that you took for granted before: "Oh so that's why it's that way!" type of thing.

    So a good fighter is not necessarily a good teacher, and a good teacher is not necessarily a good fighter. But I don't think the two are mutually exclusive. It's possible to bridge the gap with some effort.

    Incidentally, I've read a few times that GM Tatang Ilustrisimo was a tremendous fighter, but a horrible teacher.
  17. Pitboss 306

    Pitboss 306 New Member

    To me, a student should know basic footwork, lockflow, striking, and targetting before being expected to digest:

    "Hubud, wrist lock, disarm, foot trap, wrist lock takedown, lock up/break on ground."

    Yet my own introduction to the FMAs was sink or swim, very much like that. thankfully I had *some* previous training and chipped away long enough to eventually get it.

    An instructor has to be able to see through the eyes of the inexperienced fighter. After doing it for years, Many instructors take basics like fluid body movement, striking basics, or footwork for granted. they rip through techniques at near full speed in front of novices, then say "do what I did".

    They forget teaching the ABC's and want everyone in the class to show them how a complete word is formed. (Half the class fumbles along slurring 'hukd on fonics wercd for me')

    Maybe a few of these instructors can't slow thier techniques down to demonstrate, because they don't want to show any ignorance of the basics. Maybe they are street fighters who know what works, but can't teach it worth a damn. Maybe there isn't enough individual attention to detail. Either way, it makes for messy and dangerous students.

    I know. I've trained with a few black belts like this.

    If I took anything from Taichi Chuan, it is that repetitive controlled attention to the 'core' basics of any style, at even a slightly reduced speed, will pay off tenfold when eventually practicing at actual speed or using on the street.

    From footwork and body positioning to more advanced lock flow, striking, or stick and blade angle postioning, students learn faster if you can slowly show them the "how and why" rather than simply "what will happen". It also deepens my knowledge when pressed to show proper form or reasoning for movement.

  18. geezer

    geezer Member


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