Occasionally, I read something that preempts whatever blog entry I had already started writing. An article will grab my attention, and it will inspire me to think of my own martial arts training in new and novel ways. This article “Dear Self-Defence Instructor” has forced me to examine my own teaching methods, and I’m all the better for it. Russ Haas of Haastyle Martial Arts posted this article as part of his research for the Haastyle’s “Fight like a Girl” women’s self defense series. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
“I don’t see the realism in this “reality-based” system – maybe my realism is your fatalism, but look at me: I am half your size, twice your age, and a woman. The type of violence and conflict I am likely to be exposed to is completely different from yours, and the best solutions for dealing with it are likely to be just as different….Your reality is based on years of training and experience. My reality is only based on being me, living my life.”
There are many excellent ideas that article, but the quote above really speaks to me. It reminds me that attempting to understand the target audience is just as important as the material being taught. I believe that teaching should be a conversation, not just dumping information into a student’s brain. I know that I learn better that way. If you’re a self defense instructor, this article is well worth your read.