Years back, I came across a series of questions that were originally posed by a man named Ben Zoma; I believe he was a rabbi in the early part of the 2nd century. Anyway, I loved the way these questions seemed to naturally tie into the martial arts profession and I’ve been using them in my staff training ever since. Here they are:
1. Who is a wise person?
A wise person is one who learns from others. How does this relate to teaching Martial Arts? Have you ever learned something from your youngest child or your most basic beginner? When an instructor keeps an open mind, she is able to learn something that will make a better instructor.
2. Who is a brave person?
A brave person is one who is smart enough to be afraid, but takes action anyway. What does that mean? As far as teaching Martial Arts goes, I believe it means to be smart enough to be afraid of the responsibility and influence that you have over your students – and then to take that responsibility seriously.
3. Who is a rich person?
A rich person is one who appreciates all that he/she has. How does that relate to teaching Martial Arts? Well, you could be doing a lot of other things, but you are fortunate to be teaching, developing and working in the hobby and the art, which you love to do – Martial Arts. That’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Everyday we should appreciate the fact that we get to teach Martial Arts.
4. Who is a mighty person?
A mighty person is one who has self-control and makes friends of his enemies. What does that mean as far as Martial Arts is concerned? Having self-control is an important quality that allows Martial Arts instructors to have the discipline to keep themselves in an upbeat, peak state while they are teaching. To make friends of enemies is to win the friendship and trust of students.
5. Who is an honored person?
An honored person is one who honors. What does this mean in Martial Arts class? In means, one who pays respect to students is going to receive respect in return. That is, of course, the most important quality Martial Arts instructors can have - to be respectful towards their students and treat them with kindness.
Remember, the rising tide lifts all boats. If we can all learn to be the very best teachers, the very best motivators, the very best coaches we can possibly be, then our industry is going to continue to rise, grow, and prosper.