Saturday, January 12, 2013

Strange Teaching Habits

I led the SR exercises today in the park.  This meant I had to make sure I got up early enough to be on time.  Teacher arrived a minute after I started.  He usually arrives later as he has students lead the SR exercises.  So I guess he came on time for my leading.

This time was good.  I got a few corrections.  I wish I had gotten them earlier rather than after 7 months with this teacher plus one year with one of his student-teachers.  There's no reason to practice doing something wrong first, especially for so long, and it's much harder to undo bad habits than to do things correctly from the start.  That's why I take lessons from my other teacher who has this philosophy and thus it almost doesn't matter to me what style of TJ she teaches.

Teacher teased me periodically for missing little parts.  But how would I know them since he never teaches them and even Tiger doesn't lead the whole sequence since we don't have time to do it every class.  I am the only student in the SM classes who can do all the SR exercises and lead the sequence correctly.  Even the students who have been there for two years, like M and F, don't know it even though Teacher has had M lead often for a quite a while now.  M and I have both asked Teacher several times how are we supposed to learn it if he doesn't teach it.  It's a strange teaching style to have students lead every week, before they have learned it completely themselves, and some or actually many of the students are really bad.  Some are so bad that I can't tell which exercise they are doing, nor whether they are doing left or right, or forward or backwards.  I have no idea how beginner students are supposed to learn while following such a lead.

But this time was good because instead of just letting me skip the ones I didn't know, he taught them briefly next to me while I was leading.

Afterwards, he teased me a little but told the class that "actually, she did a very very good job."  Hah, this time I got two "very"s.  So much for him saying that the evaluators shouldn't just tell the person that she did a good job.  I guess he didn't "just" say I did a good job but did make corrections.

M talked to me for a few minutes about how I knew the entire sequence since Teacher doesn't teach it.  We've discussed Teacher's frustrating teaching style many times.  I turned my back so that he couldn't see what we were talking about but when I walked by him to get my sword, he had a funny smile and smirk on his face.  I smirked back.  He must have known what we were talking about.  He's too perceptive and intuitive.  One can't hide anything from him.

We have an easy connection somehow.  I almost don't know what to do with it.

I also went to a PH workshop with one of his student-teachers today at the JCC.  It was billed as an intermediate PH workshop but it turned out that of the four participants, two of them barely knew any TJ and two of them were old ladies.  I ended up pushing with C half the time and she's just not very good, plus old and obese, and like just not there in the physical world.  There was nothing to push and nothing pushing me.  She likes to talk and teach.  Teacher said she's just not ready.  That's a nice way of putting it.

That's something I noticed.  The worse some students are, the more they like to talk and teach.  During one class in the beginning, I couldn't confidently tell whether someone was good or not.  People who talk and teach give the impression of knowing what they are doing.  I watched this guy "teaching" M and kept glancing over where Teacher was teaching PH with someone else.  Later Teacher pushed with this guy and about every second, he would say with a sly smile, "That's not a good position... that's not a good position... that's not a good position... etc."  So I realized this guy sucked.  Which is the chicken and which is the egg, I don't know.  Do they suck because they spend all their attention talking and teaching, or vice versa?

M barely spent any time with me.  I think if one advertises an intermediate workshop, one shouldn't let pre-beginners attend, or otherwise let the real intermediate folks know so that they can bow out.  I want my money back.  Also, if one is doing a PH workshop, which is like pre-fighting, but one likes to give the old ladies the most attention, that should also be specified somehow.  There's nothing wrong with giving the old ladies attention or teaching them PH, but one should probably have a separate workshop for senior citizens or pre-beginners or people who should learn PH just as social and intellectual development, and a different workshop for people who can actually use it for self-defense or competition or ahem... can just do it decently, period.

I don't have the most objective position to talk about this, but after this, I appreciate Teacher's "unfair" attention distribution as more "fair".  His purpose makes sense and he does somewhat make it clear.  Yes, he spends the most time teaching PH to me but honestly, it makes the most sense.  He trains the people with the most potential harder.  His main thing, according to him, is to spread the art, which means he is also going to focus attention on those students who have the potential and interest in teaching.  He actually said he gets a lot of personal satisfaction from teaching beginners who are really bad and seeing them improve, but I see that he focuses attention on appropriate things for each person.

I did use the sauna at the JCC afterwards so at least got partial money's worth.  I also tried the steam room but couldn't breathe in there.  It's the first time I've used a sauna.  I'm considering joining for a month to use the sauna to see if it helps my CFS.  I Google everything and Pubmed every connection I can think of and did find some suggestion that sauna heat treatment can reduce CFS and fibromyalgia symptoms even long-term after the treatment stops, so it's definitely worth testing.