Teach Col­lege Stu­dents and Pay It For­ward

Black Belt - - BETTER BUSINESS - ABOUT THE AU­THOR: David Cormier, Ph.D., is an ad­junct pro­fes­sor of English at 6DLQW /RXLV 8QLYHUVLW\ LQ 0LVVRXUL +H·V DOVR DQ in­struc­tor for the SLU Karate Club.

T ǯ that goes like this: An adult walks into a karate school. ǯ Ȅ ǯ Ǥ It un­der­scores a real prob­lem, that of ϐ to learn­ing mar­tial arts. In­struc­tors have to be hon­est with them­selves about the strug­gles faced by many tra­di­tional dojo. The de­mo­graphic ǯ ǣ the cov­eted 18- to 35-year-olds, the trend­set­ters with dis­pos­able time and in­come.

ϐ hooked on tra­di­tional mar­tial arts ǯ Ǥ ǡ ǯ ǯ train­ing into adult­hood. The fol­low­ing is my ad­vice for be­ing more suc­cess­ful in this en­deavor. MAR­TIAL ARTS tra­di­tion­ally were taught not to chil­dren and ado­les­cents but to phys­i­cally ma­ture, mil­i­tary Ǥ ϐ de­scrip­tion per­fectly. Their brains and bod­ies are ready to learn a so­phis­ti­cated com­bat art. How­ever, any cur­sory sur­vey of lo­cal schools likely will re­veal more kids than adults.

Now, teach­ing mar­tial arts to chil­dren and ado­les­cents is im­por­tant. Char­ac­ter devel­op­ment is an in­te­gral part of mod­ern in­struc­tion. But the de­gree to which in­struc­tors can ex­press them­selves, train hard with their stu­dents, de­velop a phys­i­cally and in­tel­lec­tu­ally chal­leng­ing cur­ricu­lum, and see mean­ing­ful progress in stu­dents is lim­ited when work­ing with the very young.

In con­trast, col­lege stu­dents are ready for re­spon­si­bil­ity and lead­er­ship. These qual­i­ties are tested in uni­ver­si­ties, and they should be tested in the cam­pus dojo or do­jang. Have your stu­dents as­sume roles — sec­re­tary, trea­surer, pres­i­dent and so on — to ex­plore the mean­ing of re­spon­si­bil­ity and lead­er­ship in a con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment. As the in­struc­tor, you serve as a model and a guide. Help them nav­i­gate and learn from their ex­pe­ri­ences.

Learn­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence, be it a ǡ % ϐ - ǡ ϐ - lege stu­dents are be­gin­ning to un­der­stand. For ex­am­ple, whether they win or lose a spar­ring match, it can be emo­tional — and a chance for growth. If ne­c­es­sary, guide them along this path to per­sonal devel­op­ment. MOST COL­LEGE STU­DENTS are ready to push them­selves to their phys­i­cal lim­its. Some need you to push them. Ei­ther way, they will rapidly build ǡ ϐ ǡ that al­lows for cre­ative in­ter­pre­ta­tions of forms, bet­ter spar­ring com­bi­na­tions and more ex­treme demon­stra­tions.

Re­mem­ber that for some stu­dents of this age, mar­tial arts are a per­for­mance ϐ Ǥ ǯ Ǥ

If a few of your fol­low­ers are look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to per­form, help them. Col­lege life of­fers nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to chore­o­graph and give demon­stra­tions in a safe, sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment. BY THE TIME they’re in col­lege, stu­dents are aware of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween phys­i­cal train­ing and cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment, but they don’t al­ways act in ac­cor­dance with that knowl­edge. For ex­am­ple, the “fresh­man 15” is the name given to the weight stu­dents typ­i­cally put on dur ϐ Ǥ ǯ prob­lem, one that can plague a per­son through­out life. Nev­er­the­less, many ϐ - en­tary life­style, play­ing video games, eat­ing fast food, and so on, all of which can take a toll on health.

For­tu­nately, many col­leges, in an ef­fort to im­prove their ser­vices to stu­dents, are in­ter­ested in of­fer­ing pro­grams that can help rem­edy this. New gyms are be­ing built, and ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties are be­ing ren­o­vated be­cause " ϐ ness. Pro­mote your col­lege club as an op­tion for stu­dents look­ing to lose weight, build strength and im­prove ϐ ǡ tional art.

Re­mem­ber that all mar­tial arts train­ing is leisure-time de­pen­dent. The ba­sics come quickly, but the de­tails re­quire time. For­tu­nately, most stu­dents have a life­style that’s fo­cused on study, which means they have plenty of time — de­spite the oc­ca­sional com­plaint about be­ing busy. When other " ǡ ϐ Ǥ Your stu­dents will ap­pre­ci­ate it and be more likely to stick around.

ǧ is be­com­ing a pre­mium com­mod­ity on col­lege cam­puses across the coun­try. Sto­ries about univer­sity vi­o­lence, from shoot­ings to sex­ual as­saults, dom­i­nate the news in many cities. Whether you know it or not, ad­min­is­tra­tors are tasked with re­duc­ing vi­o­lence on cam­pus. Ti­tle IX “re­quires col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties re­ceiv­ing fed­eral fund­ing to com­bat gen­der-based vi­o­lence and ha­rass­ment, and re­spond to sur­vivors’ needs in order to en­sure that all stu­dents have equal ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion.”

Con­cerns about safety and se­cu­rity are para­mount in the minds of many stu­dents and par­ents, too. Po­si­tion your col­lege club as a venue for pro­mot­ing aware­ness and teach­ing de-es­ca­la­tion, in ad­di­tion to fos­ter­ing proven self-de­fense skills.

It’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to meet the needs of the fe­male stu­dent pop­u­la­tion, in part be­cause en­roll­ment is skew­ing to­ward women and in part be­cause they’re more in need of self- de­fense skills. There are nu­mer­ous ϐ - ing women into the arts, a prime one be­ing the sense of em­pow­er­ment they get when they suc­ceed in a tra­di­tion­ally male-dom­i­nated arena. Con­sider your­self for­tu­nate to have women in your club.

ǯ some tips, I should men­tion a few of the draw­backs, which you’ll want to keep in mind so you can min­i­mize their ef­fects. First, col­lege stu­dents rep­re­sent a tran­sient pop­u­la­tion. They’re in town only for a lim­ited time, and even that can be short­ened — for ex­am­ple, by a se­mes­ter abroad. Fur­ther, class com­mit­ments, spe­cial projects and sports ac­tiv­i­ties can in­ter­fere with mar­tial arts train­ing. As I stated above, ϐ Ǥ

Stu­dents also must con­tend with in­vis­i­ble ad­ver­saries: home­sick­ness, anx­i­ety, stress, de­pres­sion and so on. All of them can im­pact a per­son’s com­mit­ment to the mar­tial arts. How­ever, the im­pact of any of these con­di­tions can be less­ened by an un­der­stand­ing in­struc­tor.

Fi­nally, re­al­ize that stu­dents sub­sist­ing on schol­ar­ships have lim­ited re­sources for things adult mar­tial artists wouldn’t have trou­ble af­ford­ing. This in­cludes ex­penses re­lated to at­tend­ing sem­i­nars and fees re­quired to en­ter tour­na­ments. If a stu­dent can’t make an event you deem im­por­tant, be em­pa­thetic. If a stu­dent asks for help rais­ing funds, of­fer sug­ges­tions.

of study­ing mar­tial arts were rec­og­nized long ago. Plato ad­vo­cated that stu­dents train in wrestling to en­rich their un­der­stand­ing of hu­man­ity. Clearly, teach­ing mar­tial arts on cam­pus is a good thing, one that’s bound to con­tinue.

As a mar­tial arts in­struc­tor, you ϐ - ing can bring. You owe it to oth­ers to help spread the wealth — in a way that makes them safer and health­ier at the same time. There’s no bet­ter way to pay it for­ward. 

Po­si­tion your col­lege club as a venue for pro­mot­ing aware­ness and teach­ing deesca­la­tion, in ad­di­tion to fos­ter­ing proven self-de­fense skills.

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