It’s always great to spend time with students. A recent class reminded me of this. While a portion helped me recognize some connections in the material, another still brought out the short-sightedness that students can have.

It started with a question about praising students for their work and developed into a discussion about why people train. A student commented that another had stopped training because their desire was to train and only work on their material. No interest in helping other students or teaching.

My first thought was that it was sad. My second thought was “Boy, is that student selfish.” Class time should be spent developing the material through guided practice. Further development is found through training outside of class. Often students only attend classes two hours per week. This mean they approximately 100 hours per year of instruction. Yes, some classes should be “workouts” only (or so it would appear to the student) but there should be much more personal training time spent on the material. You can NOT be a true martial artist spending only 100 hours per year training.

The lack of interest in assisting fellow students shows lack of understanding. Students not working with their peers or under belts will miss out on the opportunity to gain insights. Additionally, trying to find the words to explain the way technique and patterns are performed is invaluable.

When realizing that many students only train 100 hours per year, I calculated my opportunities to train in class with a teacher. My Haidong Gumdo training permits me about 36 hours per year of training with the USA Senior Chief Master and the WHGF Director of Education. My Taekwondo training is greatly fewer than that.

I knew that my continued development had been slowed but actually calculating the hours made it depressing. Students get to be taught and attend class to work toward their continuing development in happy oblivion.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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