As a teacher it’s important the correct style of teaching is applied, certainly with a large group of young students a more autocratic style should form the basis of the class to avoid accidents and ensure safety. As students become more advanced or mature a democratic leadership style can be particularly useful for developing creativity and encouraging individuality, an example of this would be peer to peer learning.
Within the Warrior Method we encourage Peer to Peer learning to draw out this creativity and individuality. Often in class students are split into small groups and given tasks to develop a technique, create a combination or discover a solution to a problem. This peer to peer learning and “democratic leadership style” provides students with inspiration and a sense of achievement that they have provided their own solution from drawing on their own knowledge and expertise.
Creativity forms the basis of inspiration. A Black Belt Mentor brings out this creativity in their students.
Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D, an internationally recognized authority on brain development and children in crisis points out:
“Curiosity dimmed is a future denied. Our potential—emotional, social, and cognitive—is expressed through the quantity and quality of our experiences. And the less-curious child will make fewer new friends, join fewer social groups, read fewer books . . . the less-curious child is harder to teach because he is harder to inspire, enthuse, and motivate.”
Martial Arts differs hugely from other sports in that, when a child is studying martial arts they are studying an ancient Art form developed over thousands of years and generations across the world. Unlike typical modern sports that require a team or equipment, a martial artist can develop their own skill completely independently and anywhere in the world without any equipment. Martial Arts opens the door to endless learning from hundreds of Arts around the world and is an absolutely excellent form of self expression.
It is however, certainly difficult for a stranger to Martial Arts to view this perceived “fighting” to be anything like an “Art”. I recall first learning Muay Thai, after a heavy background in western boxing, Taekwondo and Kickboxing I was immersed in Thai Boxing camps in Thailand where I was determined to learn what is known as one of the most brutal and effective stand up fighting arts, an art which is fought full contact and utilises powerful elbows and knees with devastating effect.
To the Thai’s it’s a way of life. They do not overcomplicate their techniques and instead the Muay Thai Art focuses primarily on a select few, basic but incredible effective strikes. When I began studying Muay Thai 10 years ago, the style initially felt awkward to me and differed so much to my previously learned styles, throwing the kick rather than flicking the kick, the use of the shin to create a shield to defend from almost all kicks and many other fundamental differences.
As I developed from hours of studying a single technique, muscle memory was gradually built, over months and years the reaction times shortened and it became second nature. One day I was watching several fights at a stadium in Thailand with my trainer and mentor, Kru Ped. We watched an incredible fight between two experienced Thai Fighters. The way they moved, how they reacted to each different strike, the timing, the precision, the accuracy, the courage, perseverance, and the heart of each warrior in the ring, all developed over a lifetime of dedication to an Art form was inspiring.
After the fight, the two Warriors embraced and raised each others hand, bowing to each other and each others trainers and drinking water from the opponents trainer as is tradition. The blood, sweat and tears amongst the execution of perfect technique, was truly a display of mind, body and spirit.
My trainer turned to me and said something I’d never forget,
“You see, Seb, Beautiful Muay Thai”.
There’s a flow to every style and Art, even the most brutal of arts has incredible history, culture, creativity, accuracy, spirit and beauty. There’s a huge amount of inspiration and mastery within each art.
Martial Arts has the power to truly stir the soul of any individual, the student and the teacher.
Inspiring our children has the power to give them ambition and develop their inner drive. In the next section of the blog we will dive deep into their mindset, how to develop a Black Belt mindset and discuss their inner voice – “who is coaching your child”.