domingo, 15 de junio de 2014

Nuestros estudiantes no son nuestra propiedad. Por Nigel Sutton.

Our Students are not Our Property! I trained to be a teacher in the early 1980's and have a degree in Education and one thing I have noticed over the years in the martial arts world is how those who are or have been professional educators, on the whole, have a different attitude towards their students than those who who have earned their "teaching spurs" while coming from a more amateur background. Generally speaking, and I am aware that I am wildly generalizing, albeit based on my own experience, those of us who have taught professionally in schools and universities have a far less proprietorial attitude towards our students. On the whole we tend to regard ourselves as providers of tools and skillsets which enable the students we teach to realise their own potential. When they are successful we are not inclined to claim that this is due to our own efforts but rather to recognise that it is the students own potential and effort that has resulted in their success. In the world of martial arts I have encountered many teachers who are inordinately proud of the success of their students, nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong when the teachers bask and wallow in that glow of reflected success. Such an attitude often leads to the teacher exerting an excessive and inappropriate influence over areas of their students' lives which have little or nothing to do with the martial arts. Our students do not belong to us, very often they pass through our lives for a period of time and then move on; sometimes what we have taught them, albeit for only a short time, has a profound influence on them, sometimes not. When they want to move on it is our job, indeed our responsibility, to let them go and help them where we can. While it is very true what the Chinese Masters point out, that without the teacher the martial arts student would not, figuratively speaking be "born", it is also true that once your students are toddling then walking and finally running, it is your job to guide them and point them in the right direction; but at the same time you also have to recognise that their achievements are their own and the direction they head in is ultimately their own choice. As a martial arts teacher my job is to create the environment in which each and every student can find their own individual road to mastery. As the Chief Technical Instructor of Zhong Ding International it is true to say that every initiated disciple is a member of My family and therefore, according to Asian martial arts tradition, ultimately under my control. But this is a role I will never claim or perform. Instead my responsibility to you as family members is to ensure that myself and the other seniors are creating the correct learning environment and facilitating the right training experiences for you to grow and improve as martial artists. As regards the whole Master Disciple tradition it is worth recording that when I set up Zhong Ding I chose to break tradition. Had I followed the tradition of our school in Asia, every lineaged disciple in the UK would have become my disciple. I felt that this would be inappropriate, instead preferring to allow senior instructors to take their own disciples. My attitude to all of those who have entered our lineage at whatever level, whether my disciples or grand or even great grand disciples, is that they are all equally a part of our family and all entitled to the same amount of nurturing and teaching. They are all equally members of the lineage, thus they are not my disciples or your disciples but disciples of the lineage. I hope that this will serve as a timely reminder to all of you who are Zhong Ding senior instructors to remember that those students and disciples you teach are not your property, do not owe their ability and skills as martial artists solely to you; in turn I will continue to recognise that as members of MY lineage they do not belong to me and they may even choose to move on to pastures new. That is their choice and it is my job to wish them well as they go on their way, content in the knowledge that I have done my best to pass on to them a little of what my teachers have passed on to me. Heng Ha