Sunday, September 13, 2015

Variety (and guest instructors) are the spice of life

If you are ever at a gym where they discourage you from training anywhere else - run, don't walk, away from them as fast as you can.
I'm not saying if they discourage you from training at a particular gym. I've probably never met your instructor but I'm perfectly willing to give him or her the benefit of the doubt that Bob's Gym 'o Slimeballs is a terrible place to work out.

However, here is a fact:

Anyone who claims to know everything about martial arts is either a liar or insane. 

I'm pretty good. I've got a gold medal from the world championships and a few other medals to back that claim up. I'm not so dumb to think that I know all of judo or that there aren't people better qualified to teach certain techniques than me. That's why I'm always THRILLED when we have guest instructors.

Let me give you a few reasons:

  1. Each student gets more individual attention.   As you might be able to see, we have a pretty full mat, with another instructor, we can divide the students into groups.
  2. Almost all classes have a mix of experience and ability. Gompers Middle School Judo is no exception. This being the beginning of the year, we have several brand new students, a few who began at the end of last year, and a group who have been in judo a year or more. With a guest instructor, you can divide the class into novice and advanced and teach each group appropriately.
  3.  No one is equally good at everything. Whoever visits is probably going to be good in some areas that are not your strength. Having that person teach will aid your students in that area.
  4.  Having a new person adds some variety and they may be a bit more attentive and work harder. No matter how awesome you are, your students have seen you hundreds of times.
  5. Inviting in guest instructors is being a positive role model. It shows your students that you are not arrogant, that you recognize many people in the world have knowledge to contribute, not just you.

So, you can understand why I was so delighted this month when we have had not one but TWO guest instructors stop in to visit. Friday, Steve Seck, Olympian, national champion, international gold medalist and teacher at King Drew Medical Magnet High School stopped by.

I asked him to teach uchi mata, because he is really, really good at it. In fact, he was one of the people who taught it to Ronda when she was little. I brought her to LA City College where he was teaching at that time for that express purpose.

While he taught uchi mata to our more advanced students, I worked on turnovers to a pin with our new students, then taught them falling and then taught them a throw.

At the end of class, Steve talked to the students about the opportunity to attend a magnet high school, specifically his, and encouraged them to apply. This is really important to start thinking about early in the year, and I could tell that many of the students (and the parents who had come to pick them up), were paying close attention.

Two weeks ago, Michael Fujimoto, a very successful competitor who had represented the U.S. internationally as a junior, stopped in and taught seoi nage. Being young and in shape, Mike also did randori with several students, giving them a challenge that they are not going to get from someone old and half their size like me. At the end of class, Mike talked about the University of Washington, where he works, and encouraged students to look him up if they end up attending there. (Are we seeing a pattern?)

 Two of the least utilized resources in judo, in my opinion, are guest instructors and assistant instructors.

If you are trying to be the big wheel and teach everything yourself, you are cheating your students. Cut it out!

----------- REQUIRED PLUG

I haven't blogged in a while because I am busy making games, improving games, designing games, meeting with schools to tell them about our games.

Feel smarter after reading this blog? Go to this link and get a game to be even smarter.

Already really smart? Donate a game or two to a school so they can be as smart as you.


Anonymous said...

if you only learn one ridged style/pattern/Technique after awhile it can be easily prepared for by your opponent making it almost useless.

Thays Alquati said...

I love you Dr. AnnMaria.

Adopt me . You are admirable.

Steven Seck said...

Ann, as a physical educator who now has your judo students in my high school PE classes, I feel honored to help not only those students, but all your your students at Gompers Middle School.
Steve Seck