What Makes A Martial Arts Teacher Happy?
The success of our students.
A while back I read a book by famous strength and conditioning coach Martin Rooney called “Coach To Coach”. In that book Martin gives tells us that you have become a coach when you put the success of your athletes above your own (I paraphrased, sorry Martin).
Well I know, some of you reading this are saying, we are martial artists, and coaching is for organized sports like baseball and football.
You are correct, so here is my adaptation of Martins quote. You know you are a martial arts teacher when you put the success of your students above your own.
Change it around any way you like. It still has the same meaning.
Successful students are what drives us as martial arts teachers, instructors or whatever you want to call us.
But from school to school we each define success differently. Some teachers may consider a 1st place victory in a tournament a success. And while it is, and a very big success at that, our instructors at Synergy Martial Arts define it differently.
We look for our students improving on themselves. Becoming better from the inside out.
For example, I have students that have trouble listening and/or focusing at home or in school. A very common reason why parents send their kids to us.
Sometimes those kids need a little more structure, more discipline and that feeling of accomplishment. When you have a child that has ADHD or ADD they are constantly getting told, no or stop. They often feel like they cannot accomplish anything. And that leads to more of the bad behavior.
While we may be strict on them and expect them to be still we also recognize their accomplishments. We give them small tasks that they can accomplish, like breaking a board, or taking a little extra time helping work on their jump front kick. But mostly, changing their mindset from I cant do anything, to I can do this. Once they see that they can do it, it will change them forever.
And a good instructor will do what it takes to help their student be the best they can be (putting their success above your own). A lot of times we break though what they even though was impossible.
I also get a huge sense of pride when I see the amazing attitude and spirit of the students we teach. I have heard that the teacher can also learn from the student.
Their energy and spirit for the martial art is contagious. They can feed off of your energy but you can also feed off of theirs. You see how eager they are to learn and it makes you excited to teach.
Over the years I have had many opportunities to see students break the barriers of what they can do. They have reached heights they never though possible. I have celebrated their accomplishments and been upset at their failures. But always there to support them with both and anything in between.
Here are some of the amazing things that we have all had the opportunity to celebrate (and I say we because we are all teachers, and we have all witnessed these and many more),
When they accomplish something, they do it with pride and humility. Never cocky or with a bad attitude.
When they fail, they are upset, but realize that we can learn from our failures and need to get back to class and fix what we missed.
They always show good respect to their seniors and junior. In and out of Synergy Martial Arts.
They will always help out, holding boards, judging a ring, taking pictures, cleaning up, helping teach a class and a hole bunch of other things
There are so many more, theses are just a few.
But a happy and proud teacher, at least this one, comes from the success of their students. When they succeed we succeed.