Physical Training Feb 2001

Ten Ways: To get Sensei to Ignore you in Class

by Kim Taylor Kim Taylor

This month we're going to find 10 sure-fire ways to get sensei to stop bothering us in class. This is a desirable thing of course because martial art instructors only ever criticize, and very rarely praise, so if he's not saying anything to us we must be doing OK right?

1. "I Know"

When sensei comes over to correct the same mistake he's been correcting for the last three years you must answer "I know". This tells sensei that you don't need him to correct you any more, you understand that you have that habit and you don't intend to do anything about it. This saves everyone time.

2. Make the same mistake you just made

If sensei notices a new mistake in your technique and comes to tell you about it, you must make sure that you concentrate on something else completely and make the same mistake he just told you about. If he asks you why you didn't correct what he just told you to correct, you must tell him that you were working on something else. Such a mature, take-charge attitude will win points with your instructor and make sure he knows he doesn't have to worry about your progress, you'll take care of it in your own time.

3. Watch the rest of the class

Sensei has only got one pair of eyes so make sure you watch the rest of the class when he's demonstrating the technique. This is a great help to sensei because he's probably concentrating on what he's doing. Since you were watching to make sure everyone else got it, he can assume you know the technique.

4. Ask lots of questions

If sensei asks "any questions", or even if he doesn't, ask lots of simple questions that you already know the answer to. This is a help to those who are too shy to ask. Be sure to let sensei know that you actually already knew the answer to the question so he doesn't think you're as stupid as the rest of the class... in fact it's best if you ask the question and then answer it yourself.

5. "I got it"

If sensei insists on explaining something to you in detail say "I got it" just as soon as you have the slightest, faintest, foggiest idea of what he's getting at. This will make sure he doesn't go on to a more detailed and useful explanation and waste everyone's time.

6. Show up late

Warm up slow and thoroughly and then join the class in the very back, as far away from where sensei is standing as possible.

7. Help your partners

Sensei is probably tired and forgetful about half a minute into the class, so make sure you tell your partner how to do the exercises, this will ensure that sensei doesn't have to come over to correct you himself.

8. Discuss the weather

Similarly, when you're working with a partner make sure you get into a good discussion of what went on at work today and what you're going to do later. Sensei won't want to intrude on the conversation to adjust your technique.

9. Show off your other arts

It's pretty boring to study the same stuff all the time so make sure that after you've done a technique once with your partner, you then show him four other ways to do it in the other martial art you practice. Sensei will appreciate your vast knowledge and will surely not need to bother making sure you learn it well his way.

10. Don't wash your uniform

Probably the best way to let sensei know how much you respect his teaching and his class is to come to class in a smelly, ripped uniform, and to use dangerously worn equipment. He'll respect you so much he'll likely ignore you completely.

And that's a good thing right?

Physical Training Feb 2001