Physical Training May 2001

Ten Ways: To be a Bad Instructor

by Kim Taylor Kim Taylor

1. Hit on your students:

This is sometimes called sexual assault, but not in the martial arts where it's usually called "testing your student's loyalty". A truly good student will do anything you ask, without question and unhesitatingly, so if the one you just hit on reports you to the police you can go into court with honour, knowing that you've rooted out a bad student from the art.

If you do finally get one of them in bed, make sure everyone else in the class knows about it, and make sure that you show them the benefits of being a "truly good student" by jump-grading that student above everyone else. Lots of personal attention will also get the point across.

2. Assume you're the best there is:

Hey, you're an instructor, that means you're infallable and obviously the best there is out there. After all that's why you've worked so hard these last 5 years isn't it? Make sure you know this in your heart of hearts and don't ever forget it. This means you are qualified to teach anything you figure you can make an extra buck from, sword, spear, handgunning, paragliding...

3. Tell everyone you're the best there is:

Students don't always see the obvious, so make sure to tell them loudly and regularly that your art is the ultimate, the rest are pure crap, and hint often that you're the best there is since your instructor is now "getting a bit old and slowing down". This will inspire confidence in your students and ensure that they will sign up for the black belt plan.

4. Watch your students practice:

No matter how often they do their situps, they may be doing it with bad form, so make sure you stand around and watch them exercise rather than joining them. It's good that you have a bit of a pot belly anyway, that way they know who's the instructor and who's just another student in the class. The pot also helps to ground your devastating techniques.

5. Don't ever question your art:

Or your skills for that matter. Concentration is excellence, don't ever check out any other art forms (they're all crap anyway) or question why you should do that half-hitch stutter step before the third roundhouse in the second form (say, wasn't the videotape a bit wrinkled around there?). After all your teachers would never have taught you anything that was less than perfection, and you'll never teach your students anything less than perfection either will you. Just so long as you keep your eyes down and don't get distracted.

Oh yeah, and don' t forget the cardinal rule, always keep something back from your students, that way they can't ever beat you, like you could never beat your instructor since he always kept the ultimate secret technique from you. This is the way to make sure the art remains strong and vibrant.

6. Make sure your students never question anything:

Students who question are students who aren't concentrating, or worse, are disloyal. It's enough that you've got your black belt and are the dojo owner, they don't need to know anything more about your qualifications or your skills, after all students aren't qualified to judge anyway. Discourage questioning at all times, it takes away from pushup time.

7. Keep a narrow focus:

Once you're an instructor it's obvious you should never look at another art, but you should also never ever look at other instructors in your own art. If one of your students ever caught you being corrected or even paying attention to another instructor in your art you will lose their respect and confidence, and maybe even their fees. Keep your eyes on the ball and never look left or right, after all you're an instructor now and don't have any need to look around.

On the other hand, remember that students are like your children. Criticise, criticise, criticise. Whatever they do make sure you find something wrong with it.

8. Don't wash and eat lots of chili:

You're too busy to eat right and wash your dogi before every class so if you can't get one of your students to do that for you (amongst other things), than don't worry about it. Your instructor had rotten teeth and smoked cigars and you survived, your students can certainly get past a bit of body odour and flatulance.

9. Remember that class starts when you get there:

This is a given of course, the class times posted on the door are for when the students should be on the floor ready to practice. You on the other hand, are a busy man and sometimes it's hard to get away from the guys at the bar and get to that late afternoon class on time.

10. Make sure your students pay for their instruction:

We're not just talking their tuition fees here, make sure they know that they should only buy their uniforms and weapons from you since you make sure that they have the top quality stuff (which only you can acquire for sale). You should also make sure that they know the after-class get-together means the students pay for your dinner and drinks. This is the time-honoured way of the ancients, and you're making sure they pass on the tradition to their own students by teaching them the right way of things.

Physical Training Sept 2001