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Expand Your Knowledge By Sharing It

I enjoy it when I hear students discussing what it is they are doing while they are training. And as long as what they are saying isn’t leading them in a wrong direction or violating some fundamental principle, I let them do their thing and don’t intercede. In fact, I encourage students to discuss, explore and process what they are doing, because I believe it is an essential element in their growth and understanding. Primarily I am talking about when either one or both of the students have a basic level of proficiency in what they are doing, but sometimes two beginners can explore the action or technique together, and may even bring a perspective that I had not given much thought to before.

Sometimes a student would like to help another but is reticent to step forward for fear of offending the other person or the teacher, or because they often think they don’t know enough about the subject. This is primarily born out of the way many of us were raised as children and educated at school. The external authority figure supposedly knew everything and we just had to be quiet and listen. The same thing happened to many of us when we began training in the martial arts. The Sifu, Sensei, Guru, or whatever they wanted to be called had all the answers and we were not supposed (and in some case, not allowed) to question. This, in my opinion, is old-school mentality and has no place in today’s world. Understand that I am in no way suggesting that we should be disrespectful or discourteous to a teacher or instructor.

Some people get perturbed when another student tries to help them by explaining something to them, be it a technique, an action, a principle, or a training method. They have an attitude that if the teacher or instructor does not tell them, then it isn’t good enough or credible. I remember I had one student a number of years ago who was having a problem with a particular aspect of training. When I suggested they seek help from some of my senior students, their response was, “Why? They are not you.” This irritated me because it was as if they didn’t think that other students had anything of value to offer. That student left the school not too long after.

Here’s the thing to keep in mind. You can actually increase your own understanding through helping others. When you talk something through with another person, break it down for their understanding, not only are you once again forced to pay attention to what you’re doing, but you might even see your own training improve. You might see details emerge that you hadn’t taken into account, or been able to see when you were busy learning and developing the various techniques and actions.

So expand your own knowledge by sharing it.

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