The process is simple, supplement the instruction of each lesson with the instructor, so that they will remember how important the Concepts and Principles are to their lessons, not just the physical skills. The how is not the only criteria to bring students up to black belt level. The why's of motion tie together and bring greater understanding of each lesson. Beyond the idea of muscle memory, the physical lesson and the conceptual lesson are intended to 'Burn In' to your brain (metaphor) new pathways, to combine thoughts, reactions and actions so that when a physical conflict comes the students way, they have an efficient way to use their skills.
One of the least efficient method of teaching anything is to give students answers to questions to answers they have yet to ask, or even conceptualize. What good is an answer that lacks a good question?
When did you start teaching Kenpo?
That would have the summer of 1988. I started teaching as a brown belt and spent at least 3500 hours teaching for the next 18 months. It was great experience, but I was mostly on my own. If not for the assistance of my father, who was a dance instructor way back when, I would not have continued and given up hope of being a Kenpo instructor. "Hey Clark, you've got Friday nights okay?. That was my then instructor telling me how it would be!
Where you nervous that first Friday?
Yes, but not too much, my personality type is very hammy. I like standing in front of people and telling them how to do things. As a musician you get used to being on stage and knowing people are watching you. Not a problem at the time beyond what the hell am I going to do tonight!
How has your ability to teach changed in the last 25 years?
Oh wow, the skill level and understanding of teaching has grown a great deal. I had a coulee years of stagnant growth, as well as couple of years where I tried to teach way to much, but as it stands now, I have a method of teaching that is not the system of techniques, forms and sets, but How to teach motion so that when a sequence of notions are done together, they become a movement. Much like the conductors musical score, where all of the parts of the symphony are on his pages, each individual musician has only their part on theirs. The conductor sees all of the notes and makes suggestions, corrections and guides the music to a single focus. When I say Motion, I equate it individual musicians (block, punch or kick), so that when a beautiful sequence of notes from skilled musicians become the musical Movement. A block, a kick and a chop are individual motions, but when done in sequential flow them become a Movement.
When will youretire from teaching and spend your time writing full time?
I think I have, God willing, thirty more years of teaching. But to be realistic, I have already retired from many of the aspects of teaching that are done by younger men. I will always take a knee to help a child, but leaping through the air and taking the controlled hits and kicks of my youth are done. It takes to long to heal up, so I get to sit down more often and forsake the push ups and sit ups of the class scenarios. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I play guitar and drums for my Church. I try to be the best dad my children deserve. Mostly I play guitar and enjoy working together with members of the Worship band to bring beautiful music to the people in Church.
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