The following article (Part 2 of a 2 part series) was inspired by a number of comments posted by a serious Black Belt instructor who studied with one of my direct students and then expanded the ground aspect of his own MA experience by studying Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I have slightly modified some of the excerpts from my responding comments in order to share the content of our discussion with our general readers.
This instructor explained the challenges he endured when he attempted to add an MMA program to his curriculum, subsequently resulting in a significant degree of dissatisfaction. You can find his original comments written at the end of my previous article titled, “MMA vs. Tradition – Part 4“.
In these comments submitted by my second generation student, he included the “lessons” he had learned from not so positive experience. Part 2 of this series, written below, is a continuation of my responses and remains in context with his comments.
Many years ago, as a young Sensei and long before the recent MMA popularity, I also made some mistakes similar to those lamented by my student’s student in Part 1 of this series. In a sincere attempt to remove what I mistook for “egoism” from my teaching I began to replace the somewhat formal structure in my dojo and began to run it more like a “coach” in a “gym”.
I became lax with dojo protocol such as exchanging courtesies (bowing, etc.) We called each other by first name and even socialized outside the dojo more like “peers”. It wasn’t until much later that I realized how significantly this began “blurring the lines” separating student and Master teacher, particularly, the responsibility to “set the example” that any strong leader and/or mentor must do and not allow himself to become “one of the boys”. (more…)