Thursday, 27 October 2011

Learning by teaching

In many years now I have been teaching Taekwondo as well as studying it. I have found that one of the best ways to learn Taekwondo is by teaching it. And many of my most important "learnings" has come by teaching kids.

In my organisation of Taekwondo (the TTU or Traditional Taekwondo Union) it is
  demanded that each student has to pass a physical test before doing their grade. The tests consists of jumping high, jumping distance, push ups, sit ups, and squat jumping (you jump from squatting position). Because of this we need to not only teach Taekwondo techniques, forms and self defense, we also have to train them so they can pass the physical tests.

One time I was teaching the children were very tired. We had done a lot of running and sprints to improve their stamina. Now they were doing a small contests of sorts. They were divided up in 4 teams consisting of 4 children pr team. They had to send one runner each to the end of the Dojang and back again so the next team member could start running. The first team to complete the task without cheating wins.

What I noticed was that the children once finished running sat down and waited until all the kids was finnished so that the first runners were rested when the last runners was finnished. I thought I should say something but what? I asked them why they train Taekwondo. There is always one kid who answers to learn how to fight is it not?:-P I then asked them who they were supposed to fight? They all became very quiet. "Ourself teacher?" a little girl said in a wispering voice, before continuing; "we train hard to fight ourself?". "Do you win or do you loose if you give up and sit down during training, just because you want to rest?" I asked them wondering what their answer would be. In almost perfect unison they all said that they had lost their fight with themselves. I explained to them that in Taekwondo training we are always fighting (I used the word sparring) with ourselves. Even when sparring with a partner the biggest opponent is always yourself.

They got a little brake to drink some water and then we finnished the training with stretching and meditation. Well I do not think that the children actually meditate, but sitting perfectly still for 2-5 minutes doing abdominal breathing is a good excercise that all children should be doing according to one of the parents. He thinks it is a good idea. When he collects his son after soccer practise he is all wild and full of energy but after Taekwondo class he is calm. The father believes it to be the meditation minutes at the end of class that does this.

Hope you liked the story above. I will undoubtfully come back with other Dojang stories in the future.


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  2. I agree. The best way to learn is to teach. This goes for anything, including tae kwon do. You must understand your subject very well in order to teach it, especially when dealing with children. Children are very inquisitive and ask difficult questions. If you have a good grasp on the concepts and intricacies of your subject or art, you can answer these tough questions in a way that provides an answer, while still leaving the students with something to ponder. great story!

    1. Thanks Sarah:-) I hope you enjoy the Blog:-)