It is not enough to teach one step techniques. Further, it is not entirely sufficient to teach flow drills alone either. One step techniques is a great gateway to teaching more complex techniques. By the same token, flow drills serve as an introduction to “the flow.” However, neither, by themselves, sufficiently teach sensitivity.
What do I mean by sensitivity? In a nutshell, it is the ability to feel your opponent’s energy and responding accordingly without freezing. One of the aims of sensitivity training is to eliminate or reduce the “freeze point” as much as possible.
If you are not able to view the video, please click here.
How do I teach sensitivity? Admittedly, this is a work in progress. However, the method that I have chosen, for the time being, is similar the video above. In the above video, I demonstrated four counters to Dref’s various check hand actions in the slap off/pull off drill.
Once the students have learned these three or four counters, I will direct their training partners to mix up their responses in order to elicit the correct responses. Initially, most of my students will freeze as they try to recall the correct response to their opponent’s actions. The more they practice, the smaller the freeze point becomes. The bonus is that many of them have fun with this and turn this into a game as they increase the speed of the exchanges.
Once the three or four basic counters become automatic, I will add more, usually one at a time, to increase the difficulty level, not to mention the fun!
As indicated above, this is just another tool in my teaching toolbox. Recently, my classes have moved more toward a mixture of flow drills and sensitivity training rather than one step technique work. Further, I have added elements of other flow drills when extracting techniques from a flow drill. In other words, I’m mixing and matching elements of different flow drills. The possibilities are endless but the bottom line is tons of fun for the students!
Since moving to Canada in June of 2007, I’ve come a long way as a teacher and this necessarily means exploring the art, finding ways to impart the information in an effective, interesting, and fun way while retaining the practical self-defense aspects of the art. I’ve gone down some dead ends, teaching wise. But those dead ends turned out to be blessings in disguise as they pushed me in different directions and led me to where I am now. I’m currently happy with the class format that I have come up with through trial and error. Make no mistake about it, I will probably tinker with the current approach (flow drills, sensitivity training, and mixing/matching) for awhile. 🙂 In any case, I’m constantly evaluating my teaching and often thinking of ways to teach more effectively. All part of the evolution of being an instructor!
Have you had a similar teaching journey? Let’s hear about it!