Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Developing Social Qualities - Part I: Trust

Kancho, the grand-master of my style said: "The Martial Arts begin with trust".

I had just given my first martial arts seminar on The Science of Judo, in which I likened the training hall to a laboratory for personal experimentation, and it was generally well-received. But Kancho was making a fundamental point: Without trust between student and instructor, and between training partners, there can be little learning.

When you first step into the world of martial arts you need to make the decision to trust your instructor. This is critical, not only to learn, but for your own safety and that of your training partners.

Training in the martial arts involves learning deliberately dangerous techniques which must be practiced safely:
  • There are throws: You need to learn to fall safely as quickly as possible, and to learn how to throw your partner safely
  • There are strikes: You need to learn how to strike safely so that you are learning proper technique and distancing, without damaging your partner when (s)he fails to evade or redirect the strike
  • There are joint-locks and strangles: You need to learn to apply these techniques slowly and gently, and when receiving signal submission when the technique takes effect and not be a hero by "toughing it out".
Maybe you are a skeptical person who thinks that trust must be earned and cannot be given. Then you should observe closely before joining a new class and ask yourself,
  • "Is this instructor trustworthy?", and
  • "Do the students trust each other?"
If the answer to either question is no, you should not join the class. If the answer is yes, then you can trust your own initial assessment and begin by trusting the instructor and your new class-mates.

Through on-going training, your trust for your instructor and training partners -- and their trust of you -- should grow, as you all practice in a sincere, safe and trustworthy manner.


Anonymous said...

Good point. Thank you for addressing this important aspect of choosing a new class, especially for beginners.

dailyStrats said...

Totally agree with you, nicely put!