Only 8 students in class at Noguchi sensei’s class but still, he was brilliant! The small number of participants didn’t stop his endless energy. We covered the first level of Gyokko Ryû (again). In my sixty trips here in Japan, I must have seen these techniques at least thirty times. And this is always a pleasure, as his interpretation of these known waza is always different. In fact, what Noguchi sensei does with the techniques is so far from the basic form, that it could be another fighting system. Because there were so few students, I trained with a young Shōdan. He was totally lost because he’s didn’t know the basic waza from the Gyokko Ryû. Even though I think that anyone should come here to train with Sōke and the Shihan, if you don’t know your basic forms, maybe it would be better to not come to Japan!
I wrote recently an article about the responsibility of being a black belt. As a teacher you have a bigger responsibility.
Maybe because of the stress added to his lack of knowledge, my partner was only using upper body strength, and was unable to move his legs. I don’t blame him, I blame his teacher. How can you create black belts with an apparent lack of basics?
I was losing my time and began to be irritated (this is an understatement). I asked him why his level was so bad? He answered: “we do only basics”.
If it were true, he would have been good enough to train with, but that wasn’t the case. He didn’t know the Bujinkan basics at all. I don’t blame him, but his teacher. know that his teacher is Jûgodan, but I don’t know who he trained with, but he has to reconsider his teaching abilities.
He let him go to Japan without the fundamental keys to survive here. If this young black belt had trained with another young black belt, I guess things would have been OK. But with me, he had a hard time, and the more the class was going, the more he was lost.
I don’t mind teaching beginners, this is my main activity in my dōjō, but when I come here, I come exclusively to train, not to teach. As I had to teach him, I missed a fantastic class by Noguchi sensei because his teacher didn’t do his job correctly.
I hope that one day I can meet his teacher, and tell him that what he does has to change. I’m aware that he might not even be responsible himself, maybe he too, had a bad teacher.
Here are a few rules for teachers:
1. Teaching is transmitting:
To teach, you must be focused on the quality of the transmission.
2. Having a high rank doesn’t make you a good teacher:
Having a black belt rank doesn’t mean you are qualified to teach. Teaching is an ability you learn or develop. There’s no improvisation in teaching.
3. Know your limits:
It is important to be aware of your teaching skills, if you don’t have any, the best is to stop teaching.
4. Not every black belt is able to teach.
As a teacher you are responsible for what you give. The world is not nice. Teach the right thing. Because the lives of your students might depend one day on the quality of your teaching and of your transmission.
Hatsumi Sensei repeated in his last class, that he is only teaching the Jûgodan. He added that teachers have to teach the basics to their students. Without good basics, there cannot be any good transmission.
I have sometimes the feeling that Bujinkan teachers are actors. They are keen in showing the “cosmic flow” (that they often don’t have) than to teach the foundation of taijutsu.
Renember that what you see here in Japan, is not what you have to teach. What you see here, is your next personal goal, your potential future.
So, please, teach your students correctly!
As a teacher your responsibility is to teach the bio-mechanics of Budō, not the “cosmic flow”, it is useless, and only a show of ego. Your only job is to teach the roots of correct taijutsu.