MightyBands, home gym system

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Classroom Ettiquette

In my karate days, classes were incredibly structured.  The culture of teaching martial arts was very, in a sense, "Japanified" - not only do you have the official grading structure (white to black belt), but also had outlined an ettiquete in entering the dojo, bowing to the pictures of past masters, and greeting the sensai and sanpai.   The teachers expected a certain respect for the school and your devotion to the art - shoes off, gi was pressed and clean, and that good hygeine was expected. Simple acts like standing and sitting were shown how to be done properly as well to show respect to the instructor teaching the lesson and to not get in the way of your fellow students. 

Interestingly, when I switched to kung fu - I can't say the same expectations were outlined. In my classes of shaolin kung fu at the local china town, or choy lee fat in a large gymnasium - there was no such etiquette. 

Looking back, I think this etiquette is good regardless if it's "your thing" or not.  It sets the tone for the seriousness that should be taken for the art (or hobby for many), and although it's expected in the general society, you'd be amazed at how many people in class release gasses (burp or fart - yea, that's right) or reak of not having showered in a few days.  YEA, pretty nasty I'd say.  Hey, it's one thing to accidentally let one out, but I'm not talking about accidents.  

I'll say it again, ettiquette sets the tone. Train hard - if you can talk about video games - you're not training hard enough.  Talking about your thoughts on Sarah Palin - you're not training hard enough. Ask yourself, when's the last time you broke a sweat training?

It's like the structure set in the academic setting. You tell me, would the general population do better if the curriculum consisted of 2 midterms and a final exam at set dates throughout the term or do you think they would do better if the students could write the three exams anytime they wanted as long as they completed it before the semester ended? Well, many would say, "everyone's learning style is different."

But get this. In my first year of biology, I took an online course at university as the flexibility fit my part-time work schedule. You could write the exams online at the recommended dates but did not have to as long as you wrote all exams by the end of the semester. One condition, you write the final exam in a classroom.

I opted for writing the midterms on the recommended dates. Prepped for the final exam and walked into the class room. NO ONE was there. I was the only guy who wrote that final exam. 

Structure, in the way of ettiquette, is something we can all benefit from, especially for our hobby. That means making sure you come to class with proper uniform (white shirt, black pants) cleaned and ironed. Also means, clip your nails and make sure you don't stink. Had garlic for dinner? Brush your teeth.  Don't disturb class by pounding away at the dummy or punching bag while the teacher is talking. I think you get the idea.  It might not be the Chinese way to have such a structured, "japanified" class, but guess what? The Chinese way is to do the Siu Nim Tao for one year before learning anything else. Do we still do that ?

Until then.

1 comment:

kyklosphaira said...

Hey man,

I actually like structure in a martial arts class. Growing up and seeing kung fu flicks, I've always wanted a Sifu! I don't mind the formalities of a WT class at all, with everyone arriving on time, bowing in class to start, starting with forms, saying "Thank you Si-Hing or Sifu", etc. Like you said, it sets a certain tone. But it's still a relaxed atmosphere of laid-back folks who know how to work hard. As long as there's a balance!


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