I was recently at a Martial art event and was questioned by an older Grandmaster about teaching children. I replied that I no longer teach children and leave that up to my senior black belts who need that experience.
What amused me, was his conclusion that I was too big for myself, as in I felt I was beyond teaching children. Then I was thinking this fellow must have been pretty high on himself to Judge me from a single sentence reply.
I believe teaching children is a great experience and an Instructor can learn so much more about him or herself as well as the lessons being taught. We learn as students from one perspective and the same lessons provide another learning curve as the teacher / instructor. I have had the experience and privilege of teaching children and adults through private, commercial and community schools for over 30 years. Each environment provided inspiration, thought and growth.
As the Grandmaster of Seicho Jutsu I have a greater responsibility to teach the Masters and senior Black Belts other lessons they can not learn from teaching children. The curriculum in Seicho Jutsu expands beyond the comprehension of children and delves into psychology, philosophy, spiritual and energy development… .
I am in no way trying to put down arts that do not cover these topics. I understand there are topics that would not be acceptable in some teaching environments because they may not be politically correct. Some arts are limited to sports so once you get to old to compete, you become an Instructor then the coach.
However I do believe their should always be a hierarchy. Everyone should have a responsibility . To think that a Grandmaster of a martial arts system has the time to teach children is like the General in the military teaching new recruits. It is my belief there should be a foundation to learning which in turn reflects the foundation to the art.
A black belt assist the senior black belt in teaching classes. With more experience and growth the Senior becomes the Master and black belt becomes the Senior.
A Master is responsible to guide and teach the Senior black belts. The senior black belts are responsible for the black belts and senior students. If the chain of command gets broken or people directly under you are not fulfilling their responsibilities you may find yourself starting over.
I will agree that some people have a very weak foundation, they go from student to Grandmaster without the experience of teaching children and adults. They have not taught others up to black belt level, let alone Senior or master level black belts.
In conclusion we only have so much time to learn and grow in this lifetime. My progress was first as a student in the early 70′s and an Instructor by1980. It was one of my biggest accomplishments when I taught my first black belt student to Master level in 1989. I provided a learning opportunity for my black belts to teach children at the public school systems through the neighborhood association throughout the 80′s and 90′s.
It is very important to continue to grow and expand oneself in all levels of the art. Teaching children is only one of the many paths to explore on our journey to self development and awareness.
For in the end we should all be students of Life. We should continue to learn grow and develop through all our experiences trials and tribulations.
We learn from teaching children, we learn from teaching black belts and we learn from teaching Masters. I continue to inspire other Grandmasters as well as learn from them.