As an instructor, I love to help my students reach their goals and hone their skills. Seeing them improve and surpass their own expectations is very rewarding. When teaching martial arts, I want to help my students become better trained to defend themselves. I hope they never find themselves in a physical confrontation, but I am honored to prepare them for such a situation. Seeing my students’ growth as martial artists and as people reminds me why I love to teach. My favorite moments of teaching are those ‘aha!’ moments, where a technique a student has had difficulty with finally clicks with them.
Though the physical techniques are important (I am a stickler for good form), I also focus on teaching the emotional side of martial arts. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude are very important, but I also expect good self-control from my students. This self-control develops with training and is amplified through the support and instruction of the teachers at the dojo and the parents at home. I strive to help my students find confidence and patience with themselves, as this will give them the emotional skills they need to succeed.
“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” John Cotton Dana
I learned a very important lesson when I first began teaching. I needed to know my own martial arts inside and out to be able to fully explain it to those I was teaching. I had to reexamine my techniques for those I was teaching. When I started doing this, I found that my martial arts began improving faster than it ever had before. I was no longer improving for my own sake, I was improving to better help others learn. This has a very powerful impact on how I view myself and my abilities. The sense of responsibility towards my students adds a new layer of appreciation of my karate.
Stephanie Rodenhiser is a 4th Degree Black Belt at Buzz Durkin’s Karate School, having trained since she was eight years old. She teaches students of all ages and especially enjoys teaching kids and adults who work hard and develop great outlooks on life.