Although I've been a student myself for this my 17th year, I have only recently (4 months ago) started my own dojo.
It's only since I've been solely responsible for running a dojo that student ability really became apparent to me. (I suppose its from sitting more often from the other side of the mat) I appreciate everyone learns at differing paces and, there's no specific time scales on gradings etc however, I'd like to hear your thoughts on how one deals with the long term aspects of having a student who is committed (turning up twice a week without fail) Who exudes enthusiasm yet, despite having everything an instructor might want in a student, no matter how many times one explains, demonstrates or teaches, nothing appears to stick.
The case in question, the student had studied for about two years, week in week out with another dojo but became disenchanted when he saw students with less time and experience being promoted before him. He came to me almost as soon as I started my dojo and even though I knew he'd been training for about two years his physical ability, co-ordination and general 'function' on the mat is.. well far behind any student I've known with two years committed study. Indeed I have another student from a surrounding dojo who trains with me to add in another night's training, likewise this person has about the same time under their belt and, the difference in general skills is very apparent.
My philosophy isn't skills or grade based so I personally have absolutely no problem with anyone training with me regardless of their ability however, equally so I don't believe in grading for grading's sake. I can see a point in time where I will have students ready to test yet the person in question will probably still be far behind them and eventually feel I am not being fair. (this is of course my assumption based on what happened before)
Being honest is a good policy, and I don't have an issue with being polite but honest and saying "you just aren't up to standard at the moment" however, when I take into consideration the commitment this student has shown and is continuing to show by turning up and supporting what is after all a club in it's infancy, I feel torn in not wishing to exclude this person from future gradings. It is that obvious, his aptitude for the basics of Aikido movement is minimal and, as I've said it doesn't matter how many times I teach or re-teach something, even simple Tai Sabaki, he just looks like a week old beginner at times, it is very strange.
Looking forward to your comments
Last edited by David Humm : 01-28-2005 at 07:24 PM.