Grandmaster Rose 10/1997 Fall Address
C&S Self Defense Association
Dear Students and Friends,
Well, from all reports everyone seems to have had a marvelous summer. I hope you have all had a chance by this time to work on the suggestions for the warm-up series exercises that we worked on at my Grandmaster's Retreat in June. More and more of our programs are being run in shared space where vcr and other av equipment are not available. It had become impossible for most programs to run the full set of 30 minute warm-ups. So, we altered our approach. Unfortunately, this does put more of a responsibility on you to run this new set outside of class on your own and to do some preliminary warm-ups before coming to class. We have suggested that all programs try these new 12 minute sets for the next year. Let your program director know your feelings as to how you think the exercises are benefiting you. We will be discussing your thoughts and suggestions at next years retreat at our Board of Directors meeting. If things need to be adjusted, we will address this at that time.
As I write this, Britain's Princess Diana is being laid to rest. What an impact this woman has had on us all. And most of us did not even realize it until she had died! 2.5 Billion people around the world watched and listened to her funeral service. Think about that: 2.5 Billion people cared enough about the impact that one person had on them that they took the time to stop what they were doing to pay their final respects.
We should all be so lucky if 10 people show up at our funeral someday! Seriously though, look at the effect that she was able to have on so many people. Why is this? Well, she cared and people knew it. People sensed that she was truly concerned about the betterment of all people. Not only that, but when she was speaking with (not "to") you, she made you feel as though she was giving you her undivided attention: she listened. Perhaps if we can learn anything from the Princess, it could be that sometimes the best way to help someone is to just listen attentively. Too often (and I sometimes find myself falling into this habit myself) we tend to talk about what we think is the topic of interest instead of trying to first listen to what the other persons concerns are. Remember that little pearl of wisdom our Grandmother used to scold us with when we were little, "God gave us two ears and just one mouth; what does that tell you?"
Yesterday, I spent 3 hours running around a soccer field (a very BIG soccer field...) for my class G Coaching license. The instructors entire approach to teaching soccer fundamentals to coaches who would then have to teach these skills to kids was to show us something and then let us play with it until we found we had a problem and then ask a question. By answering that one question, we all learned something. By the end of the day, we had learned a lot. If instead, the instructor had blabbed at us for 20 minutes covering all the 9 variations of dribbling we would have learned nothing. He describe his process of teaching as "learning through failure" and it is such a good system that the NFL has contracted them to give clinics for their coaches. What do the NFL and a soccer training program have in common? The process. The process of learning. The process of trying something, failing, asking, and resolving for oneself that which is important.
Isn't this what I have been teaching for almost 30 years? I have always said that if you do not have a need to learn something, then you will never get it. And the only way that I will know if you have a need is to wait for you to ask me a question. That is the only time I can resolve the issue for you. Well, it is easy to wander off the track and try to impart all the 9 dribbling variations. But that isn't teaching. It is talking "at" someone instead of talking "with" someone. Let us remember Princess Diana's way of touching our hearts; her special way of listening. Let us remember that this process is so valid that soccer coaches should use it. And karate instructors should use it. And everyone who wants to feel that they have positively affected another should use it. Listen. You might be surprised to find you learn something as well.
In our art,
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose