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ccwscott
Cichorei Kano
tafftaz
Aikislacker
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    How to salvage a frustrated student?

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    Aikislacker


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    Post by Aikislacker Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:37 am

    Hey guys- I'm currently a yonkyu (done other martial arts for a decade) and have a close friend that after over three years is still unranked in judo. Unfortunately our club has been incredibly unorganized for the three years, going through multiple instructors and not being a member of any national organization.
    As such, there's been no curriculum. My friend is incredibly frustrated with judo and is near giving up. In the last class we attended, (no joke) a drill was shown to everyone (first day of class for one guy) that consisted of 6 different throws!!!

    Instead of a long vent that I just deleted, I'd like to ask how you as an instructor would approach an adult student that needs some sense that they are making progress in judo asap....thanks.
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    tafftaz


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    Post by tafftaz Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:01 am

    Too many variables to make any sort of judgement but 3 years in with no grade seems strange.
    A syllabus is really only a guide and not something that is strictly adhered too in most clubs I know. Lessons sometimes have to be adapted for whoever turns up.
    My honest opinion, find a more structured club with reliable coaching staff.
    Cichorei Kano
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    Post by Cichorei Kano Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:26 am

    Aikislacker wrote:Hey guys- I'm currently a yonkyu (done other martial arts for a decade) and have a close friend that after over three years is still unranked in judo. Unfortunately our club has been incredibly unorganized for the three years, going through multiple instructors and not being a member of any national organization.
    As such, there's been no curriculum. My friend is incredibly frustrated with judo and is near giving up. In the last class we attended, (no joke) a drill was shown to everyone (first day of class for one guy) that consisted of 6 different throws!!!

    Instead of a long vent that I just deleted, I'd like to ask how you as an instructor would approach an adult student that needs some sense that they are making progress in judo asap....thanks.

    I would echo what tafftaz said and point out that there are a lot of variables in your post and that it appears strange that someone would have not have received any promotion within 3 years as a kyû rank. Obviously, part of the equation is going to be how regular his training was within that period. Did he train weekly or did he show up once every 6 months ? We have a person within our club who has had the same kyû rank for even longer, but that rank is a 1st kyû. That is not impossible or unseen for 1st kyû since some 1st kyû just never make it to shodan and are stuck there forever. In our case the person typically comes every week once, but could also come more. The least excuse, however, is good not to come. Every class, even if repeating something really basic like kesa-gatame or hiza-guruma, the person never knows what it is, and all pointers you gave the past week are just lost and you can start all over. Why does this happen ? Multifactorial. When I was a even a beginning jûdô student I was with my nose in jûdô books regularly, eager to learn new techniques, eager to get better, but some people simply do not want or can't get themselves to put any time into jûdô even if it is just intellectual, beyond that one hour of practical training per week.

    You may want to ask Hanon. He's the psychologist here and might have unique insights in that. I am not sure that the kind of things we are talking about here really fall within the realm of things which a jûdô instructor should or can resolve.

    Something else I think of. I remember at university now and then having a student who was hopeless. I am sort of a perfectionist so I have a hard time dropping anyone. The student was flunking every class, but still I did not want to give up the student in my class. I always told students that if they struggled that they were welcome to come see me in my office, as long as they could show that they had actually put time into studying and doing preparatory work. Well, I remember one or two students who for each hour they attended a lecture of mine, I would spend 3 hours with each of them in my office. They did pass my course in the end with minimal marks, but overall you could say that there remain major problems. I care about my students and so I remember when I first experienced something similar to take up the issue with a few very senior professors close to retirement who had also won several national teaching awards. I had anticipated that they would say "yep that's the only way to do it", because of course at the same time I was interested in becoming as good as they were. You know what they all said ? "Don't do it". It's OK to be open and welcoming to students, but 3 hours of private tutoring time on top of each lecture, no. There is a burden on them, and if they cannot make it with average work and attention, then sorry, but they are in the wrong place.

    I do think that there are cases where people are hopeless for jûdô. That is to say, I also think that everyone can succeed in jûdô. The two statements seem a contradiction, but they are not. What I mean is that if someone puts and extraordinary disproportionate amount of time into something, he likely will be able to reach a certain level. I do not think that it is your duty to put an extraordinary disproportionate amount of time into someone. I am sure that if this students is such an incredible exception you don't want to lose, that in that case there is sufficient the student can do himself, if necessary, in such an ... "extraordinary disproportionate way" to improve motor skills, and knowledge. For example, there is no excuse unless one is retarded, for a 1st kyû after having been in that rank for 7 years to have no clue what kind of technique hiza-guruma is. Even a 5 year old who for 5 years would daily look into a judo book for 6 months to a picture of hiza-guruma, would at least 'recognized' its broad lines and indentify it when for example compared to harai-goshi. In other words, as much as one might be committed to Kanô's educational principles, there is also a limit as to exactly how much people can expect from you as an instructor.
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    ccwscott


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    Post by ccwscott Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:05 am

    Find a better dojo for him to attend. I don't say that sort of thing lightly because I know some areas you just have to deal with what you have, but not having any sort of national affiliation gives you no quality control on instructors and no liability insurance lifeline if you get hurt, and it doesn't sound like these instructors know what they are doing. Getting taught Judo by people who don't know Judo is really dangerous, and when someone puts your friend in the hospital he could have a long expensive recovery that no one is going to pay for.
    Stacey
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    Post by Stacey Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:07 am

    assuming there are no other clubs within a reasonable distance, so you're stuck with whomever you can get as an instructor for however long you can get them - you're in a difficult position.

    I do, however, know that there's at least one established club in each of the 50 states (assuming again that you're in the US, and the geography of the US is the biggest part of why you can't find a club with a consistent instructor). Take your most senior student or two and have a discussion. Reach out to those clubs that are well established, and talk with them about offering you some instruction, some syllabus of work, some manner of testing for rank.

    I'd get a copy of the syllabus that that club uses, usually USJA or USJF, both readily available, and start working that syllabus. I'd send the senior student over to the existent club as often as possible, even if it's only once a month. If the established club has the capacity, they may be able to send senior students/instructors to your club every so often (best if you all have a Saturday class or a Sunday class for this sort of instruction). The important part is establishing that relationship as well as increasing the knowledge base of everybody through the best instruction you can get.

    Then, when it comes time to test (which is pretty much now for a white belt who's been white for 3 years, no matter how chaotic the instruction), you can arrange to send students to the established club for testing, or arrange to have a rank examiner sent to your club on a specific date so that those who feel they are ready to test for the next rank can test for that rank.

    Listen, it's not just the rank part that's frustrating you and your friend - it's the inconsistent instruction. It's hard to realize you're making progress when instruction is all herky jerky, over estimating the abilities of people, underestimating the abilities of people, and teaching things differently every single time. You lack confidence in your instructors because they don't stick around or vest in you as students. All of that is very understandable. But, if you want to progress through judo, be a bit more proactive. Contact an established club. Join one of the big 3. Start creating a mutual relationship with a national organization AND an established club. You'll have a syllabus to work with, you'll get consistent (if not as constant as you want) instruction. Both will make you and your friend feel more grounded.

    Progress through the ranks won't hurt, either.
    genetic judoka
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    Post by genetic judoka Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:27 am

    stacey, if I recall correctly, aikislacker is from Portugal. I stand corrected.

    now to the OP: have you discussed this with your instructors? sometimes they don't realize these things are happening, despite how obvious they may seem to students. you'd be amazed how much someone can have on their mind at any given time...


    Last edited by genetic judoka on Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:50 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : I was wrong)
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    Aikislacker


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    Post by Aikislacker Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:39 am

    Thanks a lot for the ideas, guys and gals. I am in the US and there are some other better established clubs within 2 hours drive time. I will say something to the instructors, even though I feel like I don't have room to talk at my level.

    The student in question has practiced out of class quite a bit and has attended classes for the 3 years faithfully except in cases when they were injured, so it's not for lack of trying.
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    jkw


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    Post by jkw Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:14 am

    Aikislacker wrote:
    The student in question has practiced out of class quite a bit and has attended classes for the 3 years faithfully except in cases when they were injured, so it's not for lack of trying.

    Has it been the case that because of the lack of organisation in your club, there have been no grading examinations during the last three years? Or has your friend failed grading exams that have been held?

    Does your friend have reasonable ukemi, a basic understanding of reigi, and working knowledge of a handful of techniques?

    It seems extraordinary to train regularly for three years and not show enough improvement to grade beyond 5-kyu.
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    Aikislacker


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    Post by Aikislacker Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:49 am

    Yes, there have been no exams given. The club (many years ago) went from white to green belt and the student is not at green belt level IMO.

    Yes, the student has good ukemi, has competed three times and been to many clinics. She does have an understanding of a handful of techniques but has a huge confidence issue-partially due to perfectionism and partially due to not having any sparring partners that would be of a similar size/level to measure herself against.
    JudoTerrier
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    Post by JudoTerrier Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:30 pm

    Aikislacker wrote:Yes, there have been no exams given. The club (many years ago) went from white to green belt and the student is not at green belt level IMO.

    Yes, the student has good ukemi, has competed three times and been to many clinics. She does have an understanding of a handful of techniques but has a huge confidence issue-partially due to perfectionism and partially due to not having any sparring partners that would be of a similar size/level to measure herself against.

    Yeah, that's hard. I can relate--both on the individual and club level. Our club is a bit on the chaotic side and it's losing us adult beginners--but that's a whole 'nother can of worms. It's really frustrating when you never have anyone to play that is your size--because it does make it almost impossible to tell if you're improving. Higher ranks will consistently play you a little above your level, so it never FEELS like you're getting better even if you are. (The key to this problem is to pay attention to what they have to do to throw or pin or submit you. When it takes longer, and they have to get more creative, you're making progress. Ask me how I know! Rolling Eyes ) And when you play someone your level who is significantly bigger and stronger, it takes a lot more finesse and technique to be successful, which is frustrating as hell. It can be beneficial in the long run, because you really cannot rely on strength to muscle thru techniques, but it's no fun in the moment. Again, ask me how I know! Laughing

    If she has been to clinics at other places, does she get to work with people her size more? See some progress there? That can help a lot. Good luck--that's a tough situation.

    Erika

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