The other day I told you a story about how I was a well-intended but slightly self-absorbed martial arts teacher. I wanted to let you know more about what I've come to understand over the past twenty years of teaching and training. As I said then I want to share my teaching philosophy here.
I began to ask myself how I could relate to people as possible students in helpful ways even though they might not be as passionate about training as I am? Generally there are some helpful, simple things I consider when I think about the “potential mentee,” which is my definition of someone who might not want to immerse themselves in the subculture of mixed martial arts, five nights a week training, spending thousands of dollars in training.
I consider myself a Self-Protection Mentor. I am not merely a teacher. I am not merely a coach. I am not a consultant. My role is all of that rolled into one person.
Before I begin I want you to know something of which I became aware. It seems simple but many instructors might miss it: Potential mentees are regular folks.
They have their lives and the things with which they’re already comfortable and that might not necessarily be training like a professional fighter.
In light of that how can I reach out to them and welcome them to become my mentees? I'll share the first one thing I recognized here and the next two points I'll cover in separate posts.
First, I recognize that the potential new student is not like me. That might seem to be an obvious point but it seems as though martial arts teachers don’t recognize this clearly.
The new student is not fully aware of how important it is to know how to defend themselves and their loved ones, what is to be gained by martial study, and generally how training can benefit them in other areas of their lives.
Since potential mentees are just that, potential, it's unreasonable to expect them to care as much as I do about receiving martial training in a mentor-mentee relationship. It is my job to convince potential mentees of that.
As I engage with people my goal is to do more listening than talking, remembering that it’s only after one has begun to understand someone’s needs that we can work together to create a truly transformative experience.
Like I said, in the next two posts I'll discuss other lessons learned. From there I'll continue to lay out how I function as a Self-Protection Mentor.
Until next time,