When looking for a acim teacher to join or even re-assessing if the current school you belong to suites your needs and wants it’s important to evaluate two (2) primary aspects, the teacher and his or her relationship with his or her students. As a student there are three (3) non-replaceable things you give when you commit yourself to a style, system, school or instructor.
Those three non-replaceable things are your attention, time and trust. Of course you should already have sorted out what your main purpose for training in a particular martial art is. If your purpose is only recreation with little care of progress then these paragraphs may not be suited for you but, on the other hand, if you’re looking for training that will change, challenge and enhance your life, health and self-preservation then what I’m going to be saying will need serious reflection.
The first evaluation is about your teacher’s ambition to the perfection of his or her own craft. Is this individual self-driven, motivated and inspired by the system itself to continue their own education by any means.
The teacher should be active in his or her classes. They should be teaching, training and validating the material in each class. A proper teacher will never give an excuse as to why they cannot train; they will not shy away from their students or outside observers watching them train with their students or with their own teachers and seniors. You can clearly see their motivation to perfect there craft and lead as a true professional.
A teacher should not only be able to explain to his or her students how to train on their own but, also demonstrate these solo training methods precisely and perfectly at all speeds and levels of progression. A high class teacher has a formula or ritual to their own solo training and never lacks in there movement. Each movement is precisely executed with authority and professionalism.
In class, you should always see the teacher actively participating in the forms, drills and sparring, making his or her rounds with each student and displaying the proper level of training, teaching and coaching with each individual. A true teacher works with his student to achieve their student’s success. This means a teacher is willing to put themselves in controlled risk and vulnerable positions to pull out the best performance in their student. You should clearly be able to see that during this process the teacher has the complete control of the drill or sparring and at the same time lets the student venture into the game. The teacher should be displaying mastery of both range and timing putting themselves in vulnerable positions trying to encourage their student to identify and capitalize on these opportunities while maintaining the safety of them and the student.
After observing carefully the teacher’s behavior of both authority and professionalism it’s time to glance over and evaluate the students. The students will display the teacher’s personality, ability and leadership towards training. Watch how the students and teacher interact with each other as well as how the students interact with other students. Also, pay attention to how the teacher and students when not with a partner are acting. Are they observing others, off on their own taking notes and working on a skill or are they just sitting around with no intent to better themselves in some way.