A Parent's Guide to the Martial Arts  p. 8  

In conclusion, "the true way of Budō is to practice martial arts in such a way that they will be useful at any time.  To teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things." (Parulski, 1, 74)  The mark of an excellent teacher is not their ability to perform; rather it is their ability to get you to perform!  It does not matter how many trophies have been won or how perfectly an instructor may be able to execute his techniques.  If he cannot convey or transmit his knowledge to you, if he cannot inspire you to learn by his mere presence, then you are not in the company of a good teacher!  The bottom line is you can train in the martial arts for 10, 15, or even 20 years but that doesn't mean you know how to teach martial arts to others.

In most martial art schools, the instructor is usually referred to as senseiSensei is a Japanese word that is usually translated as ‘teacher.’  However, a sensei is much, much more than just a teacher.  In fact, there is nothing in the term sensei that suggests teaching.  Translated literally, sensei means, ‘born earlier,’ and as such denotes wisdom.   It is more correctly “a title of respect for someone who is older and wiser. (Lovret, 1, 98)  As such, a sensei won't just be teaching people, he will be molding them, and his students won't merely be trying to learn what he knows, they will be trying to become exactly like him. That is a heavy responsibility. (Lovret, 3, 24)  And you must ask yourself, “Am I willing to entrust my child's growth and development to my chosen instructor or school?  This decision should be carefully thought out and chosen with care. 

Take the time to do some research and get the facts.  Without good information, you will inevitably make a bad decision.  Draeger puts it this way, "Most important to all who contemplate the study of a classical bujutsu is to obtain instruction only from qualified and licensed instructors.  Unfortunately, there are also a number of people, both Japanese and non-Japanese, who claim to be instructors in classical disciplines; armed with bogus credentials they exploit the inability of the general public to identify competent and licensed teaching authorities." (Draeger, 1, 190)

As far as your concerns about the dangers in learning martial arts, most of these concerns stem from misconceptions and martial arts practitioners of poor character.  Just give serious thought to what Gichin Funakoshi, who is considered the father of modern karate, has to say on the dangers of martial arts, “The indiscriminate use of the art of karate would cause great public concern and one cannot deny its potential dangers.  However, it would be regrettable that pursuit of this mysterious art, of which one can properly be so proud, should be shunned simply because it is too dangerous.  The source of concern is largely based on the misconception arising from instructors of poor character, who thoughtlessly place the emphasis of training on the techniques rather than on the spiritual aspects of the , and from the misbehavior and poor attitudes of karate students who are learning this art solely as a technique of fighting.”  (Funakoshi, 5)

You should by now have enough information to understand better what the martial arts is and is not.  The Martial Arts and The Martial Way have a rich heritage and they have a great deal to offer serious students in today's dangerous world.  Unfortunately, the true Martial Arts and The Martial Way have been obscured or lost entirely in most martial arts schools in the desire for economic, personal, or political benefit.  Sadly, as a result, students in most martial art schools today are only getting the surface features of a deeply rooted tradition.  It is my sincere hope that you now understand what to look for in a training facility and what is required to be an effective teacher of the martial arts in order that you may come to realize the tremendous benefits that training in the martial arts can offer, not only for your children but for you as well. 




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