TOM CALLAHAN

To be a good teacher, one has to be of the mindset of a student. The teacher needs to recall viscerally what he/she was feeling as a young rank. As the teacher looks out onto his students he/she needs to look at the entire class, and also simultaneously look at each individual. No two students are alike and each of the students needs and natural abilities are different. This can create an obvious dilemma for the teacher.

In Kyokushin we follow a set of basics (Kihon) regardless of the aforementioned, and are practiced by everyone from beginner to expert. Typically it will take the average person 2-3 months to get comfortable with this warm up (Kihon). As a young rank, this is maybe the most difficult and least enjoyable part of the journey. The teacher must be sensitive to this and be patient as he/she asks the student to be. This patience must be a two way street.

Being a karate instructor is more than showing a student how to punch, kick and defend. The teacher must FIRST and foremost understand WHY the student is even in the class ! Each student has unique needs. It is imperative for the teacher to care enough to discover that reason…so, in many ways it is a journey for both teacher and student.

There is a basic conundrum in this of course. HOW do you teach to a class with the Kyokushin spirit and teach to a group but ALSO be sensitive to each individual? The answer is you are not only teaching these students in class. As many teachers experience, students often times look at you as a father or mother figure and someone they feel they can confide in. There is an element of trust that is engendered and this responsibility MUST be taken with the utmost care. Every teacher deals with this in their own manner.
“The benefit from the intense training is developing one’s character”

My PERSONAL approach is to take the time to listen and to advise in areas of life that do not involve punching or kicking but in fact DO deal with BUDO…the way of the warrior. Life is difficult and what the student learns in class must be applicable to one’s daily life. We call this Osu no Seishin or Osu no shinobu. Never give up or persevere at all times as a “warrior” does. My approach to teaching Kyokushin is to instill a sense of confidence and provide the necessary tools including the “never give up” mentality for their daily lives.
The residual benefit from the intense and sometimes severe training is the ability to defend one’s self and loved ones, while maintaining a healthy mind body and spirit. We are helping to build character.

OSU!