Karate Thoughts Blog


Contents   /   Email  /   Atom  /   RSS  /  

1650+ Posts... and Counting

About Bad Habits

Last night I was teaching two new students how to punch from a stationary position (jigotai dachi). Both students are new. One only started training last night.

One of the students did something wrong. I think he punched too high or low, or did not bring his arm back correctly. I thought to myself, "that is a bad habit."

Then I caught myself. New students do not have bad habits. They do not have any Karate habits. Everything is new to them. They are just trying to copy me. They might make mistakes, but that is different from a bad habit.

Advanced students can have bad habits. They have learned and a mistake has become ingrained in their technique. They are doing something wrong all the time.

But a new student has no habits... not yet. It is up to us, as instructors, to teach properly and to ingrain the correct movements in the student's technique. We have to help him to form good habits and have to help prevent him from forming bad habits.

How many "bad habits" were formed because the teacher did not teach diligently? How many bad habits were allowed to slip through because the teacher was not paying attention or was too busy with other students?

My Sensei here in Hawaii, Sensei Rodney Shimabukuro, is very good about not going on until the student gets the technique right. If the student does not get it, he will start over again from the beginning. Shimabukuro Sensei's attitude is that each movement can be broken down into its basic parts. One part is built upon another. If one part is wrong, the next will be wrong too. That is why he is very patient about making each part correct. A little defect in one part can lead to a big defect in a later part, or the whole.

And one technique can form the basis for another. If one technique is defective, the next technique will also be wrong.

New students do not have bad habits (when it comes to Karate technique). They can only form the habits that we allow them to form. It is up to us, as instructors, to ensure that they learn to move correctly.

As I often say, any errors in the dojo are my errors.

Respectfully,

Charles C. Goodin