After the passing of over 35 years or training and teaching (20+ years in Krav Maga), I’ve come to the conclusion that the most powerful way to support students in learning Krav Maga (and almost anything else for that matter), is to create opportunities (often through repetition) to explore the various facets of a defense or technique with the intention of facilitating personal discovery.
The truth is, it’s difficult to tell anyone anything – instead egocentric responses often block the opportunity to grow and improve. In short, we all want to believe we are better than we really are, and we like to be told only what we want to hear and believe is true about ourselves and/or our performance.
Ironically, within the bounds of Krav Maga training, instructors can also find the opposite – resistance from students who have made a wholesale commitment to do whatever the instructor prescribes. This is an issue where personal responsibility and exploration are abandoned with the belief that the instructor knows best. I’ve seen plenty of instructors in my time, and the truth is, instructors are just people like the rest of us. To make matters worse, unfortunately, many instructors don’t welcome questions – any student who dares to question receives a deeply egocentric, defensive (at times threatening) response. Not awesome…and not productive.
Instead, instructors need to see themselves as “in the service” of the students, creating meaning and dignity in their work by supporting and advocating for students. And, if the students are really lucky, instructors will effort to create the kind of culture where students can ask questions, experiment, and discover the answers for themselves. In this process, the student becomes the “owner” of the information – as opposed to simply renting it for an hour or two a couple times per week. The differences in outcomes for students are vast to put it mildly.
In summary, if you really want to support your students, create an environment where they can discover the answers they seek. It not easy, but it is well worth the effort.