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Thursday, October 24, 2013


Started this post a while ago, after the StrongFirst course. I was mulling over the ways in which different influences of mine refer to themselves and the people they train: why some prefer to be called a teacher, or a coach, or why they prefer to have students instead of clients (or vis-versa). I've been trained as an English teacher and an editor, so I think this stuff matters, on some level.

And yet.

Yesterday, Black Belt Magazine posted this quote from Coach Blauer on their FaceBook page.

"A teacher teaches information and imparts knowledge. A coach inspires performance, and that’s an important distinction. More martial arts instructors should stop looking at themselves as great teachers, but rather great coaches."

What I found interesting was that there were a bunch of responses that were more concerned with the question of whether they should be called "teacher" or "coach", and very few that seemed concerned with the actual content of Coach Blauer's message (you should inspire performance in your students).

And while I get the importance of semantic distinctions, at the same time, I couldn't help feeling that most of the commentators were missing the point. What matters is the message. Whether you're a teacher, coach, sifu, guro, shihan, or whatever...are you inspiring your students?

Pavel's insistence that SFG's have students, not clients is less about what you call those people that you train, and more about how you treat them. Are you just taking their money and giving them a workout? Or are you guiding them and empowering them on a journey that will result in them having a greater understanding of physical training?

One of the biggest things I took from Wim Demeere's recent book was the idea of looking for the positive, not the negative, in everything. It's easy to find things you don't like or don't agree with. Try finding something of value instead.

The title you choose might matter to you, but the only thing your students will care about is the impact that you have on their lives.

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