July 14, 2021, Israel
At times one can stumble upon truth accidentally. However, most people will miss the lesson. They will focus more on the accident than on the truth revealed. Thus, there is no long-term benefit to be gained. Many of the world's greatest life-changing discoveries came about by accidents, which were seen as unfortunate at the time that they occurred.
I recall an event my teacher told me about many years ago. He was asked to attend a seminar in a very different style. I will not mention which as I see value in every style and I do not wish to disparage any style or instructor. The chosen Uki, demonstration partner, was down with the flu and lay in bed at the hotel.
So, before I continue with my story, a little side lesson. Always chose your demonstration partner carefully. Do not feel obligated to be "inclusive", rather choose the person with whom you can best demonstrate and teach the technique.
Partners to Avoid:
1. Beginners - Never a good idea. Beginners might resist and make it impossible for you to properly demonstrate a technique, they might get nervous and react, or PRE react in an awkward way.
2. Bad Ass types who know what you are about to do but what to "outshine" you, so they will preempt your defense and try to make you look bad. I don't know why such people bother attending and paying for seminars, must be some psychological disorder.
3. Very timid people - They will flinch and move away. They know something is coming and they are scared, so they will not be reacting naturally.
Now remember, this is not a fight. This is not a competition. You are demonstrating the technique slowly, without force, it is not a competition between you and the UKI, the training partner. You do not want this to turn into a struggle, or a power struggle. Yet, this has happened to me many times, in certain countries in particular.
It is best to work with someone you know and trust. This is best for your safety, his safety and the learning process of the participants at the class/seminar. You want someone who will enable you to teach the technique correctly, this is not a gladiator match. You have already tested the technique full force, otherwise you would not be teaching it at a seminar. The seminar is not the place to test it, but to teach it. You can certainly also demonstrate it with resistance, but again, you don't want someone who will come in with the attitude of trying to mess you up. The seminar should not be a ego battle ground.
Now back to our story. So my teacher attends this seminar and the instructor does not have his regular Uki, training partner, thus he randomly chooses someone from the crowd. This is never a good idea. As he begins to demonstrate a technique, right at the beginning of the seminar, the uki, the partner, panics. In his instinctive panic move he raises up his hand, quite common. What happened was his thumb went directly into the instructors eye. The instructor was of course not in a defensive position, as he did not feel threatened. The strike was instinctive, natural, and direct.
The result: The instructor was taken away, straight to the hospital. I don't know how it ended but I hope his eye recovered. The seminar participants were refunded in full and went home disappointed.
I recall how Professor Arthur Cohen used to tell me, Moshe, if I attend a 3-day seminar and spend $260 and I improve one technique, I consider that money well spent.
These are the words of a true martial artist. So back to our story, I feel that if the participants were truly paying attention, they got their money's worth and should go home contented.
What did they learn in this brief seminar?
An inexperienced beginner knocked out and totally disabled a veteran martial arts instructor by use of a single, gross motor, instinctive move. Whatever the instructor was planning on teaching was probably not as effective as this one simple technique. I doubt if anyone would have walked out of the originally planned seminar with a street wise proven technique as they saw demonstrated. They probably would have walked out with a googly glob mishmash of strange ideas that are difficult to remember and impossible to execute under stress. What they did receive, if they were paying attention, was a truly effective and usable technique.
Sometimes an accident can be a great learning experience, I, for one, never forgot this lesson.
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