By Njoli Brown
Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to conduct a variety of workshops and community programs in the area. The current social climate has given people a new perspective on the importance of developing a self defense practice. This being the case, we’ve been provided a great opportunity for our academy students to step into their leadership.
Over the years, with each of my teachers, I very particularly recall the time when I began to be invited to “assist” during their workshops/events. It wasn’t because I was the most advanced student but, I think, because my teachers recognized that these experiences would be lessons in accountability. Acting as a representative of my group and my teacher, I had a responsibility to model our values, to act rightly, to be smart in appearance, to be practiced and adroit. But equally important, it was an exercise in humility because these classes acted as a reminder of my own journey as a beginner and my ongoing attempts to process the concepts into a language that was discernible for myself and in transmission.
“Teach to learn, learn to teach.” I’ve been hearing that a lot in recent years. What I’ve come to realize is that, this doesn’t mean that every person in the room needs to become a focal point. Not everyone has the desire, the wherewithal, or the temperament to teach, per se. But everyone does need to become a facilitator. “Ut facile,” to make easy. This does not mean that we should generate passivity in the learning environment, heat (tension) can be a catalyst for energy. But, as a student we can endeavor to grow to a point of simultaneously developing our own practices while propagating a learning environment which is conducive to the growth of others.
Through this”learning to teach” becomes a state of being rather than an acquisition of status.
Tools for learners/teachers:
- Comport yourself with grace.
- Ask questions to learn, not for self-aggrandizement.
- Model focused and diligent training.
- Err on the side of politeness to your teachers and comrades.
- Avoid boastfulness.
- Find lessons everywhere.
- Prioritize fundamentals.
- Do your best work.
- Treat yourself and your comrades with care.