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The Martial Arts Teacher: A Practical Guide to a Noble Way Paperback – September 5, 2017
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Paperback, September 5, 2017
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About the Author
Shifu Jonathan Bluestein (LL.B) is a martial arts teacher and author hailing from Israel. He is the founder of the Tianjin Martial Arts Academy, where he teaches the traditional Chinese martial arts of Xing Yi Quan and Pigua Zhang and Jook Lum Southern Mantis. In recent years, shifu Bluestein has also published a multitude of articles about the martial arts, which are listed and can be read freely at: http://www.researchofmartialarts.com For international seminars or private training, contact shifu Bluestein directly at: email@example.com
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There are three themes running concurrently through this book: the nuts and bolts of running a successful martial arts school, building the school into a community and taking teaching as a sort of "higher" Way to study and practice.
The nuts and bolts of running a school. Recruiting students, scheduling classes, setting tuition policies, testing, ranks, teaching children, teaching people of the opposite sex, managing a class and developing a curriculum. It's all in there. There's a ton of stuff to consider and Jonathon discusses all of it. A would be teacher, having read this book, would have a much better idea of the sorts of things; the breadth of things that he's going to be getting into.
One item that I wish that he would have discussed, and maybe in another edition are the pros and cons of being a part of a large organization.
For a school to be successful, which means that it continues to exist and torn out skillful students, it must become a community. If you leave it as a retail operation where a customer is merely exchanging money for a service, your school won't be around long.
On the contrary, a school that is successful can be marked by the number of senior students who are present. A successful school tends to become top heavy in black bels over time. The senior students tend to stick around.
There is a lot that goes into building a community where you are still clearly in charge, but the students all feel that they have a stake in the school as well. Some lines have to be drawn and it can be a tricky business. Jonathan helps make many of the issues less tricky.
Finally, there is teaching as a "higher" Way. What I mean by this is that the students are coming to see you. You have to be at your best and an example. You have to work harder and be a better you than any of your students.
There are no excuses. You can't have an off day. To take on teaching is to take on a challenge that when viewed rightly, will elevate your practice as a human being.
Even though I am not contemplating becoming a teacher, I have found this book to be most useful in my own practice; to help to open my mind.
I enjoyed it. I think that you would too.
I have spent several decades in the practice of authentic traditional gongfu, Japanese and Chinese alike. Traditional teaching is at the core of my being. During my period of practice and study, I have spent 7 long years in Tianjin, China, earning a degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, practicing in local hospitals, and training daily with master Zhou as well as several other notable masters from that region. Following that period I have continued to travel frequently to China and Taiwan to learn more.
The focal point of all my interactions with my many teachers in both the martial arts and medicine, was the special hands-on personal instruction which typifies old school Chinese culture. It is a kind of cultural treasure, which entails many extraordinary and specialized ways of teaching people, so information and knowledge could be transmitted authentically from one generation to the next.
This type of traditional teaching method I speak of is seldom explained to outsiders or written about, in any language. Now however, I am happy to tell you that there is at least one resource which is worthwhile, covering this topic, and that is my student Jonathan's book - The Martial Arts Teacher.
This book captures the true spirit of traditional teaching methods as intended by the old masters in the Orient. It delivers its premise and promise by making such important ideas, philosophies, methods and skills easily accessible and understood to all readers, regardless of their martial art or cultural background. More so, this book illustrates and promotes worthy world views which could make a major positive impact upon martial arts communities worldwide.
Though I am of course biased being the author's shifu, this book for me is a blessing and a source of great pride in what our traditions have managed to produce through diligent hard work and relentless study. There are good reasons for Jonathan to have been accepted into my martial arts family and for us sticking together for many years. Put even a little bit of trust in what he has to say and offer, and you will not be disappointed. If you are a person who truly cares about teaching the martial arts, you will very likely find this book useful, interesting, fun and memorable.
Shifu Nitzan Oren
B.Med Traditional Chinese Medicine
Disciple of master Zhou Jing-Xuan