Going have to really put my thinking cap on this one.... I have known a few fighters that did not have great teaching abilities!
Two names come to mind, Freddy Roach and Angelo Dundee. Freddy Roach was a good fighter - not necessarily great, but good enough to take a couple titles. Angelo Dundee began his career as a corner man, not a fighter. Both men have coached world champions. Freddy has coached Manny to 8 different divisional titles. Angelo...well..Ali. It's safe to say they are both great teachers.
In my experience, I have learned from great fighters and great teachers. I have had the privilege to train with some of the very best of both. Some were great repositories of information, some challenged me physically with their abilities. All of them were great teachers but for different reasons. I have known poor fighters who gravitate to teaching because they are such lousy fighters. The truth is, their teaching is just as bad; full of myths, untested techniques, half developed drills and missing the key element of understanding application. I have also known really bad teachers who were great fighters. Their teaching consisted of simply beating the crap out of their students physically, emotionally and mentally. Their students are often ill informed, lacking in refinement and devoid of any deeper understanding or subtlety (or footwork). The skill it takes to be a great fighter does not always translate into the skill to be a great teacher. A great teacher has the ability to open the student's mind; to lead them into a new consciousness. Having the insight and experience of using the techniques gives the teacher a clear understanding of the goal that is to be achieved by the student. Without the insight to clearly identify and communicate what the student needs to learn along with the wisdom of how they are to learn it, no one can be a great teacher. There are knowledge based teachers who posses this ability and there are fight based teachers who do as well. My preference is to work with people who have tried to apply the techniques they are teaching but that does not prevent me from spending time with teachers who may not be great fighters. So long a the teacher is able to communicate and help a student learn the truth, then they are a great teacher. Just knowing is not enough. Just being able to fight is not enough.
Didn't Bruce Lee teach his five theories to the Late Joe Lewis? I believe Lewis said he was the first one to prove all five theories, in the ring.
I remember doing maths at secondary school. The formula would instantly apply to the first 1 or 2 equations then less and less so to the following, our individual brains have to resort to creativity. I've never seen anyone spoon feed like I have western FMA teachers.
FMAs are live arts, serviceable and meant to be used unhindered by the bollix of a lot of other arts. This is where the fighter-teacher comes in. making the connection training between the gym and combat. Like my maths, untaught variables happen in combat or on the street.
At the other end of the scale we have teachers on the coat tails of their teacher's experience, their reputation. Fighters, warriors are very special people with something unfathomable that sets them apart from ordinary folk. In the Castaneda sense, they are free from concern for themselves, liberated to flow freely. If you look at the sad situation of kids in troubled areas, such as where gang banging goes on, they have given themselves to a 'higher' cause, the gang. Knowing a thousand angles and 500 drills won't help you when they psych you out with their lack of mortality. This, IMHO, is one of the things the fighter-teacher will impart.
(Yes, I know I fek'n rambled on :-) )
Garrett, Excellent input! Great fighting comes from great training. Great teaching comes from great presentation of education.
Very interesting topic Zach.
I'm always saying to my students and seminar attendees in both my martial arts and personal development to always push, test and validate your teachers. I think those with good ideas could teach and contribute a lot to our community however you need to believe in that persons authority.
I relate it with marketing. Somebody making say $20,000 probably can't teach me to make $100,000 a year over some one making $1,000,000 per year. I'm not saying the $20,000 a year has bad information, in fact they could be saying the exact same thing as the millionaire. The difference is that the millionaire makes $100,000 seem more attainable than the $20,000 a year guy.
My point is, it comes down to how much you believe in the teacher. This is why I say validate your teachers ability. They don't necessarily have to be the best fighter but I would say they needed to produce champion quality fighters already. Of course, it does help to be seen as an authority to have high quality fighting skills in the martial community.
Kind of relates to the whole "does a certificate indicate someone's level of mastery?" In my opinion it needs to be proven especially in our current day and age.
Excellent topic for discussion! A+