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Instructor types


There are many different types of martial art instructors; some are loud, some are quiet, some are humble, some are arrogant, some are great, and some are useless. The following discusses some of the qualities of the different types of instructors.

Quality of voice

Some martial arts instructors are quiet and soft-spoken, while others are loud and yell a lot while most are somewhere in between the two extremes. It all depends on the personality of the instructor, the type instructor that taught him or her, and how his or her instructor wants classes to be taught.

The following is a comparison of soft and loud-spoken instructors;
  • Soft-spoken instructors often find it difficult to be loud because it strains their voices, while many loud-spoken instructors often find it difficult to be soft since they have naturally loud voices.
  • Soft-spoken instructors tend to give a lot of detailed instructions, while loud-spoken instructors tend to use short commands.
  • Soft-spoken instructors may use loudness for emphasis, while loud loud-spoken instructors usually must use softness for emphasis since they are already loud.
  • Soft-spoken instructors may use loudness to show displeasure without expressing anger while loud-spoken instructors must get even louder to express displeasure, which often comes across as anger.
  • Soft-spoken instructors often find it difficult to arouse enthusiasm in a class, while loud-spoken instructors tend to keep a class enthused.
  • Soft-spoken instructors tend to relay lots of facts and information, while loud-spoken instructors tend to be curt and to the point. Gichin Funakoshi, the father of karate, spent half of his instruction periods giving quiet lectures.
  • Soft-spoken instructors may be difficult to hear at the back row of a class, while loud-spoken instructors easy to hear from any position in the class.
  • Soft-spoken instructors give the impression of being knowledgeable, while loud-spoken instructors appear to be using loud to hide a lack of knowledge.
  • Soft-spoken instructors seem timid, while loud-spoken instructors seem like bullies.
  • Soft-spoken instructors seem to be conducive to listening to student questions, while loud-spoken instructors appear to not want to hear any questions.
  • Soft-spoken instructors tend to calm students, while loud-spoken instructors may be using loudness to keep students under stress, so they learn to perform under stressful conditions.

Who they are teaching to

Some instructors teach the class as a whole, so when a problem is noticed with one student, the whole class is reminded to check themselves for the same problem. When instructors teach to the whole class, sometimes individual students with problems tend to get left behind.

Some instructors concentrate on individual students, spending time pointing out specific problems to each student. Instructors who teach individuals tend to spend more time with students with problems and neglect the needs of the whole class.


Some instructors repeat basically the same information class after class, which may become boring. Other instructors try to introduce new information on a regular basis to keep classes from becoming routine. However, sometimes repetition means the instructor has run out of knowledge to impart. Knowledgeable instructors know a lot about the subject and continue to search for knowledge, so they always have something new to say.

Primary purpose of teaching

No matter what type of instructor you have, he or she should have only one purpose—to teach you the martial art. If you think this is your instructor's purpose, then you either must accept your instructor's teaching style and learn to deal with it or find another instructor. If your instructor seems to have another purpose other than teaching you the martial art, such as being egotistical or power hungry, then you need to find another instructor. The toughest, strictest instructor may care more about you than does the smooth-talking con artist instructor who makes you feel good. It becomes apparent rather quickly whether an instructor has your best interests in mind and whether this is the type instructor you want teaching you for the next few years.

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