Monday, February 10, 2014

School Culture Series

The Sparring School

In this series I’m going to talk about different school cultures and use examples of different schools and how that can effect training, what is learned and so on
Libby side kicking Julia as Master Starnes observes
This past weekend our school was invited to participate on another school’s black belt exam for one of their students; specifically Kevin and I were part of the exam board and two of our 3rd brown students were extra people for the young lady to spar with.  I encourage our students to take part in cross training opportunities like this because I believe it is good for them to see other schools and be watched by other instructors.  It’s also good for them to see other students earn their black belt and it can help them stay focused on their goal of earning their future rank.  It can also be a good learning or teaching opportunity for me to discuss subject matters like these with them afterwards.

Originally we had four students going but Kate was hurt in an accident at home the week prior, and Emily ended up having a test for band at school so we only had Kimberly and Julia go. This particular exam was a good one for our students to have seen, and I wished more of our young ladies could have gone because the school culture is very different from ours.

Messerschmitt AKC located in Jacksborro is a small school (by DFW standards) in a small town.  From what I saw of Libby (their newest black belt), and from Laronda Hawkins (their chief instructor for the American Karate) they really have a big heart.  Their school is built around a sparring culture for the martial arts and that was the main focus of the exam. 

Libby sparring Julia, with some of the fighter's in waiting looking on
Libby on her exam had to spar a set amount of rounds for 2 minutes with one minute rest in-between.  I believe she had close to 12 rounds with a couple of them with instructors, the vast majority being brown and purple belts, and only a couple of beginner belts.  She had one match of two vs. one.  It speaks to her heart or attitude that she, as a small 13 yr old, toughed it out and made it through this part of the exam.  She fought students of all ages, sizes, different ranks, both male and female and she did a really good job.

The first part of the exam Libby had to demonstrate 5  (Chungi, Do San, Won Hyo, Hwa Rang, and Chug Mu) katas and then go through 6 one steps (traditional attacks with a punch) that I believe she made up on her own. After her one steps each of the students that she was later to spar with came up and did some sort of attack on her a couple involving a knife, a couple involving a gun, a couple with a stick, and then rest with some sort of a grab.  Libby had previously performed her board break and something else at a earlier demonstration.

In part two of this series I’ll talk about why I came to the conclusion about the culture of this school and how this affects the training at the school etc. etc.

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