In traditional martial arts, the Instructor and Student relationship is a special one. It is formed over time and at the heart of it are trust and loyalty.
Instructors and students often forget that it is a two-way street. Trust and loyalty must flow in both directions. When integrity is lacking on one side or the other, the relationship is bound to fall apart. I often reflect on the guidelines for the student/instructor relationship from the Taekwon-Do encyclopedia, by Gen. Choi Hong Hi, and evaluate if I am doing my part to the best of my capability.
For instructors, it’s not as simple as following the basic guidelines. As an instructor, I am still a student and must adhere to both sets of rules. Many become instructors and discard the guidelines that apply to students, but this isn’t incorrect. To be a great instructor, you must also be an eager student, no matter what your rank.
As an instructor, you can’t expect the student to take action towards creating a healthy relationship. The initiative requires leadership and is the role of the instructor. It’s like the relationship between a parent and a child. You can’t expect a child to behave appropriately without guidance: leadership is an essential attribute of being an instructor.
It is inevitable that there may be hiccups along the way. We are all human and, therefore, flawed. There will be times when there are slips and slides, but these slips and slides should be like bumper bashings in a parking lot that can easily be repaired, not train wrecks where scores of people are left dead or clinging to life.
Be the best Student you can be, and be the best Instructor you can be!