KANO ON INSTRUCTORS & TEACHING
By Mark Lonsdale, Judo Training Development
In current times, all too often people see a judo instructor as just a man or woman who teaches judo techniques and supervises a judo club, but a judo instructor should be so much more. Just as Professor Kano saw judo as more than just a sport, he also expected judo instructors to be more than just sports coaches. To be able to teach and share judo in its entirety, a judo instructor needs to be an accomplished, well rounded educator.
To this end, in the late 1920s Professor Kano wrote, “It is my contention that the salaries paid to today’s instructors should be higher. Besides having a profound understanding of the technical aspects of judo, the ideal instructor must continually seek ways to improve himself as a teacher. In like manner, therefore, salaries should be increased accordingly. It is, of course, impossible for such goals to be met in a short space of time. Preferably, instructors should train diligently to become expert in techniques of both attack and defense. In addition to being masters in the skills of unarmed combat, judo instructors should also be skilled in the arts of bojutsu and kenjutsu. They should, moreover, be able to comprehend how one man is able to gain advantage and win in a contest and how another is defeated. They need to have detailed knowledge of physical education, teaching methods and have a thorough grasp of the significance of moral education. Finally, they must understand how the principles of judo can be, by extension, utilized to help one in daily life and how they themselves can be of benefit to society at large.”
He continued, “If the conscientious judo instructor possesses all of these attributes, he should not, in my view, be considered a mere teacher but rather a first-rate educator….. In future I look forward to seeing such capable judo educators graduating from the Physical Education Department at the Tokyo Teachers’ Training College.”
To put this in modern context, a judo instructor should not only be an accomplished judo technician, he or she should seek training and experience in teaching, coaching, competition training, kata, and refereeing. Neglecting any one of these leaves gaps in a judo instructor’s development and does a disservice to their future students.
In addition, a well rounded judo instructor should read extensively on the history of judo, its development as a sport and a martial art, and in particular, Professor Kano’s thoughts, writings, and philosophies on the code of conduct in judo and how to make better citizens through perseverance, tenacity, ethics and morality.