Taekwon-do Themes: Two Kinds of Schools – What does a “good instructor” look like?

Two Kinds


Of course this is a gross simplification but the point is there. Both types are much better than the other common type of instructor, the one who constantly seeks self aggrandizement. I don’t mean to suggest that the “Darwinist” is a bad person, merely that they should be honest that their club is not for everyone and what they are really looking for is amateur athletes or whatever passes most closely to that description in their local area. It is often not recognised that when making the best people better, the process is often to weed out those who will never make it and use those in the middle as sparring partners for the real achievers. I think there are a lot of Darwinist coaches around and so long as the people they are with are happy, I wish them the best of luck.

You can see that my sympathies lie with the Alchemist but there are some dangers here. This is the class most likely to contain a few people who are less up to scratch or in some cases, over-promoted. It is a hazard that when you look for the best in people and set goals based on their potential rather than an arbitrary standard that sometimes it is all too easy to put them on the same level as people who have truthfully reached a much higher standard. However, the existence of this hazard does not undermine the value of the goal. If you can take someone to a level beyond what they themselves considered possible, to me this is the highest achievement an instructor can reach. It’s fashionable if even one slightly below par student is spotted to condemn the instructor but that’s often a very false scale.

Another problem could be whether or not the best students feel challenged with the Alchemist. Because attention is not focused on them, they may feel a ceiling of improvement limiting them that they don’t get with the Darwinist. In fact, at this stage, switching to a Darwinist might seem like a great idea as they will receive more focus  and will be challenged by performing in such a competitive environment from week to week with their foundational skills already established with the Alchemist and not having to go through the questionably effective way of acquiring skills as a beginner with the Darwinist. Other Alchemists, especially those with larger clubs, may be able to split their classes more and stave this off.

The trophies in the cabinet prove how good the competitors are. As to how good the coaches and instructors are, that is more of a subjective scale and not so easily answered. In my opinion, sometimes the best instructors receive little to no recognition.


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