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More on Poor Martial Arts Instructors

In my previous post I answered a question on the use of resistance bands in improving kicks. However, the video example of a class practicing kicks with those bands showed such poor instruction standards that I gave my opinion about its instructor—quite typical for m.a. So today I have another example of a typical martial arts instructor: Mr. Hu Zhengsheng, a Shaolin kung-fu exponent, in China. He is actually a master of the real Shaolin kung-fu, not of the flashy variety sold for the masses. He is described and interviewed in the March 2011 issue of National Geographic (“Battle for the Soul of Kung Fu”, pp. 94-113). Here is a passage from the article (p. 106) that gave me pause:

“A boy dressed in the school’s dove gray robes and sneakers appears at the office door to report that a student has twisted an ankle. By the time Hu arrives to check on him, the injured pupil has resumed practice, gritting his teeth as he kicks a heavy bag. Hu nods with a teacher’s satisfaction. `He is learning to eat bitterness.’”

So, neither the chief instructor, Mr. Hu, nor any competent professional, was present during the workout. Children were not adequately supervised doing high-intensity exercise. Injuries happen with ample warnings—a good physical education or sports instructor can see them coming well ahead of time and can intervene—but one needs to be there watching! The surest way to stifle an athletic potential and make mature age miserable is to accumulate injuries at an early age. The sure way to make the injuries’ effects last a long time is to make them worse by not resting to let them heal. Persisting or even allowing intense exercise of the injured body part takes it to another level….

The Shaolin kung-fu master is a very competent exponent of the style, possibly a very proficient fighter, but a negligent instructor. He wants to make a living and to raise funds for his traditional Shaolin kung-fu school. He doesn’t care that his pupils get injured—it doesn’t occur to him that their injuries and thus long-term health are his responsibility.

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