My own Tang Soo Do class started last week, and today’s the second time I open the doors to the unsuspecting public. It was a really odd feeling turning up last week and being responsible for opening the doors, making sure everything was ready, coming up with a decent lesson plan (some of which was ad-libbed) and realising that none of the familiar senior faces weren’t going to be there. The only thing I can really compare it to is that first time you get in a car by yourself after passing your driving test. Daunting but with a certain sense of freedom and responsibility. It’s strange to be driving in the opposite direction of my normal Friday class though, knowing that everyone else is still there training together.
Despite it being a small class (and I was never expecting anything else) it was good fun and a good first test of my ability to control a class and to keep it running without any big breaks. Keeping the energy levels up in the room is difficult and necessary, that’s going to be the hardest part to learn and continue. Things like Ho Sin Sool are difficult at the 10th gup level, because it’s very basic stuff (relatively speaking of course), and much slower paced than sparring or pad drills. I suppose with my TSD head on I should be talking more in terms of Um and Yang, and how the slow pace is good to give students a chance to catch their breath after the hard work .
One of the things I’m very aware of now is just how important these first few months are going to be in any student’s development. This is where the first stages of muscle memory are going to develop, and it’s important to iron out any bad habits before they take hold, or at least to try. I find it interesting now when I look around a class to see the small idiosyncrasies and differences between similar grades. Sometimes it’s almost imperceptible what those differences are, but you could show a class full of people in silhouette and out of focus and be able to identify people by the way they perform a move. So for me it’s going to be important to make sure legs are locked out (god knows I’m guilty of this enough myself), hands aren’t opening and closing, techniques finish where they should, shi sun is level and consistent etc. Obviously these aren’t things I’m going to be hammering-down on as such in the early days, but where possible and where I spot things happening I want to try to nip it in the bud.
I dare say in just a years time I’ll be able to look back at this post and think ‘boy did I have that wrong!’, but only time will tell. They say there’s no substitute for experience after all!