"Fully Qualified" Responses

By Dennis Lawson
Published on Feb 14th, 2013

“Fully Qualified” Responses

We received a number of reactions to “The Fully Qualified Instructor” article. As the editing team reviewed each comment, a pattern began to emerge. This pattern was familiar to me. I had heard many of these comments in Mark Sanborn’s High Impact Leadership presentation. No reviewer mentioned rank, title, or position when they wrote about “qualifications” for Martial Arts instructors. When describing business leaders in Mr.Sanborn’s study, not one person surveyed mentioned title, position, awards, accomplishments, or net worth. “Leadership is more easily observed, than explained.” Mark Sanborn defines leadership as “The ability to help people and organizations surpass themselves.”
Mr. Sanborn outlines six essential steps to becoming a High Impact Leader
Self-Mastery --- the willingness to continue to grow and learn, to master a chosen craft, committing to an ongoing process of continuous improvement
Stewardship --- Learning to make the best use of limited resources. He considers time to be the most essential resource. Whether it’s your time or your associates’ time, you can’t make any more! We’re all allotted the same 168 hours in a week.
Visioning --- Leaders must develop clear personal (Self-Mastery) and organizational vision. Leaders must set personal and organizational goals and take the steps necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.
Persuasive Communication --- Leaders value healthy communication and understand that the best ideas don’t always come from the “front office”.
Empowerment --- Leaders focus on power with people instead of demanding power over people. Leaders must care for the development of the “whole person” and not simply focus on work performance.
Service --- Leaders understand that their jobs depend on their ability to motivate and retain the best associates. Leaders help set the goal, assist the process, and in the end, say Thank you.
Compare the above with the following statement from one e-mail, “To instruct is to relay or transfer information or ideas to another person. This is just the first layer of the instruction process. To transfer knowledge differs from just speaking forth information or ideas. To transfer knowledge the instructor needs to be intimate with the material at hand (Persuasive Communication). An instructor needs to come from a place of experience in order to have credibility with the student (Self-Mastery). This (creates a) symbiotic relationship in which each participant desires to do their best to create an environment that is conductive to learning (Empowerment).
Other comments included, “an instructor must love the material that he is teaching and love his student. It is impossible to be a fully qualified instructor and be selfish; this type of relationship is one of giving, caring, and love. It has been said that when the student is ready, the master will appear. It could also be easily stated that when the master loves his subject, the student will appear (Service).”
In each and every e-mail, the writer made reference to the need for the instructor to have “the love of the Art”. One writer added, “Someone who understands the Art and looks beyond their own thinking of “this is the only way to do it.” A fully qualified instructor is someone who can relate to every type of student, whether 9 years old or 90, and who can get those students to think for themselves and make the Art their own (Persuasive Communication, Stewardship).” Finally, the commentator went on, the art has not truly changed since I started in 1984 but the increasing levels of refinement continue (Visioning). As Mr. Parker said “Kenpo never changes, it is perpetually refined.” I was very lucky in my early training to be on the mat with a great many people who loved the Art, first and foremost, Mr. Parker. So yes, I have been spoiled when it comes to “qualified instructors” I have been blessed with great ones.

Filed under Philosophy and Opinion

Author Bio :: Dennis Lawson

Dennis Lawson has trained for 4 decades in Ed Parker's Kenpo. During his varied career, Mr. Lawson has been an IKKA Regional Director for Region #3, has acted as Master of Ceremonies for the International Karate Championships, and has published numerous articles in publications for the International Kenpo Karate Association, The Martial Arts Learning Community (TheMALC), and Kenpo 2000.

Mr. Lawson has had the opportunity to study other Martial Arts and holds advanced rank in Aikido and Takemusu Aiki Budo. Dennis taught, competed in, and promoted events in the New Orleans area for 20 years. Among his list of favorite achievements is choreographing and performing Kenpo for the Dance Council of New Orleans. His academic background in psychology and love of music allow Dennis to offer a unique and entertaining approach to tailoring "the Art" to the individual. Dennis has taught seminars in Ireland, Jersey Channel Islands, The Netherlands, Portugal, and throughout the United States.

Dennis holds a Sixth Degree Black Belt in Ed Parker's Kenpo and was awarded the title “Professor” under the auspices of The Martial Arts Learning Community (TheMALC). Mr. Lawson was inducted into the International Black Belt Hall of Fame as Master Instructor of the Year for 2006.

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