- Posted by Cody Maltias
- On October 4, 2016
- 0 Comments
When I look back at the path I have traveled it is undeniable how the experiences shaped my thought process. As a martial arts instructor and practitioner my views and style have been shaped by so much of what has happened on and off the mats. I spend much of time how to effectively distill these lessons down into their base elements in order to provide students a shorter path to the knowledge.
Off the mats I was an athlete long before I started training. Early on I developed an obsession with performance both of team and individuals and that changed my path in so many ways. By chance, my middle school gym coach was also an professional strength and conditioning coach. I delved deeper and deeper into the why behind training methodologies and how certain inputs could give consistent outputs.
My military career had a huge influence on my training. So much of the martial arts mythology is wrapped up in this culture of self defense, and effective real world combat skill. My time in the Marine Corps and in law enforcement gave me a different perspective. Having those experiences first hand instead of teaching from the perspective of never having served in those capacities has given me a different approach as well.
My choices off the mat, let me to many different paths on the mats. Being forced to move for my military career forced me to branch out and see different gyms. Sometimes in retrospect I see the option of having trained at one academy my whole career as the better option. However, the variation in training methods that I have experienced has definitely given me a deeper well of tricks to pull from in supporting my students journey.
So this journey has led me far and wide, and now I hope to be able to share it with my students. I have found one of the great ironies along the way: the greatest coaching can shorten the journey but there is no substitute for experience. No matter how great the lesson plan or how technical the instruction is part of the learning process has to be self directed and led by personal experience. There are certain lessons about hard work and pushing your body that can only be learned by being present in those moments when you have given everything and have to keep going. Every individual I learned from along the way was attempting to pull off the same thing. To bring all the knowledge and experience together to help me, but I still needed to walk my own path.
The practical advice I would give to others would be to focus on finding instructors who have been forged through experience. More importantly, seek challenges similar to those that shaped the people you wish to emulate. When speaking to the Buddha Siddhartha observes “You have done so by your own seeking, in your own way, through thought, through meditation, through knowledge, through enlightenment”. Other individuals can be you guides, but use experience as you instructor.