Asking Questions in Training

Over the last few weeks, I’ve said the same phrase in multiple haidong gumdo classes, “Your cut can only go as fast as your feet.” While true from a certain angle, this statement is really just a way to get someone to move their feet faster and make their cut quicker. I have a particular student that questions nearly everything, and it’s a good thing! Last night, this student had questions about breathing, speed, stepping, and a few other things while learning his longest pattern yet - Ssangsu Geombeob Shipibeon (SS12).

After giving a few pointers about the pattern, and a couple comments about breathing, he asked me to go through the pattern with him. I ran through it. Not figuratively, but literally ran in places that made sense to run. We were both winded at the end, and got to analyzing the breath. I was then asked to demonstrate the pattern so he could observe how I controlled my breath and moved.

At some point during the discussion that followed, I had found the right words to trigger an “ah-ha!” moment. I had said that the breath is what controls the flow of the pattern. Not the feet, not the cut, not the story, but the breath. Where you inhale, how you exhale, your timing, etc. are all related directly to how you move your appendages and therefore perform your techniques and patterns. This moment of realization will change everything for the student, and do so for the better.

All of this from simply asking enough questions to prompt words to hit home. Let me leave you with a question to think about:

Are you asking enough questions?