I can't teach you, you can only learn.

I've known Kyoshi Thomas Clifford for many years and he has always impressed me with his skills, understanding and philosophy. I don't remember which of his teachers told him the quote he recently shared with me, but it really was deep.

"I can't teach you, you can only learn."

As an instructor we share knowledge of martial arts everyday. We point out details of moves and give reminders of how to do things correctly. We ask questions to keep students engaged in conversations with the hope they will understand what we want them to.


We can't teach someone to do a proper sidekick, they can only learn. We can't teach them how to get out of a hold, they can only learn how to do it. We can't teach them to be better at the offense and defensive side of sparring, they can only learn.

Many of our students will go through virtually the exact same classes for years. Yet they have a very different level of skills and abilities. Natural talent does account for some of this, however, I believe it's a small part. I've also watched students with a low level of natural athleticism become excellent martial artist. Why? Their desire to learn and understand how to do things properly. 

The instructors responsibility is to share knowledge and refine details. The students responsibility is to learn.

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