Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn

Master Macy likes to say “Teach once, learn twice.” What does this mean?

You’re a red belt in a green belt class, up front, guiding a group of students through Do-San. You’ve tested on Do-San. You’ve performed it, perhaps, a hundred times. But up in front of the class with two dozen fresh green belts (no pun intended) staring at you, their bodies empty vessels eager to absorb your sage instruction, you might be apt to freeze up. To forget a move or sequence. To not recall the form you’ve been taught and drilled when you yourself are called upon to teach and drill it.

Hence, under the pressure of trying to teach you force yourself to learn “twice as much” about something you already thought you knew back and forth.

In the same vein, the mantra behind Tuhon Apolo Ladra’s iKali program is “Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn.” And one of Tuhon Ladra’s students, Dominick Blum, demonstrates this concept in full dimension.

Dominick holds the title of Guro under Tuhon Ladra, and has traveled the world to enhance his practice and knowledge of Pekiti Tirsia Kali. Dom’s also a 4th-degree Black Belt in taekwondo and the owner of Evolution Martial Arts in Denver, Colorado.

I first met Dom in the spring of 2017 when he arrived with Tuhon Ladra at Ripple Effect Fort Collins for a pre-seminar before the Black Belt Immersion that year. His impact on students as he taught directly reflected his learning from Tuhon. Dom acted as an authority invested in learning. Students caught on.

I can speak to this directly, as a year later Dominick taught me the iKali “open series” of double baston strikes on a crowded floor of Black Belt students who had already mastered it. He was patient, exact, helpful as I fumbled through the strikes and chambers. And though we didn’t discuss it, I can guarantee that he learned some nuances of the techniques in the act of teaching them in detail to me.

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