Much of the work and study in the inner works has expanded my consciousness and has really impacted my relationships with my students. Surprisingly, I've found teaching as a portal to activate certain individuals - to some degree.... to keep them open minded at the very least . Cycling energy and learning off each other is very fulfilling process: I learn to become a better teacher daily - never holding back knowledge and to be a getter guide for my students.
The environment where I mostly teach is at Tae Kwon Do gym: where I've been able to teach in their weapons class - teaching Eskirma (known as Kali/Arnis in North America) to a new audience.
From personal experience, I have found many TKD clubs are under a form of hive mind mentality conforming to a system. Many still believe that a black belt has much merit - and many times don't look at the precision and accuracy of the individual; they are instead mesmerized by the belt around their waist. The art itself is quite powerful when dealing punching and kicking; and anyone who wants to learn how to punch and kick powerfully; Tae Kwon do is a great art to learn. (I'm speaking from experience as I was once a student of the system)
I do find it challenging in a sense where I have to consistently relay information into something they can innerstand. What's more, I have to be able to walk the walk, and show them with precision and accuracy where they might be weak at certain spots: I have to consistently break certain habits and linear thinking - many are too focused in rote learning and do not take into consideration other solutions - which blinds their vision to see other openings.
However, as Sifu Bruce Lee one said "Boards don't hit back," many of the 3-step sparring techniques have no practical application to a real life situation.
The Art of Tae Kwon (Tae =Foot, Kwon = Puch DO = Art) = 3 step sparring - Pre-conceived Strikes
The Art of Eskrima - Balintawak: (geared towards speed and reaction training; random strikes)
Kata's and Pompse; are actually a form of mediation. The movements and patterns are designed for proper stance and footwork; but at the end of the day, its not really useful for sparring. I remember sparring for the first time and I always wondered why it was important to learn katas and stances - now that I look back it was purely for ranking and of course part of Commerce; where schools would charge x-amount for belt.
The other side of the spectrum there is of course MMA - mixed martial arts. Which in my mind shouldn't even be promoted as an art; more along the lines of mixed martial sport. The reason being the art portion has been taken away, and the spiritual and philosophical side of the martial arts has been replaced with pure aggression and domination. That's not to say that all MMA fighters are not martial artists; in fact I truly respect the amount of skill and training that is required to be in top top shape - however, what I am conveying is that it doesn't represent the entire martial arts community -the term martial arts is both for martial - the combat aspect, but it also an ART. Many choose to partake in martial arts for different reason - to develop certain skills sets, through mind, body and spirit.
The hive mind has a tendancy to waterdown knowlege and practice;to the point where the fluidity and technique are far from the original form. This is of course the reason why many just purchase a black belt just for the sake of having one. It has turned into a comodity; rather than a sign of acquired skill. A Tae Kwon Do or Karate black belt really doesn't mean much nowadays. On the other hand, a black belt in Jiu Jitsu (especially in Brazilian) being relatively new to the commercial scene still holds standing. (not that ranks mean much anyway...its all about the skill of the individual that matters, but in regards to BJJ, it tends to be the case where skill and rank still closely match).
In terms of Eskrima, having learned most of it through "garage training" - I really didn't know they taught the "style" which I learned. I guess you can say I was taught the old fashion way - Master ----> apprentice kind of training. I had a very personal one on one relationship with my mentor and instructor and consider him family. Much to my suprise I learned the that art I was teaching did start to get commercial exposure, and of course the quality of the training watered down... The instructors who carried the torch for some reason did not train the student with the finer details and tid bits; mostly in regards to breathing, accuracy, speed and relaxation. In my humble opinion, one shouldn't teach until they develop some form of skill, and moreoever should not teach something that they do not really comprehend; I am personally pretty good with sticks and certain weapons, but I am not qualified to teach BJJ....simply because that's not my area of skill.
Guru - "Persona"
Withholding knowledge is also another aspect of non-progression. Instead of properly training the student and making sure they develop to his/her potential, some teachers stagnate their student's growth by purposely holding back - mainly for financial gain and profit, or due to ego; not wanting to student to surpass their level of skill. This of course it not entirely the fault of the teacher; the monetary environment sets the tone, - they teach not out of love for the art; but for money - and this of course leads to the fear of losing a student or the fear that a student may one day surpass their level.
*I've also found the same kind of mentality when I first tried to interact within the New Age circles; hoping to find awake people. It was pretty cool at first speaking on broad topics, but at the same time I met many Gatekeepers. I remember at one point I met one of these gatekeepers - he said he knew it all, so he stopped searching and was purposely trying to block seekers' paths towards growth and activation.
I learned early on the gift of having a true teacher. Many teachers in the past would leave me drained and tired at the end of a training session; many times just wanting to leave the training area; holding my head up high for hanging in there. Whenever I would meet a real teacher; a wise one, I would train, but come out of the session with intrigue, "how do I get better? Have to start eating better now....have to start training my body not just my skill..." I would literally go home asking myself how improve" not in a manner where I was beating myself up; more as a method of cultivation and introspection - which is of course healthy in regards to the learning process.