Some of my students are confused about this or that technique that they are taught to do in certain situations. I’m happy to discuss these moments. We do not go to the ground for all headlocks because in most situations that is a bad idea – especially against multiple opponents. It is important to put more of one’s body weight into a defense against a club as opposed to covering more of one’s body to defend against the speed of a knife. One student did ask me about a style I never studied – ninjutsu. I promptly got some literature by Stephen K. Hayes but was very clear that I never studied the style itself. There were new techniques that I do not feel I can teach, but I can pull some from it that I can use to inform my teaching and make connections between the purpose of stances (stability, defensiveness, aggressiveness, and evasiveness) and the benefit of our guard stance which I learned as a tiger stance.
Still, at what point am I misrepresenting my experience and at what point do credentials become more important than the ability itself? I have always followed requirements for credentials and done my best to properly and honestly represent myself. Sometimes I have been proven wrong about various things. For example, despite passing various tests and submitting videos for perusal I did not become certified as a Pilates mat instructor. I did not complete the required hours teaching and taking classes as the class demanded. Yet, I use these exercises when I am training or warming up students and clients.
Is the knowledge more important than the credential? Is the credential a mark of the quality and the safety? In which case can it be demonstrated in other ways? I would certainly never wish for a doctor to operate on my heart without a medical degree. And yet, if the same knowledge was held by an individual who studied and practiced on cadavers as was done to originally gain the knowledge, I might be content. But as I type that, I am hesitant myself as I consider if I would hire such an individual.
I know I don’t post much, but I wish to provide the best to those who have entrusted their education in self-defense, personal development, and fitness in my hands. To this end I am focused on learning more every day and enrolled to get prerequisites for a Physical Therapy degree. I always try to learn more and have credentials in everything from health and life insurance to fitness to theater.
The same question applies to one of the more well-intentioned projects I’ve been a part of: www.hoshowlove.com. We are trying to help other overcome past trauma and understand the complexity of consciousness. At the same time, we are not therapists. So, while we represent literature we have read and our own experience, we do not have credentials. We just provide a space for others to support each other and try to provide the example to do the same ourselves.