I often recall my days while attending Grissom High School in Huntsville, Alabama and the time I spent with Mr. Ki Chun Choi, my martial arts teacher. The amount of influence he had on my evolution as a teacher never occurred to me during my training, but it is very evident today.

At the time, it never crossed my mind that during every class he was dealing with students at all skill levels – from White Belts to Black Belts. In retrospect, how he functioned as a teacher was as impressive as his master status of a martial artist. Watching him in action was like witnessing poetry in motion.His method of orchestrating the classes, as he paired higher belts with lower belts, involved the higher belts in the art of teaching while the beginners were learning the art. During these sessions the higher belts learned discipline, patience, and various methods of instructional approaches. They needed to recognize that when one approach was not working, another angle needed to be considered in order to pass the lesson along effectively. They were also required to diffuse the insecurities of the students as quickly as possible while maintaining a balance of respect between the student and teacher.

While teaching the art of guitar to students, whether in a single or group setting, I find myself tapping into these same methods with tremendous results. These approaches have always been sleeping somewhere inthe deep recesses of my brain. It is a true testimonial of a master teacher, such as Mr. Choi, that his teaching methods have successfully transcended from martial arts to the  study of guitar.

I have been able to keep in touch with Mr. Choi and the respect for him has not dwindled. In fact, it has grown over the years as I realize these qualities he instilled in me are as current and valuable as they were when I was a teen. Currently he is proud owner of several hotels and at least five Shogun Restaurants throughout the South.

Mr. Choi continues to be a role model for me as I witness the proof that his teaching methods and high standards can be applied to any number of personal and professional situations.

Grissom High School: www.hsv.k12.al.us/schools/high/ghs/

Originally posted 2011-03-22 17:26:48.