When we think of great teachers, I think most of us, of a certain age, think of Yoda as the greatest teacher of all time (I could be biased). When I hear the dreaded word “try,” Yoda’s maxim, “Try not, do or do not, there is no try,” is often repeated by me to my students. It is repeated so often, in fact, that I regularly get items with the phrase emblazoned on it. They are truly words of wisdom, and that is what we expect from a teacher. I wouldn’t want to leave out Mr. Miyaghi, who is a close second, but I think mainly for his attitude and innovative teaching methods than his memorable phrases. Ip Man is remembered for his most famous student.
I could go on with the many other Hollywood examples, but they are all similar. They are all seeking to show the honored and sometimes legendary martial art teacher/student relationship. The teacher/student relationship is a sacred one. From the standpoint of the student, the teacher is not just imparting knowledge, but life lessons as well. From your martial arts teacher you learn about yourself as much as the art being taught. Of course, the student must be ready to learn.
I have been studying martial arts since 1990 and I have had many teachers. I have seen the martial arts culture change as well. It used to be that the martial arts instructor was like John Kreese in “The Karate Kid.” In reality a good teacher is sometimes John Kreese and sometimes Mr. Miyaghi. You need a little of each, and a good teacher knows how much and when.