Asking questions are an important part of the learning process. As a karate instructor, I make sure to ask the class if there are any questions before we move on to the next topic or kata. Specific questions can be answered simply with a Yes/No or a concrete answer.
Is the bo strike an overhead or side strike? Overhead
Do we step with our right foot? Yes
Is it a punch to the face or solar plexus? Face
Can I add a roll fall in the sai kata for tournaments? No
Then there are general questions posed with always.
Is the right hand always on top in an X-block?
Is there always a punch at the end of kata sequence?
Do we always spin the nunchaku forward?
Do we always use a rear foot turn?
I am very careful answering these questions. It would be so simple if we “always do this” or “never do that”. It does not work this way because there are exceptions. In my experience as a karate instructor, I answer very few (if any?) questions with always and never.
There are also the simple sounding yet complex questions that are answered with “Yes and No”. Last night in tai chi class, I asked one of those questions.
“Are there any linear movements in Tai Chi?”
My instructor paused and said “yes and no”. He explained his answer and discussed the concepts. He described how there are segments that appear linear but eventually will turn circular. Once again, I am transported back to high school geometry and physics class. I should have paid better attention.
Perhaps the title of this post should be...Sometimes, Maybe, Yes and No.