The dojo wall mirrors have been a training tool since I started practicing karate. I remember one of my first class instructors stopping the beginner class in the middle of a kata. We would remain in stance while he walked around and correct each student individually. The instructor would reposition our hands and check our stances. We would look in the mirror and hold the corrected position.
And we waited….
until every student was reviewed. The entire process took 10-15 minutes depending on the amount of people in class. I was a beginner and not accustomed to the stances and hand positions. My arms and legs would ache after a few minutes. We learned quickly what the position “looked like” and “felt like”.
Years later when we opened our dojo, the first major equipment purchase was a piece of mirror for the wall. Mirrors are expensive and we only could afford one piece. As the student population increased, we realized that a 6 foot section of mirror was not enough. We invested in mirrors to cover the entire front wall.
Mirrors are not a necessity but I find them to be a valuable training tool. Here are a few of the benefits:
Benefits of Mirrors – As an Instructor
1. You can see the entire class.
2. In a group class, you can gauge if the students are following along or having difficulty.
3. When teaching kids, you can monitor their position. Did you ever notice kids tend to stand only a few inches from the person next to them?
Benefits of Mirrors – As a Student
1. You can see the instructor no matter where you are in the room.
2. You can see what you look like executing a technique.
3. You can learn to identify and correct your mistakes.
What is your experience? Do you use mirrors as a training tool? Advantages? Disadvantages?