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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are you a "Teacher", or a "Coach"?

Those of us that have taught martial arts for a long time, know that teaching or coaching people isn't as easy as we thought it would be when we were still a student. We also are aware that Teachers can be coaches, and vice versa. But is there a difference between being a "teacher" and being a "coach?". I'd like to sound off with my views, and I welcome my reader's views as well:

Teachers are mentors, of sorts. They commit a sincere personal interest in you progress, act as a role model, gives you advice and shares their past and present personal experiences throughout your progress. Students know you have an expectation of them, and they trust that you'll guide them.Good teachers know that they have a big responsibility to their student and know that it is a two-way street.....As the teacher teaches, they too learn as well. As the student learns, they too teach the teacher.

Let's compare teachers to...let's say... theatrical directors. Teachers set the stage for the students, teaches them the script and performance, handles rehearsals, and motivates the students into realizing that EVERY day is "opening day".

The term "coach" is sometimes used to even the scales between student and the more experienced coach. In martial arts, many students tend to see the "space" between themselves and the "Master" as a very vast area, whereas the space between a coach and student is a bit less. That's not to say that coaches are "less than" a teacher, because teachers can be very effective coaches as well (and they should be!). The coach tends to focus on your performance, and students may find themselves shouldering the responsibility of performance more, as the coach fine tunes, gives advice, and constructive criticism.

While the Teacher teaches the gamut of "who what when where how why", the coach makes the student responsible for applying those facets into performance.

In my opinion, these responsibilities are interchangeable, so a good teacher should be both the Mentor and Coach. What do my readers think? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Food Highlight: Guyabano (Soursop)

The Guyabano has long been used in the Philippines and other parts of the world as a food and medicine. With a prickly appearance on the outside, and a wonderful flavor on the inside, this "wonder fruit" is high in carbohydrates, with considerable amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Potassium and dietary fiber. Guyabano is known to be low in cholesterol, saturated fat and sodium.

Independent clinical studies have shown that guyabano extracts are effective in killing cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact, suggesting that it might have less adverse effects than regular chemotherapy (which kills healthy reproducing cells as well as cancer cells, which results in hair loss, fatigue, and nausea). However, for some reason, no double-blind clinical tests or trials have been executed as of yet.

Having been raised on natural remedies and the use of herbs and foods for health, I remember my father adding Guyabano to Ginataan* for a delicious dessert, or eating it fresh. With its spiky rind, its a prehistoric looking thing, which made it a fun fruit to eat. Filipinos use the leaves by boiling into a decoction that is used as a tea to help reduce fevers, leaves in a bath help with reducing fever or used in a hot foot soak to relieve foot swelling and pain. Crushed leaves can be applied as a type of compress for rheumatism or skin afflictions such a eczema.

The seeds, by the way, can be crushed and boiled to make a natural bedbugs and mites killer. Just spray onto linens and let dry, then wash the linens. Spray liberally onto mattresses, being sure to spray into the box spring as well. No odors or harmful residues like chemical insecticides.

Medicinal and home uses aside....give Soursop a try. Try it in a refreshing blended bubble tea, Ginataan* (yum!), or even in fried Guyababo (yes, I know fried *anything* can be bad for you, but a little treat every now and then wouldn't hurt, right?)

Fried Guyabano--easy to make!
--Peel Guyabano, slice into pieces and discard the seeds (or use for the bedbugs/mites spray)
-- Dip the pieces in beaten egg & water mixture then dip into flour (some people add cinnamon).
-- Fry in light oil on both sides till brown. Some people like to sprinkle a bit of cinnamon or brown sugar on top, or serve with a splash of honey.

I hope you like Guyabano/soursop!

*Ginataan: Typically a thick dessert "soup" made with thick coconut milk, taro, jackfruit, sweet potato and tapioca pearls. Other fruits are added to taste. Great served hot on cool days, or served cold with a splash of sweet evaporated milk on hot days. Ginataan is also a word sometimes referred to *anything* cooked in coconut milk.