There is a Japanese saying, "Himoji toki no mazui mono nashi," which means that when you are hungry, nothing is unpalatable.  Learning in the martial arts is supposed to be like that, but many times we get into a rut and seek out only what is comfortable or familiar.  Many times when I go to another school or when visitors come to my school I notice that regardless of how the technique is taught the student ends up doing it his own way.  This, in my opinion, is the surest sign of complacency. Seeking the comfort of what or how you know something is the sign that you have stopped learning.  As the proverb above implies, if you are hungry to learn then you will try to take in anything and everything.  This is an indication of a good student.  This means that the student is not only ready but also eager to learn.

When I was a student one of my classmates once complained that the instructors taught the same thing slightly different and that it was hard to catch on.  I think this is true at all dojos and schools all over the world.  The problem lies within the student and not with the teaching.  My friend's discriminating palate disabled him from learning and only leads to frustration and confusion.  If you are thinking that the problem lies with the teacher, then you are looking at it from the wrong point of view.

If you are hungry, you will do anything to catch the technique, but not only that you will try anything as well.  In the old days there was a lot of "no-teach" teaching going on where the teacher demonstrated the technique or sometimes even just called it out and the students were supposed to learn it.  This "no-teach" style forced the student out of his comfort zone and to become hypersensitive to what and how something was being taught.  With that hunger the student becomes stronger and better at the techniques.  He becomes better not because the teacher is/was better but because the student is  hungry.

Please stay hungry...