Today, I went to Kempo, but I did not attend class. This was VERY difficult for me. The reason I sat out was because of a shoulder injury, I strained my rotator cuff some time last month and have been trying to take it easy on my shoulder. If it feels good, I will work out or attend class, if it doesn't I usually still do these things, but I stay off my shoulder as much as possible because I want it to heal. I don't want to do any permanent damage to it. According to the doc a small amount of exercise is good for my shoulder, and I can work back up to normal activities, but I should be careful with it till all soreness goes away and even after continue to do my exercises for it etc. Yesterday and today my shoulder were REALLY bothering, but I desperately wanted to go to Kempo, so I took the advice found in the injury chapter of "Way to Black Belt" and went to OBSERVE a class.
I think my instructors were a little confused, but they politely agreed to let me sit in the lobby and watch. I tried to pay attention to how the instructor was teaching (as I would like to be a teacher some day myself) and also what the students were doing. How they were standing, how they were moving, etc. I tried pick one student and watch her, as is recommended. She just got her black belt on Sunday and she's one the students I respect the most in the dojo.
I found this exercise incredibly difficult. Not only because it was killing me to sit out, but I found myself paying more attention to the other students and things that I could see that I knew were wrong, trying to re-inforce or remind myself not to do them. Bend your knees more, widen your stance, drop you weight, basic things that I always find myself reminding me to do anyway.
I also think it would helpful for instructors to give more feedback. I don't know how everyone feels about this, but I like it when my instructor gives me a reminder, or pointers, or advice. I find it useful, but our instructors are often pretty quiet. : /
However, I still think it was useful, it is a pretty different experience to sit and watch instead of participating. I would like to come back and watch a class full of high ranking students, but I can't wait to get back on the floor.
Don't let injury keep you out of the dojo or from doing what you love. There is always a way to train around an injury.