The gym where I work out has been hiring new coaches and they've been trying out some prospective candidates to see who fits in. Obviously they have their own ideas about what kind of person they are looking for, but it's made me think about my personal preferences regarding coaches and teachers.
I've written many times before about Sonny, his diminutive size, and his physical 'unfitness', and also mentioned some of his stories regarding fights he got into in his younger days, and others that he was witness to.
Much of the advice that still resonates with me, regarding how to read people and prevail in an encounter, came from these stories, and more specifically from the stories about when things went wrong -
"If you see a finger on the ground, do not look at your hands. If you know it is yours you will freak out. Pretend it is your opponent's, much better that way."
Yeah .... Anyway, the point is it's the negative stuff that seems to stick better in the memory. Pain and loss can be great teachers, as in - Don't do that again!
But back to the gym.
If have realized that in general the enthusiastic 20 somethings do nothing for me, and the reason is not their perky exuberance, which can be somewhat grating before the sun is up, but their complete lack of any injury. Now, this may seem a little counter intuitive, but the logic is this - My favorite coach has had to deal with many injuries from well over a decade of playing competitive team sports. He KNOWS what screwing something up looks like. He can FEEL it when he watches someone else move. He understands HOW injuries happen, and remembers all the things he did wrong to 1) Get the Injury in the first place, and 2) What he had to do to have it heal properly .... or not ...
Experience, especially of the debilitating, less glorious, type is enormously helpful when teaching others how to avoid having it happen to them. Whether it's a body mechanics issue, over training, or understanding what it is like to be smaller and weaker than pretty much anyone you might have to cross swords/hands with, I'd vote for it every time.