I don't teach most people. Children don't need to know about certain parts of the world. They need to believe, at some level, that the world is safe and good. Maybe it's not true and maybe it's not necessary, but I want children to have that. I don't teach stupid people. They make me tired and waste my time. I try to avoid the ones who are just augmenting fantasy or on some kind of imaginary power rush, since I can't hide the contempt for any length of time.
So who I do teach tends to break one of two ways- either professionals who expect to be dealing with very bad things in the near future or hobbyists (experienced martial artists) who are just now realizing that what they thought they were learning might not actually be what they learned. They are waking up in other words, pushing away the dream violence and looking for a touch of the real.
There are a few cross-overs, people who pride themselves on collecting reality credentials. A very few who share more than teach or learn, finding comfort in someone who knows the words and the music.
What I teach is chaos, and so in the end, I teach nothing. I mean that very seriously. When the shit hits the fan you will be all alone, no matter how many people you are with. No matter how good or extensive your scenario training it will never be exactly like real life. You (or the student) need to be able to handle it. Alone. Not like me, you need to handle it like you. So I make no effort to teach my way. You find your way. And then you build on it and refine it and broaden and deepen it. You do that until you have achieved something I could never give you. At best, if I tried to teach you, you would be an imperfect me. But you can be a perfect you.
So I don't teach. We explore and I point out what I see and you tell me what you sense.
That's the essence because in a moment of survival, you will be a perfect expression of yourself. Who you are and what you do, both in that moment and in all the hours of training beforehand are who you are. Who you have become. Nothing less and nothing more.
So I can't teach someone to bow and cower and genuflect and call me 'sir', not when I want them to stand up to someone far scarier than me. I can't lie and tell them that they have what it takes, that they've drunk the magic kool-aid, because some days it's bug on a windshield time. I can't let them get away with the whining and 'oh poor me' and 'I don't wanna' or "I can't' because I don't want them to learn that if they give up it will still be okay. It will probably be very NOT okay.
I can't teach them platitudes, "You will get cut" or "You won't get cut" because both can be lies and they don't need garbage in their brains when they see their own blood. They need to move.
It's all about the student and they need to learn to see and evaluate and move. They need to learn how to grow themselves. In the end, they learn how to teach themselves. Then they do and should move beyond the teacher, not as little flawed clones but as men and women who have grown themselves to be as strong and good and courageous as they can be. Powerful enough to be themselves, even when they are all alone and afraid.