In the 17th episode of season 1, Alex asks J'onn Jonzz

When will I be ready?

to which he responds

When you can beat me.

This is also shown in the first episode of the 4th season when Alex is training Jensen. She doesn't appear to actually instruct him, she just says

Let's dance.

and when Jensen fails, she doesn't actually show him what to do next time, or what he did wrong, she simply says


Why does the DEO train this way, if it is not possible to learn something without being taught?

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Are there other cases where this (lack of) training method is used? What I see here is a poor instructor who managed to include this instructional anti-pattern in his teachings to his pupil.
    – DavidW
    Mar 24, 2021 at 20:51
  • I'm not sure. I'm only up to 4x02 Mar 24, 2021 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Well, looking through a bunch of training scenes from Supergirl, this seems to be a common style of teaching for the DEO.

This is not without precedent in the real world. Lots of martial arts will teach with a varying level of either complete instructor led or allow the students to make decisions and figure things out for themselves.

In this case, the DEO seems to favor sparring and letting the students just kind of get beat up for awhile before they actually learn something. I have personally done this type of training and you can improve this way. Is this the most efficient way to teach? Who knows, but the DEO seems to think so.

I would point out in the Alex vs J'onn video, at least after things fall apart for Alex, J'onn stops and gives her instruction on how to better use the device he has given her.

  • 1
    I think that in most cases the instructee is someone who thinks that they already know how to fight. The sequence is mostly about making them recognise that their skills are pretty poor in comparison. Probably the actual training takes place later.
    – Valorum
    Jun 9, 2021 at 16:58

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