There is a simple answer of course, which is not until your Sensei or teacher gives you permission. So let's assume you have that, or are no longer under the tutelage of any one teacher.
So, when are you ready? When should you start teaching?
In many ways, I think you never really feel ready if you are a true student of Budo. We are all learners, all students on the path, regardless of our position in any club, dojo or organization.
Who are the best teachers?
Obviously you must have a significant skill set in order to teach. You can't teach what you don't know. There's a bit more to it though.
Some of the best fighters in the world train under coaches who have never fought professionally or have never been champions themselves. So what qualifies them to teach?
What qualities do they have that set them apart from the rest?
I think it's their ability to allow others to discover their own skills and abilities. They have to ability to train people, sometimes even to a level that surpasses their own.
Let's face it, not everyone is meant to teach. A high level of skill alone does not a teacher make.
So how do you know when you are ready?
Should you be confident that you are always better than any of your students?
Should you teach when enough people ask you to?
Is there a time when you know, for certain, that you are ready? Is 'knowing' you are ready a sign that you have too much ego?
It's one thing to train with people and to share information, it quite another to be a Sensei or teacher. Training requires a certain degree of structure to be valuable. Without this, people just kind or work on 'whatever' and often there is no chance to perfect the techniques or identify your own shortcomings under the watchful eye of another.
I don't have the answers.
I have been asked to teach by some people and I am in a position where I deliver some training in my professional endeavors.
Even though I am actually teaching some self defense techniques (at work), the thought of officially teaching outside of work seems a strange thing to me. While I am confident in my abilities, I am not satisfied with my own skill level. I never will be, of course, being a life long student of the martial arts.
Again, I don't know what the right time is to officially start teaching. I would love some feedback from all you teaching out there or from those of you contemplating it.
I look forward to your thoughts.