Tag Archives: martial arts

How can you teach?

I really enjoy helping people along their martial arts path. I gain energy and renewed excitement for my training. There are also many, many insights gained from hearing students comment or describe their thoughts. Even learning new, maybe improved, ways to “talk” my experiences to students.

The most innocent problem that can arise is when instructional opportunities are lost. This most often happens when a student loses their teacher. There can be many reasons to this. I searched for a place to answer my questions. It took many years, so I spent time in many different schools. Once I found answers, which truly just created more questions, I was able to be a student who could focus on learning.

This leads to another place where students struggle. I’ve heard from several students that they’d like to teach at some point, maybe even have their own school. To do this they need to start asking questions about everything from the history, curriculum, etiquette, and leadership. It will also include politics and building a good network. A main factor here is to make sure that you are within a group that “plays nice together”. This may happen within the organization/association that your current teacher is in, which is great, but it should also include teachers and schools outside your organization. Gaining insights from fellow martial artists is pretty much a requirement.

If you aren’t interested in continuing the curriculum and passing on the knowledge that you gained during your martial arts journey, why are you teaching? This doesn’t apply to those who help teach classes and fill in to teach as part of being proper students (those without interest in having their own school). This one applies to those who actively seek out teaching roles but don’t put hours into their own training and development.

I’ve come to understand that martial arts training and teaching is a passion. It can be enhanced by business plans but if you don’t truly love it, then you’ll never achieve your goals. The recent visit to a California school brought out different layers of these points. Everyone was thirsty for the chance to improve the current material and hungered for learning more. They’ve started asking the right questions.

Martial Artist or just playing?

Do you practice the most important part of your martial art(s) daily? Do you know what that part is?

Over my 35 years of martial arts training, I’ve had several teachers from several martial arts tell me that the physical techniques are only 10% of the art. So what is in the other 90%?

We have heard forever how the martial arts builds discipline, focus, control and esteem. What we haven’t heard is how that is applied outside of class. I think many people presume that all of these characteristics will automatically be put into effect by every student.

Now, here’s a thought for you…
Is your martial arts class something you just go to a couple times per week? I mean, do you schedule and show up to move around for a while, then never think about it until the calendar tells you that it is time another class? Do you think about the lesson plan after class? Have you examined the points made within that lesson plan? If you answered “no” to any of these, then you are probably only playing and not really developing into a martial artist. Sorry.

But let’s go back to the common benefits that are regularly listed to help illustrate this. In class, when you line up at the start and end, you are standing at ready in the proper stance without rocking back and forth nor fiddling with your belt/uniform nor with your ankles crossed and arms folded. If you are achieving this, you are developing discipline. These are actions that you CHOOSE to perform out of respect for your teacher, peers, school and the martial art as a sign of respect.

Now, this is a very intellectual example of discipline. A more active version would be to work in the drills and exercises that are assigned with complete commitment to the work requested. Illustrating your discipline here can be shown in doing the drills as prescribed by the teacher, not the way you think it should be done (that is for your training outside of class). Here’s a good example from a movie –

Everything IS martial arts! If you only look at what you’re doing, you won’t see the rest of the lesson…and the lesson doesn’t end when class is over.

If you are in class and following directions, working on the material, trying to be better than you were in the last class…why aren’t you doing the same thing at home or in school? If you always work at doing your best, you will always be your best. You don’t have to like the topic, assignment, drill but that is what you are doing right now, so do it completely right now. There is no past nor future, there is only right now.

aristotle-excellence-quote-1024x555

If you desire to be excellent at anything, choose to be excellent in everything you do. Never be “mostly”, “close”, “kind of” as they are levels below what you want to be. Make applying the habits part of everything outside of your class and success will happen in all that you work toward.

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Learning

Teaching+Quote
This is probably one of the best saying that I’ve seen for how the martial arts should be taught. Well, all education for that matter but that is for another post.

There is a lot of discussion about how to teach according to the best learning style for the student. Which may or may not be accurate. The video below – Learning Styles Don’t Exist – fits my thoughts on this, but I’m no scientist.

The key point here, to me, is the end of Franklin’s quote “…involve me and I learn.” This goes past the learning style and gets to the passion of the student. If the student sees interest and value, then being involved will amplify the amount of learning that happens. Unless that happens, no learning will occur regardless of how they learn or the teaching style used.

While I was trying to motivate a couple colored belts to step up their efforts in preparation to testing, I had one of junior black belts tell me that I could “just make them work harder.” When I asked him how I should do that, he responded with “You could have them do more drills and count faster to make them keep up.” My next question to him was “Will that really help them get better?”

That is the real trick, right? No matter what my teaching style or how prepared the lesson plan or how well the drills and other training fits the curriculum, there is still the need for the student to WANT to learn it.

Learn

Once the choice is made to put in effort and spend time actively working to learn a subject, then there are no limits to what can be accomplished. There are several examples out on YouTube that illustrate this. The key to their success is not just the practice but the commitment to learning. This becomes extremely important when you consider that the physical aspects of martial arts training (and probably all physical activity training or sport) is only 10% of the material needed to be learned. As there are only so many ways to kick and strike, it is the learning of how to use these techniques and adapt them to a variety of situations becomes vital. Seeing the applications beyond the basics is the real learning. Developing the principles (for living) and the concepts/strategies used to apply techniques provide the opportunities to use you knowledge in all areas of life for greater success in everything that you do.

I will involve you in the teachings. Are you determined to learn?

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Martial arts…today?

Robert Frankovich
Help wanted —
Martial Arts Instructor – Tae Kwon Do-EDE01156
Description:
Our team of Martial Arts Instructors works to provide entertaining and educational athletic programs for our members. Utilize your excellent customer service skills and passion for martial arts in this exciting position!
As a Marital Arts Instructor, you will teach new skills to members to help them develop martial arts techniques while building teamwork.
Qualifications
– High School diploma or GED preferred
– Six months to one year of martial arts experience

Primary Location: : MN-Eden Prairie – CRT – Eden Prairie (Crosstown)
Schedule: Part-time
Job Level: Individual Contributor
Shift: Evening Job
Travel: No
Nearest Major Market: Minneapolis
Job Segments: Customer Service, Education, Instructor, Part Time, Service
Actual job posting

I came across this job posting while bored & surfing the net. While I can understand fitness centers/health clubs wanting to offer martial arts programs for the clients, I don’t get the “disrespect” shown in their job posting.

Do they truly think someone with six months of “training” is capable to teach a program? This is the attitude that I’ve complained about as yoga programs began showing up everywhere. Attedn a weekend training course and become a certified instructor. How much do they truly know about “real” yoga after a weekend? Do I believe that they can “lead” a class, yes. Will they promote the personal development of their clients, no. I did use clients specifically because I can’t see them as being “real” students since they aren’t attempting to learn anything “real”, just get a workout. No, there’s nothing wrong with a good workout.

Personally, I see the personal trainer status in a similar light. The people working now are much better and knowledgeable but I have a hard time understanding it when a “certification” program from an organization is placed higher than a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Science…unless its because they can pay the personal trainers less. Capitalism at its finest.

Most who know me know that I’ve preached the pursuit of an academic martial arts program, if a university will give one a chance, to initiate the change of martial arts from the second class status that it has to one with the respect that it deserves.

You hear regularly from counselors, educators, psychologists and others that people greatly benefit from martial arts training but the development of an academic program hasn’t happened. Yes, I know of Bridgeport University and Amerstate but there’s still a flaw since they don’t grow. On the other hand, though, massage therapy has become a credible, respected and profitable industry. Go figure.

If anyone has ideas on how to get the academic program accepted by a university, please pass it on. I’ve got plenty of curriculum developed…as do many other quality teachers that I know. And, yes, I called them teachers because they do much more than “instruct”.