Martial Arts Instructor News and Articles

John Graden

John Graden

Executive Director

John Graden led the martial arts into the modern era by creating the first professional association, trade journal & instructors certification program.

As an owner of a martial arts studio, you know there are risks and responsibilities associated.  There are all kinds of reasons someone could sue a martial arts school. It could be an injury as a result of an accident, an insult introduced by inadvertent humor, or even a claim from a client that a martial arts instructor negatively impacted their health, or worse, acted in a sexually inappropriate manner with a child.

These are all things that you, as a studio owner, can’t really control. People will be people. But, you can protect your martial arts school from potential problems or even lawsuits. Think martial arts school insurance!

Recently, SFIC has partnered with the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association to help school owners understand exactly what they need. Insurance can be somewhat of a mystery as many business owners know they need it to satisfy loans and leases, but very often are not sure what and who it actually covers.

3 Quick Examples:

#1: You, as the studio owner, and your direct employees are covered under your liability insurance. The independent contractors who work at your facility are not covered under your policy. It is very important to verify that independent contractors carry their own professional liability insurance

#2: Loose lips sink ships. As the business owner, you are responsible for what the instructors say to your students and their family members. An unsolicited remark at the school deemed inappropriate by a client may result in a sexual abuse lawsuit against your business. Or, perhaps an instructor gives nutritional advice to a student or family member that causes them to feel light-headed and faint. Ultimately, under the laws of fitness liability, you are responsible.

#3: Protect your staff. It’s not unusual for an instructor to get hurt while on the job. It is important to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover wage replacement and medical benefits to injured employees.

The reality is, a lawsuit can be filed for anything, and a policy will be suspended even if the claim is frivolous. It is important to understand the details of your health club insurance. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Notice Tyson’s hand is by his face, not his hip.

His chin is down instead of up.

His shoulder is up instead of pulled back.

His body is sideways to his opponent instead of squared off.

His legs are under his body not spread apart like he was riding a horse.

With this kind of form, he would fail his orange belt exam in most schools. 

How does that make any sense?

Sensei Tyson?

If Mike Tyson or a world champion kickboxer came to your school to teach your black belts. What do you think he would work on? Double punches, square blocks, and keeping your chin up?

I’m pretty sure he would emphasize head movement, how to snap your punches and a defense that does NOT include pulling your punch back to your hip.

I’m sure the students would learn advanced applications to adjust for different fighters. Notice I said advanced applications, not advanced strikes.

When you focus on application, you can apply that to almost any technique.

For instance, if the drill is about how to fight a taller fighter, the answer is more about footwork to stay on the outside until you can secure quick access. My brothers are 6′ 3″ and 6′ 4″ so I know something about fighting a taller opponent.

Drills that teach that application do not require complexity. They require simplicity.

The more complex a skill becomes, the less chance it can be used. Have you ever seen a double punch? Only in kata and here:

If you eliminated all kata and traditional skills, you could devote that time to drills and conditioning that would give your students a true advantage in sparring or self-defense.

Imagine teaching fewer skills that are easy to teach and learn than traditional skills and kata.

You could spend more time on the application of those skills rather than stepping up and down the classroom and holding blocks and punches out in the air, which leaves you wide open for a counterattack.

Rather than spending student’s time with the complexity and frustration of spending years perfecting the bad habits of pulling their hand back to their hip, keeping their chin up, aiming and holding a punch in the air, and blocking with power while stepping forward, your retention will improve. Your student quality will improve. Your curriculum consistency will improve.

This is the core of our white to black belt curriculum Empower Kickboxing.

It’s an old saying, but true. “Less is best.”

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