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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.

MATA Podcast Episode 7

Interview with Chris Sutton Part 1

Interview with Chris Sutton, founder of COBRA-Defense explains why it is critical to understand, on a deep level, what the source of any self-defense training is.

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Episode 7: What Qualifies an Instructor to Teach Self-Defense

 Show Seven–Chris Sutton Interview 1

Heads up that my first question to Chris Sutton may seem rude, but it’s the question you have to ask of anyone professing to teach self-defense.

It’s also the question you have to ask yourself if you are promoting yourself as a self-defense instructor or expert.

Imagine if you are on national TV with millions of people watching. The reporter introduces you as a self-defense expert. He turns to you and asks, “Why should we listen to you?” What would you say? 

“Well, I’m a black belt in Karate.” How do you think that would fly? Not far I assure. I asked Chris Sutton because I knew, that without any warning, he would answer the question with the best possible answer.

Teach Like a Pro Tip from John Graden

The Principles of an Authoritative Instructor:
Over-Explaining

These lessons are straight from the MATA Certification Course at MATACertification.com

This lesson helps instructors retain student’s attention by not over-explaining.

Chris Sutton, COBRA-Defense Founder Interview 

Who he learned martial arts from on TV

Learn the difference between a real self-defense lesson and a martial arts self-defense lesson.

What is the best way to reduce the learning curve.

The time that police officer Sutton shot a guy in the head who then shot a child.

Why foul language, embarrassing students, and even hurting them is not necessary in a self-defense class.

How an “attention diversion drill” can make a parent cry watching his or her child.

How to give students instant value and reprogram their mind before they ever learn a physical move.

What is missing from martial arts that COBRA has?

How martial arts respond to the question, “Who are you training your students for?”

How to describe what you offer to prospects

The difference between military and law enforcement training

What is Killer School?

What three brothers have left footprints on Chris’s head?

Why would Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines need active shooter training?

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Hosts & Guests

John Graden

Tony Robbins

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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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