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.

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Martial arts school insurance is something that school owners know they need, but are not sure how much or what type of insurance they need.

A new strategic partnership between the Sports and Fitness Insurance Company (SFIC) and the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association seeks to educate and prepare school owners and instructors for the potential liabilities they face while teaching self-defense and martial arts.

John Graden is the founder of MATA and the author of many books on how to run a martial arts school. Graden says, “It’s ironic that we teach that learning self-defense is like taking a personal insurance policy out on yourself. With the help of SFIC, now we can help our instructors truly protect themselves on a business level.”

Among the many topics related to insurance MATA and SFIC will post include: 

1. How much does martial arts insurance cost?

2. What does martial arts insurance cover?

3. Do I need martial arts insurance for my special events?

4. What insurance do i need to teach martial arts?

5. Do I need insurance for guest instructors?

6. How far back does my insurance cover me?

7. What are some little known martial arts lawsuit liabilities?

National Accounts Manager for SFIC, Jennifer Urmston Lowe, is the point person for this union. Lowe has been with SFIC as a licensed insurance agent, insuring health clubs and fitness studios since 1998. According to Lowe, “Lately we’ve seen a boom in the martial arts community. There seems to be a new school on every corner of towns across the country. With such a surge in popularity, instructors and owners not only need to know how to teach defense, they need to make sure they have one. We’re looking forward to working with John Graden and helping his organization get the information they need to make smart choices to reduce liability.”

For thirty years, SFIC has worked with both large and small health clubs and fitness studios, martial arts and dance schools and yoga and Pilates studios. They also insure individual fitness professionals, both personal trainer and group exercise instructors. SFIC is the Managing General Agent for Liberty Mutual Insurance for the fitness industry and are licensed in all 50 states. They write General Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella, Commercial Property and Workers Compensation insurance, along with Surety Bonds.

SFIC is also a founding partner of the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) and dedicated to helping small business owners in the fitness industry succeed.

MATA has members in five continents and covering nearly every style and system of the martial arts.

This partnership will kick-off with a series of online webinars in 2015 with the inaugural topic of “Decoding the Insurance Mystery” and will continue with other relevant and informative topics for martial arts owners and instructors throughout the year.

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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