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.

HOW TO TEACH A MARTIAL ARTS CLASS THAT MAKES SENSE. 

Martial arts does not encourage free-thinking, but the pursuit of success requires it.

Most classes contradict everything they taught in the first half of class.

Which half of a martial arts class makes sense?

First Half of Class During Kata 

Pull your hands to your hip!

Lock your legs in a deep stance!

Aim your punch!

Hold your punch out for form!

Chin up!

Square your body.

Shoulders back for good form.

Double punch to the head & groin.

Square block to stop two attacks.

Second Half of Class During Sparring

Get your hands up!

Get your legs under you so you can move!

Don’t telegraph your punches!

Snap your punch back to guard ASAP!

Tuck your chin!

Turn sideways to protect your center line!

Pull your shoulders up to shield your jaw!

You’re kidding me, right?

That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

How can a school advertise that they teach self-defense yet not allow head contact when sparring? That’s the most common attack in a street fight!

The reason is that most schools lack a system to teach students how to defend their heads.

Most schools spend the first half of class teaching, drilling, and instilling theoretical traditional karate defensive skills. 

Then the second half of the class contradicts the first half.

In real life or sparring, who crosses their arms and then steps forward to block a front kick to the groin with a front stance-down block?

I taught just like that for years until I started to question these skills.

This lesson from this chapter of the MATA Certification Program is on How To Teach Sparring So Your Students Don’t Drop Out.

Here is an easy-to-teach and easy-to-learn curriculum that applies everything I’m talking about in one white to black belt program. Just click the logo.

 

Empower Kickboxing logo
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

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.”

You May Also Like…

0 Comments