Below is a sample lesson plan of a martial arts class that moves like an action film.

How does every James Bond film start? With a bang! Typically, a Bond film starts with some insanely dangerous situation or car chase that reaches out from the screen and grabs you by the throat.

You’re sitting slack-jawed in your seat as you watch the frantic chase or wonder, “How on earth can he escape?”

After about 10-minutes, he prevails and you fall back into your seat totally exhilarated and ready for the rest of the movie.

Contrast that with the opening of the highly acclaimed Stanley Kubrick film, 2001 a Space Odyssey.

All you see for the first 12-minutes of the film are landscapes and monkeys. There is no action and no music.

It is as boring as a martial arts class that starts our

with 10-15 minutes of stretching. (That wouldn’t be you, would it?)

Good action films start with action to immediately reward and engage the audience.

Right away, the viewer is thinking, “Wow! This is great!” After 10-15 minutes of action, the viewer is ready for a break.

That’s when the film introduces the good guy, the conflict, and the bad guys he’s going to have to deal with. 

Design your classes like that. Start off with a fast pace for about 12-15 minutes and then slow things down to deliver the technical teaching for the class. 

Here are two sample lesson plans. One is like a Bond film, the other is 2001 a Space Boredom.

The James Bond Lesson Plan Structure

History or Life Skill Lesson (Under 1-minute)

Warm Up (30-seconds each with a 10-second break for you to show the next exercise)

1. Jumping Jacks

2. Banana Twisters

3. Coordination Jumping Jacks

4. Clappers

5. Bear Walk-Up

6. Crab Walk Back

7. L-Crunches

8. Crossovers

9. Ankle Grabbers

10. Banana Rolls (10 Seconds Jack Knife, Roll Over

and Back)

11. Bouncing Knees

12. Crescent Kicks

13. One Legged Mountain Climbers

14. Ditch Hoppers

15. Review Blocks

16. 5-Count Ab Routine

17. 1-2-3-4 Review (1-Minute)

18. 1-2-3-4 Drill In Air (Mix up the combos and call them our for 1-Minute)

19. 5 Part Stretch Routine (Stretching comes at the end of the warm up, not the start)

Learning Skills

20. Front Kick (10-Each Side)

21. Back Kick  (10-Each Side)

22. Front Kick – Back Kick without setting leg down  (10-Each Side)

23. Touch Drill  (1-Minute)

24. Plank

25. Target Movement Drill (1-Minute)

26. Mountain Climbers – 2 Count

27. Position Movement

28. Jab vs Front Leg Round Kick

29. Plank Knee Strike

30. Skip Front Leg Round Kick (1-Minute)

31. Skip Front Leg Round Kick Vs 7 Block (1-Minute)

32. Sucker Punch Drill (Use open hand with wide hook)

33. Skip Side Kick  (1-Minute)

34. Skip Side Kick vs Distance  (1-Minute)

35. Splits (1-Minute)

36. Learn Cutting Kick

37. Cutting Kick Slow With A Partner Vs Leg Check

38. Cutting Kick Slow With A Partner Leg Check Counter Right Hand

Cool Down

39. 5 Part Stretch Routine

40. Crunches

41. Back Stretch

42. Table

2001 A Space Boredom Lesson Plan

1. Opening announcements (3 minutes)

2. Bow in.

3. Stretch for 10-minutes

4. Walkthrough new kata for 10-minutes

5. Do a kick in the mirror for 1-minute

6. Do a traditional blocking series for 5-minutes

7. Line kids up 10 deep to wait in line to throw one kick on a pad held by the instructor and then go back in line until it’s their turn again. (This is just stupid)

8. Split up for a game.

9. Play game.

10. Bow out.


John Graden
John Graden

John Graden is widely credited with leading the martial arts school business into the modern age. He is the founder of the first successful professional association and trade journal. MA Success editor John Corcoran first called him a “visionary” in 1995. Martial Arts World magazine dubbed him, The Teacher of Teachers. Mr. Graden’s leadership was recognized in many mainstream media outlets including a cover story on the Wall Street Journal, documentaries on A&E Network, and as a guest on the Dr. Oz Show and many others.

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