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.

With the massive jump in active shooters and workplace violence, organizations are finding creative ways to offer expert training for employees and agents. According to COBRA-Defense CEO and Founder Chris Sutton, there are three ways organizations are leveraging their live workshops. “We’ve structured our programs so that organizations can offer CEUs for participants. They are also using our training, specifically our active shooter training, as a team building event. Of course, the third reason is the most important. This training can save lives.”

COBRA-Defense, a global safety and self-defense training organization, has seen a significant increase in demand for their training programs so far in this year. Organizations ranging from The Kentucky Real Estate Commission to the National Certification Board for Massage Therapists have hosted COBRA-Defense training workshops that earned participants CEUs.

Sutton says, “The training is exciting, engaging, and actually lots of fun. That creates a strong team building component. The CEUs are also a nice bonus for participants and the self-defense skills are with the participants 24/7. They don’t stay in the office. That’s the most important takeaway.”

Save $400. MATA Members can join COBRA at a special discounted License.


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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