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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5th-degree black belt, Dr. Judy Flury opened her taekwondo school at age 17 while a junior in high school.

Once she graduated from high school, Dr. Flury ran her karate school while also attending college and then graduate school, ultimately earning a doctorate in personality psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dr. Flury is the author of “Raising a Real Winner: How to Teach Your Child the Qualities of Success” and has written or contributed to many book chapters and articles in various psychological publications.

All 23 board members have a black belt and are recognized experts in their pedagogical fields.

MATA Founder John Graden says, “I’ve been friends with Dr. Judy is one of my favorite people in the martial arts. She’s smart and brings a wealth of experience as a professional martial arts school owner and Ph.D.”

About her addition to the board, Dr. Flury says, “It is truly an honor to be on the MATA Certification Board, given its creator. From his WAKO world championship title to his creation of the first professional association, trade journal, and universal instructor certification program for martial artists, to his best-selling books on martial arts business and personal development, John Graden is a true pioneer. I’m delighted to be associated with this certification program that was created by “the Teacher of Teachers.” 

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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