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.

John Graden: Recently we spoke about the seminar I was at, where one of the Instructors said that over fifteen years after an incident he was sued by a student and it cost him fifteen thousand dollars to make the lawsuit go away.

In 2015, Bill Cosby was criminally accused and charged with a sexual assault from 2012, so I want to reiterate to our listeners out there, the distinction between a martial arts school Coverage Policy that is specific to a time frame and this policy that is specific to incidents. Please expand on that Jennifer.

Jenifer Urmston: The types of coverage that are out there are Claims Made Coverage versus Occurrence Based Coverage.   Occurrence Based Coverage, covers you for the time period of the policy that an incident occurred during that time and it will continue to cover you for the legal Statute on that claim and would cover you years later if the incident occurred during the occurrence period of the Policy.

A Claims Made Policy only covers you for claims that are made during that Policies coverage period, which could be this year only, if you didn’t buy the tail coverage at the end of the Policy to keep the coverage in effect, for a number of years, going forward.

John Graden: So, in the situation where I described with the Instructor, because I think Cosby’s in a whole different league, but it’s just reminiscent of the situation if he had purchased and I don’t know if he did or not, a Claims Policy.

Jenifer Urmston: A Claims Made Policy and then did not buy extended tail coverage on it, he would have no coverage for that claim being submitted years later.

An Occurrence based Policy would have covered him for the claim that occurred while it was an active policy, even if it was years later.  And then important, you know, two important things there, you know, that are Statutes of Limitations vary in different States for how many years later a claim can be filed, the Statute of Limitations for claims, for a claim filed by a Child, doesn’t even start until they become an Adult, so that’s why minors can have claims be filed many years later.

So, it is important to carry Occurrence Based Coverage, for the period of time that your operating your facility or if you already have a Claims Made Policy, it is important to purchase tail coverage on that Policy that is sufficient for the Statute of Limitations in your State, which could be, you know, twenty years later.  So, it is very important to consult someone that knows about the laws in your State as well as to consult an experienced Insurance person in the Fitness Industry who knows about the coverage on these Studio Policies.

John Graden: That is sage advice and very clear, no doubt about it guys you have to get Occurrence Based Policies and talk to Jennifer Urmston at Sports Fitness Insurance Corporation.

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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