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.

First, a disclaimer. I am not an expert on this subject nor do I get any affiliate fee or commission. This is just something I think all school owners should know about. 

If you’re like most school owners, health insurance has become more of a financial burden than a security blanket. There are alternatives to the government forcing Americans to buy health insurance. They’re called Christian Healthcare Ministries (CHM). A CHM is not an insurance company. It is a nonprofit “health care sharing ministry.

A CHM is an organization where members contribute an agreed upon amount each month to a central pool of funds. These funds are used to pay member’s medical bills when they arise. It’s not health care, but health share and members are exempt from the Obamacare taxation penalty.

It’s estimated that over 1-million people are now opting out of Obamacare in favor of CHMs.

There are many CHMs, so do your research. For the past three years, I’ve been using Liberty Health Share.

I pay $157 a month for 70% coverage. So if I have a $1,000 bill, $700 is funded by the members, and I pay $300. Other plans cover up to 100%. I’ve never had a claim, but a friend of mine who runs a school has been a member for two years. When a family member recently had a heart attack, Liberty paid the $50,000 bill.

As good as that is, and it’s been really good for me, it may not be for everyone. Do your research.

For me, CHMs are a gateway to a time when the relationship with your doctor was one-on-one, not held hostage by the goverment imposing a ransom. 

I have a doctor that I pay $60 a month. That’s it. I can see him once a year or once a week. When I pay his bill, I forward the invoice to Liberty, and they reimburse me for the payment out of my $157. So, it’s not $157 + $60. It’s $157. Period.

If I need a chiropractor, there is one nearby who charges a flat $25 per month. There is a world of self-pay or direct-pay providers that typically are much less expensive and work on a membership model like we do.

CHMs have been around for decades. Sharing the needs of your community VOLUNTARILY is a staple of the Christian lifestyle as opposed to a king taxing the peasants for not buying health insurance plans that have skyrocketed.

If you’re so inclined, check the program out at

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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