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 holidays two different things come to mind for me, first of all you could have kids out of school coming in and spending time in your martial arts facility with some special holiday day camps or special programs. You want to make sure that you communicated to your insurance agent that you have a martial arts day camp or a week long camp going on while the kids are out of school and make sure that any new students are in your student count so that you’re covered.

Read more: New Year Insurance Checklist

Whenever you’re doing an event or any kind of special anything, it’s a good idea to give your agent a call just to make sure you’re covered. That’s unless you did it the previous year and it’s already included in there. It’s a great opportunity for you to get new members to your ongoing classes to advertise – ‘hey! The kids are out of school these two weeks, we’re offering these three or four day camps, let your kids come and spend the day with us and try out our programs or learn from other kids that are there.’ It’s a great opportunity for the school to make more revenue, but anytime you do something that’s special that’s with folks who are not your normal members, you want to make sure that you’ve communicated that to your insurance agent.

If you’re just going to have a Christmas party for your own members, this is not something that you need to worry about communicating to your agent, because those are your regular members coming in. If, however, you were planning to serve any kind of alcoholic beverages then you’d want to communicate with your agent and make sure you have coverage for host liquor on your policy.

As the weather starts to get bad in some parts of the country around winter time and you have snow and ice, you will want to make sure that’s been cleared off your sidewalks and out of your parking lot. Make the extra phone call to you landlord if necessary because you don’t want your members tripping and falling.

Most martial arts schools and studios are required to provide their landlord with a certificate of insurance, so that they’re responsible for their own members walking on those sidewalks. You may not be responsible for clearing the ice and snow yourself, which means it’s probably up to the landlord.

On a Commercial General Liability Policy tailored for your martial arts school or your martial arts studio, your coverage is much, much broader than what would be provided under Public Liability that your landlord may have for people coming and going from a facility. That’s just with the understanding that your landlord hasn’t required you, as part of signing the lease to provide proof of your insurance for him.

If you are new to the business and your landlord hasn’t required you to get the insurance, or you don’t have any insurance, the limit to that Public Liability Insurance is probably ‘slipping and falling on the premises’, ‘tripping over the door entry’, ‘a hole in the parking lot’, etc. It’s not going to have any coverage for you professionally as a martial artist in what you’re teaching your students.

It wouldn’t have any coverage for the personal injury that your students could claim, or any advertising injury that your students could claim, or any sexual abuse or molestation that your students can claim. It’s not a good idea at all to rely on the public liability insurance of a landlord.

Some General Liability policies will have host liquor included. This means you’re serving it at a party or someone’s bringing their own, but you’re not selling it. What you have to do is make sure your General Liability Policy includes host liquor. This is why it’s worth a phone call before the Christmas party to your insurance agent, if you haven’t already checked on that before, because it’s not a given that it will be on there.

Please check out our insurance page at and visit Sports and 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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