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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.

How to Evaluate Your Curriculum

by | Apr 1, 2020

A good master instructor leads students into the future by discarding the smoke and mirrors of the traditional curriculum.  A good master instructor avoids teaching contradictions. 

A bad master instructor treats traditional martial arts as “the gospel” that should never be changed or refuted. 

They spend the first half of class making sure students have “good form” by pulling their hands to their hips instead of their faces. He teaches students to aim a punch when, in reality, that never happens. He teaches stances like front stance or horse stance that expose the centerline to an opponent. He tells students to keep their chin up for good form instead of tucking it down.

In the second half of class during sparring, he tells them to move around. Get your hands up! Turn your body to the side. Don’t telegraph your punches.

It’s a complete contradiction to the first half of the class.

Bad master instructors know that the more complex a style is, the longer the student will pay and bow to them. 

Bad master instructors talk about “hidden techniques” in kata. Good master instructors ditch the kata and just teach the practical skills. 

Bad instructors know that teaching out-dated, stylized representations of self-defense creates a false sense of mysticism and mystery that will keep them in a superior position in the eyes of their unfortunate students.

Traditional techniques are overly complex and ineffective for self-defense. 

The traditional martial arts were designed by people in remote Asian locations decades, if not centuries ago. They did not have any technology to study learn and collaborate videos of self-defense. They had little if any self-defense experience and many had to hide what they were creating from the authorities. 

A good master instructor is not afraid to discard the technical baggage of the past and always seeks to improve the content of his/her curriculum for the good of his students.

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