How to Teach a Martial Arts Skill
Martial Arts Teaching Strategies
I noticed back in the early 1990s that martial arts school owners/instructors have a wide spectrum of education and background.
You could graduate with an MBA from a University and open a school or your could get released from prison and open a school.
Still, neither background teaches an instructor “How to Teach Martial Arts.” That’s when I, with the help of my mentor John Corcoran, created the first widely respected Instructor Certification Program.
We recruited 18 experts in their professional and academic fields such as pedagogy, motivation, communication, kinesiology, child psychology etc. to contribute their expertise to the program.
The key was that they were all veteran black belts so they were able to calibrate their professional expertise to the needs of modern day instructors.
The course has been a great success with Jhoon Rhee, Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace endorsed it. Rhee, Lewis, and Superfood actually flew to Dallas to complete the course.
Chuck Norris surprised one of the first classes with a visit and shared some fun war stories and his support of the program.
Here is one of my favorite lessons from the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA) Instructor Certification Program. MATACertification.com
How to Introduce a New Skill
1. Introduce the Technique with a Strong Benefit Statement
Make it clear why the students want to learn this.
“This is one of the most powerful and devastating kicks in all martial arts. It’s called the side kick because it cuts down your opponent and is really hard to block.”
2. Use a “War Story” to Create an Emotional Connection with the Students
Joe Lewis would introduce a sidekick by sharing this story, “One of my instructors in Okinawa got jumped by five guys. He killed 1 and put 2 others in the hospital using only his sidekick.”
3. Show the Application of the Technique with an Opponent (Visual and Auditory Learners)
“The cut kick uses the inner area of the shin to strike and cut into the outside of the thigh or knee just like this…”
4. Clarify What You Are Striking with and the Target
“Everyone reach down and feel the inner part of your shin bone. Do you feel how sharp that is? That’s what you are striking with. Now, take your fist and lightly tap this area outside your thigh. That’s the target zone.”
5. Face the Mirror and Preview What You Are Going To Have Them Do (Visual Learners)
“From your fighting stance, bring your knee outside and around while pivoting the supporting foot all the way around 360-degrees like this. When I say, ‘Out’ pull the knee to this position. When I say, ‘Kick!’ complete the kick like this.”
6. Create a Sound Pattern (Auditory learners)
“We’ll do this in four parts. 1-Fold! – 2-Kick! – 3-Refold! 4-Recover.” Repeat that with every rep.
7. Demonstrate the Steps Every Few Reps
“It will look like this. ‘Knee out’ and ‘Kick!’
8. Cite One or Two Common Errors
“Common error is to bring the knee inside and through. That makes the kick weaker. We want the full force of this big thigh coming out and then tearing through our opponents leg.”
9. Lead Them Through a Few on Each Leg
On the first few you will lead and demonstrate. Then you will wander and make corrections.
10. Have Them Do the Entire Technique While You Wander And Correct
Make no more than one correction per repetition and say it loud enough for everyone to hear.
“Let’s put it together now. When I say Kick I want to see this (demonstrate the kick all the way through) Ready…Kick!
Keep that knee outside. Kick!
Land in good balance. Kick!
Pivot all the way around. Kick!
Keep those hands up..Kick”