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.



To implement the missions and the goals of this school through the teaching of martial arts.


Guides students and prospective students through the various levels of curriculum introductory, group and private Lessons. Is skilled in performing and teaching levels of curriculum up to and including Black Belt levels. Maintains a high level of enthusiasm and positive reinforcement in the classroom.

Solicits prospective students both inside and outside of the school by distributing guest passes, asking for referrals and using other prospecting techniques approved by school; records prospect information on prospect cards and files cards in an orderly system;

Assists Admissions Director in following up on all prospects with effective telephone and mail contact to help them to join.

Assists Admissions Director in upgrading existing students to memberships of greater value by adding family members and converting Trial Memberships to Black Belt Club Memberships; conducts Progress Checks for prospective Black Belt Club Memberships.

Coordinates with Admissions Director to qualify prospective Black Belt Club students. Creates desire for all students to attain Black Belt levels.

Assists in keeping students and prospective students motivated throughout their lessons. Encourages students to maintain regular class attendance and regular practice at home. Knows all students by their first name.

a Has thorough understanding of criteria for student belt examinations; implements school requirements; fills out all necessary paperwork; meets daily, weekly, monthly. and quarterly instructing goals.

Prepares for, attends and participates in Staff Meetings; successfully masters concepts for effective Martial Arts instruction; continues to improve instructing techniques through additional training, role playing, studying of MATA videos and related material.

Completely masters the application of all instructional methods approved by the school.

Constantly evaluates instruction strategy to identify improvement areas. Strives to apply knowledge and application of all instructing skills in order improve measurable instructing performance, such as attendance percentage, number of examinees, retention and number of Black Belt candidates.

Maintains complete knowledge of school history, philosophy, and policies; maintains thorough knowledge of local and national industry trends; maintains thorough knowledge of competitors, including location, curriculum, tuition, and promotion strategies – including instructing techniques.

Maintains impeccable levels of personal physical fitness, attitude, and appearance. Must be advancing toward next rank in Martial Arts.

Assists in maintaining cleanliness and orderliness of school; maintains cleanliness and organization of classroom and locker rooms.

Influences other staff members to perform at their maximum capability; motivates and inspires co-workers.

Performs various other duties and assignments as necessary or required.


At least 16 years of age; requires an outgoing personality with the ability to effectively communicate and inspire; must be Black Belt with previous teaching experience.

Requires a sincere interest in self-improvement and continuing education. Requires the ability to maintain a high level of enthusiasm on a daily basis and strong desire to help others reach their goals.

Requires the ability and desire to learn more about Martial Arts, interpersonal communication, and teaching techniques. Requires a personal commitment to living the principles of Black Belt Excellence and total and patient dedication to the progress of the student, regardless of age, gender or athletic ability.

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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