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.

The GAP is the divide between your martial arts experience and the market’s expectations

It’s safe to say:

1. You love the martial arts.

2. The martial arts improved your life.

3. You want to share that experience with others and make a good living doing it.

It’s also safe to say:

1. The only reason you were raised in your style is that it was taught in the school you joined. 

2. You did not join the school seeking a style, forms, or any specific techniques.

3. You joined because it was geographically convenient and / or the cheapest option.

The love you have for your style, its techniques, and traditions is the result of indoctrination, not informed decision making. Simply put, you didn’t know what you didn’t know.

The GAP is the divide between your indoctrinated bias and the benefits that your prospects are seeking.

Empower Kickboxing™ strips away all of the complexity of style based martial arts and presents just the easiest to learn, most effective skills. The class focus is on different applications of these skills with an emphasis on conditioning.

The Result: The Gap is eliminated. The students learn skills and get fit much faster.

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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