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 Martial Arts Teachers’ Association has standards of professional practices and disciplinary procedures which are written as a guide to aide and educate certified instructors, certification candidates and members of the public on the MATA Application and Certification Standards which MATA deems relative to members’ professional conduct and disciplinary procedures.

It is understood that revocation or appropriate action may be taken by the MATA for violation pertaining to the application or certification of an MATA member or prospective member in the case of:

1. Member or prospective member is found to be ineligible for MATA certification.

2. Dishonesty during the taking of the certification exam.

3. Found to have unauthorized possession of certification examinations, answer sheets, score

reports, answer sheets, unauthorized certificates or applicant files or any other confidential

or any proprietary MATA documents or materials and the unauthorized use, distribution or

access to same, copyrighted or otherwise.

4. The making of fraudulent statements or material misrepresentations to the public or MATA.

This would include, but not be limited to, any statements made to apply for, obtain or retain

Certification by the applicant, certified instructor or anyone else.

5. Found to have any mental, emotional or physical condition temporary or

permanent, which would impair or have the potential to impair the competency or impair the

ability to act in a professional manner. This condition would not be limited to but would

include any substance abuse.

6. Found to be negligent in the professional performance or intentional misconduct. This

negligence or intentional misconduct would include, but not be limited to, releasing

confidential information to unauthorized persons, a disregard for the safety of others,

physical, emotional and mental abuse of others.

7. Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor, a guilty plea or a plea of nolo contendere, when

it would be relevant to the health, martial arts and/or fitness instructions or education of

the public or would be detrimental to the public’s health, martial arts and/or fitness

and would cause an impairment of the competency of the certified instructor or impair

the ability to provide an objective professional performance. This would include, but not be

limited to rape, violence toward another person, sexual, physical or emotional abuse of

a child, sexual harassment, to threaten the use of or the use of a weapon of violence, the

possession, sale of, intent to sell, the distribution of or the distribution of any controlled


8. Failure to meet the requirements for certification or recertification.

MATA has developed a three-tiered disciplinary process starting with a probable cause review. Should probable cause be found, there will be hearing. Should the person be find guilty of alleged violation(s), that person shall have the right to appeal in order to ensure that the examination of the alleged violation(s) of the Application and Certification Standards was determined unbiased and fairly in order to (1) determine probable cause and (2) impose sanctions that are appropriate and necessary to protect the public and the integrity of the certification.

Note: As an MATA certification candidate and/or certified professional, it is your responsibility to become familiar with and comply with the MATA Professional Practices and Disciplinary Procedures.

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.”

You May Also Like…