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.

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Self-Employed Worker Can Apply for Unemployment Compensation

The CARES Act signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, gives states the option of extending unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other workers who are ordinarily ineligible for unemployment benefits.

With freelancers, independent contractors and gig workers among the millions of Americans losing their jobs as the coronavirus chokes the economy, new and expanded benefits are offering them a way to cope.

Here are two important parts of the relief packages that may apply for martial arts school owners.

1. Paid Sick Leave

If you've been forced to close, you may be able to for sick leave in the form of a tax credit that can reduce your tax burden or as a refund.

More Details on Sick Leave

2. Unemployment Insurance

The federal response to the pandemic includes an expansion of unemployment benefits to self-employed people who typically are not eligible.

There is an additional pot of money to draw from for these workers, through the so-called pandemic unemployment assistance program, which will be administered through the states.

It covers a loss of income for a variety of coronavirus-related reasons, from having to care for a child whose school has been closed to a workplace that has had to shut down.

Self-employed workers should apply for benefits through the unemployment program in the state where they worked.

All workers receiving unemployment benefits — including the self-employed — are also eligible for the extra $600 weekly payment being offered by the federal government through the end of July.

NOTE: If you teach paid seminars you may be classified as a gig worker, which is now eligible for unemployment.

How to Apply for Unemployment

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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