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Developing a staff is a science! It is not something to be taken lightly. It takes years to develop a “GREAT” staff. You begin by starting to groom your staff at a very young age (I start at age 11 right now, but when I needed to, I used to start them as young as 9). Why do we need to start them so young? Starting them at a young age gives us an opportunity to mold them into what we need.

Developing staff is something that should be done 3 – 5 years in advance. Most of the training is mental, and motivational. Anyone can teach a student to kick and punch.

We could grab a person off the street, and teach them how to teach somebody else how to kick and punch in about 10 minutes. The part that takes years, is teaching them how to be great motivators.

Also making sure they understand how to speak, correct, answer tough questions, and most importantly build self-esteem and confidence. It takes time until all of the things I listed above become second nature to a future instructor.

Now, how do we do this? Here is a formula that I have been using for years: 

  1. Leadership Team: Your leadership team is a group of selected advanced students who demonstrate in the lower rank classes (freeing up the instructor to work with the students). More importantly they are observing you and the other instructors from a different perspective. These students must be a minimum age of 11 years old. Leadership team members must attend 100 classes as a leader (1 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class, and most importantly be a member of the Black Belt Club (I have had students upgrade to the black belt club just so that they can get onto the leadership team). Once those requirements are met, they must write an essay about why they should be promoted to “Junior Instructor”.

 

  1. Junior Instructor: These are your top leaders who have made it to the next step. At this point, the students who did not “have it in them”, have weeded themselves out. These students are permitted to demonstrate, lead a warm up or cool down, and assist with basic kata. These students must hold a minimum rank of Black belt (if you are a new school, use a lower rank. Junior instructors must teach in 100 classes as a Junior instructor (1 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class , and still be an active member of the Black Belt Club. Once those requirements are met, the student may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “Assistant Instructor”.

 

  1. Assistant Instructor: By this point you will be lucky to have 15% of the students who started on the original “Leadership Team”. So if you started with 30 leaders, you will most likely have approx. 4 – 5 Assistant Instructors out of that group. And you can expect to keep 50% – 60% of this group. Once they make it to this point, it is likely they will be around for a while. These students are permitted to demonstrate, lead a warm up or cool down, teach basic techniques (up to two ranks below them), and teach kata (up to 2 ranks below them) . These students must hold a minimum rank of black belt. Assistant instructors must teach 150 classes as an assistant instructor (1 1/2 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class, still be an active member of the Black Belt Club. Be a minimum age 15 years old. Once those requirements are met, the student may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “ Instructor”.
  1. Instructor: These instructors have already had approx. 4 years of training, and are now ready to run a classes under the supervision of a “Full Instructor” or higher.. This is the point were I begin to pay the instructors. This level instructor may not be left alone in the class unless they are over 18 years of age. “Instructors” must teach a minimum of 200 classes as an “Instructor” (1 1/2 year minimum), maintain a regular class attendance average of 2 classes a week, attend the weekly instructor training class, still be an active member of the Black Belt Club, a minimum rank of 2nd degree black belt, and be minimum age 18 years old. Once those requirements are met, the student may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “ Full Instructor”.
  1. Full Instructor: They have now reached the point when they are able to run a class from start to finish (with a provided lesson plan). They are permitted to do everything including stripe and belt testing for lower ranks. The full instructor must still report to his or her superior “Chief Instructor”. Before a full instructor can get promoted to Chief Instructor, they must have been a full instructor for a minimum of 2 years, be at least 21 years of age, still train regularly, attend the weekly instructor training class and the weekly staff meeting, and be a minimum rank of 3rd degree Black Belt. Once those requirements are met, the Instructor may apply to take an exam (written and physical). If they pass both portions of the exam they are promoted to “ Chief Instructor”.
  1. Chief Instructor: A Chief Instructor is cleared for everything including testing for all ranks. They are responsible for writing lesson plans too. This is as high as I promote. They must still train regularly and attend the weekly instructor training meeting and the weekly staff meeting. You are likely to get one “Chief Instructor” out of every 30 leaders you start with.

Think of your instructor-training program as a ranking system for your staff. Just like with everything else in life, they will get better with experience. They also need to see their progress. The instructor-training program allows them to see this.

Two quick notes:

1- Remember that you will have new Leaders coming in to the program all the time, make sure you keep a steady flow of leaders through out the year.

2- Do not make your exams easy. They should be very difficult. You do not want to promote an instructor who is not ready for the responsibility that comes along with their instructor ranking.

         So get to work and start developing your instructor-training program today! Its a lot of hard work and effort, but 3 – 5 years down the line it all pays off! And maybe you will be able to have some free time!

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