2019 MATA Instructor of the Year: Josh Waltzing

2019 MATA Instructor of the Year: Josh Waltzing

Congratulations Josh Waltzing, Empower Boxing Alexandria, MN

Two locations.

Alexandria and Sauk Centre, Minnesota.

Enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and dedicated are just some of the positive words to describe Josh Waltzing, the 2019 MATA Instructor of the Year.

Josh is a unique instructor with plenty of rank in tae kwon do in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Education From St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. 

What makes Josh’s career path even more unique is that he didn’t earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Education so he could be a better tae kwon do instructor.

He enrolled in school after teaching TKD for about five years because he learned that he loved to teach and made the decision to teach in the secondary level school system about the time he earned his 3rd degree in 2006.

Still, one aspect of his martial arts career rings true to many of us. He was bullied as a kid.

Josh says, “I spent much of my elementary school years being bullied, feeling like I was being overrun, threatened and overpowered. I tried a few things to try to get more powerful. I started wrestling in third grade. I wrestled through all of elementary to high school. And that was really good for me. When I was 15, 16, I started off with taekwondo in my hometown and I haven’t stopped since.”

Though Josh had trained a bit when he was around 8, this class seemed more organized and long-term oriented.

He says, “The belt systems really reinforced goal setting and that we were part of something much bigger than just ourselves. We could move forward and achieve more power, more control as the higher the rank that we got. If you were a brown, red, black belt wow! You had everything. They were looked up to as amazing people.”

His instructor was a former US Army sniper. He taught Josh’s school for about two years before a new instructor replaced him.

Rather than be discouraged, Josh increased his training time, “I would train twice a week in my hometown and then drive an hour to go train in Alexandria twice a week. I was training four days a week and really, really enjoying the more competitive aspect of martial arts.”


Eventually, Josh’s enthusiasm for training led his instructor to pull Josh into the office for a quick chat.

Josh recalls, “A few months after I earned my black belt in 2001, he took me into his office and said, ‘Josh, you’re going to take over this school.’ It wasn’t a question. It wasn’t a request. He said I’m taking over and I agreed. I was a little afraid because I’d run a school before. Once I got going, I really liked it. So much so that I decided to get a degree in education so I could be a school teacher. I went into education because I wanted to teach in high school and I loved the process of learning and learning about being a teacher made me a better martial arts instructor.”

Though Josh graduated, he returned to his TKD school where he would apply what he learned in school. He says, “I went into education because I wanted to teach in high school and I loved the process of learning and learning about being a teacher made me a better martial arts instructor.  It was the planning, the lesson planning. So much of what we focused on within education was lesson planning.”

Josh took some key processes and procedures from his college education and applied it to his martial arts classroom. 

As he explains, “What I saw in education were assessments of learning and assessments for learning. So you have something where you are trying to assess a student’s progress, but it’s part of their learning, it’s for them learn to learn how to do something better versus where we often think of us having a test as of what they learned. But most of what we did in education, it was all about assessments and tests for learning so that they learned how to learn and how to be successful. So that’s where we have taken a lot of our martial arts. Part of the process is we have eliminated almost all of the tests of learning during their colored belt training period. We assess them, but it’s assessment for their learning, not of what they learned because of what they learned assessment happens at their black belt level when they’re ready for it. We have colored belt ranks, but we don’t have exams. We have graduations where they have completed the requirements. They’ve earned their stripes. And then they graduate to the next rank.” 

Josh sees many similarities between his Bachelor’s Degree in Education and the MATA Instructor Certification program (MATACertification.com).

He explains, “The MATA certification program could have saved me $50,000 in college tuition. The lessons taught are the same or very similar to what I learned in college without the added baggage of additional required classes like history.”

In addition to teaching Empower Boxing for the past seven years, Josh also has a parkour program along with with his traditional tae kwon do program.

He is a local leader in combating human trafficking and has held special classes and programs for homeschooled children.

From a top-down vantage point, it’s clear that Josh Waltzing highly values education and continuous learning to improve your instructor skills.

Through Empower Boxing and parkour, Josh is also committed to meeting his students where they are at rather than where he wants them to be.

Congratulation Josh Waltzing for being the 2019 Martial Arts Teachers’ Association Instructor of the Year. 


Martial Arts Instructor Certification: How to Teach Discipline

Martial Arts Instructor Certification: How to Teach Discipline

MATA Certification Excerpt

By Gianine D. Rosenblum, Ph.D.

Module 14 – Lesson 1: “Discipline” can be defined in two ways.

Discipline is: 

1. An action we take to make another person’s behavior conform to our standards, as in: “If you are out of line, I will discipline you to make you behave.”

2. Something an individual possesses within themselves which keeps his/her behavior in line with certain established rules of conduct. As martial arts instructors, it is your goal to help students move from needing discipline from the outside to having internal, self-discipline. 

Module 14 – Lesson 2: What Is the Role of Discipline in the Martial Arts School? 

Discipline is important on many levels. Martial arts instructors have a reputation for instilling discipline and teaching self-control to their students. Many parents bring their children to martial arts schools with the specific request that they learn to be more focused, concentrate better, and have more self-control at home and at school. Adults often come in looking for grown-up versions of the same thing. Through the martial arts, they hope to develop more self-discipline at work or in their commitment to physical exercise, or to develop a way to feel more self-confident and in control in all aspects of their lives.

An atmosphere of discipline is central to the successful functioning of the martial arts school. The school is an environment with a structure and clear rules of conduct. Much of the structure and rules of conduct are handed down from traditional martial arts training systems. Maintaining some of the traditional class structure is important, not for historical purposes, but because the traditional class structure, with its emphasis on external discipline, maximizes the likelihood that students will learn successfully and develop the desired self-discipline. 

Certain elements are important for encouraging discipline. The important elements in a traditional class include: A clearly laid-out structure with well-defined rules and expectations for behavior; clear communication of these rules so that they are understood by everyone involved; role models who conform to the rules and standards; clear rewards for success in following the rules.

These elements are important for fostering a positive atmosphere which is conducive to learning. In contrast, when a student is unclear about the rules of their school, he/she often feels uncertain and anxious. In general, when someone is unclear about what is expected of him or her, they may feel confused. When an individual accomplishes a goal or does what is desired, but receives no reward or recognition, he or she is likely to feel frustrated and ignored. 

Module 14 – Lesson 3: Key Elements For Encouraging Discipline In A Martial Arts Class

1. A clearly laid-out structure.

2. Well-defined rules and expectations. 

3. Clear communication of the rules. 

4. Role models who demonstrate the desired behavior.

5. Rewards for success and for following the rules.

6. Rewards for following the rules are consistently given.

An atmosphere of discipline, even fairly strict discipline, should not be confused with an atmosphere of harsh punishment, intimidation or fear. The most well-focused, respectful and motivated students can and should also be the happiest, most dedicated and least fearful. In a school that encourages discipline in a positive manner, students will learn most effectively and the negative side effects of punishment will be avoided.

Are Your Martial Arts Classes More Like Bond or a Space Odyssey?

Are Your Martial Arts Classes More Like Bond or a Space Odyssey?

Below is a sample lesson plan of a martial arts class that moves like an action film.

How does every James Bond film start? With a bang! Typically, a Bond film starts with some insanely dangerous situation or car chase that reaches out from the screen and grabs you by the throat.

You’re sitting slack-jawed in your seat as you watch the frantic chase or wonder, “How on earth can he escape?”

After about 10-minutes, he prevails and you fall back into your seat totally exhilarated and ready for the rest of the movie.

Contrast that with the opening of the highly acclaimed Stanley Kubrick film, 2001 a Space Odyssey.

All you see for the first 12-minutes of the film are landscapes and monkeys. There is no action and no music.

It is as boring as a martial arts class that starts our

with 10-15 minutes of stretching. (That wouldn’t be you, would it?)

Good action films start with action to immediately reward and engage the audience.

Right away, the viewer is thinking, “Wow! This is great!” After 10-15 minutes of action, the viewer is ready for a break.

That’s when the film introduces the good guy, the conflict, and the bad guys he’s going to have to deal with. 

Design your classes like that. Start off with a fast pace for about 12-15 minutes and then slow things down to deliver the technical teaching for the class. 

Here are two sample lesson plans. One is like a Bond film, the other is 2001 a Space Boredom.

The James Bond Lesson Plan Structure

History or Life Skill Lesson (Under 1-minute)

Warm Up (30-seconds each with a 10-second break for you to show the next exercise)

1. Jumping Jacks

2. Banana Twisters

3. Coordination Jumping Jacks

4. Clappers

5. Bear Walk-Up

6. Crab Walk Back

7. L-Crunches

8. Crossovers

9. Ankle Grabbers

10. Banana Rolls (10 Seconds Jack Knife, Roll Over

and Back)

11. Bouncing Knees

12. Crescent Kicks

13. One Legged Mountain Climbers

14. Ditch Hoppers

15. Review Blocks

16. 5-Count Ab Routine

17. 1-2-3-4 Review (1-Minute)

18. 1-2-3-4 Drill In Air (Mix up the combos and call them our for 1-Minute)

19. 5 Part Stretch Routine (Stretching comes at the end of the warm up, not the start)

Learning Skills

20. Front Kick (10-Each Side)

21. Back Kick  (10-Each Side)

22. Front Kick – Back Kick without setting leg down  (10-Each Side)

23. Touch Drill  (1-Minute)

24. Plank

25. Target Movement Drill (1-Minute)

26. Mountain Climbers – 2 Count

27. Position Movement

28. Jab vs Front Leg Round Kick

29. Plank Knee Strike

30. Skip Front Leg Round Kick (1-Minute)

31. Skip Front Leg Round Kick Vs 7 Block (1-Minute)

32. Sucker Punch Drill (Use open hand with wide hook)

33. Skip Side Kick  (1-Minute)

34. Skip Side Kick vs Distance  (1-Minute)

35. Splits (1-Minute)

36. Learn Cutting Kick

37. Cutting Kick Slow With A Partner Vs Leg Check

38. Cutting Kick Slow With A Partner Leg Check Counter Right Hand

Cool Down

39. 5 Part Stretch Routine

40. Crunches

41. Back Stretch

42. Table

2001 A Space Boredom Lesson Plan

1. Opening announcements (3 minutes)

2. Bow in.

3. Stretch for 10-minutes

4. Walkthrough new kata for 10-minutes

5. Do a kick in the mirror for 1-minute

6. Do a traditional blocking series for 5-minutes

7. Line kids up 10 deep to wait in line to throw one kick on a pad held by the instructor and then go back in line until it’s their turn again. (This is just stupid)

8. Split up for a game.

9. Play game.

10. Bow out.