Knowing what you know now, if you were tasked with creating a martial art that is highly effective for self-defense, practical, and life-changing would you:
Create a system that is based upon the one you are trained in?
Study old, dusty books and rare film to try to find ancient physical and mental skills and techniques?
Use today’s modern platforms of communication and collaboration to learn the leading-edge skills and techniques for efficiency of movement, self-defense, and the proven mental strategies for success in life?
Isn’t odd that by action, nearly 100% of martial arts schools operate on #1 and #2?
Why would you do that? Because the martial arts you were raised in changed your life so naturally, you’re going to have a strong bias for that system.
However, when you step back and take a fresh look at what you are teaching, odds are it was created in a secluded village on a mountaintop nearly 100 years ago. There was nothing like what we have today in terms of instant information.
So, as we wrap up the craziest year in most of our lives, here are some questions to ponder as you set your goals for 2021.
Does it still make sense for you to:
Teach complex, theoretical, and often boring kata and traditional skills in 2021?
Make students wear outdoor pajamas during classes even though you know that’s not what they will be wearing if they ever have to use your self-defense.
Directly contradict proven fighting and self-defense skills that have evolved over the past 100 years? For instance:
* Leaving your punch out in the air instead of snapping it back to guard.
* Pulling the other hand to your hip instead of your face.
* Squaring your body towards your opponent rather than turning sideways.
* Loading up to create powerful blocks while knowing that blocks don’t need power and you’ll never have time to load and fold your arms before you block.
* Expect students to learn increasingly complex “advanced” techniques for 3-5 years to earn a black belt?
Every week smart instructors are realizing that the key to success as a martial arts school moving forward will be simplicity, not complexity.
You don’t need advanced techniques. You just need advanced applications. A top boxer or kickboxing only has about a dozen skills they use consistently along with some others they can pull out when needed. Who has ever needed a kata?
Do you think in the post COVID world, people are going to have the patience to spend 3 – 4 years to get competent at your martial arts style?
Pre-COVID, we were already in an “everything I want is just 1-click away” world.
This is a typically outdated and overly complicated presentation of an important skill. Most instructors who are still teaching this way are simply doing what they were taught. I am not trying to embarrass anyone. I did the same for decades.
But the truth is that these kinds of traditional skill presentations are full of smoke and mirrors and founded in folly.
1. It’s the black belt in a gi with stripes. 2. It’s the bowing in just to demo a skill that creates an “aura of authority.” 3. It’s the silly fake punch attack that a regular person would buy into, but we SHOULD know better.
That is all smoke and mirrors.
I don’t blame anyone. I’m just trying to open your eyes to see what is REALLY going on.
These skills were developed in a vacuum in a small village in an Asian country nearly 100 years ago. They did the best they could do at the time.
1. No collaboration with international experts. 2. No video to share and study. 3. Many skills are based on animal movements rather than real experience. Monkey kung fu?
It’s fine if this was a historical demo of, “How they used to do this in the 1930s in Japan…” But, it’s not. It’s presented as being valuable for self-defense in 2020. That puts us all in a sideshow.
I used to teach the same stuff, so I get it. I just want to help instructors move into the present and release the baggage of our collective traditional past.
This could be anyone teaching the same stuff, so I’m not faulting anyone. I’d like to help move us out of the mystery and mysticism that clouds our reality and perpetuates bad info.
Martial Arts Instructors Have Some Big Decisions to Make
In order to enhance martial arts student retention in the COVID-19 era, smart instructors realize that they have to provide INSTANT VALUE for their students.
Here’s an example:
Some of you may have heard of just in case learning vs just in time learning.
Typically, it’s applied to getting a university degree vs going into business right out of high school, which is what I did.
Just in Time Learning
Just in time learning is the specific-education that focuses on the topics one needs to learn related to a business or hobby.
For instance, marketing, management, and teaching skills are immediately applicable to launching your martial arts school.
You learn them just in time and apply them immediately.
Just in Case Learning
Just in case learning is like the padded academia that helps a student become a well-rounded, educated person.
This is a person who is prepared, just in case, someone asks about the evolution of Western European art.
Traditional martial arts are classic just in case learning. So much of an early student’s experience in class is spent learning all kinds of just in case skills.
They are taught traditional blocks that violates every rule of defense. The centerline is exposed. The chin is up. The hands are on the hip or stuck in a clunky position that is held in a pose to show good form.
The instructor explains that “You’d never really block like this but keep practicing and you’ll understand when you get to black belt.”
That is a disservice to the student.
Students DO NOT want stylized representations of self-defense and fighting. They want real skills they can use TODAY, not three years from now.
That is why I created Empower Kickboxing™ as an easy Student Centric Martial Arts Curriculum.
I took the most effective, applicable, and easy to learn skills from self-defense, martial arts, kickboxing, weapons, and grappling so that students get the INSTANT VALUE that is missing from traditional martial arts.
How to Use Video to Invite Your Students Back to Class
How to structure and deliver a motivating invitation to get your students back in class.
Craft a Video Message for Your Students
Martial arts is visual so use video to engage and motivate your students to return to classes when you reopen.
This is not where you want to promise tuition discounts for families hard hit. While that is a good idea, you don’t want to be locked into any perceived promises on video. Make those offers one-on-one.
Your video should: 1. Reassure that student and family safety is number one and CDC guidelines will be followed. 2. Demonstrate how that will happen. 3. Energize them with the exciting upgrades in the curriculum you’ve made as a result of evaluating your programs during the downtime. Show them how YOU turned a negative into a positive.