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. 

 

John Graden Accepts Appointment to AFS Advisory Council

john-graden-mata-250

MATA Executive Director John Graden

(Clearwater Beach, FL/CHICAGO, IL, April 20, 2016) – The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) today proudly announced the addition of world-renown John Graden, Founder and Executive Director of the Martial Arts Teachers Association (MATA) to the AFS Advisory Council.

The author of many bestselling books, including The Art of Marketing Without Marketing and The Truth About the Martial Arts Business, Graden is widely credited with leading the martial arts school business into the modern era.

“We are thrilled beyond belief that John Graden has accepted a position on ourAdvisory Council,” said AFS founder and CEO Josh Leve.  “John brings an incredible expertise in both the martial arts discipline and how to channel one’s martial arts passion into a successful school.”

AFS research has shown that martial arts has become a mainstream component of the fitness studio environment over the past 20 years.  Thousands of studios have added varieties of martial arts programming and equipment, and thousands more martial arts aficionados are aspiring school owners.

 “I’m honored to join the AFS Advisory Council,” Graden said.  ”I’ve enjoyed working with Josh and AFS.  They’re really sharp.  Together, we’re finding that martial arts is an ideal fit for fitness studios. I’m excited to help AFS clients and the fitness industry in general tap into the huge potential martial arts programming creates for expanding their market share.”

To say Graden is a legend in the martial arts world would be putting it mildly.  After his seemingly never-ending competitive accomplishments in the ‘70s and ‘80s, John transitioned to entrepreneurship through associations, founding the National Association of Professional Martial Artists in 1993, and the American Council on Martial Arts in 1996.  MATA was created in 2003.

In 1995, John founded Martial Arts Professional magazine and in 1998 he authored How to Open and Operate a Successful Martial Arts School.

“We couldn’t be happier that John has accepted our invitation,” said Leve.  “He clearly brings an expertise to AFS that will help a large number of our members be more successful.”

About AFS

The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) is the only membership community dedicated solely to the business of fitness studios.  AFS provides studio owners and developers a wide array of business-specific products, services, and benefits that enable them to more effectively manage and grow their businesses, building on the passion, compassion and courage they’ve already shown. www.afsfitness.com

About John Graden and MATA

The Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA) is the world’s largest online professional association for martial arts schools and programming.


For more information on John Graden, you can check out his bio at -

https://vimeo.com/153046434

CopyEmail LuckyOrange