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.

As you can see from this handful of recent headlines, the DCF and similar agencies have full plates. Compared to the child abuse and abduction cases they typically have to deal with, after-school programs have not been high on their radar.

However, now that a high profile, non-compliant after-school program in Tampa, Florida shut down, DCF seems to have grown a new set of teeth.

Schools that were following the same operating plan as the Tampa program have been hit with cease and desist orders in at least California and Florida, that we know of.

Why would the authorities in other states suddenly get busy with investigations? How hard would it be now for a school owner to drop stress bombs and legal bills on a competitor by placing an anonymous call to DCF claiming that, the “school down the street” is using the same after-school business system that got shut down in Tampa?

Would you pay a martial arts school business “expert” big bucks if he has only been in business three years and can’t even make that work?

Before signing on with any self-proclaimed after-school guru organization, make sure:

  1. They have at least a decade of successfully operating their own after-school program. Duh!
  2. They will not take your money before contacting the authorities in your state to make sure “the plan” is compliant as the FIRST STEP.
  3. They have 25+ years of personally operating a compliant after-school program.
  4. They have helped hundreds, if not thousands of school owners launch and operate successful, COMPLIANT after-school programs while operating their own at the same time.
  5. They have decades of experience in DCF offices, on the phone, and in the courtroom fighting for after-school owners.
  6. They are aligned with a group with a long-term reputation for honesty and leadership.

If you are interested in launching a profitable, compliant after-school program, be sure to join MATA to get full access to a massive training program and courses.

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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