MATA Instructor Certification Mission Statement

To present a universal language and understanding of how to be most effective when teaching martial arts regardless of style.

Four Parts to Teaching any Skills

One of the biggest voids in all martial arts is a lack of defensive training.

Sure, we teach basics and kata that have a bunch of blocks, they are practiced in a vacuum. 

How can you learn how to effectively block without a partner firing techniques on you?

This is why the MATA Instructor Certification program teaches a four-part system for teaching almost every skill.

1. Describe the skill.

Ideally, this description includes a story or application that creates anticipation and excitement for learning the technique.

Here is a short video of the late, great Joe Lewis telling such a story before teaching sidekick.

This is a clip from Joe Lewis 10 Favorite Self-Defense Techniques.
See Lesson One: The Best Finishing Hold
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2. Demonstrate the skill.

First, show the application of the skill in real-time. 

For instance, if you’re teaching sidekick.

    • Show the power of the kick by skip side kicking a bag or shield. 
    • Demo different applications and potential targets. For example, sidekick the knee, the body, etc…
    • Using the sidekick defensively to stop an attack.

3. Lead the class step-by-step through the mechanics of the kick. 

    • Start your description with a connector phrase such as, “Sidekick is a straight kick. It’s just like stomping a can on the ground. You pull your knee in and stomp straight out instead of down.” 

“It’s just like” is the connector phrase. It connects the new skill to something we are familiar with.

    • Repeat the same anchor words with each step so that the student can recall them later when practicing. 
    • Emphasize the important points for each step. For instance, on sidekick, “Pull your knee in tight and aim your heel at the target. Think Knee-Heel-Human.

4. Teach the defense against the technique.

This is BY FAR the most neglected area. That is what is missing from the drill in the video. The kid is just standing there and blocking with his ear! He should be practicing his defense. Ideally, he would work on three defenses.

  • Block and counter. He may take a small step back, but he is essentially engaging the kick and counter-attacking.
  • Jam the kick. A jam is a tactical way to quickly step into a window of opportunity. I this case, when the girl starts to spin, that opens the window for a jam.
  • Distance. Using distance to avoid the kick. Make sure the student keeps his/her legs underneath them and changes their alignment during or after the retreat.
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