Teaching martial arts is an endeavor that is both worthwhile and enriching. Instructors feel great joy in seeing someone advance from novice to more experienced and expert levels in disciplines such as karate and taekwondo. For students, there is nothing like the inner confidence that comes from not only knowing how to defend oneself in the face of danger, but also growing individually as the result from training in the martial arts.
These two ends of the spectrum represent a win-win situation for both parties. However, from an instructor's perspective, these goals can't be reached without putting some form of salient development and training plan in place. Here are some tips on how to create a solid strategy for teaching students martial arts:
- Practice, practice, practice: Many people will only work on their art while in class. However, Turtle Press suggested instructors should hammer home the importance of practice for students even when they aren't engaged in class. Bad techniques lead to habits that can result in injury. Encouraging students to work on their skills whenever there is time and space available to do is important.
- Build a rapport: In order for those learning martial arts to really buy into what is being taught to them, they must first trust the person delivering the instruction. The Don't Fight the Tao blog stated that overcorrection and the use of negative phrases to describe student progress is counterproductive. Doing so can cause students to tune an instructor out and gain no benefit from class participation. However the use of positive reinforcement and offering critiques that aren't negative, but are encouraging and supportive tends to deliver better results. These actions send the message that you care about them as people and will keep them motivated enough to see their training through to the end.
- All students are not created equal: Recognizing individuality is important, Turtle Press wrote. The biggest mistake martial arts instructors can make is treating everyone in a class as equals. It's important for teachers to recognize the differences in their students to tailor their methods and ensure everyone absorbs what is being taught. Of course, mastery in this area requires a bit of patience, but it is critical in helping students learn the finer points of self-defense and to gain increased value from teachings.