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Be the best instructor you can be

August 22, 2016

A class of young martial artists follow their instructor's lead at the front of the class.

It’s a common misconception that all you have to do is master your craft to be a good teacher or instructor. This isn’t true, especially when it comes to teaching martial arts. When instructing the next generation of martial artists, you have to have a firm grasp on the style that you teach, but that’s not nearly all it takes. To be an effective teacher, there are many other aspects of education you must consider:

Be there – mentally and physically

We all get distracted by life now and then. However, when you’re teaching your students martial arts, you need to be 100 percent checked into the practice. This may be difficult if you have a lot going on outside the studio, but you can also view it as a haven away from the daily grind. Show your students the proper techniques and watch them closely when they practice them. Focus is just as important in the process of teaching martial arts as it is while learning it.

Be honest with your students

If your students need to see a technique again, show it again. If they think they’ve mastered it but aren’t quite doing it correctly, tell them how to correct it. It’s important to be transparent with your students and let them know what they’re doing well and what needs work. While there is much more to martial arts than just getting a routine down pat, most students want to get better and will welcome constructive criticism with open arms. It’s also important to express genuine praise when a student is doing well. Everyone responds well to positive reinforcement and it’s that praise that’ll keep them motivated in their martial arts practice.

Exercise patience

Teaching anything is tough, especially when it seems like it’s been so long since you were unable to do something. However, when you’re teaching martial arts, it’s imperative to remember you were new to whatever your students are practicing at one point too, and that you may have needed some extra help to master it. It’s normal to get frustrated if you have to explain something multiple times, but you must not let that get the best of you. A short-fused teacher makes a despondent student, and no good can come of a lesson like that.