Teacher Appreciation Week
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Kicksite wants to highlight what it means to be a teacher and what we appreciate in a martial arts instructor. Teachers are a vital component to enriching lives and teaching valuable life lessons. To be a martial arts instructor, you have to master several areas of leadership. Martial arts requires in-depth discipline, patience, and perseverance – all important qualities an instructor should not only have, but teach. Here are a few teachable values and tips that Kicksite appreciates from our martial arts instructors.
Learning the Patience
One of the most important lessons taught in martial arts, and in life, is patience. Martial arts is a diligent study with many moves in various disciplines (BJJ, taekwondo, karate, etc.) that take years to master. In this day and age where everyone seeks instant gratification, it’s worthwhile to teach patience and mastery. To teach such patience, you have to know perseverance. Students learn from their instructors that it takes time and dedication to master their art and truly understand the nuances and techniques. It’s the instructor that teaches humility and the importance of pressing on to reach a goal because at the end of the day it will be an important moment of reward and accomplishment.
Martial arts require skill and an instructor must master these skills in order to teach. As such, many people at that stage believe there is no more learning to be done. Even if one is qualified they must continue practicing. Staying sharp in their skill and current on any new techniques in their field is a daily practice for a martial arts instructor, whether it be attending local BJJ tournaments or reading up on new techniques for a rear mount. The best teachers dedicate their time to constant learning so that they can give the wisdom back to their students, further allowing their students to flourish. Passion goes a long way and translates to students in life on and off the mat.
Connecting with students is vital in the teaching process. Great teachers know how to individually connect with their students and tune into their needs. Everyone is different, and if every student feels like their instructor personally cares, they will perform better. Great instructors ask questions about their students and show interest in their lives and their practice. They’re empathetic. Students will reflect the same care you show with others and within themselves.
Respect is earned, even with students. Showing respect on both spectrums as an instructor and a student is an important component in martial arts. As a martial arts instructor, “bossing around” is understood as a negative approach to learning. By showing respect towards students, their parents, and other instructors, instructors set the bar for how others are to treat one another on the mat and off. Martial arts instructors teach students about putting differences aside and growing together.
In addition to respect, a good martial arts instructor knows the value of the spoken word. As a role model, it’s important to pay close attention to how students speak to one another in addition to communication between instructor and student. Students are impressionable, and a great way for them to learn the positive way of thinking and speaking is through their instructors. As a positive instructor, students respond to that and may even continue with the art longer. It also translates into higher self-esteem and confidence in students.
The skills we learn in martial arts are due to our teachers. As we honor teachers this week, think about the martial arts instructors you’ve had and in what ways they’ve shaped your life. There are countless benefits to the practice of martial arts, and we owe it to our instructors for guiding us!