Monday, 8 June 2009

How to teach martial arts

That's a bit of a sweeping statement to live up to isn't it?

Maybe I should say that I took a 'Teaching' course over the weekend. Interestingly we covered some great techniques including chunking (breaking down long concepts into digestible chunks) a little bit but some of the other concepts that were covered I thought could be relevant for teaching martial arts.

Concept checking
Constantly check with the students they have understood by asking them questions, making them demonstrate to see they've got it! If not, more coaching and partner work might help lick them into shape. How to tell? Check!

Yup there's no getting away from it kids. We have to drill....and frequently. You know the old adage about doing something seven times in order for it to really sink in? Well I'd say seven times for it to sink in, seven hundred to really get on top of it...

Make sure the students (children?) get to know when they've done something well. Positive affirmation will help in the learning process.

Error Correction
Sounds a no-brainer, right? But it's easy to let those tiny things slip but error correction is essential if the student is to make good progress in a timely fashion. I detest correcting a green belt's front stance, but I have to sometimes because somebody has either not picked up on this or feels as if it's 'good enough'. Good enough is just not good enough in martial arts.

Start off simple then move to complex
As I mention above it's pointless learning Bassai if you're front stance is ropey. This aligns with chunking: assess the student's level and tailor the right amount of 'chunks' to this and also choose a relevant level of expertise. Teach at a level the student(s) can understand and relate to.

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