The Art of Teaching Martial Arts
Traditionally, martial arts follow a certain hierarchical system when it comes to training. In Asia, martial arts training between the teacher and his disciple usually involves tenets set forth by the master. The teacher oversees the training of the student personally, and the student is expected to uphold the principles and techniques of the master’s style. The lineage of students from the master is considered to be quite important in the history and development of martial arts. It’s no wonder why the success of a student relies hugely on the teacher and why students look at the qualifications of a teacher before enrolling in a particular class.
With that said, what exactly makes a good teacher? Can all martial artists teach well? If you are one of the best in your style, does that automatically make you the most qualified instructor?
How Good of a Teacher Are You?
Truth be told, while martial artists are great at their craft, not all of them are great at teaching. Knowing how TO DO something and how to TEACH something are completely two different things and just because you’re good at one thing doesn’t exactly follow that you’ll also be good at the other. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, in general, most martial artists just don’t know how to teach! I personally know some people that are great at doing something but are quite terrible when it comes to teaching it. I also know some people who do quite poorly at something but they are amazing when it comes to teaching it. It’s not just within the context of martial arts either but in matter concerning other things as well.
It’s not unusual to be better at doing something rather than teaching it mainly because we spend a lot more time in training and learning in how to do it compared to the amount of time we spend on teaching someone. After all, to be able to teach someone else, you need to learn as much as you can about it first.
Now in terms of teaching martial arts, does it matter if a teacher knows how to teach if he’s already a very skilled martial artist to start with? I think what matters more than one’s teaching skill is the passion. If you’re passionate about what you do, it will show even if you’re not that good of an instructor. Your students will be able to see your dedication to your craft and I think that’s one thing that can help you get away with less than stellar teaching talent.
How To Be A Better Teacher
So how do you become a better teacher for your students? The best way to become a better instructor is to never stop being a student. We all learn new things every day. We can all learn something from someone else and it doesn’t have to be related to martial arts at all. You can enrol in other kinds of classes and expand your skills. Apart from learning how to do something new, it will also help you get a better perspective on other people’s teaching style and how they are able to deliver information to their students effectively.
You don’t stop at what you know and you have to keep your mind open to learning new things, to exploring other possibilities. I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to teach and I’m quite blessed because I’ve had people to show me how to be good at it. I’ve trained in a lot of martial arts schools and with that, I’ve gained a lot of learning from different people.
I love to learn. And when you love to learn, it almost always follows that you pick up things that you should and shouldn’t do when you’re teaching someone. It pays to be open to criticism and feedback too. If someone approaches you to tell you that you can try to do something differently, take it in good stride and give it a shot. After all – we are all students and teachers in our own way.
Teaching martial arts shouldn’t have to be difficult. As long you have passion, the skills, and an open mind to continue learning, you’ll go far and your students will love learning under your guidance. Teachers are students too and every mistake we make should just make us grow through what we go through.