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Choose a discipline


Before you start instructing, you must decide what discipline you are going to teach. Too many martial arts instructors don’t seem to know what they want to teach. They try to teach a little of everything and end up teaching little of anything.

Choose a discipline and teach it!

Many instructors try to be a martial arts instructor, an aerobics instructor, a weightlifting trainer, a fitness coach, a diet consultant, a nutrition counselor, etc. If your aim is to teach a martial art, then that is what you should teach, and not try to teach these other disciplines at the same time.

If people want to learn a martial art, then they should know that you are the person to seek. If they want to learn aerobics, then they should take aerobics classes; if they want to get stronger, then they should join a gym with a weight trainer; etc. If an instructor tries to teach a little of all these disciplines to gain more students, then the students will not get proper training in any of them. This is not to say that these subjects cannot be mentioned in class from time to time, they may and should be mentioned at appropriate times. However, they should not be the focus of a class.

Because of martial arts training, most students will find they begin to get stronger, eat better, and lose weight, but that should not be the purpose of your martial arts instruction. Also, in a desire to get better at performing martial arts, such as becoming better at sparring, many students will stop smoking, cross train in other disciplines at home, or will take additional classes that concentrate in one or more of these disciplines. This should be encouraged, and these disciplines may even be offered in separate classes at the martial arts school.

Some students who take martial arts classes to lose weight, get in shape, etc. may complain when a martial arts class does not concentrate on their training goal and will become unhappy with the classes if they are not achieving their goal. Realistically, their only complaint should be when they are not receiving top quality martial arts instruction.

If the instructor structures classes to accommodate students with these secondary goals that are not directly related to learning a martial art, then he or she is cheating the students who are taking the classes to learn the martial art, and many of them will gradually drop out of the classes. Even if they do not drop from class, they will certainly not be achieving their potential in the martial art as soon as they could have.

So, if you have chosen to teach a martial art, then teach the martial art.

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