Teaching Martial Arts is not for everyone.
I don’t want to discourage anybody from becoming an instructor, quite the opposite but I want newcomers to understand the responsibilty of what they are taking on.
There are different levels for teaching martial arts. Most people work their way through a system of gradual steps until they feel they are ready to open their own school and teach martial arts as the head instructor.
If you are interested in teaching martial arts then approach your instructor and tell them that you want to help teach classes by being an assistant instructor. Instructors often pick promising students to mentor into becoming future instructors to help them with their own school. If you make your intentions obvious then your instructor should be very happy to include you in the lesson plans.
Teaching martial arts is not just about your knowledge of the art itself. To be a great instructor you need to be competant in many areas:
Martial Art Knowledge is obvious as you need to have a strong knowledge of your art if you want to pass this on to your students so that the art does not become weak in application, knowledge or history as it is passed down the line.
Planning Skills are very important when teaching martial arts because you need to set a structure to ensure that each individual student is taught everything they need in time to prepare for their next grading. You need to plan your lessons to cater for different belt levels and learning speeds.
Teaching martial arts requires a lot of People Skills. Everyone has different strengths and will learn at a different pace. Some may have physical or emotional issues which make it difficult for them to grasp an understanding of a technique. There may be religious beliefs that prevent a student from training with the opposite sex. You will need to be understanding of your students situation and find what works best for both of you.
Presentations Skills are not always equal to your martial arts skills. There are some great martial artists out there that make terrible instructors because they don’t have presentation skills. People learning differently, some need it explained with words, others need to watch it being done and others need to do it themselves for it to sink into their mind. Teaching martial arts to a group requires you to incorperate all of these methods into your presentation so that no one group is left behind.
First Aid is compulsary. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, when you’re teaching martial arts injuries will happen during training and you need to be able to take care of your students on the spot. Early treatment can save your students from time away from training and will help keep your insurance to a minimum.
Leadership is Key to teaching martial arts. Of course tudents look to you for training but they also see you as a mentor in life and it is important that you lead by example. Always be on time, do what you say you will do, have goals and targets and work towards them. You are the positive example of what they want to be like. You are their Leader so be a Leader!
Consistency may sound minor but I feel this is crucial because it shows commitment, respect, trust, reliablity, fairness. When you start teaching martial arts it is hard to stop without letting someone down. Students have made a comitment to train with you and you have made a comitment to teach them. It doesn’t matter if you are having a bad week or you feel tired or you’re angry about something, your classes carry on as normal and your attitude towards your students remains consistant.
Many students start learning martial arts because they want something better in their lives. They want to build their self esteem, take control of their lives, meet somewhere that they feel safe and they belong. When you become an instructor you provide a lot more than just teaching martial arts. You become a stable constant, a positive influence, a mentor and friend to your students.
Teaching martial arts is incredibly rewarding but it does hold a lot of responsability so make sure you are ready to fully commit before starting your own school.