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American Tigers Karate Dojo

 As an instructor, you have to keep all three types of student engaged. This means you are always visibly demonstrating, verbally anchoring key auditory patterns, and physically correcting students.


If you are teaching sidekick, you first explain why it's important to have a good sidekick. Then you demonstrate the sidekick hard and fast on a target to let the students sense the power of the technique. This is an important step that is too often skipped over. With most schools running about 50% under the age of 12, you can't assume that a child knows how to apply any technique. The importance of this cannot be over emphasized. A student's motivation to learn a technique will be in direct proportion to why they feel it's important to learn.


I will demonstrate the technique and its applications in front of the class. If possible, I'll fire the sidekick on a heavy bag or target full power to excite the kids about the potential of learning this technique. This is a huge for motivation.


In many cases I'll pull a leadership team member up to demonstrate it as well. This is helpful if you have a higher ranking leadership team member in a class that is in his age range. A student watching me fire a sidekick may not feel  they can do it, but when they see another kid about their age range execute their motivation increases.


As I begin to teach sidekick, I'll repeat the anchor terms the same way each repetition:


1. Fold your knee and aim your heel at the target. Remember, you want a straight line from the your knee down your shin and out your heel that aims right at the target. Knee-heel-human.


2. Extend the kick as you pivot and drive the heel into your target.


3. Refold the kick back to where you started so it doesn't get caught.


4. Set down to a good stance and balance.


I'll lead the class through this four step process once or twice. I'll then continue to repeat the same steps while I wander and physically move their bodies through the correct positions and alignments.


The demos help the visuals, the repeated verbal pattern anchors in the auditories, and by moving around and physically adjusting the students bodies, I'm engaging the kinesthetics.


A few other Rules to Consider


1. Physically correct each student at least twice each class.


2. Avoid having the class yell "Yes Sir!" to questions such as "Do you understand?" This is plain stupid. If you really care if they understand, you want them to answer honestly. I believe that if you are having your kids yell "Yes Sir" to your questions that they have no idea what they are responding to. Next time you have them yell, "Yes Sir" stop and ask them what you just asked them. They will have no clue.




3. Make and hold eye contact with each student for 4 - 7 seconds throughout the class.

4. Approach students from the front so they can see you coming. This is especially important with adult females who may be nervous about being corrected.

5. Have your leadership team constantly moving. Their role is to be wandering, smiling corrections. Make sure they are not hovering over one student or even standing near a student for an extended period of time. Even if the leadership team member is not correcting a student they are standing near, their very presence can be nerve-wracking to a shy student.

6. Teach your leadership team to move to the front of where the students are looking. For instance, if you are teaching a kata, have the leadership team members move across the room to the front of the class each time the class turns in the form. This way, the visual students will always have a reference while you keep the auditory patterns going and making physical corrections.

7. After class go over to the parents and tell them what you did, why you did it, and how best to practice at home. Give them your expectations and they will work to meet them. Too often, parents are not provided with some guidance to help them keep the child motivated.

There is a whole lot more to teaching than these simple rules. 

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