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Martial Arts, Taekwondo, Writing

Don’t take your instructors for granted


Members of clubs, any clubs, often take what the club provides for granted. This is perfectly understandable because quite often, they are completely removed from the running of the club.

This is exactly the same for martial arts instructor. Students turn up, practice – or train – and then go home. The instructor has gone through at least four years of training, paid out their membership and insurance fees, saved up and paid for their black belt grading, written a thesis and attended any number of instructor courses.

After they’ve done all that they’ve hunted for a venue, negotiated rates, designed and printed leaflets, handed them out, cajoled their friends and family into coming along to the classes to keep numbers up, bought training equipment, undergone CRB checks, sourced uniforms and patches and finally – if they’re not part of an association – written an entire syllabus. All before they even get to open the club.

From there they have to plan lessons, identify needs in their individual students and work to their strengths and weaknesses – so long as it’s not to the detriment of other students – and remain positive and upbeat at all times, regardless as to how they’re actually feeling at the time. On top of this they arrange gradings, seminars, parties, catch-up lessons and special lessons, putting even more hours into the club after they’ve finished the lesson.

And that’s what gets my goat. People view martial arts lessons in the same way as, for example, Body Attack. Once the instructor has learned the moves for that particular programme, they can churn them out until the next one. Yes, they have to qualify in such things as Exercise to Music and there are many ongoing licensing costs, but there is no individual instruction, they don’t break the moves down for new starters, they aren’t trying to get people ready for gradings, they aren’t trying to help people who have been attacked get over their experience whilst learning to be better able to defend themselves.

Yes, the instructor is doing something that they love and no, they don’t have to go through all that and run a club, but if people hadn’t already expressed an interest and come to some lessons already, then they wouldn’t be running one on the first place because it wouldn’t be viable. Chicken and egg, egg and chicken scenario.

So, the next time it’s raining/sunny/snowy/your cat lost a hair/ there’s a football match on/whatever, just think of the instructor who has gone through all of that, done all the preparation, and who might be feeling just as shitty as you, but who is stood in the hall waiting to see who will turn up for class.

An instructor isn’t just for the ‘I’ve got a new hobby honeymoon period’, they’re for life!

About mattsylvester

Father of two beautiful daughters and married to the beautiful Karen, Matthew has been reading and writing fantasy and science fiction since he first read the Hobbit at the age of 7. Matthew was Features Editor, Technical Consultant and regular columnist for magazines such as ‘Fighters’, ‘Combat’, ‘TKD & Korean Martial Arts’ and ‘Traditional Karate’. These are the four leading martial arts magazines in the United Kingdom. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed 'Practical Taekwondo: Back to the Roots', which has been sold around the world. With regard to his martial arts background he has been studying martial arts since 1991. In 1995 he hosted Professor Rick Clark of the ADK and since then has been studying pressure points and their uses in the martial arts and on the street (initially as a Special Constable and as a Door Supervisor). All of this practical hands-on experience means that he is uniquely placed to write fight scenes that are not only plausible but some of which are based on personal or anecdotal experience. Matthew has had a number of short stories published by Fringe Works, KnightWatch Press, Anderfam Press and Emby Press.

Discussion

9 thoughts on “Don’t take your instructors for granted

  1. Very wise words. Oss

    Like

    Posted by Andrew Banks | June 29, 2012, 3:16 pm
  2. Intresting piece

    Like

    Posted by choi sul | June 29, 2012, 3:30 pm
  3. Excellent article, I shall share this as I know a few instructors that would appreciate this!

    Like

    Posted by Mark Murphy | February 17, 2013, 1:47 pm
  4. Awesome but then again I would expect nothing less of Matt…

    Like

    Posted by Kevin Pell | September 1, 2013, 10:10 pm

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