Martial life

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

6 ways to get the best out of your students



As a martial arts instructor, the measure of your success is done by the amount of your students who are able to surpass your ability.

As a martial arts instructor, the measure of your success is done by the amount of your students who are able to surpass your ability. Here are 6 tips to help you get the best out of your students.

#1 Take your time with people

Teaching martial arts takes leadership and leadership is a people business, so connect with people, be visible and approachable.

· Express that you care. People are pleased to know their teacher cares about them

· Create a healthy balance between personal and professional interests.

· Pay attention when people start avoiding you. It’s not what people say but what people won’t say that is a tip-off

· Tend to your students as they are the basis of your organization. Healthy minded students makes a healthy organization.

"Fall seven times, stand up eight -- Japanese proverb"
Photo courtesy of Leigh and Simon Harlett


#2 See everyone as perfect

See everyone for their potential. When you see the potential, draw it out. High potential people are going to succeed anyways, so why not give yourself the role of a discoverer and encourager.

· Believe in people and let them borrow your belief in them. Help people believe in themselves.

· Do not interact with the students only when they are doing something wrong. Catch them doing something right.

· Believe the best out of people. Judge people according to their intentions, not their actions.

· Everybody is exceptional in something. You can look for attitude, desire, perseverance, discipline etc.

· Even if the students show bad behavior or performances, they still need to be treated with dignity and respect in order to be encouraged into rising to the instructors expectations.

Let your students know you are there for them and that you believe in their potential
Picture is courtesy of Heero Miketta

#3 Develop each student as a person

"Becoming a champion makes you a success; Training others to be champions makes you a leader; Training others to train champions makes you an exceptional leader."

Develop members so that they acquire the qualities pertaining to your style or organization.

· See development as a long term process, as it requires a change in the person.

· Use organizational goals for individual development, help your students know themselves better.

· Discover each person’s dreams and desires and help them accomplish while keeping the organizational goals.

· Lead everyone differently. Conform your style to each person’s needs. It is ok to have a basic structure for the entire class, but the structure needs to have enough flexibility to fit each member individually, if needed.

· Be ready to have a hard conversation. Criticism on your part may not always be received cordially but is sometimes needed. People will work through difficult things if the believe you will work with them.

· Prepare your students for leadership. Take them through the process so they can learn to be leaders themselves. Whether officially appointed with a title or not, the leaders of your class will set the example for others to follow.

Remember your students are human being before being a martial artist.
Picture is courtesy of Heero Miketta

#4 Model the behavior you desire

The instructor can greater impact on his students by constantly being a role model.

· Your attitude determines the culture and atmosphere of the organization. The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they make the best out of everything.

· Your decisions must be consistent with your core values and those propagated by your organization.

· Your work ethics determines your results. Leaders set the tone in their training.

· Your personal growth determines the potential of your school, so you need to continuously grow.

· Your character determines your trustworthiness. The more trustworthy you are, the more students will like you which in turn will make them become like their instructor.



#5 Transfer the vision

Instructors are interpreters of the organization’s vision and must transfer that vision in a way that will energize the students into training towards the right direction.

· Clarity: If the vision isn’t clear, people won’t get it. You need clarity in the vision in order for the students to remain focused. Ask yourself:” What do I want people to know and to do?”

· Connection with the past, present and future: When people touch the past, they can reach forward for the future. When all 3 are unified, you bring power and continuity to the vision.

· Purpose: Your vision needs to have a purpose, goals and a strategy to reach them. Dreams are not goals.

· A challenge: A challenge will make good people spread their wings, fire up committed people and fry uncommitted ones.

· Stories: Make the vision identifiable and reachable so that people feel the vision is within reach.

Karate_Workshop__by_Heero Miketta
A good instructor must find ways to communicate with his students.
Picture is courtesy of Heero Miketta

#6 Reward for results

Be careful when you reward because whatever action gets rewarded gets repeated, so reward only for results. Results do not have to be martial arts related. It could be from students who do volunteering jobs for school events, clean up the training hall room after training or simply students that train seriously without fooling around.

· Give praise both publicly and privately. It is suggested you start with a private praise prior to public praise. The more people hear the praise the better.

· Don’t reward everyone the same as not everyone will achieve the same results. Praise effort but only reward results.




Sources & Bibliography
Susan Williams, Business Book review of: The 360-Degree Leader, Volume 23, Number 11
John C. Maxwell, The 360-Degree Leader, ISBN: 0-7852-6092-7


To see more work from:
Leigh and Simon Harlett, please visit
Heero Miketta, please visit



Last Updated on Monday, 22 March 2010 10:43  

Add comment

Security code

Martial life in your language

Random reading you may enjoy

5 mixed martial arts pioneers that created their hybrid martial arts before Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do is thought by many to be the first Mixed Martial Arts created. There is no arguing...
Green belts know everything -- even the family secret recipe

Green belts (or whichever is equivalent to one or two years of training) are my favorite people to...
Dr. Bruce Clayton: an interview on The secret history of Shotokan karate

Dr. Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D Dr. Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D, is known by many, as a noted forest fire and...
David McCormick - Stage combat with Fight Directors Canada

Mr. David McCormick Mr. McCormick started his martial arts training in Shotokan Karate, at the...