No gym owner goes through his career without any setbacks, so it’s important to be ready for them. One of the best ways to deal with setbacks is the ancient philosophy of Stoicism, which has been practiced since the times of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
It’s also used in modern times and gained popularity through the works of authors like Donald Robertson and Ryan Holiday. Some great minds of the past were also interested in this philosophy. Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Theodor Roosevelt are just a few of them.
It’s been over two months since my gym had to close down. No income, no in-person contact with the students and of course no training.
The gym I teach at in The Netherlands hires me as an instructor to teach Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes, which means I’m not the one paying rent. It’s a different situation compared to some gym owners, like my coaches in Brazil, who are struggling to pay rent and retain members.
High level competitors in any sport have a gruelling training regiment. That might seem incompatible with the inclusive feel of most martial arts schools, where everyone is encouraged to join and train to the best of their physical abilities.
Does it make sense to invest in a competition team and training that would exclude most of your members? In this article we explore the benefits of doing so and how it can help your academy prosper.
As many gyms are currently shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many instructors are using this time to re-evaluate their curriculum. Much of the focus will likely be on technical instruction, but there’s another aspect that is often overlooked – warm-ups.
Can curriculums and lesson plans be too structured?
The question might seem absurd. In the old days, instructors would teach random techniques without rhyme or reason, making it difficult to learn a system and dramatically slowing progress toward mastery. So when structured curriculums came along, martial arts instruction was revolutionized and learners unquestionably benefited.
But with structure comes another danger. Jia Yi Chow, et al. (2016) pose an interesting question to martial arts instructors:
As instructors, we want our students to show up consistently, try their best, and put the work in.
But there’s the problem:
Students sign up for classes and then drop like flies.
With student attrition rates so high, how do you motivate students to stay and put the work in?
During my time studying Teaching and Learning in graduate school, I discovered that a concept known as motivation is one of the biggest factors in learning. Moreover, intrinsic motivation is the most lasting and meaningful type of motivation for learning.
Charisma and character aside, most people will say a good instructor is very detail-oriented or is a detailed communicator or doesn’t let you get away with poor form. Students appreciate the high standards, and instructors pride themselves.
And, after all, detailed instruction intuitively feels like high-value instruction…
But what if that’s just an illusion?
What if our ideas about good instruction are based less in the reality of how humans learn and more in a bias toward traditional teaching strategies?
If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated or burnt-out on coming up with lesson plans week after week, you’re in the right place.
Here’s the sad truth:
A structured curriculum for classes is missing from too many martial arts schools…
Instead, the most common approach is the “technique of the day” — where an instructor shows a few random techniques during class, often without any unifying theme or relation to previously taught material.
If they’re more diligent, instructors sometimes might prepare a week or two worth of material in advance…