For Karate Instructors: The Art of Effective Feedback

If you want to become a successful and influential instructor, you will have to become a master of not only the martial arts but also of interpersonal skills with your students. The Art of Effective Feedback will become a cornerstone of your relationships with your students and of the ultimate success of your students within your program. Practice this advice and reap the benefits, ignore it at your peril!

feedbackBe sure to give feedback to students in the class on a regular basis. Try to make all feedback either positive or constructive, and avoid any negative feedback if possible. Negative feedback should only be used as a last resort when there are behavioral issues, rather than issues of poor technique; and even then, there are steps you should take before resorting to negative feedback.

Positive feedback is obvious. Comments such as "that was a great kick," "nice stance," "that's the best I've seen you do that kata (form)," "you really looked like you were trying hard in sparring today" go a long way towards creating a positive atmosphere and a comfortable environment in which to learn.

When you add the student's name to any of the above types of encouragement then your relationship to that particular student will improve almost immediately. The importance of using your students' names when giving feedback cannot be understated. If you get nothing else from this article, please remember that personalization of your feedback is often more valuable than the feedback itself!

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Lesson Planning for Karate Instructors: Four Main Components of an Effective Lesson Plan

By Paul A. Walker

As a karate instructor, you no doubt understand the importance of lesson planning. Developing an effective lesson plan is of vital importance, especially for new instructors. However, even for a highly experienced instructor it does not hurt to revisit some basic lesson planning principles. There are several main components that are critical to the overall lesson content of karate at all levels. These components are:

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The Three Ks of Karate

By Paul A. Walker

The educational system often talks about the 'Three Rs' of Reading Writing and Arithmetic. To a casual observer, one might say that the education system was flawed from the very beginning by the fact that it can't spell! In Karate, however, we can spell, and the three Ks really are three Ks - Kihon, Kata and Kumite. Let's look at each one and explain what it is.

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Bunkai - Karate's forgotten 95%

By Iain Abernethy

Practically all karateka include kata practice as part of their training. The question asked by the vast majority is, "Why?" Certainly many karate practitioners slight the practice as they feel it is a pointless exercise that does nothing to increase fighting skill; "I hate kata. I'd rather spar!" is the 'macho' boast made by many a misguided junior grade (and sadly a few senior ones).

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What is Traditional Karate?

By Iain Abernethy

The title of this article is ‘What is Traditional Karate?’ And that may seem like a strange question for a traditional karateka to ask! But it is my view that we often do not think what ‘traditional’ actually means, and how that impacts upon the art we practice. The dictionary definition of ‘traditional’ is, “adhering to a long established procedure.” To play devil’s advocate for a moment, I’d suggest that the majority of karate practised in this country today is not traditional! My reasoning is that much of today’s karate is not “adhering to a long established procedure” but is in fact only a few decades old.

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