Kids have bad days too..

Next time you’re frustrated because one of your karate kids is acting out in class, struggling to perform to their level or just having trouble concentrating, instead of giving them a hard time, stop to think for a moment that they may just be having “a bad day”…

You’ve had them.

I have them.

Everyone does.

Yes, even karate kids have bad days too.

As instructors we sometimes forget that, and demand students do better no matter what.

We all know that our performance is affected by our mental and emotional states. We feel good, we do better. We feel tired, overwhelmed or stressed and we become irritable and our performance suffers.

When kids have bad days because they’re overwhelmed with homework, stressed out about acne, angry at their siblings, or emotionally hurt from being bullied at school they simply aren’t going to perform to their potential no matter how hard you push.

When you notice that one of yours is suffering, give some encouragement instead. Put them in a “can do” frame of mind. Empower them to achieve and watch the shift in their mental state and subsequently their performance.

(For more about mental state affecting performance read this article I wrote a few years ago –

Oh… and as always you’re comments are welcome below!

– Jason

The Ichi-Ni Drill

Here’s a good drill to help your students develop timing, focus, speed and reaction.

It’s called the “Ichi-Ni Drill” and it works like this…

Students pair off and decide one person to be “Ichi” while the other is “Ni”. They stand facing each other in their forward stance ready for your count. On your count the person who is “Ichi” must make a technique using their partner as the target. Then when you count “Ni” the other person makes their technique using the first person as their target.

Your job is to count “Ichi, Ni, Ichi, Ni, Ichi, Ni, etc” loudly so everyone can hear you. Start off slowly so students have plenty of time to do complete their technique. Then gradually increase your counting so students have less time between techniques.

When the count is slow, students have more time to do longer range and more complex techniques like spin back kick, hook kick, etc. When the count is fast they have less time so they must use short range/faster techniques like front jab, reverse punch, etc.

This is a fun yet simple drill that students enjoy. Try it out in your class and let me know how it works for you.

Of course if you don’t count in Japanese in your class I guess you can call it the “One-Two Drill” instead. =)

For a full list of skill building, heart pounding, blood pumping karate drills check out my 125 Dynamite Drills.


– Jason

Watch your emotions Daniel-san…

We’re all are familiar with the notion of not allowing disempowering emotions to interfere with our actions when it comes to self defense. However have you ever thought about how your emotions as an instructor might affect your students and their ability to perform?

An instructor I know gets extremely irritated when his students can’t do what he asks. Although he doesn’t lash out, yell and scream at his class, you can see his frustration in his facial expressions and sometimes in the way he talks to his students.

I’m first to admit there are times when I catch myself heading down the same path. At that point I try to do a U-turn and put on a “happy face”. I try to find something good in what my student might be doing even if they’re so far off the mark it’s not funny.

From there, together we build on making good the next thing, one step at a time. Not worrying too much about getting it *all* correct right then. If the student fixes just *one* thing and starts heading in the right direction, it’s a victory for you both.

To paraphrase a comment someone said to me once, “Don’t worry about closing the ashtray and locking the doors when the wheels are falling off the car”.

Next time you look at a student who can’t do what you’re asking, try not to get frustrated and reinforce that they’re doing it wrong. This destroys their self esteem.

Instead look for something good and let them know to give them some confidence. Then choose one small thing to fix. Once they’ve got that down, move to the next.

Before you know it your student will be making advances in leaps and bounds. A little confidence goes a long way.