Powerful Teaching Tip for Instructors

“Why can’t they just do it?”, he asked.

“What the heck is wrong with them? I don’t get it!”.

I could tell his frustration was getting the better of him.

“I told them how to do it, but those morons just can’t seem to get it right!”


I pondered Peter’s question.

Clearly he was irritated by his students’ lack of ability. And from what I could tell Peter was reasonably sound in his knowledge. As a black belt he appeared to understand and apply his own technique, and seemed quite good technically.

Yet his frustration was getting the better of him and the result was that his students would quit after a short time… yet he couldn’t establish why that was the case.

Unfortunately Peter’s situation is all too common amongst martial arts instructors… present company excluded of course.


When I recounted this story recently, it got me thinking about something I learned years ago that helped me, and I want to share it with you too.

It’s this:

“Assume your students are bright, and you’ll get 10 times the results!”

– Blair Singer

It’s true.

When I took Blair’s advice it made class so much more enjoyable for both me as a teacher and also for my students. I’ll say it again…

Assume your students are bright, and you’ll get 10 times the results.

You and I can apply this any time we start to feel our frustration creeping in. And if Peter (wherever he is now) could apply this concept he would also see an almost INSTANT change in performance for himself and his students.

But why? How does this produce better results?

Post your answers below!

Up, Up and away?

Here’s a super challenging up/down burpee-type martial arts fitness drill that will test even your fittest, strongest students.

Start by having your class jog in place, and then on each of your commands below students must complete each associated action, in this order…

  1. “Knees Up!”

    Students must jog in place but knees must rise to hip height with each step. Have them do this for about 5 seconds before calling…

  2. “Jump Up!”

    Students must jump as high as they can stretching their body and reaching towards the ceiling, and as they land call…

  3. “Push-Up!”

    Students now drop to a squat position, hands in front of their feet, jump their legs back to the push-up position and complete a full push-up, at which time you shout…

  4. “Sit-Up!”

    Students must now transfer weight onto their hands, extend their arms straight as they tuck up their legs returning to the squat position. From here the lay down with knees bent and complete a full sit-up, and hear your final command…

  5. “Stand-Up!”

    Students immediately spring back to their feet and resume jogging.

Do 5-10 sets at the beginning of class as a warm-up depending on the fitness level of your group, or 10-20 sets at the end of class as an endurance test.

Is it a burpee?

Is it an up/down?

No it’s… (I need a name for this drill – post your suggestions!)