So your job as a karate instructor is a demanding one…
Planning class, keeping your students’ attention and developing their skills sets over time are just some of the challenges you face.
You’ve got to have a high attention to detail, know what the common learning mistakes are and how to correct them in a way that empowers your students.
But in a group class setting, particularly with a dozen or more pupils sometimes you feel like you’re spread too thinly.
You notice basic errors where improvements can be made but occasionally you just don’t get to help that particular student in time…
One way I’m able to help more students per class is to get my students to help correct each other.
But it MUST be done in the right way otherwise some students feel taken aback when another student suggests they “pull back their hikite” for example. Particularly when the comment is coming from a lower grade.
Here’s a neat little trick you can do to help students correct their classmate’s errors with minimum friction.
Success coach Anthony Robbins talks about “pattern interrupts” which help break the tension and refocus someone when they’re displaying an undesirable behavior. Basically a pattern interrupt is when you change a person’s state, often abruptly. We can use this same method to refocus each other while learning martial arts. Let me give you an example, directly from my class last night.
I was talking about the importance of good, clean basics. I asked my students to make sure they were bending their front knees and making correct hikite (pulling back the non striking arm). We did a few minutes of punching, kicking and striking when I saw two or three students fatiguing and getting a little sloppy.
The next part of class involved some drills with a partner, and again technique wasn’t as tight as it could be. I stopped the class and emphasized the importance of making good hikite. I asked my students to help me help each other by letting their partner know if they dropped their hikite while making their technique . They were to do this simply by saying “Beep Beep” whenever they spotted their partner making the error.
This helped both students learn better because each student became:
- more aware of what to look for when correcting their partner
- more conscientious of their own technique, because they didn’t want to hear their partner beep at them
There’s a simple reason I use “Beep, Beep” and not “Dude! You dropped your hands again!”
It’s all about the FEELING.
Remember the goal is to empower your students in their learning process, not make them feel badly.
Your thoughts? I’d like to hear from you… post below.