What would help them most?

Often new instructors are so eager to teach they can overwhelm their student with too much detail.

They look at a particular karate technique and can immediately think of half a dozen things that could be improved like:

  • bending the front knee in zenkutsu dachi
  • holding the hikite in its correct position
  • creating tension in the stance
  • correct posture
  • proper body dynamics
  • the motion of the punch or kick
  • etc

However while some students want to know ALL of the things they need to improve, bombarding them with information is overwhelming.

When this happens little knowledge is retained and little progress is made.

If you’ve ever had an instructor impart a ton of information on you at one time you’ll know just how difficult it is to make a correction to EVERY SINGLE THING the very next time you attempt it.

And if this sounds like something you do yourself as an instructor think of this analogy:

Imagine trying to count the number of jelly beans in a bowl while the person next to you is calling out random numbers. In addition to that, you’ve also got to remember how many red jelly beans there are, how many green, and then subtract the number of purple ones from the total count.

Yikes… kind of overwhelming isn’t it?

So if there are 6 things you can see that your student needs to improve, where do you start?

The answer is simple if you remember this one basic question. Just ask yourself this:

“What is the SINGLE biggest thing I can help them with that will have the GREATEST impact?”

Never mind about the other 5 things for now – there will be plenty of time to come back and revisit those. Instead FOCUS on the most important thing and be HAPPY with your student improving that one aspect.

After they’ve made a marked improvement move to the next thing. It could be a few minutes later, a few lessons later or a few months later.

That’s ok…

1 thought on “What would help them most?”

  1. This is one of the hardest lessons to teach new instructors. We tell them to work on stance first and hands second. When I am teaching weapons kata I always tell the student if I go too far please tell me to stop. Becoming too over whelmed only frustrates people and causes them to leave. I tell the short version of the “empty your cup story” to the instructors. This story also helps new students that want too much information in the beginning. This is getting harder to explain to people when they think all the answers to their questions are in the palm of their hands on their cell phones.


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