Keeping the Arts in Martial Arts

Everything evolves and martial arts are not an exception. Traditional martial arts are heavily rooted not only in form and sparring but values, traditions and principles. These days, with modern martial arts evolving perhaps faster than ever, many traditional martial artists feel that the values of martial arts are being lost. With the UFC and MMA becoming the principle outlet and form for commercial martial arts, you can see there isn’t the same focus on values but rather on action-packed fighting. This may place a lot of focus for beginner martial artists on things that are seemingly “for show”; they want to learn the flashy kicks, throws, and submissions, instead of learning the fundamentals and the philosophies that lie behind them.

So how do we counter this new culture of instant gratification at the dojo? How do we get our students to learn the fundamentals and the philosophies, as well as guiding them in their training of the kicks, punches, throws and submissions? Here are some things to think about, to ensure your students are learning the art in martial arts:

1) Be Consistent: Consistency will help engrain the philosophies of martial arts into the students and their learnings of the martial art. Whether it’s at the cool-down session at the end of each class or every class on Wednesdays, make sure you put emphasis on teaching these principles and apply it to their form and techniques. Teach martial arts as a way of life and not simply as a fitness class. The underlying philosophies are applicable in all parts of our lives, from business to our overall actions and lifestyles.

2) Test It: When you’re testing your students for belt promotions, test their knowledge on values, tenets and traditions, if you don’t already do so. Break down all of the knowledge base and assign it to each rank: as their physical training advances, so too should their philosophical understanding. When a student gets promoted, they should receive further insights that they’ll have to study and know before they get to the next test.

3) Lead by Example: If you and your instructors are not living by the tenets and principles you teach, the students will have an incredibly hard time learning them. Make sure you lead by example. Knowing your art and yourself is key to being able to guide students.
What techniques have worked for you to get students to live by the martial artists’ way? Let us know on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Google+ to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.