When first starting your martial arts school, it can seem extremely frustrating trying to get your first few students to attend regularly. Once you have coordinated your staff, marketing efforts, and curriculum together, you may start seeing an increase in members signing up for your classes. Martial arts schools, much like other industries that focus on progression and fitness, are only beneficial if your students attend regularly and are engaged in the classroom.
Changing your tactics for a growing school is paramount to keep your student’s attention on the proper curriculum at hand. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of having a proper lesson plan, and outline a template that you can use as a guideline to get you started.
What Should I Do Prior to Establishing a Lesson Plan
Before even beginning to think about creating a lesson plan, you must first decide the curriculum for the school. Even if you already have an established training program, needs can change based on the number of students you have signed up for, the amount of staff you have on hand to teach, and the different age, weight, and belt distributions. When creating or updating your curriculum, it is important to assess four different things in your structure, depending on the discipline you are teaching. These are:
The word “basics” is a misnomer in martial arts, as even seasoned professionals with many years of experience still need to train, re-train and improve their understanding of the basics. This includes stronger stances, quicker chambers, better form, and great execution.
Martial arts, after all, all share a common history. Regardless of the discipline, the style was created for defense against an aggressor. These can be simple to teach if you already follow an established curriculum from a franchise, but review as necessary to make changes to the curriculum, as it could modernize the techniques.
This is the part of the curriculum that everyone is looking forward to, putting their lessons in an application. Ensure you are providing the students with a structured environment to spar in, including rules for points, restricted movements, and ideal places for scoring.
Weapons may not be a part of all disciplines historically, but regardless, defense against modern weapons needs to be made a priority in the curriculum, such as knife and gun defense.
To properly develop your curriculum, and further, your martial arts lesson plans, it is recommended that you adopt an automated solution, such as a mixed martial arts management program. Spark Membership allows you to coordinate staff, easily create lesson plans and schedules, unify your marketing efforts, and provide templates for communication with your students and social media. Try it from the comfort of your smartphone, all for just $1.
How to Create Effective Martial Arts Lesson Plans
Once you have completed the curriculum, and know what you will be teaching, it is time to create your lesson plan. A common theme is to break the days into four different categories, and also include a day for grading and belt ceremonies. Below is a sample guide to get you started.
If applicable, start off every class by having the students learn/recite the student creed. This is an extremely popular way of starting a class and having everyone switch their mindset from fun to serious learning.
It is time to get everyone’s heart rate up. Warm-ups should include cardio exercises, obstacle courses, strikes and stretches to get the body moving and ready for drills.
- Basics and stances
After everyone is warmed up, it’s time to start learning the curriculum. The best way to start off drills for blocks, punches, kicks, and stances.
Depending on the day, you can transition into sparring or self-defense. It is important to keep each day as specialized as possible. For spring, set up the environment to be as safe as possible, and make sure each combatant has understood and agreed to the rules. For self-defense, it is common to focus on the techniques that will help them to the next belt.
This is an alternative to the above, and should only be incorporated if weapons are planned for the day. It is not a good idea to incorporate more than two lessons into the same day.
- Social time
Keeping your students’ attention and maintaining silence is a great way to teach discipline, but is extremely difficult the younger they are. For example, older young people will have an easier time with the emotional maturity of keeping quiet, but children may not be able to. Provide some time for constructive conversations, such as the history of your martial arts discipline, or your achievements.
- Cool-down and fun drill
Regardless of age, always end your class with some fun or a cool down. This will be applicable to everyone and will serve to transition them from serious, back to a more relaxed and fun attitude when leaving your dojo.