## Intro

As in public speaking, one of the most important points about teaching is knowing your audience and knowing what the goal is. The trick is that teaching should be more like conversational public speaking (otherwise your students should just read your book).

Often a teacher learns about the audience and the goal in real time, i.e. during the process of teaching. Whenever humans do something complex in real time, then it is largely a subjective process: a matter of talent, intuition, practice, and experience. Make no mistake: teaching has an objective side: knowledge of the subject, preparation, and skills for teaching the subject.

Teachers should not only study the subject at hand but also how to teach. Principles of learning [W] is a good place to start.

First figure out why you want the students to learn the subject and what you want them to know, and the method will result more or less by common sense.

-Richard Feynman in Brazil, 1952

In this section I hope to work largely at the objective side of teaching the martial arts in general while hinting at the subjective side.

• Establishing an Atmosphere for Learning and Teaching
• Relaxation, breathing, flexibility, endurance, speed, reaction time, strength, balance, rhythm, and depth & velocity perception
• Habit/Practice, mindset (EG: Practice with intent, with reason).
• Safety, efficacy, efficiency
• How To Solve It by George Polya. Heuristics.

## Choosing a School

Choosing a martial arts school

• Physically go to the place to see the classes themselves. See and talk to the instructors and students themselves.
• Choose a school/instructor that offers safe, well taught lessons, good workouts, and sensible techniques.
• Think about why you want to do it --for more than five minutes. If you think about it for more than a few weeks, then you're procrastinating. As you practice, your reasons will change.
• Get recommendations with explanations.
• See more than one place.
• Find a school that is convenient as far as location and schedule, otherwise you will have yet another excuse to not train. However if you find a good school the inconvenience may be worth it.
• Beware of cults. The social structure of the school should not prohibit you from reading and studying outside of the school. However it is fair for a school to have your safety in mind and it is fair for a school to teach things at their own pace.
• The particular style is not as important as the quality of the instruction. You can learn different kinds of styles and techniques later.
• To a small degree, take into account your basic body type (height, frame, body proportions) because some styles are more suited for different body types. Do not use your current height, lack of physical conditioning, etc. as an excuse for not exercising.
• Don't start with a long term contract. Perhaps later when you're sure.

## Uniforms

Uniforms server multiple purposes.

• It puts you in a mindset: you're not just a civilian when you wear it.
• It takes all the sweat and stuff. This saves wear and tear on regular clothes.
• A good uniform is not a flashy distraction. It's functional.
• As mentioned before, a uniform is a marketing tool for the style/school, but I would hate to walk around in a NASCAR suit.
• A uniform with some customization provides identity.
• When you get kicked out or leave the group, and you can't wear the uniform any more, then it makes a big mental impact. ("Arrgh! I'm such a loooser now!")
• When a students wears a uniform different from the instructors, it is a constant reminder that they are mere grasshoppers in comparison to the instructor! Bwah-ha-ha!
• Uniforms help pin things in historical and social context.
• Kids love uniforms because kids love being cool. (Unless some jerk tells them they're wearing pajamas.)

## Language

Unless your goal is to teach a foreign language or to give historical and cultural backgrounds, use vernacular words instead of proprietary words, especially if a word already exists in the vernacular. The goal is for the students to learn the subject, not stumble over words. Also by using the vernacular, teachers and students can discuss and describe complex and new issues.

Examples for English speakers teaching Japanese karate:

• Use words like "hand", "foot", "head", "turn", "hard", "soft", etc. instead of the Japanese words.
• When you teach about the concept of the pivot foot, explain perhaps once that it is called the "jiku ashi", but in general call it the "pivot foot". For most students "jiku ashi" is an obscure word that they will never remember so you might as well just say "pivot foot". Guest instructors who do not speak English fluently will need an interpreter anyway if they are going to discuss the pivot foot with any depth.
• Students who do additional research via books, videos, travel, etc. may want to memorize the Japanese terms since they will be the lingua franca in Japanese karate circles.

There are, of course, proprietary words that are either extremely concise or do not exist in the vernacular that they are fully justified in their use. EGs:

• In swordsmanship it is important to distinguish between the "foible" (the lower portion, mid to tip, on a sword blade) from the "forte" (the upper portion, mid to hilt). These are not regular English words.
• There are no English phrases that encapsulate Japanese concepts like "zanshin" (continuing mind), "hara" (loins/hips), "mushin" (no mind), "kime" (focused finish, decisiveness).

It is helpful to have terminology describing who is doing what when practitioners are paired up.

• The initiator  v reactor is known as:
• attacker v defender
• agent (initiates sequence) v patient agent in WMAs
• 受け = uke (gives opening, receives technique) v tori (throws) in Judo
• uke (attacker receiving the technique) v 投げ = nage or shite (executes the technique) in Aikido
• In most drills the reactor should "win" but sometimes, especially in counters to counter attacks, the initiator should "win" instead.

## Movement

An instructor should have all sort of devices to move his students around the room, to pair them up, etc.

• Line up split. Have every other person step forward, turn around, step one to the left. Line up by height, rank, etc. as needed.
ABCDEF --> A C E  --> A C E
B D F     B D F
• Rotation. To change partners when in two lines, have everyone rotate clockwise (or counter clockwise), with the odd ones crossing the line.
A B C --> F A B
D E F     E D C
• Double circle. Form an inner and outer circle. Rotate one of the circles to change partners.
• Ballet lines. Have everyone line along a wall then have a person or pair of persons at the front of the line do set of techniques until they reach the other end of the room where they go to the end of the line.
• Alley of assailants. Have people form an alley with assailants on both sides of the alley. A person faces of with a person, does an exchange, and then moves on to the next person until they get to the end of the line. Keep people running through the alley at all times. On occasion, change out the assailants of the alley.
• Trust the people to pair up with someone they haven't yet as needed. Don't fret it.
• For paired exercises, it is very helpful to have an assistant instructor in case there are an odd number of students.
• After doing a set of techniques crossing a room, an instructor has these options:
• Walk back to the starting point and and repeat the set, esp. if the students need some sort of rest.
• Do the set backwards toward the starting point.
• Turn the students around and have them do the set towards the starting point.