Having been to tons of martial arts classes over the past three decades, I have learned that the learning process can be hindered in various ways. It took me awhile but, over time, I was able to develop a list of 5 easy ways to learn in class. Here they are!
1. Leave the distractions behind: Too often, I see students who are obviously distracted by thoughts drifting outside of class. It may concern work, school, or family. Distractions hinder the opportunity to enjoy the class, to enjoy a couple of hours free of work and family distractions. When you walk in the door, leave them outside. Have fun and enjoy yourselves!
2. Pay attention: This goes hand in hand with the above. Nothing is more frustrating to a student whose partner did not pay attention to an instructor’s demonstration. Time is wasted in explaining or demonstrating the technique to an inattentive student. Everybody benefits when all pay attention to the instructor.
3. Go slow: It does not matter if you are a beginner or an advanced student when learning a new technique. Take your time. Focus on learning the correct movement and the principles behind it. The speed and power will come later. Learn it. Absorb it. Know it. The late Professor Remy A. Presas used to say “slow is the mother of skill.”
4. Teach the juniors: This is an opportunity to hone your teaching skills and help your junior partner grasp the technique being practiced. Focus on the teaching and you’ll be teaching not only your partner but yourself in the process as well. This is not the time to show the junior how much you know or bully them. Do you want to become a more technically proficient martial artist or even become an instructor? Start with teaching your partner. Trust me, you’ll learn much more from teaching than being a passive student.
5. Focus on the technique being taught: How many times have you seen a student focus more on the “extra” technique than on the technique being taught? For example, they may throw in some flashy stick twirls after a less than stellar stick disarm. They are often sacrificing the quality of the main technique (stick disarm) in favour of showing others how cool the “extra” technique (flashy stick twirls) is. If you are doing this, you may be hindering your own progress. Focusing on the technique being taught will often ensure that you have good quality technique.
Over to you, do you have other tips to maximize the learning experience in class?
Spill your secrets!