One of people’s biggest complaints about whether it be the Self Defense Training System, 60 Minute-Self Defense, Family Safe or any of our other distance learning courses is that “You can’t possibly learn how to defend yourself at home, from a DVD, from hitting a dummy, blah, blah, blah, you need to go to (insert school here) and train with a live instructor…”
This is based on the assumption that:
1) The instructor knows what he’s doing AND…
2) He has a syllabus that he’s working off of to build a course curriculum with a specific purpose.
How many of you guys have had “bad teachers” in school. You know, that ONE teacher who couldn’t teach a fish to swim and that his or her teacher tenure and the unions were the ONLY thing between them being in the classroom and waiting in line at the local office for UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS.
Now keep in mind that this bad teacher has had…
4 years of college with specific, state mandated course curriculum specific to teaching ON TOP OF….
2 years of Masters courses that focus on their subject matter IN ADDITION TO…
Passing a state licensing board to become certified SO THAT he/she…
Teaches a state certified curriculum AND has…
Received at least 2 to 3 years of apprenticeship before they were given their first class.
Now let’s look at your martial arts or self defense instructor.
Unless it’s a major martial art such as Tae Kwon Do (WTF or ATA), Judo (USJF or USJA),Shotokan Karate, Kyokushin Karate, Aikido or another martial art with an established, worldwide organization… chances are you’re learning from someone who has gone off on their own after receiving a certain level/ experience of doing something.
You assume too much about the competence of your instructor/guru.
Even the above mentioned arts have a tendency to give a charter to anyone with a rank and a check. All you need in Judo is a brown belt and you can open your own school .
Just because the guy is standing in front of the room doesn’t mean he knows what he’s doing.
At best, he’s had 3 to 5 years of training in a particular discipline.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and the others are a crap shoot. Right now these arts are like the Wild West and you have no idea what you’re getting and the standards and practices are the worst.
Everyone knows Damian Ross loves Judo. But even he admits that the learning experience is AWFUL.
You come into class, you warm up, then they take you in the corner and teach you how to fall. Then you go with a yellow belt and HE teaches you the throw.
Next you go live.
After, some push-ups and sit-ups and than you go home.
BJJ is worse.
It’s kind of the same class structure – but at least in judo in order to get your rank, you need to perform a kata and demonstrate some moves as well as beat some of your peers in competition.
In BJJ it’s an arbitrary appointment by your instructor. One day you’re a while belt, the next – a blue.
Imagine going into a job where all you have to do is give promotions to people you feel deserve it – almost as easy as handing out participation trophies.
I’m not saying these people don’t teach, but without a set curriculum, how do you know if you’re getting the RIGHT stuff?
The truth is – teaching from the hip IS EASY and there’s no standard by which to measure your learning.
If you coached a basketball or football team in this manner… YOUR PLAYERS WOULD GET KILLED.
You need a lesson plan for EVERY PRACTICE.
The lesson plan is driven from the curriculum. The curriculum is driven by the syllabus and the syllabus is driven by the goals.
Goals > Syllabus (skills) > Curriculum (Drills) > Lesson Plan (Class)
It needs to be mapped out.
Then there are the instructors who just keep adding sh*t and love to collect techniques like stamps. The “check that box” guy. They try to be all things to ALL people. Jack of all trades, master of none. Whatever happened to the basic economic idea of opportunity cost?
If they have one class a week with grappling they have a sign on the window that says “We do grappling”
If they do a few chokes and arm bars then “We do submissions”
If they do a few weapons and forms then “We do (insert traditional martial art)”
If they spar a day or two then “We do sparring”
When they practice a few self defense moves then “We do self defense.”
Where is the specialization? The reason we humans have progressed so far is that we have learned to specialize so that we aren’t all hunting and gathering. In my opinion, the guys that claim to lump everything in together are the worst because they lead their students to believe that because they grapple an hour a week, they’re just as good as the guy who’s spending all his time doing BJJ, wrestling or Judo.
This is insane. In fact they’re doing more harm than good.
Tae Kwon Do and other “traditional” styles are notorious for this. Damian Ross talks about how he got his first black belt in this type of system and didn’t realize how little of everything he knew UNTIL he walked into another school that SPECIALIZED in one of the arts he THOUGHT he was learning.
Look there are only so many hours in the day you can train. Your busy schedule with family, relationships, work and your physical ability and recovery time all have a factor in what you can do. Even if you could train 40 hours per week – your body and your mind wouldn’t let you. There’s only so much you can do, man. There’s a reason why professional athletes have an off season and a short career.
So take a moment to evaluate your priorities in life. If you’ve ever read Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” one of those habits, is a phrase that Matt Furey uses a lot and that is “Begin with the End in Mind.”
To do this is as easy as 1-2-3…
1) Write out the different roles that you want to serve in life, for example: spouse, father, entrepreneur, martial artist, student, whatever…
2) Make sure to order each of these roles from MOST to LEAST important…
3) Now, write your long term and short term goals for each of those roles. From now on, every action you take must further these goals in some way,shape, or form and you should carry this “to-do list” and ideas list with you at all times, constantly updating it.
By now, I think a lot of you will realize that for example, being a better father is more important than winning a bunch of plastic trophies at a tournament. And that to be a better father, the best thing you could do with this spare time is to learn how to protect your kids from all the criminals who would want to harm you and your loved ones and to spend time with them teaching them the valuable skills found in Family Safe and 60 Minute Self Defense. Or, maybe, that the best thing you could do is to improve your physical fitness with some push-ups and calisthenics from Module 7 instead of memorizing all these katas so that you have more energy to play with your kids, and be healthy enough to see them grow old.
In the end, it’s your call for what you want to do with your life, but I think a lot of you need to take the time to re-evaluate your priorities and the reason why you do a particular martial art in order to prevent “goal hi-jacking.” We live in a time where there are so many distractions that we never ask ourselves the reason WHY we are REALLY doing something. Ask yourself, are you doing this because you love the art, or do you just want to learn how to defend yourself? Are you doing this because you love the camaraderie of the training gym/dojo, or are you just trying to get that ripped fighter’s body and look better naked? THESE are the concerns that Damian Ross kept in mind since Day 1 of drafting out the curriculum of what would become the SDTS…
Until next time,
Hit the Weights. Hit with Hate. Seize the Day.