I started training Karate when I was 5 years old, my dad was an instructor and I would train 2-3 times a week. I would go up a hall doing punches or kicks or blocks, turn and then go back down a hall again. I would do this all whilst learning to count to ten in Japanese. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy it very much at that age and was often made to go. As my dad was the instructor I stuck at it and progressed up the belts quite quickly and was eligible to go for my black belt at the age of 9. I enjoyed sparring but that was about it, Oh and I could count to 20 in Japanese….very important when you are a 9 year old living in Morayshire. Due to my dad taking another job and most of my family living there we moved down to East Kilbride, just outside Glasgow. I joined several clubs but never really stuck at it after the move. I started doing freestyle karate at the age of about 16 which incorporated a more kick boxing style. Again I progressed quite quickly at that and often helped to teach the kids classes however it was still the same old martial arts format of up and down the hall over and over again.
Is there a point to this story I hear you say??
Yes, sorry I was rambling….The point is that when I discovered Krav Maga and became an instructor I realised that classes could be both interesting and enjoyable. In fact as an instructor my job is not only to pass on my enthusiasm for Krav Maga but also to make sure that students leave a class looking forward to the next one. This is even more important when teaching kids, who are a far more demanding audience than adults! Those of you who have kids or work with them will know the “I’m bored” look and the behaviour that usually follows. To be fair that can happen with adults too. Kids arrive at our classes like tornadoes expecting to have fun and be engaged. As an instructor you not only have to be prepared to work at 100% but also ensure that the content is correct, after all its only good practice that makes perfect. For adults a lot of the time its often about keeping fit and they want something they can enjoy whilst burning off the calories so wether its kids or adults you are teaching its got to be enjoyable.
Teaching self-defence can be a contentious subject, especially where young kids are involved. In truth traditional martial arts have been teaching kids how to punch and kick for years disguised as sport, however when you start to introduce real life scenarios there can be an understandable reticence from parents and some authorities. where adult students are concerned they just want to know at what point in the class they are going to get to play with knives and guns. Krav Maga is quite simply the most effective self defence system available however it is the job of the instructor to get the balance right between empowering people to be confident enough to avoid, prevent or deal with a difficult situation without putting themselves in more danger.
Krav Maga is a self defence system; it does not make a student invincible nor does it advocate the use of force or aggression unless it is absolutely the last resort. If our students start or encourage a fight or knowingly put themselves or others in danger then we as instructors have failed to teach the principles of the system properly.
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