Although they may have similarities, every dojo is different and unique. Needs and expectations can vary based on the style’s traditions. They also vary due to the head teacher’s training. However, there are some basic and universal things required that make awesome karate instructors. Here is what I’ve learned in over 20 years at East Valley Martial Arts, as well as by visiting other martial arts schools.
Awesome Karate Instructors doing Their Part
Overall, the aim for awesome karate instructors is to be professional yet caring at the dojo. Clear communication with students and karate families is part of that. Unfortunately people can tend to hear mainly what they want to hear. So keep in mind that an instructor’s communication can be more than them talking. It can be verbal, written (in print or online), visual and environmental (the way they set up the dojo). When in doubt, ask questions. Any good karate instructor will take the time to address students’ questions and concerns.
Consistent evaluation is another important ongoing task for instructors. We regularly evaluate both our organization and our individual students. Our students’ progress is one of our main interests. We take note of the constant input while teaching classes. Traditional karate is a centuries-old practice that we carry on. But still, awesome karate instructors keep an open mind to changes that would be in the best interest of their dojo.
Good head instructors of traditional karate take on the responsibility of being good stewards of their dojo. First, they facilitate valuable training in life protection for members of the local communities. They focus on planning and offering regular classes so that students may train for the long term. Second, they aim to build a dojo that can continue perpetually. They invest responsibly in equipment and business necessities. And third, they invest time and attention to team building activities. They aim to improve relationships and grow the strength of the dojo as a whole as well as the individuals involved.
Lower Rank Awesome Karate Instructors
What about black belt instructors who are lower rank and not the head instructors of their dojo? They can also be awesome karate instructors. And that includes junior black belts as well. With a little thoughtfulness and a lot of etiquette, all black belts can help their dojo. Their efforts can make the organization exponentially stronger.
Most important is to be involved! My last blog lists some ways you can do this. But do be aware of the old proverb, “too many cooks spoil the stew.” Too many instructors can spoil a karate class or a dojo’s workings. That is if they are not working in harmony toward the same goals. If each instructor does their own thing in their own way, on their own they can cause issues. However, if they remember their ranking order and consult with their higher ranks, they can be a huge help in their dojo as well as their community. Remember that the head instructor has the final say. Communication is a key to creating harmony.
Basically, to be awesome karate instructors, it all comes down to communicating while being professional and caring. Head instructors have the task of doing this and setting the example. Communication, professionalism and consideration are necessities for all instructors of all ranks and ages. And when it comes down to it, a dojo needs the same type of conduct from all of its students. That includes student’s parents and even the child students as their maturity allows.