5 Fundamentals for Training Your Instructors by Farshad Azad

EFC CEO John Cokinos & Farshad Azad

1. Have a clear and concise definition of your school’s goals and priorities.

Before you attempt any type of training for your instructors or for any of your future staff you must first decide on your goals for your martial arts school and business. what are you trying to achieve? Whom are you going to serve?

In the 1970s, most martial arts instructors (regardless of style) were brought up only on the basis of their physical abilities, tournament achievements, or knowledge of curriculum in their systems. Many instructors were very good technicians but not good instructors.

Before you decide to hire an instructor or even begin to train anyone to assist you on the floor, you must first decide what your school’s goals are. It makes a huge difference in your school’s success and in your instructor’s training program.

If your goal is to create adult full-contact kickboxing champions, you need to train and hire a person who knows how to best train a student for full-contact kickboxing champions, you need to train and hire a person who knows how to best train a student for full-contact kickboxing championships. Your training program must embrace a combination that is entirely different from training senior citizens or five-years-olds.

2. Consistently follow a well-designed course of training.

Today there are so many wonderful instructor training programs in the martial arts world. You can also develop your own training programs and manuals. However, that will take a lot of time and energy. The trick is to be consistent with the training program once you choose one. Make sure to train your instructors in three specific areas:

A: Developed martial arts system.

B: Tools, skills, and coaching to become a fantastic teacher and leader.

C: Clear understanding of the business system you employ in your school.

3. Create a training program that addresses upward mobility, personal growth, and future career advancements in your business.

Many instructors remember when they were pulled aside by their master instructors and suddenly put in teaching positions. Feeling flattered, most of them jumped at the opportunity. However, the passion soon became a chore, and the challenge was that most instructors saw no light at the end of that tunnel; they had no clear vision of where this road was going.

As the school owner, you must think about your staff’s present and future growth in your business. If you want their passion for martial arts to grow steadily and turn into a wonderful lifetime experience, you owe it to yourself and to them to create a clear path for their financial, personal, and martial arts career. This way you will have the best possible training for each and every one of your staff, including your instructors.

4. Treat your instructors the way yo would want to be treated.

Treat your instructors like loved ones. Lead by example in all aspects of your business. Martial arts culture fosters an atmosphere of acceptance, understanding, love, and compassion, as well as respect, discipline, loyalty and honor. Each and every instructor must be trained and treated with such concepts. As martial artists, we are as good as the regularity and intensity of our training. Likewise, our team is only as good as how we train them.

I remember an instructor once told me that a school owners hadn’t paid him for three months, even as he was busy buying toys for himself! Out of respect and loyalty, this instructor hadn’t left the school. But he naturally felt very disappointed by the situation! I happened to know the school owner personally, and I can tell you he himself wouldn’t have stayed in that situation more than a day if he were treated that way. Not only should we expect our instructors to be professional, but we need to demonstrate professionalism in every aspect possible also. Treat your instructors like you would want to be treated yourself.

I personally know a great martial arts master who has the habit of embarrassing his instructors and staff in front of everyone all the time. He simply reprimands his staff openly without regard for their feelings. But at the same time, this great martial arts technician would completely sever connections with anyone who would mistreat him remotely. Treat your instructors with honor, respect and love, and you will get all three back. Of course, fail to do this and your life as a school owner will be short lived!

5. Design a training program that provides your instructors with daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual trainings and meetings.

Communication between the chief instructor or master of the school and all other elements of your school is essential for your success as a business owner. A fiber optic line of communication is a simple way of guaranteeing transfer of knowledge and expectations in your school.

In 1978, I moved to the Midwest for my higher education at the University of Kansas. I started training with a new school headed by a wonderful seventh-degree master instructor with incredible martial arts skills. One of his instructors, then a fifth-degree master instructor with incredible martial arts skills. One of his instructors, then a fifth-degree black belt, was teaching the material slightly differently than him, and neither of them wanted things done in the other manner! Guess what-as students we decided to not fight the uphill battle against the authority of our instructors. Instead, we decided to perform our techniques one way on Mondays and Wednesdays and another way on Tuesdays and Thursdays! Wasn’t that ridiculous? There were so many students that left the school and dropped out as a result!

It is crucial for you and your instructors to have similar viewpoints about crucial matters, or you might frustrate your students and lose them. Train, train, and train your instructors on a regular basis so you will all be on the same page for all requirements, changes, modifications, expectations and goals. There should never be a Monday-type kick and Tuesday-type kick.

This is also a great time to talk about new policies and procedures for your school. Many times in my instructors meetings, my staff has brought up points to my attention that have saved us from a lot of future headaches. Be receptive to their ideas, just as you expect them to be receptive to yours.

this is also a great time for all of your team to voice their opinions and be heard on various issues and challenges, which you may need to address. You don’t want to get blind-sided by problems and issues that involve you, your instructors, and the school. Regular meetings will allow your instructors to measure the old goals and set new ones, so your school can prosper.

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