When I first started martial arts I never believed that one day I would become an instructor, then once I became an instructor, I never believed that I would ever have my own school, now that I have my own school I can’t imagine life being any other way. Something that has remained consistent through the years that has helped me get to this point is constantly looking for more to learn and never accepting things as they are. For a while I thought that once I became an instructor that meant I had learned everything needed to be a great instructor; I could not have been more wrong. Once I became an instructor, I soon realized that I had more to learn than any new white belt whose just starting out. I knew the necessary techniques, but I had no clue what it meant to be a great instructor.
Constantly striving to learn more has been the key to trying to become a great instructor. While being a great instructor is subject to how well your students perform and how they see you, you can definitely help this along by becoming the best that you can be personally and professionally. Over the years, I had fallen into a slump where I was only practicing the material that I had originally learned and never branching out or taking the time to learn more, or to learn about my industry as a whole. When the time came for me to start my own school I very quickly found that this was a recipe for disaster and I had to change it immediatley. That is when I started branching out to other styles of martial arts. I didn’t necessarily incorporate what I was learning as a part of my curriculum, but I found that by opening up to other styles I was learning new ways of teaching things which were immediately incorporated. I started to see a drastic increase in my personal perfomance and confidence as an instructor, but also in the level of information retention that the students had.
Before I could fall into a slump of doing the same old thing again, I started reaching out to other schools to see if I could sit in on classes, or contacting various martial arts organizations to see how they do things and how they run their schools. At this point, this started to become a part of my normal routine and what I’ve found having a routine like this is that I can constantly keep things fresh for my students and constantly be trying out new teaching methods, drills, techniques, etc to give my students the most well rounded martial arts experience that I can. Most recently in 2016 my school joined ProMAC with Kovar Systems (business consulting side of Kovar’s Satori Academy), and we’ve had immense success through their systems and programs. Since I had spent the past several years working to improve my personal teaching abilities and openess of training in other styles, it became time to focus on the business side of running my school; that’s where ProMAC came in. I’ve learned so much (and continue to learn so much) about how to effectively manage my school, how to build student/parents relationships, how to implement effective systems and curriculum, and how to start becoming a pillar of the community and giving back to those who make my school possible.
The point of this story is that if you ever feel like you are done learning, you’re only cheating yourself, because there is always more to learn. More importantly, there are always more ways to learn something you already know since you are able to view things from different perspectives. Learning lasts a lifetime and when you stop learning, you stop growing.
-Master Kris Carlson