The Total Package
With more and more people taking up martial arts practice, the number of so-called martial arts instructors is also on the rise. Sadly though, like the increase in population of gym instructors, many of these are a far cry from being true professionals. In fact, the martial arts industry is serious lacking in professional instructors.
In my view, the hallmark of a professional is that he/she is the 'Total Package'.
As a professional, I think the instructor has a duty of care to actually deliver what he or she is promising. If a part of this promise is that he/she will enable the student to deal with real world conflict; then he/she needs to understand the fundamentals of both striking and grappling skills, pre-fight dynamics/strategies, an understanding of adrenal stress management, multiple offender tactics, etc.
The true professional must be constantly updating and seeking out better teaching and delivery strategies. In fact, this part of his/her study is even more important than his/her personal physical skill set. To be the total package requires that we have an understanding of how people learn, remember and take ownership of new information. Understanding how this process plays out allows us to teach far more effectively and achieve outstanding results.
Another mark of the true professional is that he/she can still retain high cognitive function under great physical stress. Amateurs can often put forth the same intense effort as the pro but they seem to lack the experience to retain their ability to think and apply strategy whilst doing so. True professionals are thinkers as well as doers.
Being a professional martial arts instructor is a lot of work. It requires business skills, physical skills, teaching skills and a countless collection of other talents. All of this requires work, training and research - and lots of it!
And believe me - these few things I have mentioned, are just the tip of the iceberg. As an old teacher of mine told me some thirty years ogo - "to teach one thing, you need to know a hundred things." A truer word ...
Train Hard - Train Smart!