One of the main reasons parents enroll their children in martial arts is discipline. You have seen it before. A parent enrolls their child in your class expecting you to suddenly and indefinitely whip them into shape so that they never answer back or behave badly. The problem is that their child has a limited attention span and uncontrollable energy.
One of their favorite activities is to fall down on the floor or to hang on your leg. Your job is to make them a disciplined ninja warrior with perfect focus. This type of child can make or break you. They can destroy your very best lesson plan in an instant if you do not pay attention to discipline. Is it possible to meet his parents’ expectations? Yes it is, and let me tell you how!
There are two main ways to get somebody to do something you want them to do. The first way is to make the pain of not doing what you want them to do far greater than the pain of actually doing it, and the second is to make the satisfaction of doing what you want them to do far greater than the satisfaction of not doing it.
It is my experience that meeting the goal using the second way is much easier than using the first way. Once again, human beings (especially kids) respond better to positive influences than they do to negative influences. So what does this mean in terms of your karate class?
If you lead your class like a drill sergeant and it’s “your way or the highway” you can be sure that your class will be poorly attended. The people in the class will probably be good but they will not know how to compromise and they certainly will not take any direction from anyone else but you. Therefore, if you are sick that day, you had better find another drill sergeant to take your place.
If you lead your class by example through positive encouragement, constructive feedback and mutual respect, I believe you will have a much easier time and will create better students both technically and in terms of their attitude.
Through doing this you will allow more people the opportunity to stick with karate long enough to begin to truly understand and experience the real benefits that come with an extended length of training and study in karate.
If, on the other hand, you scare them off after the first couple of lessons, they will forever be negatively inclined towards martial arts and may miss out on something that could have provided them with great value. Please be very careful with beginning students. Your job is to give them every chance to like martial arts so that they can make an educated decision as to whether it fits in with their lifestyle and goals.
Good luck and best wishes to you on your honorable and noble role in teaching. Feel free to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have on your practice or your teaching.