MMA Life UFC 197 – Jon Jones vs Ovince St Preux – EA SPORTS UFC 2 ft. Juice & Trent Video Update

UFC 197 – Jon Jones vs Ovince St Preux – EA SPORTS UFC 2 ft. Juice & Trent Video Update

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During my martial arts training I have noticed that there appears to be a direct correlation with the variation that an instructor incorporates into their classes, and how well their students perform.
Of course, this effect is noticeable because classes which are more varied are often more enjoyable. Hence when one contrasts an enjoyable varied class with a dull repetitive one, the distinction becomes obvious.
But it is important to understand why variation has this effect.
Initially variation is interpreted as a range of different activities. A range of activities prevents boredom, as students cannot anticipate what is coming next, and so it cannot spoil their enjoyment of the lesson. It also prevents complacency. One of the biggest problems I found in my own training was that if I practised something too often and too repetitively, I stopped concentrating on it so much, and whilst I was training more, the performance worsened. I’ve been training for many years now and so can identify when my performance is not as good, however a junior student would not be able to do this. Hence a lack of range of activities leads to a lower quality of learning.
At this point I should mention that one of the worst points I’ve ever heard made about martial arts is that students should be able to continue practising something without limit, that they should never get bored. This is nonsense. Boredom is the state of mind when all that can be learned from a certain activity has been learned. If you’re students are bored, either they just don’t want to be there, which is fine, or you’re not teaching them enough.
I’ve also discovered that another type of variation is important in lessons. This is the variation of teaching method. It is well known in mainstream education, that in order to be an engaging teacher you have to use a variety of methods: sometimes bookwork, sometimes experiments and so on. The same principle still applies in martial arts. An instructor who dictates to the class will not be communicating efficiently. This is entirely due to how engaging your instruction is.
So now we know that there are two types of variation that are important: a range of activities and a range of teaching methods. How do we include these into a lesson?
With activities, I would suggest keeping a list of probably more than a hundred different activities that you can think of. This shouldn’t be too difficult to achieve given that most martial arts have a variety of components: forms, line work, set sparring, free sparring, theory, weapons and so on. Think of different ways in which these elements can be practised. Perhaps different activities highlight a different aspect, or perhaps you aim to teach one important fact through a certain activity?
With teaching methods, I would suggest keeping a list of probably about ten. Thinking of these is harder. I would suggest senior to junior teaching as one. This is where you ask your most advanced students to teach the beginners in small groups, and it can be very effective. Another suggestion is self-motivated work; getting students into groups or on their own and giving them a certain task. Try to change the instructor frequently. Give assistant instructors plenty of teaching experience.
I would like to point out that your students don’t have to be active all the time. They do have to be engaged all the time; always thinking about the martial art, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily have to be doing it. They’ll still learn by watching a more experienced member.
One of the most effective ways of remembering something is if you teach it. All students at intermediate level and above should have teaching experience.
Another option is to utilise a selection of events. A student will get bored with the same pattern of lessons throughout the year. They need unusual, one-off or rare events to come along to give them something to judge their progression against. This often comes in the form of competitions and exams. But that doesn’t mean you can’t invent your own events, for example, for each exam you could have a mock exam, which can be used to give responsibilities to particular students and create a sense of formality.

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