Results for category "The Role of an Instructor"

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The role of an Instructor – Humbleness… (Part III)

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.

To be Humble as an instructor is for me at least a very important part. Although to be humble does not mean that you sell yourself short in any way. Being Humble can be about being honest about what you teach or do not teach. For an example if you teach an art  that is not really self-defense, you should be honest to your students, and not just because it’s martial arts it’s good for self-preservation. This has something to say with the Instructors understanding about the art and their own abilities. It’s important to say that is not something bad if your art is not for self-preservation, different people attract to different stuff. What is important that the students understand what is and what is not self-preservation training.

Being humble can also be the way you represent yourself, some instructors want their students to look at them and see them like a god or superhero/star. An instructor should be able to admit that he does not know everything because they can’t, they can seem to know a lot, but they can’t know everything. It is not something wrong with not knowing everything, they are only humans aswell. So for students aswell it is important that they don’t treat their instructors like they are superheros. Often times, when instructors have the attitude that they are a god, superhero/star there is much ego involved, which makes it a bit hard for them to handle if they get hit by a lower ranked student or a student period. So when they get hit by a student there egos get a hit, and what can happen is that the Instructor hits backs twice as fast and hard, so the Instructor escalate the situation by doing this, and in the end someone will get hurt.
It is important, for me anyway, that even I as an Instructor can fail and there is nothing wrong with that.I We all will fail at some point in life, the important thing is how do we handle failure?
Do we grind our teeth and say not again and then stand up and move on, or do we quit and say never again?

It’s important if you do not know the answers to a question, that you’ll try to find the answers, even if it takes time. For instructors that is up and coming it is important to understand knowledge comes with asking the right questions, because we can’t always have the right answers. Suro Emanuel Hart always use to say ”No questions, no answers”. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with questions and it’s even harder to come up with the right questions, but try…
For me, I’d never come up with any question at all on the spot, I need to think and think and think before I wanna ask questions. But when I do get a question I am not afraid of asking anyone who I think may have the answer.

Another thing that is important to me is that as an Instructor I am humble to other martial arts, even if I don’t agree with some of their training or philosophies. I would never openly criticize an art or system in front of my students to sell me self as the better option for an example. This is to me disrespectful and says a lot of how you are as a person. I believe that all systems and arts can offer some good ideas and I would not like to close any doors to any art. But of course, I would lie if I said that I don’t have a preference, for those who don’t know, it’s Filipino Martial Arts (FMA).

I had a real hard time writing this post, I thought I’d know what to write, but things  has been very hectic due to work and that has made it hard for me to concentrate on the material I wanted to put in this post. So sorry for keeping you waiting on this one… I hope you’ll find it interesting, please make a comment and give me some feedback.

Gumagalang Ng Lubos / With Great Respect


The role of an Instructor – Inspiration… (Part II)

 The second entry is a more in depth reasoning, discussion to one of the five qualitys that I have defined as a common denominator for great instructors. If you have not read my first entry, I think you should do that first, because it’s sets up the following entry’s including this one and the comeing entry’s. You can read it here: The Role of an Instructor…(Part 1) 

The quality that i have chosen to start with is Inspiration, as you probably could guess from the headline. I wanna start this entry with a quote from  Datu Tim Hartmans signature line on (when this blog entry was written):

The Mediocre teacher Tells. The Good teacher Explains.
The Superior teacher Demonstrates. The Great teacher Inspires!


So how do we inspire people?

One very effective way is to smile, have fun make joke or two. Of course everything has a time and place, so sometimes you have to be serious or show a technique really fast and hard just for people to see that technique works. Showing that something really works in a punishing and destructive way can also be very inspirational. I think i have smiled the most when my instructors has shown me something that really hurts. So there is something to see about ”playing” a fast , hard-hitting tough guy as well.  As said before, everything has it’s time and place.
 For me personally, I really want to create an atmosphere where my students can learn and grow, and at the same time have fun. 
So 90% of the time I try to smile and make jokes when i teach.  It is important to show, how much you really like what you are doing, if you cannot show how much you love your art, you cannot expect your student to fall in love with the art either.

Another way is how you set up your training session. There is a whole science around the topic “how you make a good training session”. I will not go in to this to deep, I just want to point out some ideas you can use to inspire the people who trains with you.
When starting a session, show a complex combination, drill or technique and say this is what we are going to pull off by the end of this session. If you can show this in a really fast and dynamic way it’s even better. For the students this may seem like an impossible assignment at first. But with pedagogic method you can teach it and by the end of the day, they can pull it off in some way. This is of course within reason, and it’s important that we as instructors do not expect the same result as if they have done it for years. The effect will be, if they pull it off, that this was really cool, wow I never thought that I could do anything like that before. This will in many ways strengthen their confident and they will feel inspired to move on.

You can also during training, after training give complements to everybody, or a particular student. This is an easy way to inspire someone, it does not need as much work on instructor part either. Things to look out for here, that I believe, are you should not favor a single person and if you give complements all the time, the compliment itself will lose its meaning. So there is a balance here that one should be aware about.

Your voice is an extremely important tool, when you are performing in front of people. Not just while instructing, but when doing presentations on the job or school. Sometimes when we are stressed and nervous it’s hard to control our voices, and at times we can even sound like we are in puberty voice change. So this is one of those things you could think about when you are teaching. I am not going to go deeper in the subject of voice training in this entry then this.
So how you can use your voice to inspire people? Just by using your voice in different pitch in related to the situation you can enhance the experience for the listener/student. For an example, if you are talking about something that you really feel passionate about try to smile with your voice. When I say try to “smile with your voice”, I am referring to trying to sound happy and passionate. It’s the principle of using your vocal pitch in the settings of the situation that can draw out inspiration and commitment.

Body language is another subtle thing you can work with, it’s not that I think you can inspire people just with your body language. Or maybe you can? But my idea was that it could amplify what you saying, and for the audience it feels like you are more committed and/or passionate about what you are talking about.                          


The goal with this post is to plant some ideas on how you can inspire students as your role as an instructor. I have only mention a few ideas, hopefully you have a lot of ideas you would like to share, please write them in the comment section so everybody can read them and hopefully we all can learn more…
It should also be said that I truly believe that many of these principles or ideas you can use in so many other situations as well. So this is not just for a instructors, could be for a teacher s, salesmen to name a few examples.

In short we have these ideas or principle that you can adopt, learn or develop:

  • Smiling, Jokes
  • Planned out training session
  • Complements
  • Your voice
  • Body language

I hope you found this entry about inspiration to be helpful and interesting…

Inayan Instructor Kenneth Johansson and Inayan Kadua Kristoffer Sundh

The role of an Instructor…(Part I)

This is something that i have thought for quite sometime now, and i have also talked about it with some friends, and that is the role of an instructor.

Instructor has a big responsibility in so many different ways, and as a martial art instructor you have even a bigger responsibility. Because of what a martial arts instructor teach can ultimately save one persons life or not depending on what and how he or she choose to teach it.
The Role of an InstructorI feel fortunate that i have the chance to meet so many professional and skilled instructors. Looking back to those experiences, i have thought to myself: Did these instructors have something in common besides being very good at their respective arts. My answers was Yes, there are some things that are a common quality with these people.
I think by structuring these quality you will becoming one step closer to what defines the role of an Instructor.
So the quality that i found wich overlapped on all the instructors that i have come in contact with was:

  • Inspirational
  • Humble
  • Respectful
  • Knowledgeable
  • Knowing how to put the correct pressure on the student

One of the most important qualities of an Instructor is the ability to inspire his or hers students. I believe that an Instructor can move the students in the right direction even if he has a lesser skills than other Instructors if he knows how to inspire his or hers students. Another impressing quality is an Instructor who knows how to pressure his or hers students, so even if you are a beginner student or a season student you will feel the pressure and don’t feel safe.

So the first part I have talked about the quality that i found common in world renown Instructors, it should be said that these Instructors has a lot of other good quality, what i did was, i looked at them and tried to figured what common denominator to get closer of the role as an Instructor.

The whole reason to why I am writing this is to develop myself as a future Instructor, so when the time is right I’ll be the best that i can be, i think it was Tony Robbins ( that in beginning of his career did a similar idea, but what he did if i am not mistaken, was to interviewed people who has had a great success in their careers. I highly recommend the book ”A Note from a friend” with Tony Robbins, it is a very good and short book, truly a good inspirational book.  I have instead made my assumptions and theories on visual and audio perception, i believe that is important to say.

So comments and constructive criticism is always welcome…and hopefully other instructors season or not could get some inspiration…It should also be noted that this does not reflect a system, style or a specifics schools opinon. It is my opinon and thoughts, collected through the years  of training and discussions with friends…