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Friday, February 11, 2011

4 letter words that are not allowed in my martial arts school.....

Of course, we wouldn't allow curse words in our martial arts schools, would we? But what about the other 4 letter words that our students sometimes put in their heads, or that we as instructors sometimes use during a class? Words that, if used with a negative mindset, can stall one's progress. Words like...

Can't: Limiting oneself by resigning to "I can't do it"

Won't: "Well I can't, so I won't try..."

Fail: "What if I fail?"

Fear: "Wow, that's scary, I don't think I do that."

Self Talk (Okay so its two words. But they're both in 4 letter format!): "Why can't I do this technique yet? Everyone else can, why not me?"

Need: "Sensei says I *need* to stop looking so floppy with my kicks". (for some people, this can put a sense of value on the word "need", and makes the student feel like they're not accomplishing the "mandatory" skill). While we do expect certain standards, the way students practice those standards can be affected by one's mindset.


How can we as instructors combat the 4 letter words that are almost just as bad as cussing? By adding in "power words" in our dialogue when correcting the students. Words like...

And: "That's a great outward block, Timmy. I like how you're trying your best with it! And, now let's stop the block in front of your shoulder, and it will lock in and feel great!". The word "But" separates a sentence into two ideas for a student, such as "That's a great outward block, Timmy, but you need to stop the block in front of your shoulder". This phrase says "My block is okay, but its still wrong."

Know: "Wow, I know you're coming right along with your kata! You've practiced well to know your kata, will you show it to me?" (notice how the word is used by the instructor to acknowledge the student, and the word is used in the student's experience.). Use this word when you've seen a student work hard at something.

Gain: "Mary! I noticed that you gained some speed in your hand-drills!" (doesn't matter that Mary's forearm block isn't quite perfected yet, but she got faster with a drill that she struggled with the previous class....acknowledge this!)

Glad: "I'm glad to see you came a little early to get extra practice before class!"

Excited: "I'm excited about tonight's class, folks! We've got some great drills that will enhance your kata and strength tonight!" (set the tone of the class....if students are excited, then corrections are very much welcomed)


Teachers, I'm curious as to what 4 letter words your school's students might be harboring in their heads that might be holding them back, or what 4 letter words you use while teaching.  Also, what "power" words do you like to employ in your teaching? This discussion is open to any teacher, not just martial arts.

The inner speech, your thoughts, can cause you to be rich or poor,
loved or unloved,happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak. 
- Ralph Charrell

In Good Training....

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