Teaching Efficiency
By Grandmaster Quynh Ngo 1. Most students can only make adjustments to 1, maybe 2 major mistakes each night. 2. To correct an existing mistake may take weeks or even months. 3. Concentrate on FUNDAMENTAL MISTAKES rather than technical ones (stances, power, speed, timing, load up hands or kicks, finishing execution, and overall appearance) 4. Evaluate students’ weakest LINK and work on EACH one individually rather than the overall class’ weakness. 5. Alternate lower and upper body exercise during class so no part of the body is working more than 15 minutes straight. If the exercise is worked at the optimum level, then it is IMPOSSIBLE to sustain it over 10-15 minutes at a time. The same exercise can then be repeated after the next cycle (ex: kicks, self defense, kicks, soft style, kicks, mats…). This is called INTERVAL training. 6. We MUST do at least 3 different parts of the curriculum each night. 7. After learning techniques slowly, add speed. EACH exercise and movements MUST be performed at the maximum speed and power each and every time. Your muscles and tendons get more work in preparation for the tests, when all students are performing with faster movements. 8. Shorten your explanation by breaking down the movement or sequence. Let them work on step 1 before move to 2, … “YOU SEE,YOUR FORGET; YOU HEAR, YOUR REMEMBER; YOU DO – YOU UNDERSTAND.” 9. NEVER interrupt a student when they are performing a kata or weapons or sequences of techniques. Let them get used to doing the whole activity at once. Give 1 or at most 2 comments right after then repeat the exercise instantly to reinforce the comments. 10. Have a plan every night before coming to class. 11. Sparring is mostly TIMING AND SPEED and this takes millions of matches to obtain. Focusing on strategy at this point is not as useful as developing sparring reflexes. They must develop a second nature on reflexes before they know what strategy is. I’ve been sparring for a long time and I still do not know strategy. The only strategy I followed is not to get hit and to react each time the techniques are thrown. This includes reflexes, timing, and instinct, and only practice and repetition is necessary. OUR students need to drill and spar and not hear us go on about how much we know about planning, training, and strategy. The combinations a Sensei likes or which work for him/her may not work for others. In short, teach movement, defense, side kick, sliding, and then free sparring. Experience is the most critical. CONTROL! CONTROL! Kata – mix it up - Each direction – talk them thru technique - Have retreat at times Kicks - Relax until the last minute - Move body to move the leg and then tense at the last minute (e.g. back kick) - Roundhouse – rotate hip / sling hip / swing hip Corrections - Examples of corrections: tighter fist, kicks not pulling back or loading properly, stances. - Work on 1 mistake per class and after 8 months, most major errors are gone. - For the side kick, use the ground, or the wall. - Explain less – need reps to get this, to let muscle memory occur. - Stance – should be flawless/solid – width, foot position on backstance - Power – for the knife hand, a green belt may still be somewhat soft; over time, it should have power - Timing – hands and feet timed together in kata, timed in sparring - Stances should be strong, grounded, and body centered - Loads = full range of motion – if short, i.e. load on knife hand or some other movement is short, it will take longer because the technique will be short on reach - Think of 5 gears – load a max range to be at max power/speed - On a test, for knifehand, don’t penalize the student for the wrist (i.e. pass); penalize the movement since it takes months for a student to get the movement (i.e. probation) - Kicks, hands, pull back, make sure the loads are correct - Over correcting can be discouraging; they get the impression they can’t do it right so they lose confidence. Teaching - Evaluate a student’s weakest link and work on them individually. For example: Student A = kicks well, Student B = good matwork; then make A go to the mats while B kicks - Alternate exercises when you teach - Do an exercise for 10 to 15 minutes. Then go to self defense for 10 to 15 minutes to let the legs rest. Then move on to kicks again. If working on tambo, go to legs and then back for 10 more minutes of tambo. - An Olympic sprinter trains for the sprint by doing the 100 meter dash. Have the students kick as hard as possible for 10 minutes. - Break down katas as is done at white belt level. - Limit comments so students can focus on presentation as a whole. Example: Pinan 2 – give 1 comment then do the kata again. Don’t give too many corrections. - Do a sequence in the kata and then go back and do it again after comments. - Bow in and let the students go through the kata until the end so they can learn focus and how to go through it to the end. During a test, they are not stopped so this is preparing them for that. Keep in mind 5 Thinks / 5 Steps to Teaching & Learning 1. Simpler 2. Faster 3. Better 4. Deeper 5. Wiser