Teach College Students and Pay It Forward
T ǯ that goes like this: An adult walks into a karate school. ǯ Ȅ ǯ Ǥ It underscores a real problem, that of ϐ to learning martial arts. Instructors have to be honest with themselves about the struggles faced by many traditional dojo. The demographic ǯ ǣ the coveted 18- to 35-year-olds, the trendsetters with disposable time and income.
ϐ hooked on traditional martial arts ǯ Ǥ ǡ ǯ ǯ training into adulthood. The following is my advice for being more successful in this endeavor. MARTIAL ARTS traditionally were taught not to children and adolescents but to physically mature, military Ǥ ϐ description perfectly. Their brains and bodies are ready to learn a sophisticated combat art. However, any cursory survey of local schools likely will reveal more kids than adults.
Now, teaching martial arts to children and adolescents is important. Character development is an integral part of modern instruction. But the degree to which instructors can express themselves, train hard with their students, develop a physically and intellectually challenging curriculum, and see meaningful progress in students is limited when working with the very young.
In contrast, college students are ready for responsibility and leadership. These qualities are tested in universities, and they should be tested in the campus dojo or dojang. Have your students assume roles — secretary, treasurer, president and so on — to explore the meaning of responsibility and leadership in a controlled environment. As the instructor, you serve as a model and a guide. Help them navigate and learn from their experiences.
Learning from experience, be it a ǡ % ϐ - ǡ ϐ - lege students are beginning to understand. For example, whether they win or lose a sparring match, it can be emotional — and a chance for growth. If necessary, guide them along this path to personal development. MOST COLLEGE STUDENTS are ready to push themselves to their physical limits. Some need you to push them. Either way, they will rapidly build ǡ ϐ ǡ that allows for creative interpretations of forms, better sparring combinations and more extreme demonstrations.
Remember that for some students of this age, martial arts are a performance ϐ Ǥ ǯ Ǥ
If a few of your followers are looking for opportunities to perform, help them. College life offers numerous opportunities for students to choreograph and give demonstrations in a safe, supportive environment. BY THE TIME they’re in college, students are aware of the relationship between physical training and cognitive development, but they don’t always act in accordance with that knowledge. For example, the “freshman 15” is the name given to the weight students typically put on dur ϐ Ǥ ǯ problem, one that can plague a person throughout life. Nevertheless, many ϐ - entary lifestyle, playing video games, eating fast food, and so on, all of which can take a toll on health.
Fortunately, many colleges, in an effort to improve their services to students, are interested in offering programs that can help remedy this. New gyms are being built, and existing facilities are being renovated because " ϐ ness. Promote your college club as an option for students looking to lose weight, build strength and improve ϐ ǡ tional art.
Remember that all martial arts training is leisure-time dependent. The basics come quickly, but the details require time. Fortunately, most students have a lifestyle that’s focused on study, which means they have plenty of time — despite the occasional complaint about being busy. When other " ǡ ϐ Ǥ Your students will appreciate it and be more likely to stick around.
ǧ is becoming a premium commodity on college campuses across the country. Stories about university violence, from shootings to sexual assaults, dominate the news in many cities. Whether you know it or not, administrators are tasked with reducing violence on campus. Title IX “requires colleges and universities receiving federal funding to combat gender-based violence and harassment, and respond to survivors’ needs in order to ensure that all students have equal access to education.”
Concerns about safety and security are paramount in the minds of many students and parents, too. Position your college club as a venue for promoting awareness and teaching de-escalation, in addition to fostering proven self-defense skills.
It’s particularly important to meet the needs of the female student population, in part because enrollment is skewing toward women and in part because they’re more in need of self- defense skills. There are numerous ϐ - ing women into the arts, a prime one being the sense of empowerment they get when they succeed in a traditionally male-dominated arena. Consider yourself fortunate to have women in your club.
ǯ some tips, I should mention a few of the drawbacks, which you’ll want to keep in mind so you can minimize their effects. First, college students represent a transient population. They’re in town only for a limited time, and even that can be shortened — for example, by a semester abroad. Further, class commitments, special projects and sports activities can interfere with martial arts training. As I stated above, ϐ Ǥ
Students also must contend with invisible adversaries: homesickness, anxiety, stress, depression and so on. All of them can impact a person’s commitment to the martial arts. However, the impact of any of these conditions can be lessened by an understanding instructor.
Finally, realize that students subsisting on scholarships have limited resources for things adult martial artists wouldn’t have trouble affording. This includes expenses related to attending seminars and fees required to enter tournaments. If a student can’t make an event you deem important, be empathetic. If a student asks for help raising funds, offer suggestions.
of studying martial arts were recognized long ago. Plato advocated that students train in wrestling to enrich their understanding of humanity. Clearly, teaching martial arts on campus is a good thing, one that’s bound to continue.
As a martial arts instructor, you ϐ - ing can bring. You owe it to others to help spread the wealth — in a way that makes them safer and healthier at the same time. There’s no better way to pay it forward.
Position your college club as a venue for promoting awareness and teaching deescalation, in addition to fostering proven self-defense skills.