My name is Kevin Cyr. I’ve trained martial arts for my entire life. I’ve grown up at the dojo. My posts will cover a variety of subject: how to teach effectively, how to deal with confrontation, and the true meaning of the training. I hope to weave my personal experiences in each post. I hope you enjoy!
Kevin Cyr – First Degree Black Belt – Central Academy of Martial Arts
A teacher becomes so passionate, so fuelled by the information and the interest of their students; they ascend to a divinity of teaching. Their heads are stuffed with creative ways to teach, their limbs become crammed with helium like energy and floats them across the room, and their voice is a hypnotic chime.
There are five ways to ascend to God Mode. These are techniques that seem easy, but become difficult once you’re standing in your teaching space. These techniques have worked for me, and let me teach fun classes.
1. Kids Love Showing
Children love coming in from of their peers, and demonstrating what they’ve practiced. It inflates the child like a giant pump, giving them a boost of confidence to carry forward
These are all methods of showing; I apply this technique at least every five minutes:
- I call a child up to work one on one with them and demonstrate a new drill.
- I ask a child a question.
- I get the rest of the children to look over at a good stance, good punch and etc.
- I get a group that’s been working really hard to come up and show the class their techniques.
Once, I was running a long seminar, my energy was waning and in turn, the kids. We were working stationary blocks and punches in a low stance. The kids were glancing around and flopping their hands before them. I grew frustrated, tired and my patience thinned.
“Kevin, come here.” My Dad stood in the doorway. I dropped class and rushed over.
“Have them show, have them show everything, have them show their punches, their blocks, their stances, every kid gets to show.”
I nodded, bowed, and rushed to a student in the middle of the class. He sat in a proper stance. I grabbed him by the belt and lifted him above my head. The class gasped and giggled.
“You see this stance? This is a good stance,” I put the child down. “Who can show me a good stance?”
The children saw the attention the one student got and immediately dropped and focused. The seminar ended in smiles.
2. Kids Love Telling
At the beginning of every class there’s a five minute segment called Story time. I do this as the kids coming in. I sit in front of the line. I learn their names, their favourite colour, animal and I get them each to tell me a story.
“Who has a story for me?” I ask, glancing around the line of bobbing hands.”I’m looking for a good story, it has to be funny or nice, and under ten words.”
The kids drop their hands at this point and count fingers. The parameters I give make sure it’s a positive event, and it doesn’t take up class time.
Story time lets me connect with the kids on a personal level. I learn more about them. I add my own story, this way they feel they know me as well. We bond.
If the class is rowdy and I’m losing control, I have story time half way through class.
3. The Voice Luke, the Voice…
The way you speak makes class fun. If your tone is dull, the kids will be dull. I fluctuate my voice.
I don’t suddenly go from yelling to Whispering, I gradually descend the rungs. Without saying anything, the kids will quiet, and even whisper answers to my questions. When I whisper the kids are drawn in. If they want to hear me, they need to be quiet.
Being Loud is okay, but projecting is better. Being loud is like unleashing a grenade at the children, it startles. Projecting is like a warm stream of honey spewing from your mouth, over the walls, dripping from the ceiling and into their ears. It’s there, it blankets everything and they can’t avoid it. If you practice projecting, your voice will slice instead of bludgeon.
An equal mixture of whispering and projecting is the ideal way to teach. The fluctuation in tone glues the children to your mouth. They listen, become excited and inspired by projecting, but drawn in and silent at your whispers.
4. Think Like a Dog
Being spontaneous is extremely important. Kids get bored if a teacher instructs the same information, in the same way, every week.
Karate for the young is divided into three sections:
- Basics (blocks, punches, kicks)
- Self-Defence (wrist grabs, throat grabs, etc.)
- Kata (series of motions simulating actually combat)
Every instructor teaches the same information, but how do students have favourite instructors? It’s the way they teach the information that matters. Do they have the children stand still and do their blocks? Or do they have them rotate from sitting, standing, facing different walls, on their backs, and etc. The teacher who takes the information, pulls it out of the box and applies it in creative ways will be the favourite teacher.
Easy way to practice this is to look around you, and incorporate the first item you see into the activity. It can be as serious as you want:
- Seeing a shield, picking it up and getting every kid to punch it once while doing basics.
- Seeing a blocker pad, picking it up and swinging it at their blocks.
It can be as silly as you want:
- Seeing a cone, picking it up and talking through it. It will project your voice and draw a laugh.
- Seeing a weapon, picking it up and twirling around.
5. Jazz hands
The most boring teacher is the one who stands in the same spot. His feet glued to the floor and arms glued to his sides. YOU NEED TO MOVE. If you stand in one spot, you can get the students to show, you can get them to tell, you can fluctuate your voice, and you can be spontaneous, but they won’t be drawn in.
You need to embody your voice and attitude towards teaching. If you’re teaching a lecture, walk around, if your teacher a group of squealing kids, dance around. For further lessons on how to incorporate your body in teaching practice the steps bellow thirty six times a day! Please don’t watch the whole thing, it will melt your brain.
Putting these steps together will bring you to GodMode. Once you reach this divinity of teaching, leave a comment!