The Six Levels of Leadership in the Martial Arts

There are many books on Leadership out there… all of which I have read.  Ha – not really, but I wish.  It seems like all the Leadership books out there are about business, the military, or self improvement, but very few are specific to the Martial Arts.

I started plotting this stuff out on my own a few years ago.  Along the way, I’ve discovered other visionaries who have done similar work (Adam Parman, Brannan Beliso, & Roland Osborne) …  it’s just that their info is all exclusive to their paid members, consulting clients and/or affiliated schools… and I totally understand why.  I mean, after they spent all their time creating all of that stuff, why would they just give it away?

Well, I thought I would share what I’ve put together because I want all instructors out there to be better.  Maybe someday, somebody can convince me to package this correctly and sell it in the future, but for now – here is the start of it at least.

I am in the process of applying this material to our instructor training program called STORM (Special Team of Role Models) at our Dojo in Santa Barbara.

Outline: There are 6 types of Leaders in our program:

  1. Role Model – has a Black Belt Attitude and upholds the tenets on and off the mat.
  2. Leader – is an encouragement and inspiration to others; focused on being the best example in the class.
  3. Assistant Instructor – is focused on gaining floor experience, by holding paddles, and teaching segments of class.
  4. Instructor – instructs and retains students up to Level 2; focused on teaching the curriculum accurately; is able to follow and modify a lesson plan.
  5. Advanced Instructor – instructs and retains students up to Level 3 ; focused on teaching the curriculum affectively; is able to create and improve lesson plans.
  6. Senior Instructor – instructs and retains Black Belts & Instructors; focused on developing and advancing the curriculum.

More to come!

If you want more details on our STORM program, please reach out via email: austin (at) kickboxers dot com.

Every Instructor Needs to Watch This

If you’re still watching it, good! Hang in until the end.

Every ounce of energy that we put into our classes equates to at least 100 pounds of energy in our classes.  Learning how to be a dynamic speaker will not only make your classes awesome, but it will create a space where students can truly listen and truly learn.

We are teaching the BEST content out there.  Let’s do our best in delivering!

Is the Ideal Martial Arts Instructor an Extrovert?

For years, I encouraged instructors to fit my ideal instructor mold. Oh, I knew what the perfect instructor would look like… haha… and I thought that if I described this perfect instructor enough times, and highlighted everyone anytime that they came close, that I would end up with a fleet of perfect instructor clones.

The problem? My ideal instructor was an extrovert, and at least half of my instructors were introverts.

quietOne day after class, one of my instructors and I were chatting and somehow we came to talking about a book he had just finished called “Quiet”. He said that it really described him well and that I had to read it. If you’re unfamiliar with the book, it basically describes introverts and a totally different style of strength than I have.

That book changed the way I saw personality types all together and actually had me start questioning the I way I was training my instructors. It got me hungry for more reading too…

So, I started educating myself by reading and listening to everything I could get my hands on. Slowly, I began to realize that I was actually discouraging my instructors from finding their own teaching style, and that I had probably lost a few of them over the years because of that.

One of the books I found is called “Built to Last”. The authors studied exceptional companies such as Motorola and Boeing to find out what made them so successful compared to their competitors over long periods of time. What did they conclude? Basically that introverted / non-charismatic leaders actually accomplished more steady and longterm growth compared to charismatic / visionary leaders. Crazy.

Here’s the audiobook version if you want to skip around a little… (man, I love Youtube)

Have you experienced the difference between introverts and extroverts in the Martial Arts or at your work? Your thoughts are appreciated.. big time!

Seeking Truth within the Martial Arts

The study of Martial Arts as I think about it, is a study of truth.  Not capital T truth – maybe not even the most important type of truth, but definitely a truth. The way the body moves in order to attack or defend will either work, or it won’t.  For every action, there is a response that gets to the desired outcome, and many responses that do not. You see what I’m saying?  Okay, cool.  So, with this in mind – check this out.  I believe there are 3 kinds of Masters in the Martial Arts in regards to truth and they are:

  1. Those who claim to know the true art
  2. Those who seek to know the true art
  3. Those who don’t believe that there is (or have no interest in defining) a true art.

I made a little Prezi on the topic:

different opinions on the true art of martial arts

Different opinions on truth within the martial arts

Let’s go over these different perspectives a little bit, because I think there is some value in defining ourselves and how we perceive our specific Martial Art as instructors…

The ‘Truth Claimer’ may sound like:

– “Come and train with me to experience the true art.”
– “The only truths found in other arts are truths stolen form my art.”
– “My style / art is the truth.”

The ‘Truth Seeker’ may sound like:

– “I can learn from anyone – even a while belt.”
– “The only truths found in any art (including mine) are true despite which art they come from.”
– “If any other art can get me closer to the true art, I’m open to exploring it.”

The ‘True Art Denier’ may sound like:

– “I am satisfied within my art, and you can stay within your art. They are apples & oranges.”
– “Your art is true for you and my art is true for me.”

I am definitely a Truth Seeker.  As Master Fariborz would say, I am “playing to win”. I want to get the most out of my training and there is no value for me in ignoring cool concepts and moves found in other styles.  To me, an art or style is just like someone’s personality.  There are introverted leaders, just as there are extroverted leaders.

That said, I should also say that Hapkido is the only true art and everything else is just wannabe Hapkido.  🙂

What do you think about truth in regards to Martial Arts?  Am I way off here or do you agree?  Let me know in the comments…