How Teaching Martial Arts Can Make You a Better Martial Artist

In Coaching, Excellence, How To, Leadership, Personal Stories, Training by Don Alley

I’m not sure if you know this but when I was seven years old, my mom enrolled me in martial arts. She also enrolled me in violin. From the time I was seven years old up until now, I’ve done both martial arts and violin. I’ve played at weddings and I love to play. I don’t play as often as I want to but I’d like to think I’m pretty good.

A couple of months ago, my son asked me, “Hey, dad. Can you teach me how to play the violin?” I thought for a moment and I thought, “You know. Nope. I sure can’t.” I can play really well but I don’t have a clue on how to teach anybody else how to. I can maybe tell you where to hold it, and how to pull your elbow, and how to do your bow hand. There are so many little intricacies about how to play and I really don’t know how to teach them.

I’ve taken lessons. I’ve done them for so long but no one has ever taught me how to teach. I had to tell my son, “Sorry. If you want to learn the violin, we better find a violin teacher for you.” It made me think about our CIT program. It made me think about how we teach our students to become instructors. I know that if I could teach the violin, it would make me a better violinist. Do you agree?

If I actually knew how to tell someone how to hold that bow really well, or how to pull your elbow, or how to shift your hand with your vibrato doing the right things… If I could teach somebody, it would just make me that much better of a violinist. It dawned on me that that’s one of our pushes for enrolling students in our CIT program. If you want to be a better martial artist, learn how to teach. Learn to teach, teach to learn.

You will be a better martial artist. You’ll be a better practitioner. You’ll be inspired to make yourself better because you have to show it to the students that you’re working for. As you strive towards earning your black belt, as you strive towards becoming a master in American freestyle karate, and earn your fifth-degree black belt, I want to encourage you. Don’t just learn. Learn to teach.

Pull someone under your wing. It could be a brother, it could be a family member. Join our CIT program and start learning all the intricacies of what it looks like to actually teach someone how to do martial arts because it will take you and your training to a whole new level.

I hope to see you in class soon.

Don Alley
Don Alley is the owner and chief instructor at Super Kicks Karate in Ashburn and Leesburg, and has been training in the martial arts for 28 years. He is currently a 6th degree black belt, and has dedicated the entirety of his adult life to teaching children and families martial arts. He is also the owner of Center Stage Preschool, a Montessori-based, performing arts preschool; and co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families in the Northern Virginia area.