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How To Chunk Your Karate Instruction Curriculum So You Don't Overwhelm Students

Jan 6, 2008
In order to ensure the success of your students in their quest for the Black Belt it is important to give them everything that they need one piece at a time. If you have been teaching for any length of time you have probably figured out that all of the required material in your martial art can often be overwhelming to the best of students. Therefore, it is critical to deliver your curriculum in bite-sized content chunks.

How do you do this? This article will give you the basics - one-step at a time!

Step 1: Know your curriculum content inside and out. This should be easily understood but everyone needs to be reminded of its importance. As an instructor, there is nothing more important in terms of lesson planning that content knowledge. This is the essence of your martial art and therefore of your teaching.

Step 2: Understand your ranking system. You must know exactly how your ranking system works. How long the typical student wait should be between each rank? Are there stripe tests within each rank or not? Are there different requirements based on age? Should students attend a minimum number of lessons before they are eligible to test? What is the specific syllabus content for each rank?

Step 3: Set benchmarks and requirements for each individual rank. This step goes hand in hand with step 2 but in addition, it asks that you the instructor have specific benchmarks and requirements for each individual rank.

This is not just your curriculum content but has to do with the way in which the techniques are executed, the level of performance of the different forms, the specific skill ability required for sparring, as well as certain additional character requirements, community involvement or leadership skills. There must be clear guidelines for all of these things to avoid confusion.

Step 4: Decide on your grading timeline. Grading timelines are typically three months for the lower and intermediate ranks, six months in the upper ranks, and numerous years for each of the black belt ranks. As the instructor, you must know the sequence and progression of your school's grading timeline because it directly affects your lesson planning.

Step 5: Plan your weekly lessons based on the required content for each rank within your grading period. If you have successfully completed the first four steps and have a clear understanding of the requirements and expectations for each rank and level then this part should be easy. Simply look at each individual class that you teach, see how many lessons there are for each grading period and then start plugging your content into each lesson directly from your grading syllabus or curriculum guide.

Categorize the content appropriately - for example, technique training, forms training and partner work drills, and then decide what your focus will be in each lesson and how you would like to present the content.

These are the basic steps for chunking your curriculum so that you do not overwhelm your students.

If you would like to see how this works in more detail then read my article on "The Four Main Elements of an Effective Lesson Plan" and get my FREE Report on "Instructor Mastery: How to Become a Great Instructor Right from the very First Lesson." You can download it at http://www.freekarateinformation.com.

Good luck and best wishes to you on your honorable and noble role in teaching. Feel free to write to me at Paul@freekarateinformation.com with any questions you have on your practice or your teaching.
About the Author
Paul A. Walker, is a 4th degree black belt karate instructor with over 25 years experience in the martial arts. In 2003 he attained his 4th degree black belt, after studying with the legendary Karate Master, Hirokazu Kanazawa in Tokyo for three years. Get more info at http://www.freekarateinformation.com
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