Ratel Apex blog

Progress

Progression in anything is about dedication, commitment, and above all hard work.

This past few months has seen exponential progress by both the junior & senior students, with most having no prior experience in martial arts or self-defence. The enthusiasm on display has been humbling, with the willingness to learn shown by all.

It's always a challenge to teach a class of 5-10yr olds, their concentration is fleeting, and usually they've come to class after a long day at school, so they're all tired & had enough of 'learning'. Children have no filter, and are the best gauge of whether you as an Instructor are doing a good job. If a child doesn't like you, they'll let you know, the same with if they don't want to perform a certain technique. Classes have to be engaging, fun, and always different, as children, especially the very young get bored easily. Some of the very young students still get confused with knowing their left from right, so not only are you teaching them self-defence, but basic motor skills. Also there's the aspect of humans learn in different ways, so teaching a large class takes on multiple dimensions.

This past few months has seen progress in my own ability as a Kids Instructor. It's not just the students who are learning. With no peers to discuss things with, continual development of classes has been another challenge, but one that I've relished. There are so many differing ways you can get students of the 5-10yrs age group to respond effectively to learning. Some things work, others don't, but it's the job of the Instructor to ensure that things are always fresh. This is part of the job that I relish, as when you see week on week progress to what you're trying to teach, it's the only reward worth having!

The 11-15yr senior students, are at once both easier & more difficult to teach. Students in this age group are more astute & 'switched on' than when I was their age, so it's a fine line between treating them as young adults and still being aware of how young they still are. Their personalities are well defined, independence of thought more to the fore, and physicality more apparent. This requires another way of teaching, as they're more liable to feel embarrassed by their perceived lack of ability, or 'social standing' within the student group. Again, I'm learning just as much as they are, having had to develop a style of teaching as both a figure of some 'authority' and an older 'brother'. I've found that you can't be dictatorial or too serious, as although Krav is a 'military' system, with the reasons behind the system, serious, it doesn't need to be taught with that level of discipline. In my experience, If you stand 'aloof' as an Instructor this can have a detrimental effect on the class atmosphere.

When teaching children & young adults, I've found the best approach is to try and meet them on their level, and not as some perceived omnipotent being! Constant positive feedback is key, both for children & adults alike, and acting the 'fool' in front of the students isn't by any means a negative thing in my humble opinion. To me it reinforces in the students minds that the instructor is just like them, and only separated by more 'experience'. With the senior students, I make sure to always tell them that "we're all in this together", that i'm learning just as much as they are (if not more), and that nothing I'm asking of them is impossible. This seems to be paying off so far, as the individual abilities of all students is growing fast.

So, progress is continuing apace, both student and Instructor alike, and I couldn't be happier.