1. The curriculum is about lots of memory.  Similar to  school,  students are required to memorize a long series of forms and techniques.  Then are required to spit it back on testing.  In today's culture, it is more important to challenge the kids with spontaneous drills, creativity and a strong foundation of skills.   Take a look at your intermediate and advanced students.  Do they all get high grades and do good in school?  Now you may think that is a result of martial arts but it’s more likely you weeded the not-as-smart kids out by requiring too much memory and not enough training and fun.
2. Warm ups are too hard, too boring and offer little motivation.  This is what I love about the Elements Curriculum.  The warm ups are fully functional drills that build on the skills needed to perform in the rest of the class.
3. Too much defense is taught prior to sparring.   Sounds like a good plan until a shy kid is up sparring trying to block and defend and ends up getting hit over and over.   Apolo Ladra says sparring is only fun when it’s your turn.  In other words when you are hitting instead of blocking.  Teach offense and pair kids off fairly in the beginning stages.
4.  A child is home and hears mom and dad discussing money.  “Look at all these bills.  Electric, gas, credit cards and karate.”   The child may say he doesn’t want to go anymore to stop the tension at home.
5. Your school is all about martial arts.  Kids also need to feel they belong and they need to develop friendships.  It’s important you create this community with special social events, PNO, sleepovers and parties.   The team of instructors should concentrate on attendance at events as much as they do class attendance.  If you get 20% of students at events you might feel they are successful.  But you must think about the 80% of students sitting at home missing out
6. A child is getting ready to go to class.  Mom is on the phone, “Here I go again being the taxi driver.  Now it’s karate.  I can’t believe she has to go so many times a week.”   Next thing the child wants to stop - figuring life will get easier for mom.  Prepare parents for these things happening during orientation and events.
7. The instructors are not watching body language and “feeling” the kids emotions.  Life changed for me  when I had my own kids in class.  I could look at them and share what they felt.  Your class is full of all types of personalities.  Some are like you and some you can’t quite figure out.  If you are going to keep lots of students and make huge differences it’s important you understand your students individual needs and emotions.
8.  Too much down time in class and not enough variety.  Change that by using this format:  3 minute line up, 5 minute warm up, 12 minutes of forms, 12 minutes curriculum B, 5 minutes high energy finish and 3 minute mat chat.  I have 18 months of preplanned classes written and videoed so instructors can replicate great classes.
9. Instructors are not "good finders" but rather correction officers.  This dulls the child’s belief system especially during phase one of training.
Greg Silva
President United Professionals