There’s something new at my dojo: each new student (adult student, that is) gets 3 private lessons for free upon registration. That’s around €150 of tuition fee I’m giving away.
Although the marketing benefits are a nice addition, the main reason I’m doing this hasn’t got that much to do with sales promotion. In the first place, this action aims at helping new students comprehend the basics faster, thus benefiting more from group classes.
The student receives constant feedback in the one-on-one lessons (those private lessons are spread over the first months), so he can correct upcoming mistakes at an early stage. If you’ve been practicing a martial art, you’ll propably agree that during the first year or two there’s almost linear progression, so after each class you know you’ve learnt something new, you’ve gotten a bit better. Also, this is the phase when you adopt errors and suboptimal patterns that are really hard to get rid of later on. As you progress in skill and experience, the learning curve flattens, up until a point where there’s seemingly no progress – but then there’s those days when your whole style seems to be taken to a new level by tweaking some detail.
At least, it worked that way for me.
Besides helping the beginner make the most out of the critical phase at the beginning of his training, it also help him fit in with the rest of the class. That’s not to say he’ll be at the same level as those who have been practicing for years, but once he’s got the basics down – left, right, on guard position, proper biomechanics for simple tasks -, he can work with the others.
He’ll do it at his own speed and intesity . He’ll still need more instructor support than more experienced students. But he can work with them and learn from everybody. Tell someone with no prior kicking/striking experience to „twist the hips a bit more“… and you’re not going to reach him, intellectually. Spend an hour with him, explaining how the hip works with the rest of the body, putting him through various drills that focus on hip-usage and he’ll understand. Next time you say „mind your hips“, he’ll know what to do.
This way, not only the beginner benefits greatly, so does everyone else, since the instructor can take care of everyone.
Now last month I’ve started those private lessons with a new friend and student. We took our time to work out a customized training protocol which basically revolves around intermuscular coordination and basic bodyweight-only strenght exercise. Additionally, I’ve summarized the key points of a short program the Shinergy[supreme team] (that’s our sports fighting team) used as means of injury prevention while preparing for the Open TaekwonDo World Champions 2005 in Cardiff. Basically it all comes down to some joint mobilization, dynamic stretching and sub-maximal strenght training.
Since I feel everyone can benefit from doing this every day as a morning ritual, I’ve decided to put it up here. Currently, it’s only available in german language, maybe I’ll translate it in a following post.
You can get the Shinergy[morning routine] pdf here!