Instructor certification?

Discussion in 'Schools / Instructors' started by kitkatninja, Jan 20, 2019.

  1. kitkatninja

    kitkatninja Blue Belt

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    I was wondering, how many of you instructors have separate instructor qualifications? Is it integrated into your actual rank/belt? Or is it not required for your association or art?

    This isn't a question on whether or not you need instructor certifications or not - as that can be a whole discussion on it's own. I was just interested in how other associations operate.

    Our association has it's own instructor training built into our lessons, but the instructor status is awarded separately to rank (eg Kyo Sa Nim, Sa Bom Nim, etc)... Added to that, all of us instructors in our association have some sort of teaching or coaching certificate/qualification, it's not a requirement of our association, it just happened to be like that.

    -Ken
     
  2. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    In BJJ there is no separate instructor certification. There isn’t even a minimum belt rank for teaching. The only requirements are to have the knowledge and have people willing to learn from you. My first regular BJJ class (as opposed to video or seminar) was with a blue belt. At the time that made him one of the highest ranked BJJ guys in the state.

    I do have an actual instructor’s license in Muay Thai, but that isn’t a traditional part of the art - just something that some associations have added. I don’t think it’s typical for actual fight gyms, more for schools that are teaching hobbyists in the way that most karate/TKD/Kung fu schools do.
     
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  3. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    In our style, you can 'teach' under supervision at the higher underbelt ranks, but cannot promote until 3rd degree black belt, which also includes the title of sensei, meaning teacher.

    There are titles that one may be awarded at higher black belt ranks, but they are not automatic or attached to rank. Renshi, kyoshi, and hanshi are some of them. The term shihan is sometimes used to mean senior instructor.

    I have heard the term menkyo meaning a teaching certificate. I don't have one, nor do I know how I would obtain one.
     
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  4. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I have been asked to teach one style of kempo, and another style of kenpo I have a menkyo certificate in. Neither style do I teach, do I plan to teach anytime soon, nor do I feel qualified to teach at the time I was asked/awarded it. A third sort-of style (Olympic style fencing) I have taught without getting or receiving permission from anyone. And I think I did a pretty darn good job.
     
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  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    In the association I came up through (Nihon Goshin Aikido Association), the instructor certification is built into the black belt (shodan) rank. To test for shodan, you have to complete a year of student teaching plus some fairly extensive oral testing (some of which appears to be make-work, but that's a different discussion).

    I followed that paradigm when forming my curriculum, with some changes. I like the idea of a specific period of training for instructing - something that prepares the advanced student to become an instructor, rather than just assuming they will have absorbed enough teaching principles. I didn't like it being attached to a rank, because some folks aren't interested in getting that certification (I had training partners who were more skilled than me get stuck at ikkyu/brown belt). So I simply separated the certification from the ranks. There's obviously no reason someone couldn't teach without the certification, but I wouldn't have someone doing so inside my school/program/organization.

    My instructor training is more comprehensive. The year of student teaching is still there, but more regimented (I want to teach instructors how to teach instructors, as well) and has more "classroom" components on how to teach. I'm also willing to certify before black belt (probably only at brown). I've also incorporated the concept of "study group leader" - someone who doesn't test students for rank, and really is just the senior student in charge while other students practice. I haven't fully fleshed that out yet, though.
     
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  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Bill, I've been meaning to ask: what's the typical time to 3rd dan in your organization? I'm always curious what the typical experience level is at the rank organizations first designate as "instructor".
     
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  7. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    10 years or more. Took me 10. I believe it was 5 years to shodan, +2 for nidan, +3 for sandan.
     
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  8. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess I should add that while BJJ doesn’t have any official instructor requirements or certification, the title of “professor” (Portuguese for “teacher”) is normally only used for black belts. Not everybody outside of Brazil uses that title, though. “Coach” is more common in my experience. It was sort of weird after I reached black belt to occasionally have someone call me “professor.”.

    For comparison’s sake, black belt in BJJ typically takes 10-15 years for those who reach that level.
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Is that about typical? I seem to recall a similar timeline for one of the side branches of Aikido when I asked them that question. 10 seems about right to me for someone doing their own thing.
     
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  10. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm not sure. My sensei has been teaching for 40 years. I'm the 5th sandan he's ever promoted.
     
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  11. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    In our MDK branch, 1st Dan is an instructor rank.
     
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  12. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Getting additional education as an instructor is something I have always thought has systemic value. The Kukkiwon has instructor certification every year or so which I think is a very comprehensive course. While not required to instruct in any TKD school I am aware of, it does a good job to teaching the "way" WT/Kukkiwon schools practice their specific elements. Of course, anything else taught by a specific school should be an integral part of getting to whatever BB level teaching is allowed.
     
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  13. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    Our style, Tracy’s Kenpo, has instructor certification that is separate from rank. It has traditionally been left up to certified instructors to train and certify others, but the senior council of Tracy’s is currently working to formalize the training and introduce levels from Instructor to Master Instructor.
     
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  14. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Blue Belt

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    We dont have instructor certification
    2nd or 3rd dan is typically a full instructor (if they even like teaching or assisting teaching)
     
  15. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree, but only for large systems. If you have a smaller system, it can help to allow anyone with enough experience and ability become an instructor. If you have the main instructor of a small style leave, retire, get injured, etc. and no one in the dojo at the time has the instructor training, all the students are out of a dojo, and the style dies in the area. If you train somewhere and have been training for years, but suddenly have to move, teaching may be the only way to continue training consistently in the style, and also a way for the style to spread. For something like kukkiwon TKD, muay thai, boxing, or bjj that are in every city these issues don't exist as much, but for smaller styles an instructor certificate could seriously hamper growth.
     
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  16. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    How many levels are they talking about? Is there a functional distinction among them?
     
  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree it's useful to have anyone with sufficient experience and knowledge available for teaching. Even better if that's supplemented with instructor training. That's possible even with a small group, say within a single school or small collection of schools. It just needs either some student teaching and instructor training built into the appropriate rank, or at least some sort of annual boot camp or something. It's a bit of extra work, but a good instructor who has done his research into teaching methods and found what works for different kinds of people could do a respectable job of it.
     
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  18. KenpoDave

    KenpoDave 2nd Black Belt

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    I have heard 5. It is in development. From what I know, there is certainly a functional distinction in the training at each level. I imagine those lines will blur as people teach, bringing their own natural talents and life experiences in...
     
  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm just curious if you know what the functional distinctions are intended to be? To clarify what I meant by "functional", I mean something that they can do (within the organization) at each level. For instance, I created just 2 levels: Instructor and Senior Instructor. The only functional difference is that a Senior Instructor can promote to Instructor (and Senior Instructor). I didn't find a need beyond that, though if I built a large following (which I almost certainly won't), I could be convinced to add a Master Instructor, and making the promotion to Senior Instructor that group's purview.
     
  20. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Brown Belt

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    In today's world I think you need at least a black belt to teach. In my first MA class over 40 years ago, I was taught by a yellow belt with 5 years of experience, while my teacher watched. I think it was as much about him learning to teach as it was me learning. I have 12 years of experience in MA and have coached many sports for many years.

    Today I am wearing a white belt, I tired to help a white belt, the response was the black belt did not tell me that. In her mine how could a white belt know any thing. I just smiled and kicked the bag slowly and hoped she was paying attention. The young black belt method of teaching was kick the heavy bag and said do it like this and make sure to pull your toe back and walk off to watch the higher belts.

    I real like how Kung Fu long fist and Alkido had only black belts and white belts. White belts judged each other by their ability, not by a colored belt. Last night our teachers were out of town, I was not wearing a belt and we had a teacher I had not seen before, half way throw the class she asked if I had been a black belt somewhere else, she was surprised when I said no. She was a good teacher and showed me respect. She noted I did the form slightly different, no one else had noticed. My blocks flow across my body hands open until the end of the movement. The hands move faster if not in tension. Holding a hand with tight fist slows you down.

    I know how to teach better than most teachers, because of my many years of coaching sports. But without a Black Belt no one would let me teach and I would not ask. I think people need the safety of an organization to say the teacher knows what he is teaching. Where as I can tell with in the first 5 minutes without looking at a belt to know if he is a teacher.
     
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