What is in your student manual?

Discussion in 'School Management' started by gpseymour, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I'm updating the student manual I use, and debating what should go in there. I could post most of the info on the public website, and could create a members-only area to store the rest, but I do like having a paper manual to review with a new student. I probably prefer it because it's what I had. That said, what do you put in your manual?
    Here's a list of stuff that's in it or that I'm considering (all off the top of my head, so probably skipping something):
    • Dojo rules and etiquette
    • How to tie and fold the uniform
    • Testing/rank requirements (possibly not a complete list)
    • List of techniques (might be in the requirements)
    • History of the art/style
    • Recommended reading list
    • Some articles (this might include self-defense/self-protection topics and philosophy)
    • Payment terms
    • Equipment requirements/recommendations
    • List of other equipment available for purchase? (since I don't have a place to display anything)
    • Basic vocabulary (I'm considering re-instituting a vocabulary test early on, so I can stop re-explaining terms)
    Maybe a list of exercises that are recommended? I haven't included anything on fitness in the manual in the past, but this might be a good place to introduce recommended stretches, a few basic exercises, etc. That would give them a chance to work on them outside class, so they learn them faster and get more benefit.

    Any thoughts on what's on that list or isn't would be appreciated. I've used 3-ring binders up until now, so students could put their notes in them, and I could add/remove/replace pages as needed. I'm considering having a small batch printed to reduce the cost and make them easier to store. To go that route, I need to get them closer to a fixed product.
     
  2. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    I don't think I've ever trained at a school that had a manual. If you're going to have one, I like the idea of having them in a 3-ring binder so you can easily add more pages.
     
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  3. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    No, no, Tony. You're not supposed to tell me that. You're supposed to tell me what I'm doing is a good idea. Dangit, get on script!
     
  4. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    I haven't either.
    You have an excellent idea. However, I don't have a student manual either.

    We do give a few handouts to our youth parents at sign up concerning rules and expectations. Our training center rules are posted as well as requirements for testing for all to see and give handout sheets for some material during classes.
     
  5. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I got used to students having manuals, but the early responses make me wonder if it's as common as I expected. In my case, it's a convenience since I can't post requirements (using a shared space, so no place to post).

    So, maybe a different/additional question: What kinds of things do you have posted on the walls of your training area/dojo?
     
  6. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Master of Arts

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    Gerry i think your "other real life job" is creeping into your martial arts job. lol
    a manual for instructors, yes ...got it. that is a must to keep everyone in the organization teaching the same thing. but for students? the closest thing i got is a hand out for short term, 8 week courses.

    the dojo rules and etiquette were always posted in a nice picture frame near the entrance.

    payment terms and conditions, i always felt were separate from the training and i never liked mixing the two. payment topics and issues were kept in the office. i had a Japanese style wooden box for students to slip their payments into, handing money to the instructor "just isnt done".

    as far as history, in Uechi-Ryu we were lucky George Mattson (American Soke for lack of a better term) wrote two books one is an over all view of Uechi and the other is the "Black belt test guide". every student was expected to own both and needed to know their contents in order to pass their black belt.

    in AAA aikido every June there was a meeting for instructors we would go to and while there you would receive an updated version of the instructors manual. inside there was a sheet for ranks and requirements. we would photo copy these and pass then out to students. if you are interested i will review my old one and let you know what its contents were.

    as far as equipment availible, i would think that would be an opportunity for on line sales.

    one important thing to keep in mind is what you want the experience and feeling of your dojo to be. by giving a manual your creating a "corporate" feel. that was something i was always against. i wanted my schools to feel like "home" or a temple or something similar. something revered something special, dignified.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
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  7. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I would eventually create an instructor manual - I'd need to train some instructors, first.

    It's interesting that student manuals appear to be uncommon, but were common in my training. Statistics do that sometimes. In any case, everything you're talking about having on the wall has to go in a manual or handout for me - no wall posting. I think most schools just put most of what I'm thinking about on the walls and/or website. So, maybe I don't need manuals, and should just go ahead and get more on the website, and work with a few handouts (payment terms, training rules, etc.).

    As for the history, there's a mixed bag of history published about the art (we don't have a fully history of the origin), itself, but only in books on the mainline of the art. I've started not recommending those to students until they've been training awhile, as the techniques are different, and it confuses new folks.
     
  8. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    In the dojos I've been to, two have had manuals. One was in depth, and I still have it somewhere in my house but never really use it. The other one basically has the list of requirements for each rank stapled together so when you're racticing you know what you still need to learn. Both were/are cool to have, but not really necessary. As for what I'd include to your list, maybe have the philosophy of the school or style at the front, so you can direct new students to that and they know what they're getting themselves into.
     
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  9. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Purple Belt

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    Our entire student curriculum is based on study guides and task sheets. They contain everything that is needed to progress through the curriculum and an area for a certified examiner to sign off as a preparation for an examination. It contains everything from applications, techniques, vocabulary, historical and cultural knowledge, etc...
     
  10. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I've considered using something similar. If I did, I'd go back to using 3-ring binders for the ability to add/remove at will.
     
  11. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    Have you considered just posting your student manual on your website? That way you could update as necessary for everyone and not have any additional printing costs.
     
  12. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's one of the things I've been considering (I thought I mentioned it in my OP). There are a few things I want to be able to hand out, but there are only a few of those, and can be (mostly are, at present) stand-alone sheets. That's part of the reason I asked for input here - to see what common practices are.
     
  13. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    My second book has been adopted as the de facto student manual for our branch of the Moo Duk Kwan. It's about 300 pages long, includes pretty much all the stuff you mentioned, plus step-by-step directions (with photos) for forms required up through 3rd Dan (Moo Duk Kwan) or 4th Dan (Kukkiwon).
    The +/- 300 color photos makes it somewhat pricey to print (about $40 for paperback, $60 for hardback). My solution is to keep a few paperbacks around in case someone wants them, but I've converted the book to a PDF format. The cost of burning a CD and printing a cover is trivial, so I give those out to all students free. It's also available as an iBook for about $4.
    Photos, of course, are somewhat limited when you're talking about something that's moving. So we're working on a DVD to go with it. The DVD will only include the Kicho and Palgwae forms because there are currently no good sources for those forms. The Taegeuk forms are more than adequately covered online by KKW releases. The DVD will also include all of the 'step' sparring techniques.
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    That reminds me that I've been considering including some instructions (with photos/video) for both the classical (short) forms and the kata (long forms). Perhaps DVD and website is the answer, if I want to go that path.
     
  15. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Purple Belt

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    We use Google docs and manage permissions, that way we never have to print. All students are required to have a notebook with everything in it. We have docs that show different drills, with their intended instructional purposes for some levels, and in depth docs for things like deshi, seiza, what is kenjutsu, different levels of each...and we video every class and make it available to specific levels and above.


     
  16. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Purple Belt

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    We also do clips, and have a video management sheet for the 500+ videos we have...we do clips upon request, or as part of specific training to emphasize certain aspects.

     
  17. donald1

    donald1 Senior Master

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    Yeah. The vocab is definitely important. Its pretty easy to get those weird sounding kata names mixed up. Same for stances strikes and blocks like. Don't want students doing Shiko-dachi(horse stance) when you tell them to do zenkutsu-dachi(forward stance)
     
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  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    To do videos of actual techniques and applications, I'd have to either get one of the regular students to come in at some extra time, or recruit a throwing dummy...er, video uke from another school in the area. My wife is too much shorter to demonstrate the unaltered form on. But if/when I get around to adding some, I'll probably just put a video gallery (and student section) on our website.
     
  19. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I'll tell you what fellas, if those things you're talking and thinking about were available to me when I started the Arts - I might never have left the house, except to go to the Dojo.

    What terrific things for any student of Martial Arts. I salute you all.
     
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  20. MI_martialist

    MI_martialist Purple Belt

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    We have created cross-referenced vocabulary sheets with pronuncuation guides, etc. Vocab is also part of an oral / written part of every examination.
    Plus as one advances along the curriculum, commands are given more and more in Japanese, so it must be understood, Having an understanding of the kanji is also very helpful in understanding proper meaning.

     
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