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MJL7758's picture
Curriculum Help

2-part question:


I have roughly 5-6 years of instructing experience teaching my teacher's curriculum. Recently, I've been able to spend my time teaching a small (3-7) group of students two times a week. Having zero experience creating a complete system's curriculum, I'm struggling with flow. One issue in particular: if a new student were to come in, what would I teach them to keep them from being/feeling "behind." I've been working on a rotating curriculum so that the whole class learns the same thing together. Anyone with experience in this area? 

2. Additionally, I've been trying to "disperse the fat" of my learned style to fit my own teaching style. I say "disperse" because I don't eliminate. And "fat" includes learning 8 kata for first dan, one-steps. I'd like to spend more time analyzing a handful of kata on the path to first dan as well as spend more time doing real-life/real-speed drills. So with that said, I guess my second question would be: Does anyone have any experience to share what works/doesn't work in regards to curriculum for a small group of students, and how to order the content into a logic sequence? I'm not necessarily looking for comments on content because I know WHAT I want to teach. Just having trouble funneling all the marbles. Thanks for any help! (below I listed a few areas of content. If anyone's interested) 

Content to be included:

ground defense - not fighting, but how to A). avoid going to the ground; B). what to do if you end up on the ground


vertical (standing) grappling - self-defense from close-range attack

striking - accuracy and mechanics of motion; how to generate power


Quick2Kick's picture

You could organize it like the stages a fight progresses through. Preemptive strikes, exchange of limbs, establishing grips/ stripping grips, vertical grappling, ground grappling. To keep people from feeling behind you could try progressive drills. New people stop on move 3 with their partners while more advanced students go to move 6 with their partner. This way you teach the same drill to the whole class but to their individual skill level.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

I have taught a "mixed" group of blackbelts from another system (Jujutsu) and complete neophytes to Karate for a few years now, here's my advice:

Truthfully, the only difference in "advanced" versus beginner should be in how things are done, maybe with levels of force considerations, especially if the people are younger. There are things that some people can't get due to level, but personally i've dispensed with the idea that there is such a thing as discrete "advanced" technique.

No idea what your class structure is like, I was taught with about 80% partner drilling or "live-ish" (if that can be a category) and 20% line rills, solo work etc., aned I try to  maintain that ration with my students.

Let me give you an example:

New people  work a drill where uke punches and tori performs a chudan-uke "parry and shield" motion, eventually, the newer people can test whether their parry and shield holds up by having uke immediately push their body against the block. For brand new folks, this is usually enough to keep them busy for a while, and will teach important foundational basics like posture, protecting the centerline, etc.

Advanced people can do the same drill with no "stops", i.e. the uke immediately tries to push through (with an elbow spike or forearm shiver/push type motion for example) after punching, at which point the advanced person does whatever they can fit in...and it essentially turns into a Karate version of uchikomi.

One of my teachers great pieces of advice was also to add a lower or upper body component to whatever you are working on for your advanced students. So lets say you are working a cover and shuto to the neck, your advanced students can also pay attention to unbalancing via stance or legs. Basically, you just try to give level-appropriate focus to the same material. I've found this really illuminating for my own learning as well, since I participate in my own class.