Instructor Resources

5 Tips for Teaching Assistants in a Martial Arts Kids’ Class

Eeek! Sensei just gave you 3 adorable yellow belts. You’re supposed to be teaching them blocks, but you have no idea how to handle kids!

group work

Sound familiar?

Teaching assistants are a vital part of any kids class. They let the senior instructors step back and measure progress, both individual and as a class. They also give older kids & upper belts a chance to exercise their leadership muscles. Plus, it fosters a great sense of community and togetherness in the dojo or dojang!

Click “more” for my top 5 tips for teaching assistants! 


The 3 Easiest Tournament Prep Tips EVER

Here are my 3 easiest tournament prep tips for the week before a tournament! Hopefully my tips will help you calm your nerves & enjoy a stress-free week before the competition begins.

John Michael poses in a cat stance during his form.
John Michael poses in a cat stance during his form.

Click “more” to check them out!


NWSMA Supports the Camano Island Library!

Save the Camano Island Library!
Save the Camano Island Library–grab one of these nifty printable flyers for your car or door here!

NWSMA supports the Camano Island Library!


Many of our students, including most of our black belts, have relied on the local libraries to succeed in high school, Running Start, and community college.

Martial arts is all about balancing mind, body, and spirit. A library fosters thought & self-improvement, and spreads knowledge throughout the community. We believe these are worthy ways to spend our time as martial artists–by bettering ourselves, we better others.

Myself, I’m in the Camano Island Library at least once a week. Sometimes I’m getting books for fun, other times I’m reading about topics like science of the body, martial arts history, nutrition, bullying, coaching/leadership–things that help me become a better instructor.

I am *always* amazed at the things our community is up to in such a tiny library. Story time for kids, tech help and classes, job searching, research, school projects, reading for pleasure–the list goes on!

If you’re a Camano Island resident, at least consider voting “yes” on April’s ballot. We think it’s a small price to pay for something that helps so many people.

Check out the Citizens for Camano Island Library website for more information on what you can do to help.

Instructor Resources

Instructor’s Corner: 4 Tips for Teaching Martial Arts to Kids (+ sample lesson plan)

I taught a class last week that I thought was pretty good. If I do say so myself. 😛

summer camp
NWSMA students doing a group activity.

I define a good class as:

  1. A class where all the kids are focused and engaged (and maybe having just a little bit of fun–but not too much, because we all know there is no fun in martial arts! :P)
  2. A class where all the kids are motivated & trying their best.
  3. A class where they know some important details of techniques, especially injury preventing ones. Even if they can’t quite perform them. Yet. I know they’ll get there. 🙂
  4. A class where I get to assess each student’s skill individually (this can be a tough one).

Click “more” to see my lesson plan. 


The Importance of Reflection in the Learning Process

Do you remember when you were a white belt? How far have you come since then? Remember struggling with side kick? With that strange turn in your first form? What about how you felt the first time you sparred? What happened the last time you sparred?What did you learn?

…Are you reflecting right now?

Beginning of test
Clearing the mind to reflect.

Last week, I had a bunch of students fill out a self-evaluation. (If you’re an instructor, I uploaded the self-eval .doc at the end of this post. You’re welcome to download it, make changes, & use it!)

Self-reflection is an incredibly valuable tool. Hit that “more” tag to find out why!