Monday, May 30, 2011

The Best Karate Manuals You Can't Read

I’ve been asked many times why I don’t write a book about karate, which is not in my current plans in any case. But as it turns out I have written more than a few already, it’s just most of my work is not for public consumption.

My earliest effort was in 1985. I had just moved to Derry, New Hampshire, and restarted my program at the Derry Boys and Girls Club, both for youth and as well as a small program for adults too. I was in my 11th year training, my 7th year as an instructor, I had studied a ton of material with many great instructors both in Isshinryu and my other arts.

My wife, Maureen, was preparing for her own Shodan and helping me with the classes. Actually as I was an instructor far to young in my own studies it was my wife with her Physical Education and coaching background who helped me to become an instructor.

Because of her sharing I learned that in College the texts on developing Junior High School Girls Swim Teams were far in advance of all the karate texts in existence. Of course there is a vast difference between developing swimmers for competition (and each generation reaching faster times than the generation before it) and the manner in which karate is taught.

Still it weighed heavy on me that there was not strong supporting material available for instructor development in karate. [Note, that doesn’t mean that material might not exist just that if so, it was not available to use.]

Collectively we put our heads together and developed two manuals for developing Isshinryu Karate instructors. They did not focus on Isshinryu technique, kata or knowledge per see, but instead focused on the many other areas of knowledge an instructor should be conversant with. Not complete knowledge but a starting point and the loose leaf nature of the manuals were to encourage adding new material as it became available.

The main manual we developed had chapters on

· Communication

· Teaching technique

· Biomechanics and Karate

· Anatomy and Physiology

· Training principles and Techniques

· Athletic Injuries

· Associated Articles

· Club/School Administration

· Shiai/Tournament

· Martial Arts and the Law

· Instructor's Evaluation,

· Required and recommended books

The second manual developed by my wife focused on knowledge of Anatomy for the instructor. It had chapters on

· Body orientation and direction

· Body cavities

· Skeletal System

· Muscular System

· Nervous System

· Circulatory System

· Respiratory System

· Appendix on Pressure Points

The first manual was shared with friends, the 2nd manual only I have a copy.

As it turns out I would be another 15 years before I would develop the next generation of instructors and the paradigm for doing so became different from what I imagined in 1985.

Still I haven’t seen a similar work on instructor development to this day. While I would certainly change some of the material I’m surprised how consistent my practice have been to the course of study we originally developed. Especially the sections on teaching technique and training principles and techniques remain relevant.

Of course with the decades of newer books and the internet, such a source isn’t strictly required, but as a template to use to develop instructors it still is valuable. It was not intended to replace higher levels of study such as at university, but more general knowledge for the developing instructor.

Long term instructor development remains an important goal for any organization. Instructors who have additionally studied Physical Education in higher education have additional resources that can be used.

The material developed remains proprietary for my Bushi No Te Isshinryu organization.

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