Classroom Survival Tips

Succeeding as a children’s martial arts instructor can be just as difficult as surviving in the wild! The reason why is because there is no easy path.  As a metaphor to surviving in the wild, I have put together this quick article on how to survive in the classroom.

-Tip 1: Have a Map!

Would you enter the wild without a map? I wouldn’t. The same goes for your curriculum. You need to have structure in your testing cycle, testing requirements, belt system, and class planners.

  • Testing cycle – parents should be able to determine when the upcoming testing’s are so they can plan ahead. Fact: 60% of schools I asked do not have all of their testing cycles planned for the entire year.
  • Students should know what their testing requirements are, even belts ahead of them. Fact: 70% of schools do not have their testing requirements written out for their students.
  • Your class planners are essentially your daily maps. Without them, you are setting yourself up for possible disasters that could have been avoided if you knew where you were going. Fact: 75% of schools do not have structured class planners for an entire testing cycle mapped out.

-Tip 2: Know your terrain!

If you dressed for simple hiking, but find yourself having to climb mountains, then you would not survive! At the same time, if you pack way too much, then you are going to find yourself wasting excess energy. Make sure you are fully prepared by knowing what to expect, and what not to expect from your students. To do so, study the stages of development of your students and know what the average students is and isn’t capable of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and socially.

*Check out my Podcast Episodes 1 – 4 to learn about the stages of development for children ages 3 to 14:

-Tip 3: Pack the right tools!

Some of the simplest challenges can be fixed with the right tools. For children, their favorite learning tools are toys. Martial Arts and fitness equipment can be used as toys, and make a big difference in the students overall growth and development in the program.

-Tip 4: Invest in a first aid FUN kit!

Injuries occur on the daily basis. Most injuries can turn from a serious situation (kid crying and screaming) into a less serious situation with the right first aid kit. Ice buddies, character Band-Aids, and simple little tricks will go a long way when kids get hurt in class.  

  • Ice buddies
  • Character Band-Aid’s
  • High-fives (Pull your hand away and say: “too slow”)
  • Ask how many fingers you are holding up (But thumb doesn’t count as a finger because it’s a thumb)

 –Tip 5: Have a back-up plan!

Always be prepared for change. Full moons, larger than expected classes, assistants calling in sick, etc. By having a collection of drills readily available to you, things can go from bad to good in less than 5-minutes.

Click the link below to download some free age-specific drills:


With the right training and preparation, you can survive in the wild. The same goes for working with children. As usual, I am here to help! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions that you have at