Photo courtesy of Notelse
Teaching in general, and lesson planning in particular, is a learned skill. Lesson planning is an art separate from the martial art, and in many ways lesson planning is the toughest part of teaching. Following is a handful of hints that might help you make lesson planning easier.
- Integrated classes - Plan your lessons so that you don't have to split up the class to work on different things. This will keep you from having to lesson plan for multiple groups. The way I did this was to define a set of techniques that absolutely everyone from white belt to black belt needs to repeat often - a set of kihon. Then work your way through this set of kihon with everyone working one technique per class.
- Softer ukemi - Teach and drill proper ukemi, and rethink your throwing practices so that the ukemi is softer. This lets newbies serve as uke for even the highest-level techniques. This expands your uke pool, lets everyone work with anyone else, and helps you to prevent having to split the class as above.
- Lighter randori - Your normal mode of randori for most classes should be very light, low-resistance randori. Almost a "trading throws" type of practice (nagekomi). On the ground, the randori should be a light, flowing roll with emphasis on position and transition over submission. What this does is allows your players to get much, much, MUCH more practice than if they were to resist every inch of the way.
- Lesson plan template - You'll want a template for a standard practice. The one I use is, "Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue." That is, we practice "something old" (kihon), "something new" (rank level material), "something borrowed" (something from BJJ or aikido or someone else's tokuiwaza, etc...), and "something blue" (something that the students are having problems with - Q&A)
- Chained techniques - Many instructors like to chain the techniques that they are going to work for a particular practice. For instance, you might work a certain gripping sequence into a clench followed by a throw from that clench going to the ground into a hold followed by an escape or submission. The transitions between all these individual skills are rich with information that can be lost if you just drill the individual techniques.
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 601.248.7282