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Thomas Clifford’s Martial Arts

Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today

Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today...

Posted: February 26, 2019

“If you want to accurately predict the future, you must create it!” -Unknown 


Dear Friend,


I trust this blog finds you well. 

Please take a moment to think about an instructor who influenced your progress in the Martial Arts. 

Imagine an instructor with a wealth of knowledge, functional skill, and a terrific attitude. 

What if you were that instructor?

The instructors who we admire and respect, figured out a long time ago that the best way to learn Martial Arts is to teach it. 

These individuals made a decision to live a Martial Arts lifestyle from the very beginning of their training.

It is a great advantage to have highly skilled, dedicated instructors influencing us. 

What is even better, is to have them influencing our children. 

Do know what is the best? 

To become one of them. 

Becoming an instructor gives you a perspective on the Martial Arts that nothing else can. 

You are invited to accept the challenge and earn your instructor’s status.

A strong body, a sharp mind, and a non-quitting spirit are certainly required. 

But the most impressive and necessary trait of leadership is genuine character. 

This boils down to doing the right things, for the right reasons, especially when it is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Most Black Belts and future Black Belts have tremendous gratitude for the influence of their classmates.

They appreciate the example they provide on the mat.

Perhaps you also feel that way.

Have you ever thought about taking your training to the next level? 

In a sense, you already are. 

We all teach through example. 

Our “A,B,C’s” are under the constant scrutiny of everyone around us.

Everyone’s actions, behavior, and conduct are easy to observe. 

Are you setting an example worth following or a warning worth running away from? 

We probably do both. 

The question is, “which one do you do a little of, and which one do you do a lot of?” 

Instructorship is a bit more complicated than that, but you probably get the general idea.  

The best instructors conduct every class as though each student is training with the intention of becoming a “Sensei”. 

That is the hidden agenda.

As Martial Artists, we believe in the value of what we do. 

We never wonder if the time we spend training is invested wisely. 

It is a worthwhile investment in every possible way.

The Martial Arts lifestyle is fascinating and fulfilling. 

My first instructor encouraged me to be a lifelong Martial Artist on my very first lesson. 

He said that the most effective way to learn is to teach. 

Can you imagine how grateful I am? 

There are no words to express my appreciation.  

One day you may be asked to help out with a class. 

If so, it is because you have demonstrated the potential to do it well. 

I recommend that you jump at the chance. 

You will be glad you did.

In our Jiu Jitsu program, you have the unique opportunity of teaching from day one. 

In Jiu Jitsu we develop our voice early. 

You learn to “speak Jiu Jitsu” during your very first class. 

The partner drills require us to verbally communicate with each other. 

It is a fantastic way to develop your communication skills in general, and an effective way to pass on knowledge.

In our Karate and Kickboxing program it is different. 

You do not get the chance to explain things to your classmates. 

Your communication with them is non verbal. 

You influence your classmates visually. 

They observe your skills, and you observe theirs. 

It is by far, the most effective way to learn Karate and Kickboxing.

There are a handful of things that do require explanation. 

You will discover that you get a lot more from giving the explanation than from getting it! 

This is one of the greatest benefits of teaching.

You learn again, every time you teach, on a far deeper level. 

If you are given the opportunity, take advantage of it. 

You will discover the “secret” to really understanding the Martial Arts.

Have you ever tried to teach a friend or a family member something that you have learned in class? 

I recommend that you give it a try. 

You may take to it like a fish to water. 

You may get incredibly frustrated. 

Either way, you and your “student” stand to gain much from the experience. 

Give it a try and let me know how it works out. 

At the very least it will provide you with a wealth of introspection.

Shihan Koprowski and I are always on the lookout for future instructors. 

We look for eager students who want to take their training to entirely new level. 

The Instructor Training Program is the best course we have. 

It is far from perfect, but we are always making it better.

Most of the training consists of you doubling or tripling up on your classes. 

As your skills improve you may be invited to help out with some classes. 

This means that you are on track to becoming a Certified Instructor.

It is the “old way” and it works beautifully. 

We are always improving the details, but the core method remains unchanged. 

It is a volunteer apprenticeship. 

You know, the method used “once upon a time” when people were highly skilled at their professions.

If you are interested in participating in an accelerated program to help you become a Certified Instructor, and you want to double your skill and knowledge, let us know.

I look forward to seeing you and your family in class at the Dojo. 




Kyoshi Thomas Clifford



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