A martial arts instructor refers to a fitness worker who teaches others the techniques and movements of martial arts. Instructors can be employed at a martial arts dojo, health club or recreation center. Some instructors own their own schools. A martial artist typically focuses on one style of martial art as a specialty, as it can take years to become proficient enough to teach students.
The qualifications for a martial arts instructor vary depending on the discipline you are teaching. Most will have an apprenticeship period and some will require you earn your first degree black belt in order to instruct.
In most cases, you will need to obtain a coach qualification recognized by the national governing body for your choice of martial arts. This requires you to be at least 18, have an instructor membership, have a minimum grade approved by the NGB and hold a recommendation from your association. In some cases, you might need to hold an assistant coach qualification for six months.
As a martial arts instructor, you are responsible for planning class content and structure, performing warm ups and demonstrating the techniques of the art you teach. These might include sparring, throws, joint locks, chokes and kata. Martial arts theory and history can be weaved in throughout the class to give your students are greater sense of what they are doing. You are also responsible for handing out discipline when necessary, first aid and possibly some marketing activities for your class.
You must possess all of the skills that you are attempting to teach to others. Perfecting each movement and technique will give your teaching credibility and help your students learn faster. Whether you teach karate, kung fu, jujitsu, tae kwon do, judo or aikido, you must be well-versed and proficient. You must also possess patience, communication skills and be organized.
The mean annual salary for a full-time fitness trainer/instructor, which martial arts instructors are categorized as, is $42,780, with the median wage at $38160. The top 10 percent of instructors earn $72,980, while the bottom 10 percent earn $19,150. Instructors in New York tend to earn more, as do those in Washington, D.C.