We are so grateful to have been voted in Albuquerque the Magazine's top 5 best martial arts schools in the city! We know we are the new kid on the block and we are excited to have been grouped in with some great schools.
We started celebrating last night, but we want to celebrate with YOU! That's why we have a space reserved at the Best of the City Party, at Albuquerque Convention Center, on Friday, December 6th. From 6-10pm. Come hang out with us while we give out free Kung Fu tips and offer discount memberships. Come on over and see what kung fu is all about, or if you are a student, bring your friends. You can buy tickets here. See you there!!
Welcome to the first in our ongoing series - Student Profiles. Every month we will be introducing you some of our dedicated and diverse students. Stay tuned!
Schuyler McCabe - Advanced Sifu Student
26 Years Old
Manager of Coors Boulevard Eateries LLC
I've had various experiences in several forms of martial arts including Shodokan Karate, Muay Thai kickboxing, Jiu Jitsu, and Aikido. I have been training at Mantis Kung Fu Academy since it opened in January of 2012. I was looking for a school where I didn't feel like I got lost in a crowd and the instructor took a personal interest in his students and their individual skills and abilities. I also wanted a place that didn't just focus on simply the motions but also the history and deeper mental spiritual growth that accompanies traditional martial arts training. After meeting with Sifu Nic, I felt that Mantis Kung Fu Academy was exactly the kind of place I was looking for.
My training varies between different physical exercises designed to build strength and endurance as well as coordination and flexibility. I go through a multitude of coordinated moves that train the body to adjust to an opponents movements and can use minimal effort to exert maximum force while protecting your own well being. In addition to all the physical training, I also incorporate meditation techniques and Tai Chi to develop focus and internal energy.
The most challenging aspect of my training is the volume of information given in the accelerated program. It is really enjoyable to learn a multitude of moves and Sifu Nic is really good about explaining practical application as well as the history and even how one thing can be coupled with others. The physicality can be very demanding as well but the program design lends to seeing results very quickly as long as you are dedicated to doing it.
The best advice I have to give beginners is "stick with it". There are days that I don't feel like training but push myself to anyway. Especially in the beginning it can be really hard and you may feel like you aren't improving but if you just hang in there, you will see improvement. Once you do start to see yourself getting it, that is one of the greatest encouragements.
At this point, I am striving to become a Sifu myself. I would like to be at a level where I feel like I have an advanced grasp on this art and would be able to teach others the things I have learned. I am interested in getting into a competitive circle where I can test the level of the skills I have been training. I am a competitive person and have been involved in various sports all my life and would enjoy competing at a high level in this area.
The thing that stands out the most to me about Mantis Kung Fu Academy that is different from other schools is that Sifu Nic creates an environment that is very personal to each students needs and can adjust to how fast they want to grow in their art. He takes personal interest in each student. Being in this program, I don't feel like I am just going to a class, but I am doing something that adds to my identity as a person. I feel like a true Martial Artist.
Congratulations to our new horse stance record setter Audrey, who stayed in horse stance for an astonishing 60 minutes and 30 seconds! This picture of her was taken 40 minutes in. It was a big day for our horse stance record board. The previous record was an impressive 36 minutes, set by Djivan earlier in the same day, on his first attempt! Along with Djivan, Daniel held stance for an almost as long- 35 minutes, also on his first try!
We are so proud of all three of you and now our adult students need to up their game and try to crush their horse stance record of 11 minutes.
There are many ways to ways to teach something to a student, and an individual student might learn something more effectively by one method of teaching versus another. Combining these different teaching methods when teaching ensures that a class full of students, each of whom might absorb information differently, is able to understand what is being taught. Also, it is important to look at ourselves and how we learn to see if that heavily influences how we teach.
There are many ways each of us understand information. When we are taught in the manner we like to learn, we understand and retain more information. When we are taught in a manner in which we do not prefer to learn, it can be difficult to understand the concept. If we are teaching a single student, this is not so difficult to adjust to, since we can teach in the manner the student learns best. In a group setting this can become difficult as there will be many different learning styles present.
Some people are visual learners, who learn best by watching others doing it, or correcting themselves in the mirror, or even by watching video of themselves performing a technique or a set. Written words help the visual types, as do diagrams or visual aides. You can catch visual students watching other students often. If they see themselves making a mistake they will often correct it.
Auditory learners learn best by hearing. They are often talkative themselves and like to hear the technique described in great detail. A quiet teacher who likes to demonstrate but not talk about what is going on can pose difficulties for the auditory learner. You can tell them how they are moving incorrectly and they will fix it.
Kinesthetic learners are those who learn best by doing. They are easy to spot because they will mimic the instructor as the instructor is demonstrating or explaining a technique. They will likely be the first to jump in and start when it is time to practice, but might get impatient when a long verbal description or visual demonstration is given. It is best to physically move them into a proper position to correct a mistake.
There are many other archetypes of learners out there. It can be whittled down to very niche categories, but the above three examples are the most prevalent. Just about everybody has one main learning style and one lesser, secondary learning style in them. An auditory-kinesthetic learner will benefit the most from a detailed verbal description of a technique that they can practice along to either while it is being described or just after.
To ensure that all students retain the maximum amount of information out of a lesson, it is important to try and combine as many different styles of teaching as possible. Instead of just demonstrating how to do a movement, talk in detail about what you are doing as you demonstrate it, and then have them practice. To correct mistakes, incorporate not only verbal corrections but allow them to see in a mirror how they are moving incorrectly and how they should move correctly, and then if needed, physically guide them into the proper position. I have found that it helps certain students to explain why they must move into a certain position (ie: “Do not let your front knee go too far forward because your knee will become injured if you repeatedly do that.”) or provide simile when something is difficult to explain (ie: “Extend your arm as if you were Dracula with a cape.”). If a student seems to be having a hard time understanding something, or repeatedly fails to fix their mistakes after they have been corrected, then it may be that they have been taught in a manner that is incompatible with their learning style, and changing to a different style of teaching could lead to all kinds of revelations for the student. This will result in less frustration for the student, who understands what is being taught, less frustration for the teacher, who can be assured that what they teach is getting through to the student, and overall a higher student retention rate.
Last of all, it is important to look at ourselves and how we learn. Often how we learn best is how we naturally teach. This is even more true for the newer teachers who have not had as much experience to develop a complete teaching style.
Because each person learns differently it is most effective to teach using as many different methods as possible. This will allow each of us to pass on information to more students and create the highest possible quality of learning environment.
This is our first blog post of many. Please take a look around the rest of the site, and check back often to see new posts!