If you’re reading this, then you more than likely have an interest in becoming a martial arts
No, you do not need to have a black belt to be a martial arts instructor. Someone with a high belt ranking always has something they can teach a lower ranked student, and it is fairly common to see non-black belts running a class. However, in order to award black belts, most martial arts require you to have a black belt yourself. Of course, in non-ranked martial arts (Boxing, Muay Thai), anyone can be an instructor, as long as they have a mix of experience, knowledge, and authority.
However, becoming a martial arts instructor is a lot more complicated than just having a certain belt color. In the rest of this post, I am going to explain how you can become a martial arts instructor, the differences between the martial arts relating to instruction, and how to determine the credibility of an instructor.
So first off, I must emphasize the belt ranking system of any martial art is purely symbolic. A belt holds no value in any realistic combat scenario, and in the real world, it is very possible for a white belt to beat a black belt.
That being said, a belt is a good way to quickly gauge the knowledge and ability of a student. Given that gym/dojo awarding the belts is a credible one, you should be able to easily predict who would win between two differently ranked students, should they spar each other.
So back to the question, what rank should an instructor have? Well in all honesty, it does not matter. Yes, your instructor should have good knowledge of the martial art in question, but anyone with a higher belt ranking than you will be able to teach you something, and vice versa.
However, to be able to teach a class of many people, the instructor should be one of the more knowledgeable people in the group. Because of this, it is pretty common to have a black belt as a head instructor, and then have lower- ranked students as sub-instructors.
So to sum up this question, if somebody is teaching you a new skill, they should generally be high ranked than you. However, there are exceptions, as a lower ranked student might just happen to know a move that hasn’t been taught yet, or perhaps has more in-competition experience.
The quick answer to this is yes. A martial art can be learned and performed by
Of course, the instructor must have experience and knowledge before they can teach martial arts to other people. But in martial arts, everyone has a different perspective on
The most important part of being a martial arts teacher is
This is why in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the ranking system is synonymous around the world. Jiu-Jitsu students compete against same-ranked students from other schools, with their matching rank and weight making it a fair competition. When it is clear that a student is outclassing his opponents, then they are clearly deserving of a higher rank.
If you are thinking of becoming a martial arts instructor, you should first evaluate the credibility of your gym. Practice the techniques you drill in live sparring
If you’re wondering how long it will take for you to master your martial before you can become an instructor, check out a post I made called How Long Does It Take To Master A Martial Art? In the post, I detail how you can speed up your progress, and how to identify good instructors.
As I’ve already mentioned, live experience and extensive knowledge are the most important parts of being an instructor. Assuming you have both of these, what are the next steps towards becoming an instructor?
Next, you should decide whether to teach at someone’s
This way, as time passes, your instructor will know you’re serious about the martial
However, if you feel that you are easily able to convey your knowledge of martial arts to other people, then you should start your own gym. Of course, there are a lot more responsibilities to consider when running your own gym.
Firstly, you will have to be able to convey your credibility to potential students before they even step foot in the gym. This means publicizing your experience and authority in martial arts on your website and social media. This includes mentioning your accomplishments and accolades in the martial art, as well as those of your trainers.
As a gym owner, you will also need to have students sign a consent form, in case anyone gets hurt. Of course, having a good reputation of non-injured students is just as important. Then you can set prices, outline your class structure and schedule,
As you probably know, there are may martial arts that don’t have a belt ranking system, the prime examples being boxing and MMA. Given that you can’t gauge someone’s experience as quickly as you could in a ranked martial art, it is more difficult to determine if someone is better than you.
The great thing about boxing is that if you think you are better than someone, you can just spar them!
In boxing, it is very easy to spot people who don’t have a clue what they are talking about. This is because sparring is very common, and sparring will instantly let you know if a person is better than you or not. If you have a boxing instructor, there is a very big chance that they have a professional record, or at the very least, amateur experience.
If you want to become an instructor in
That’s the reason why Jiu-Jitsu expert Garry Tonon began competing as a professional MMA fighter. Garry has stated that he began fighting because it would give him credibility, and it would be easier for his students to trust him since he has done it himself.
You will likely become an instructor in the same way you would any other martial art. That is first by gaining experience yourself, then helping out other less-experienced students, and lastly, getting the recognition of your instructor as a trainer. Learning Muay Thai is a quicker process than a martial art such as Jiu-Jitsu, something I address in the post How Long Does It Take To Get Good At Muay Thai?
If you’ve been paying attention to the rest of the post, then you already know the two things I’m going to say: experience and knowledge. But believe
As mentioned before, a belt ranking is a good way to gauge this. However, how do you know if that belt was genuinely earned, and not just ordered off Amazon? Or what if they don’t wear their rankings in your gym?
Well to confirm your instructor’s authority in the martial art, you will have to look at their history. First, look to see if they have competitive experience. The best proof of credibility would be competing in MMA, whether as a pro or an amateur. If they don’t have MMA experience, then the next best thing is full-contact competition.
This means real, live competition where the two competitors are actively trying to beat the other, and where there are real consequences to their mistakes (such as getting hit or submitted).
However, not all instructors will have
The best way to do this is to
Then compare their technique to that of an MMA fighter who successfully landed the attack. If your instructor’s technique is similar to the real thing, then they most likely know what they are talking about.
I would also read reviews about the gym, and hear other’s opinions. With the growing popularity of MMA, fake martial arts black belts have been exposed by their own lack of competitive experience. Martial artists are very passionate about teaching real-life skills, so asking noteworthy individuals in the community about a certain gym is a good way to know if it is legit.
In conclusion, a black belt is a good way to gauge someone’s experience, but only if it is legitimate. Although your instructor will probably be a black belt, it is not necessarily a requirement, as anyone can teach martial arts, as long as they have the right knowledge and experience. Thanks for reading!