The Cycle Of Considerations - More Than Combat

By Dennis Lawson
Published on Oct 14th, 2015

As a martial artist, teacher, or studio owner are you as effective as you'd like to be? Sometimes, you don't need to look any farther than you own Art for a more effective direction. Kenpo's Cycle of Considerations is an excellent guide for success in a combat situation; it can also serve as a guide to propel your personal art, your teaching, and your studio toward a higher destination.

We'll start, as the Cycle does, with Attitude. Learn to generate a bias toward action. Complacency directly interferes with progress. When presented with a challenge, deal with it directly. Learn to pay attention to the results you’re getting. Results are more important than any ideal goal you may have set. Figure out what's happening and make any necessary changes to improve the process. Whether it’s your personal art, your teaching skills, or even, the appearance of your studio - if you perceive an issue - Take Action!

Next, do you create a studio environment where students and their family members feel supported and safe? Business writer and consultant, Ken Blanchard believes, "People want to be magnificent, you just need to give them room and opportunity to make it happen." As a teacher, are you more of a coach or a critic? Are you only critical with your students? Is that also how you talk to yourself in your own mind? Get rid of these negative messages that dry up the well of motivation for both you and your students. Recognize good work; whether by you or your students. Express your appreciation out loud, but don't hesitate to take action when performance stumbles.

The Dimensional Stages of Action refer to how close you are to your opponent. So, how close are you to your students? When was the last time you had a lesson with a skilled instructor? What about your personality? Are you approachable or aloof? Get involved with your students. Attend a PTA meeting or a school play. Become more familiar with the other businesses in your community. Join the Chamber of Commerce or another business group. This way you can gain insights from other business owners and from your students.

Maneuvers are methods of closing or increasing distance. At a business meeting or party, do you come off as friendly or unapproachable? Or worse, do you have a "used car salesman's persona “where you're always selling? Instead of the old salesman's ABCs (Always be Closing - sales), Always be Opening! All people are interesting. Just allow yourself to be interested in who they are, where they come from, what they believe, etc. Stop selling and have a genuine conversation!

Targets-here's where you set your goals. Goals need to follow the SMART acronym (See Lela Simon's article on SMART goals). How often do you review the progress you've made in your personal and business goals? I recommend a quarterly review. 90 days allows time for accomplishing short term goals and gives you the opportunity to make corrective adjustments 3 or 4 times during each year. Also, are you coaching your students to set their own personal goals?

A weapon, in this instance, refers to the methods you'll use to reach your desired goals (targets). For example, if you or one of your students desire weight loss, your weapons would include reduced calorie intake and increased physical activity. If your goal is to bring in more money or students to your studio, you'll need to alter your marketing "weapons". You may want to consider other ways to increase business - make a "Back to School" retail push or create short courses for the local YMCA or community center.

Your angle is your branding. To firm up your unique brand answer the following questions: What makes your approach to teaching the martial arts different from the other studios in your area? What makes you unique as a teacher? Once you have a concise answer, ask, how do I get this message out to the community?

Cover refers to the overall impression your studio, its instructors, and your students give to the community. This overall impression involves both the local martial arts studios (your competitors) and, especially, the non-martial arts community (your potential clients).

Finally, don't hesitate to look outside your Art for ideas to improve your business, your teaching, or yourself. The world is full of new and innovative approaches, whether from business, education, government, etc. Use these ideas to - Push Your Limits!

Filed under Philosophy and Opinion

Author Bio :: Dennis Lawson

Dennis Lawson has trained for 4 decades in Ed Parker's Kenpo. During his varied career, Mr. Lawson has been an IKKA Regional Director for Region #3, has acted as Master of Ceremonies for the International Karate Championships, and has published numerous articles in publications for the International Kenpo Karate Association, The Martial Arts Learning Community (TheMALC), and Kenpo 2000.

Mr. Lawson has had the opportunity to study other Martial Arts and holds advanced rank in Aikido and Takemusu Aiki Budo. Dennis taught, competed in, and promoted events in the New Orleans area for 20 years. Among his list of favorite achievements is choreographing and performing Kenpo for the Dance Council of New Orleans. His academic background in psychology and love of music allow Dennis to offer a unique and entertaining approach to tailoring "the Art" to the individual. Dennis has taught seminars in Ireland, Jersey Channel Islands, The Netherlands, Portugal, and throughout the United States.

Dennis holds a Sixth Degree Black Belt in Ed Parker's Kenpo and was awarded the title “Professor” under the auspices of The Martial Arts Learning Community (TheMALC). Mr. Lawson was inducted into the International Black Belt Hall of Fame as Master Instructor of the Year for 2006.

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