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Karate Instruction Has it Right!!!

Written by Darren deMaille

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Posted on January 03 2020

If you have never watched a Ted Talks video, you have to get out from under the rock you have been living.  They are inspiring and insightful.  Years ago I watched a topic on how schools are teaching the wrong format, and should be using a mastery based approach. 
https://www.ted.com/talks/sal_khan_let_s_teach_for_mastery_not_test_scores?language=en

The concept was that if a student gets a 95 on a test, that would be consider excellent and satisfactory for the student to move on to the next subject.  However, the flip side is that the student missed five percent of the material, which in theory would be needed as the next subject is approached.  If this is done several times then the down the road picture is diluted. 

This is how they do it in Karate, you must master one belt before you move on to the next.  Here is how we can relate it to golf...

  • White -  Identifying the task
  • Yellow - Understanding the task
  • Orange - Performing the desired task without the golf club or the ball
  • Green - Adding the golf club to the desired task
  • Blue - Including the golf ball
  • Purple - Addressing the task to a target
  • Brown -  Testing the task to different targets with different instruments 
  • Red - Taking it to the golf course 
  • Black- (Athletic Greatness!) Playing on the course with Pressure

Most golfers will take a lesson and then skip to a red belt and wonder why they cannot translate it on the golf course.  It is no surprise if you think of it in the terms of mastery, because you can not jump over the necessary steps in between.  Occasionally students might get to a certain level and need to regress back. 

We fall in and out of habit everyday.  A white belt would never try to spar or "Kumite" with a red belt.  However golfers do it everyday.  Golf is a difficult skill to learn as is everything that is worthwhile.  It then becomes a bit messy as we learn and at some point will become easy, however you must go through the correct process in the first place. 

Darren deMaille, PGA