2012, Volume 8, Issue 4

Teaching in martial arts: the analysis and identification of teaching approaches in youth martial arts practice

Marc Cloes1, Jikkemien Vertonghen2, Marc Theeboom2

1Department of Sport Pedagogy, Université de Liège, Belgium, Department of Sport and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Liege, Belgium
2Department of Sports Policy and Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

Author for correspondence: Jikkemien Vertonghen; Department of Sports Policy and Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium; email: jikkemien.vertonghen[at]vub.ac.be

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Background and Study Aim: It is believed that martial arts can produce educational opportunities for youth. Therefore, some critical success factors have to be taken into account. One of these factors is considered as the type of guidance. However in martial arts, there is a lack of research examining the role of the martial arts teacher. Therefore, a study was set up to analyse different teaching approaches used in martial arts and to develop a framework aiming to identify these teaching methods.
Material and Methods: A multiple instruments research design was set up, in which 20 teachers in aikido (n = 5), karate (n = 5) or kick-/Thai boxing (n = 10) were involved. All of them were observed during a training session (i.e., informal interactive observation). Moreover, they were interviewed before and afterwards (i.e., pre-interactive and post-interactive interviews). The pre-interactive interview guide included questions regarding (a) the goal of teaching, (b) the didactical approaches, (c) the traditional aspects of martial arts, and (d) the problems encountered during training. During the post-interactive interview all subjects were asked to point out specific aspects of their teaching approach and to respond to an instrument specifically developed for this study, which consists of seven dimensions to identify different teaching approach (i.e., TAMA, Teaching Approach in Martial arts framework).
Results: Based on the total scores of TAMA, martial arts teachers were classified into three groups. Those with the lowest scores were classified as representatives of a traditional teaching approach, with medium scores as teachers using an educational sporting approach and with the highest scores as those using an efficiency approach. In short, teachers using a traditional teaching method emphasised traditional aspects and pedagogically oriented aims. Martial arts teachers situated in the educational sporting group were still focused on the traditional aspects, but considered martial arts rather more as a sport. And finally, the focus of teachers using an efficiency approach was on competition and the development of performing skills.
Conclusions: Differences are clearly identified in the teaching approach used by teachers of different martial arts (i.e., aikido teachers use a traditional approach while kick-/Thai boxing teachers show an efficiency approach), as well as within one martial art (i.e., karate teachers use all three approaches). The development of TAMA was the first onset to identify different teaching approaches in martial arts. In order to generalise the results of the present study further research is recommended.

Key words: martial arts, martial arts teacher, teaching, teaching approach, youth