Late last year our club organised another English Karate Federation Coaching course. It was run by Sensei Harold Stephenson, aided by Teesside University Lecturer Sensei Ciaron Flood, both from the TASK association. I think having an assessor come in from another association worked really well, it gave us a fresh perspective and for me personally (as the admin for the club) it was like being audited – were we doing everything we should be? I don’t think an in-house assessment has the same effect.
The event was just a refresher for the five senior club instructors (But we still learned a lot!) but it also allowed us to get two of our up and coming guys qualified as Level 1 Coaches. We’ve now got seven fully qualified Karate instructors at Hartlepool Wadokai.
The instructors are:
Lynne Jorgeson, 4th Dan; Michael Jorgeson, 2nd Dan; Carl Jorgeson, 3rd Dan; Amy Jorgeson, 2nd Dan; Vince Dawkins, 1st Dan; Beth Gray, 1st Dan; Roy Salmons, 2nd Kyu.
We’ve also got a number of junior instructors at the club too, though they are too young to take the EKF qualifications at the moment.
I know that some of the ‘old boys’ of Karate think that these types of qualifications are worthless in the dojo and to some extent I do actually agree with them. Will these pieces of paper make any of our club coaches better? probably not. Though our club has a very thorough coach development system in place and a very strong partnership with the Hartlepool College of Further Education and The Hartlepool Sporting Association, two of our coaches have also got degrees in Sports Coaching – so I’d say we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to best practise etc…
What these qualifications do though, is ensure that Karate clubs are meeting a minimum safe standard and are operating properly and this can’t be a bad thing for Karate. It also ensures that coaches have the basic tools to teach – If we can’t pass on what we know effectively then the Martial Art/Sport is dead. I think every ‘Sensei’ should achieve these qualifications as a minimum and hope to see more of these courses run in the future by the EKF.
Having a black belt around your waist doesn’t mean you know how to teach and it certainly isn’t a coaching qualification.
This aspect of Karate training is just as important as the technical side so don’t neglect it!