Monday, 30 January 2012

Reflective practice

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I am currently attending university to further my experience within complementary therapies (check out November’s blog on the healing arts for more information on this); anyway, an important tool we use as therapists is reflection.

Reflective practice is about developing the “capacity to reflect on action so as to engage in a process of continuous learning”. It can be an important tool in developing knowledge and awareness about “the self” through experience rather than from formal teaching or knowledge transfer. There have been a number of models developed by various professionals based on reflective practice, some are pretty simple others not so much but I can recommend you take a few minutes doing a Google search of these. However, in my experience the Kolb learning cycle is one of the simplest out there.

Reflective practice can be a useful tool for the martial arts student and instructor alike. Looking at it from a student’s perspective first of all. As a student you could be asking yourself if you’re getting exactly what you want from your training, is the art you are training in tailored for your specific requirements? For instance, does your class train predominately for competition when your intention was to learn self-defence? If this is the case ask yourself why are you still training at the club. Is it because of cost, convenience or for the social side? There is nothing wrong with training at your club for any of these reasons, but if you’re really serious about your training you may want to reflect on this and look elsewhere.

As an Instructor, regardless of whether you do it on a professional basis or once a week, you should be reflecting after teaching each and every lesson you take. Did the lesson go as you planned?  If not, why not? If it did, what could you have done better? Did you get across the information you wanted to and are your students progressing as you would like, what can you do to improve on this?

Also look back at the training and type of instruction you received whilst working your way up through the ranks. Sometimes we are so busy trying to develop new and exciting training methods and drills we forget about some of the really good drills and methods that we were taught. Reflect back on your years as a student and see if you can bring any of this in to your classes.

Thanks again for checking the blog out, slightly off topic from developing self-defence skills but hopefully this may have got you thinking about how you can develop as an instructor. As always I welcome any comments or questions via email.

Till next time, train hard, train safe and have fun.

To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: You can e-mail Stuart at: