All engines are running, and we have LIFTOFF!
We held our first Presas Arnis class at Elite Dragon Martial Arts in Blue Springs, MO this week.
We started with nine students in the program, which is a goodly amount for what is essentially word-of-mouth within the existing martial arts school population. We haven't even started real advertising for it yet, so I'm super-pleased at the initial turnout.
Our class consists of mostly adults and teenagers, with a few younger students allowed either by my personal assessment or with a parent. My intention is that this will be a teens/adult class, and that turned out to be the case here. Most of the students have martial arts experience but we have one with none.
It's a fantastic mix of students. I'm very pleased.
We started them out banging sticks right out of the gate with double-stick single sinawali. It's an easy pattern to pick up on, and some of our students had learned it already (due to participation on Elite Dragon's demo team - they're adding in Presas Arnis stuff to their demo set so I've been working with them for the past few weeks). We had the familiar sound of banging sticks and a slight whiff of burning rattan early.
Then we worked the 12 Angles of Attack of Modern Arnis in various ways - standing in place, walking forwards and backwards, right handed and left handed, and even "random numbers". They nailed it! I'm so proud of how well they all caught on.
Although there is an easier set of 8 strikes we could teach, we're using the 12 Angles in this class. Most of the folks we train with outside of our school in the area also use the 12 Angles, so it's easier to use the same "language" they do (and we will cross-train outside our school a lot).
Our class is 1-1/2 hours and it just flew by. It was over before I knew it.
I tried to make sure we kept everyone moving most of the time, but not overwhelm them with too much, too early. The goal is to keep them engaged but not blowing their minds too much so they don't feel like they can't keep up.
The first level of our curriculum is supposed to be completed relatively quickly - it's all about getting comfortable with sticks (handling them, swinging them, controlling them, and having them come at you), very basic core concepts they can practice solo, and safety.
If this group practices like I've advised them to do - they have "homework" from each class - I think they'll progress really quickly and we'll be in the next level before we know it.
Then the real fun begins, and they'll be addicted to Presas Arnis... forever!
I wrote how nervous I am getting this program off the ground. I'm still nervous and feeling the weight of responsibility, but I don't think the first class could have gone any better than it did, so I'm really hopeful for the future. In fact, if we get many more students, we might outgrow the room we're in, which is an awesome problem to have.
I didn't think to get any pictures but someone else did and I hope to share some of those by Friday's "Stick Chicktivity" post. So keep an eye out if you're interested.
Liftoff went without a hitch. Now the real work begins.
Tell us about a time when you started teaching a martial arts class. Did you start it from scratch, or did you inherit one? How did you make sure you got off on the right foot of training? What pitfalls should we look for when we start a class? Let us know in the comments!