A WingTsun Trainer is in a wider sense a Personal Trainer. We state usually in our advertising that we teach individually in small groups as opposed to line-ups and military drills in sport-oriented martial arts. Besides that the main income for many WingTsun Trainer comes from giving private lessons.
Yet, the term Personal Trainer is mostly associated with Fitness Training.
So, we have to position ourselves, what a WingTsun Trainer stands for, what it means contrary to the typical picture of a tough martial arts instructor, yelling commands, expecting blind following of his students. We also have to understand, that following the EWTO & IWTA school regulations, we still provide a service similar to a Personal Fitness Trainer. We have to bridge the gap between maintaining our traditions, yet setting our standards in the Modern Multi-Million Dollar Personal Trainer business.
Multi-Million Dollar Personal Trainer business? Well, just check out the books available about personal fitness training, the TV infomercials, the web sites with on-line training. See the trends!
Personal training is not a new concept. It has been around since at least the 1950's and has changed for the benefit of all since then. A personal trainer with a solid client base can virtually earn as much money as they wish as long as they are willing to put forth the time and effort it takes to be the best.
The job description of a WT Trainer is very wide-ranging. First of all the WT instructor has to see that he ("he" represents both genders and can be used interchangeably with her/she) is in the same position as any other small business entrepreneur.
He has to uphold publicly, towards his students and other instructors/styles a professional image and the high standards of the WT education received. As well, he has to understand that he represents with his actions the IWTA, and the name and trademark WingTsun.
He has to maintain a regular teaching schedule, follow his commitments to his Instructor/s as well as to his students.
There are 10 criteria points for a good WT instructor:
- Natural Authority
- Talent to Teach
- Psychological Knowledge
- Superior WT Knowledge
- Superior WT Skills
- Knowledge of Didactic Methods
- Ability to Motivate
- Positive Attitude towards Students
- Reliability and Honesty
- Sympathetic and Compassionate Appearance
Here are some helpful pointers to assist you in your endeavor in being a successful Personal Trainer.
We have to be concerned with liability and professionalism. A WingTsun Trainer has to continue his studies to receive the proper technical and trainer certification. The training under the same organization enables one to have continuity between trainers.
People will get into the position to ask other WT Trainers questions, no matter how much they trust their own trainer, just to test or see if there is something they might be missing. It is important for all trainers in an organization to have respect for each other and to take extra care not to say or do anything that may cause another trainer or themselves to lose credibility. Yes - WingTsun is not just a trademark, it is a product!
- Excellent Communication Skills
You must have the ability to educate, encourage and empathize with your students. Educating your students is important and will help them stay enthusiastic.
Encouragement is the key to holding on to your students. If they feel excited about their training and see results they will continue to train. Another very important point is that they will tell others and you will have several student referrals, which is free advertisement. Mouth to mouth is actually THE best advertising!
- Commitment to Excellence
There is no substitute for hard work and dedication to your students. You have to be willing to commit yourself for the time promised and never be late for group-classes or private lessons. Schedule your appointments with 30 minutes in between just in case someone is late and your schedule gets backed up or one of your students needs a little extra time. Never cut the student's time short.
Treat your student as if your livelihood depends on his/her patronage, because it does! (Although, never beg for work.)
Explain with enthusiasm exactly what to expect from your teachings, basically selling yourself in a way he/she will feel excited about beginning, but never guarantee anything. Use terminology your client can understand and never talk over their head. (You are there to make them feel good, not ignorant.)
- Be Willing To Grow
You must expand your knowledge in many areas of WingTsun as well as different topics, don't limit yourself. Spend time in the library, on the Internet and subscribe to professional journals and related magazines. It's important to know what your students may be reading.
- Be A Friend
Pay attention to your student's special interests. Make an effort to remember what is important to them and be sensitive and respectful to their feelings. It often helps if you make notes and place them in your student's file once they have gone. Always review the file before the student arrives for their next private lesson to avoid any embarrassment and impress them with your (seemingly) great memory.
Always try to give your student your undivided attention. If you have your mind on other things the student will sense it and may feel hurt or unimportant to you. If you are in a situation where you can't give your student the support and encouragement they deserve, it is best to cancel (not making it a habit) and reschedule at a better time. Remember, your student will look up to you and sometimes put you on a pedestal so be careful not to fall off or you may lose them, and we all know bad news travels fast. It has been said that; If you do something great a customer will tell someone, but if you do something badly your customer will tell everyone they can.
- Always Listen
If your student complains about a nagging ache or pain be sure to be attentive to them (in what ever they are complaining about). Repeat contraindications of exercise often so your students will know if they are in danger of injury or a problem. Make sure you advise a visit to his or her physician if necessary and avoid trying to diagnose the problem at all costs. A small dose of sympathy or empathy is great but try to keep your sessions as positive as possible. Your student (if steady) will begin to relate how he/she feels about their self to your training abilities. If they feel down or uninspired at the end of their private lesson they may not come back.
- The Program
Depending on the number of private lessons you have sold your student you'll want to educate them in what they can expect in the time they have purchased. It would be advisable to sell package deals with a little discount to encourage more than one session. Also explain the importance of follow up evaluations and the connection and values of joining group-classes as well as private lessons. Make sure your student has the chance to see, do and feel the exercises especially when working with a beginner. Always demonstrate as well as explain an exercise to a novice.
Students with previous martial arts experience need to be re-taught or reprogrammed depending on who and where they got their information from.
Explain and follow the IWTA school regulations.
- A Business Plan
You will need to set short and long-term goals for your business. You need a place to work whether it is at a rented or commercial location, in your student's home or in your own house or apartment.
You must make yourself aware of legalities and insurance. Be careful not to over extend yourself with advertising your greatest advertisement will probably be word of mouth. If you don't have a business plan or credibility already it would be to your benefit to find some who does to seek advice, support and model yourself towards success.
Personal Trainers/ WingTsun Trainers/Martial Arts Instructors, however you call it, are facing more competition these days. Find out what it takes to be a success in this profitable business.
A Personal Trainer has to be a multi-talented entrepreneur. It takes more to earn a buck in today's market than brawn. A capable Personal Trainer needs to have the following:
- Education and Certification
- Communication Skills
- Commitment to Excellence
- Willingness for Growth
- Be an Educator
- Be A Good Listener
- Comprehensive Programs
- A Lot of Enthusiasm
- Good Example in Training Preparation and Duration
- A Good Business Plan
The specific picture of the WingTsun Trainer and his/her unique and extensive skills and knowledge will be part of another theory work. At the end only a few thoughts:
Both (trainer and student) have to be able to trust each other in training, personal development, guidance or even money issues. Both have to understand that this relationship has its limitations. Neither one should take advantage of each other, especially not to the extent of threats or sexual advantage.
Why is this mentioned? We work usually in very close contact. We "attack" the student with dangerous techniques, he has to trust us, know that we don't ever use them and always control them. The student is at times put under enormous pressure during Lat-Sao or Chi-Sao training.
A good Trainer has to know that there are 3 basic rules that enable our students to learn:
1. Intelligence, the ability to learn
2. Method, how he learns
3. Motivation, what "makes" him learn, train
Most talents disengage in their activities at one point due to a lack of motivation or intelligence. The instructor has to take his job seriously and set an example. On the other hand he has to lay down the rules (school regulations) and make them understood.
The appearance of the Trainer as example for the student is very often underestimated. It is common knowledge that he who identifies himself with the leader usually takes over all behavior patterns, attitude and not just the techniques.
Know or develop/find your own style on how to lead; as an authority, democratic or "loose" style. Know that no style is THE one in all cases. We teach the art of defense, the change of behavior pattern, exercises that could potentially lead to injuries. Then you have to lead with a strong hand, not allowing anything getting out of control.
Follow a cooperative style with very advanced WT students or instructors or when working with instructors of other styles.