Professional MaturityThis is the phrase we use often in the training I conduct. There are times the material being used far exceeds the maturity level, emotional mindset, and mental understanding of the student being trained. This can be due to any number of reasons like their age, education level, emotional and mental mindset and the list can go on.

Either way it's an issue that needs to be addressed early before the training initially starts, especially if you're teaching self-defense or defensive tactics that train others to respond to danger. If you overlook the students “Professional level of maturity,” there may be a chance you're teaching them something they cannot understand or comprehend and will miss use and conduct themselves inappropriately, without even knowing it.

I'm curious to know how other instructors gauges their student’s “Professional level of maturity.” Is it a question you ask? Is it an evaluation? Do you sit down with them and their parents if they are under age and come to rational understanding of what is being taught.

I use these 3 simple methods for gauging this.

1. Reviewing the “Letter of Understanding,” with them and their parents which outlines the importance purpose and intention of the training they are receiving
2. A few question and answer questions to establish their level of understanding and maturity level
3. Guided discussions with them to ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities of the training they are about to receive.

Some examples of this not being done before the training initiates are;

• Teaching the student an arm bar and the next day the parents tell you last night their son your students put his brother in an arm bar and broke his arms for not giving him the game controller.
• Teaching the students bo, staff or sticks and hearing from their parents the next day that while their child was at their friends home he grabbed a broom stick handle and cracked the neighbor’s rib for not giving him the ball for his turn.
• Teaching the student neck restraints and the following week you get a call from the them saying they have fractured the neck of a bully for calling him names

So be responsible of what and who you teach!

Dave Young, Founder and Director US Fighting Systems