Choose Your Teachers Wisely

This blog is a continuation of the blog "How to train less and improve more."

In my previous blogs I wrote about the importance of quality training, having an instructor that guides you on the right path, and being taught proper safety and technique. But how does a student choose their instructor? There are several factors that should go into picking the instructor that is right for you:

  1. The ability to teach

  2. Credentials/Experience/depth of knowledge

  3. Certifications

The ability to teach is probably the most important aspect when it comes to receiving quality training. Without this, it doesn't matter if that person is an ex-whatever, they will not be able to transfer the knowledge to you. People often times get sucked into courses/class because of the experience and credentials of the instructor.  Essentially, people want to train with "Mr. So & So" due to their brand name, not realizing that the quality of instruction is poor. Make sure your instructor is not just an instructor regurgitating curriculum, but a teacher being able to transfer deep understanding of the knowledge to you.

Experience gives depth to the curriculum. Does someone with no professional background in what they are teaching have the right depth of knowledge to really understand what they are teaching? Some examples are a mixed martial arts instructor that has never sparred or a defensive firearms instructor that never served in the military or as a police officer. It is important to understand that experience doesn't only mean practical application, but also in teaching. Instructing, is a skill that is constantly be improved. So,it takes a long time to become an good instructor and even longer to become a teacher.


I left certifications last for a reason. In today's world I have seen way too many weekend and online certifications. So in most cases they will not be good indicators of teaching ability, at least on the surface. You must dig deeper and inquire what the certifications include, how long they really are, and what are the requirements for receiving them.  However you should focus your decision on the prospective teacher’s ability to teach and experience.

Your final step is to meet with the instructor face-to-face, and try the class. First see that the class is taught in a safe and organized fashion. If it is a group class, ask the other students their thoughts on the instructor and the program. Finally, see that the curriculum is sensical, providing you with the skills you need to defend yourself.

Thank you for reading,

Ron Grobman

Founder | Chief Instructor 

Tactical Fitness

 Related reading: "The Craze of Military Style training: Good or Bad"

More on the topic: FitFluential Radio interview with Ron