It can definitely be hard to find someone who has all the qualities of being a good instructor. You can’t really tell how they’ll perform, apart from good referrals. A good instructor should be positive, enthusiastic, and supportive, which are infectious qualities that will be passed down to other instructors and most importantly their students. They should be someone who you can trust, who is focused, results-oriented, competent, observant, respectful, and knows how to communicate well.

Fighters who used to fight professionally make great instructors, as they have taken the journey that your students are about to take, and probably are the ones that can benefit you. Here are 10 of the biggest reasons why these fighters make great instructors.

1) They understand the sport and have practiced it themselves to demonstrate effectively

Old fighters have the ability to teach effectively, and know how to adapt to a fighter according to their ability to progress. They’ve been down that road before and will be acutely aware of their students’ limitations, as well as their strengths.

2) They are attentive to news about martial arts, and are always in the loop on the subject

An instructor knows a lot about martial arts and about several sports related to martial arts. It is important to continuously document and learn about new workouts, the latest news in their discipline, and anything related to it. This will make them highly competent in every aspect of their martial art, and their students will definitely see that they know their stuff.

A good instructor also knows what they do not know. They would always ask advice from other instructors and past high-level fighters, to further their knowledge, which will be passed on to their students.

3) They share knowledge, and high-quality transmission to the fighter is always important

From their many years of experience, a good instructor can explain in full detail about the training to his fighter so they understand and are able to do the exercise again alone.

4) They can be dynamic and inspiring. Be positive and motivating

When you have a positive attitude, it becomes infectious to the people around you. The ability to motivate is a key factor in the success of his fighter. A good instructor knows how to create the desire to excel among its fighters. If they’ve achieved much success in their professional history, they’ll also be a source of inspiration and for their students.

5) They know their fighters well. It’s a relationship based on trust and mutual respect

The bond between a fighter and their instructor should be stronger than any bond. They will know each other’s strengths and weaknesses intimately. Old fighters have been in their students’ shoes before, so they will have a better understanding of what they’re going through.

6) They communicate and teach effectively.

A good instructor inspires respect. He explains clearly the objectives and leans on to the messages. He recognizes success, and does not denigrate failure, only seeing it as a learning experience. Past fighters will have years of experience under different coaches and types of training, and will be able to apply this experience to their own personal teaching style.

7) They listen to their fighters and always be patient with them

A good instructor knows to listen to comments, questions and ideas from their fighters. Past fighters will have had experience on both sides of the equation – giving and listening to advice.

8) They know when to be right and enforce discipline

Competitions in martial arts are subject to rules. The instructor should ensure that the fighter respects them. Old fighters will have experienced working within these rules, and can offer advice and support on how to work with them.

9) They lead by showing example

It’s difficult for a student to be led and inspired by someone who hasn’t been on the same path as they have. An instructor who has previously fought in the big leagues will definitely be a case of leading by example, as they’ve already gone down in the trenches and risen up the ranks.

10) Show their passion for martial arts

Ultimately, an instructor must be passionate. And what more passionate purveyor of the martial arts could there be than someone who had once fought for a living? The incredible passion of former fighters will bleed into their students.

It’s not the number of years you have, but the diversity of your experience in different situations. Overall experience helps tremendously because the instructor does not just explain how to make a perfect movement – he demonstrates it to you with excellent form.

An inexperienced instructor does not know what is to fight with fear in stomach or to have tired arms. He’s never lived it and wouldn’t know how to communicate to help you to excel. They don’t know how to analyze whether your jab is powerful enough, or if your stamina is good.

An instructor who once fought for a living will be able to do these and more, and can uplift their students to new heights by passing on the product of their years of experience. Few could lay such claims of greatness.