How to Set Up a Successful Martial Arts School
So the feeling is right and you are thinking the time has come for you to finally start your journey by building something yours… You think you have something unique to give, as unique are your Martial Skills: isn’t all this exciting? Before this excitement takes you to the highest levels of success, we would like you to hold that thrill a tiny bit longer, just as you wouldn’t rush in a fight without first having a strategy plan.
Yet another Martial Arts Club. The truth is that there are way too many Martial Arts Schools out there: the offer is enormous, and for your new born School to stand out the crowd you have to get into your mind the most critical factor of all: Uniqueness.
Two Paths, One Big Goal. There are two ways to express your uniqueness: first, by providing unique skills, second by focusing on how this distinctiveness of yours is brought to your Students.
Put yourself into the head of a potential student: what will drive him to that school rather than another one, regardless of the style being taught?
Maybe your style is popular enough for making your School known and famous in the very first months of its life; in this case there’s not much to say: good luck, as this our best wish to you. Why bother reading through these words? We have the right reason for you: it’s called perfectionism, or doing things the Martial Way.
DISCLAIMER: If you decide to keep reading through these words, be prepared not to learn HOW to set up a successful Martial Arts School, but WHY doing it. Discerning between how and why will help you in this huge turning point in your life, and hopefully will save you from some sleepless nights.
An Odyssey you have to be ready to adventure in. If right now I am inviting you to keep reading through these words of mine, it is not for my ego, but for showing you that, regardless of the style you are about to teach, several will be the enemies you will have to defeat – not just face – if you want your School to be successful. After all, dealing with enemies is in the nature of a Martial Artist, isn’t it? So we can say that the first problem is solved, as a true Martial Artist first wins, then fights.
Just be ready to everything, as your new idea will follow the duality of the Dao: up’s and down’s.
Key factors to consider when setting up a Successful Martial Arts School.
First: Ask yourself Why.
Is this because you want to give people something, or because you want to prove your neighborhood, relatives and circle of friends, that you are a tough guy? Maybe both, but if the second reason is more compelling (and only you, deep inside your heart, know it), then you may remember these words:
Ego produces Ego, and though you might be a super skilled Martial Artist, you are about to serve your Students a poison for their character, especially when dealing with children.
Charisma is a nice feature if you have got some, but your Students may not see the real purpose of your selfish mission, and by following you as their Mentor they might wish to become what a true Martial Artist shouldn’t: a person full of himself, or even worse a tool to show off. We wish you will follow the true Code of the Martial Artist, and that your ambitions on your Students be always genuine.
Will you see your Students as Persons or Notes?
When I am asked “how’s the business going?” I simply smile, as I don’t consider my Academy a business: if I wanted to become rich, I would have kept my IT job, but since I decided to embrace a different lifestyle, being aware of the price I’d have to pay, I don’t like when people address the world I have built with my hands just as “a business”: I’d rather call it “mission”. Why? Because you don’t become rich by teaching Martial Arts. And this is something you should keep in mind when wondering how to set up a successful Martial Arts School, unless you are weak enough to let your eyes see your Students as walking notes and coins, which ultimately is your choice – but says a lot about your ultimate goal in setting up a School.
Not just a Shed with two Punch-bags.
Let’s focus for a second on the nature of your idea: everybody, from friends to relatives, will soon ask you “How’s the business?”. Again, it’s NOT!. You are in primis a Martial Artist, not a business man, which makes you an all-round person, with a wider sense of things and, according to this, you should act as such.
Don’t just hire a shed, install two punch-bags and start teaching. You only have one chance, so do it once, do it well.
First thing: the place.
Your objective must be driving people to wonder “Ah, so he really believes in it, look at this dojo!”; the rest will come by itself, because it’s not just skills you are providing, but the quality and the care that will constantly pop up in people’s mind by saying “hey, this guy is serious”.
When I first opened my Martial Arts School, I thought all it mattered was just pure skills.
No thought was more wrong
That very day I retired from everything, set down, closed my eyes, and started to write down a list of all my skills, and whether I could blend them together to make my School unique. The result? I built my Dojo from scratch, and whatever I couldn’t possibly do by myself – well – I learned to make it, and I made it just come true. Your School must be the expression of yourself, of your never-ending desire to learn, just as in Martial Arts, just as in life. Don’t be afraid of failure, as it’s just one more step towards success.
Will it be your full-time Job or something to do at the end of your working day?
Determined that it’s very hard, nowadays, to open a Martial Arts School and having it as a sole source of income, without introducing comprehensive activities with the help of other skilled Professionals, you might be one of the lucky few ones who:
- is skilled enough to be a Martial Arts Champion.
- has chosen a style that is cool at the moment, but even here, you must provide something different for standing out from thousands of others similar clubs.
- is wealthy enough to own a place and not having the pressure of paying the rent at the end of the month or week (sorry the frankness, but this aspect counts).
- is incredibly able to promote his Art as something that people must have because of his ability in selling it. Don’t forget the law of attraction: Charisma is a magnet. Quietness is a repellent. And not always charisma matches with true Mastery.
The ultimate Secret for making your School last Forever.
Unfortunately Martial Arts are that portion of the market that mostly relies on what’s of more effectiveness is out there. This concept is based on two of the most basic human instincts: competition and compliance to the rule of the strongest.
You are not selling food: you are providing a service based on, willing or not, the above two factors, so when potential Students approach your School, most of their mind will wonder:
Is that style more powerful than the one taught at that other school?
It’s basically just like purchasing a car: you are doing it because you need a means of transport, or because you want to confirm your place in society? We could extend this example to clothing, phones, houses…and talk for hours, but my point here is: regardless of what a potential Student wants to get from that School, from that Style or from that Master, one thing is certain: the choice of Style is extremely influenced by the market.
Keeping up with Change.
We already pointed out so many times that Change, as Martial Artists, is something that we have to deal with, adapt to, sometimes fight against if we want to survive. So, talking about your new School, are you ready to face the Challenge of Change? Today you might have hundreds of Students, but next year? Next ten years….?
Think about the Future, before the Future thinks about you.
Our final advice for your new mission of life is to put all you’ve got to offer in it, so Good luck with your new School, and welcome to the club of High Achievers