martial arts school

I've operated a martial arts school full time for 45 years. I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I'm still in business, I believe, is I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this column, I'll point out key mistakes I made in my career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. And I'll share the solutions I used to overcome them.
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Why did you begin teaching the martial arts?
I always wanted to be a teacher, and nothing seemed as rewarding as teaching martial arts. The martial arts combine many different disciplines: history, philosophy, kinesiology, wellness and more.

What is your school name and how did you choose it?
My school name is Rising Phoenix Martial Arts. I chose this name because my students, like the phoenix, ascend from their former conditions and become stronger than before.

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Why Every School Owner Must Have These Insights From Zen Planner!

Zen Planner's passion to power the martial arts experience for owners, instructors and students is palpable. That urgency to serve especially shines through in its Annual Martial Arts Benchmark Report. Zen Planner recently published its fourth report, and the company regards it as the strongest and most comprehensive edition yet. The purpose of the report is to lead martial arts school owners through every aspect of their business by combining unparalleled data with expert insights and actionable takeaways.

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"You cannot make students attend class if they aren't in town, but you can make your best effort to get them back when school resumes."

As the weather gets warmer, we're reminded that summer is right around the corner. This change of the seasons needs to be the focus of our attention. Yes, some schools do perfectly fine and even thrive during June, July and August, but in general, summer is not the best time for martial arts schools.

To find a solution, you have to start by understanding why summer can be troublesome. One, you're no longer competing with other sporting activities and school. You're competing with longer daylight hours, which means you're competing with the pool, the backyard slip-and-slide, and other spontaneous "summer-only" diversions that can seem more tantalizing than does training.

Two, people frequently take vacations during some or all of the summer. If they aren't in town, it's hard to have them in your class.

Once you recognize those two issues, you can work to minimize the damage. Below are eight ideas to help make summer great.

1. Know when every student will be traveling.

Have a phone call, text and postcard ready for them — adults and children alike — before they leave and when they return. Even better, send them something while they're away so they know they're missed. You cannot make students attend class if they aren't in town, but you can make your best effort to get them back when school resumes.

2. Hold School's Out and Welcome Back Parties.

You need to determine if you want to charge for these events, offer them for free or maybe make the "fee" something like bringing a friend. You'll give your members a great experience to remember right before they go on an extended break, and you'll have a great event lined up to entice them back.

3. Hold your tests close to summer break

You don't want students to miss testing and use that as an excuse to not return. By having a test close to the break, you'll motivate them to return and continue training — while wearing that new belt they just earned.

4. Host family-and-friends events.

These get-togethers do two things: They keep the people who have remained in town involved, and they give you the opportunity to get new members in the form of family add-ons.

5. Host events that "work" with summer.

Organize a workout in the park or even in your parking lot. Schedule a trip to the beach or a morning jog followed by a martial arts lesson. People want to be outside during summer, so help them.

6. Organize camps.

These can last less than a full day and focus purely on martial arts. Or you can stretch them to a full day and include non-martial arts games and activities. Either way, they're a great retention tool.

7. Think of the parents.

Make sure the air conditioning in your school is pumping out good, cool air. It's fine if your students train hard and work up a sweat, but their parents might be coming home from a day of work and likely won't appreciate getting an unwanted sweat session when they come to watch their kids practice.

8. Motivate your staff.

Of course I have an agenda with this one, but it's crucial. Summer break is a great time to do something special for staff motivation, and once school is back in session and the busy season is upon you, it becomes hard to find the time for a break. Enter the Martial Arts SuperShow!

The annual Las Vegas event can provide you and your people with a break from the daily routine and a chance to recharge. While doing this, you'll receive one of the best educational experiences our industry can provide.

There's plenty of time to implement the advice offered here, as well as sufficient time to register for the Martial Arts SuperShow. But don't wait. Sign up for the SuperShow and start planning your summer today. masupershow.com

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Whenever I meet aspiring multi-school owners and they find out that I have 14 schools, the questions start to fly: Where do you find the staff to run that many schools? How do you manage them? How much do you pay your instructors?

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