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MATA and SFIC Team Up to Provide Answers About Martial Arts School Insurance

by | Offline Marketing & Sales

Setting Expectations for Martial Arts Students Upfront

Authority is highly influenced by emotion.

While your staff and students may intellectually understand that you are the boss and master instructor, they have to feel it, not think it.

It’s the emotional connection that anchors your authority on a deep level.

If there is one powerful moment in your role as a professional martial arts instructor, it’s in the enrollment conference.

While the parents may see you as the master black belt, they usually don’t have an authoritative reverence at this early stage.

The enrollment conference is a seminal moment for you to establish your authority and gain the respect and gratitude of the family you’re dealing with.

Presenting the programs and their cost to parents can be tense at times. Some parents want to negotiate. Others might object to the agreement. Some want a safety net in case their child wants to quit.

While it’s important that you are prepared to overcome any objections, it’s when the bottom line is signed and the initial investment is completed that you have a critical window to demonstrate your authority.

Many owners complete the transaction and gush with statements like, “Awesome. It’s great to have you on board. Johnny, you did an awesome job tonight. High five! Thanks Mrs. Jones it’s great to have Johnny as part of our family. Let me know if I can help with anything.”


Who has the role of authority here? Mrs. Jones and her credit card. That was a missed opportunity.

Let’s try again. You would adjust this script to the age and circumstance, but here is an authority template for the enrollment conference.

Mom has just enrolled Johnny into the program.

You, “Johnny. You want to learn Empower Kickboxing, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. I want you to understand that your mom just enrolled you into a six month program. You are going to learn a lot of great skills and lessons. It’s going to be fun and sometimes it’s going to be hard. That’s the good part because that means you’re learning. So you have to pay attention and practice at home 20-minutes a day when you don’t have class.

Are you going to work hard and practice?”

“Yes sir.”

“I’m glad. Your classes are Monday and Wednesday at 5pm. When are your classes?”

“Monday and Wednesday at 5pm.”

“Good. You’re a smart guy. That means that you have to be ready to come to class by 4:30 on Monday and Wednesdays so that you’re not late. Will you do that?”

“Yes sir.”

“No matter what you are doing, you will be ready by 4:30, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. The first lesson is integrity. Integrity means that you do what you say you are going to do. You keep your promises. You promise to work hard and be ready for class, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“No matter what you’re doing. Right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Great. We’re going to be so proud of you. Your mom just enrolled you, so please turn to her and say, ‘Thank you mom.”

“Thank you mom.”

“Alright. When someone does something good for you, you always say thank you. That’s called gratitude. What’s it called?”


“Correct. So you’ve learned two important lessons today. Integrity and gratitude. What does integrity mean?

“Keeping your promises.”

“Yes. What does gratitude mean?”

“Saying thank you.”

“You got it! You are going to do great, I can tell already.”

“Remember, your class is…”

“Monday and Wednesday at 5pm.”

“When will you be ready to come to class?”


“You have a good head on your shoulders Johnny. You’re going to be good at this.”

“Because you’ve showed your mom gratitude and you’re going to keep your promises, here is a school t-shirt for you to wear. Every time you put it on, I want you to think of integrity and gratitude. Will you do that?”

“Yes sir.”

“I just gave you a shirt. How do you show gratitude?”

“Thank you sir.”

As taught in the MATA Certification program, it’s also a good idea to let mom know that it’s important that she control what Johnny is doing around 4:30 which is the agreed upon to be ready for class.

If Johnny is playing with his friends or deep in a video game, it’s going to be harder to get him to get ready than if he is cleaning his bedroom or something he’d like to leave to go to class.

Keep in mind that mom is watching this happen before her eyes. What have you done to establish your authority?

  1. You’ve provided her with a language pattern that both her and Johnny understand. This is huge.
  2. You’ve given mom the “integrity” framework to deal with any reluctance to go to class.
  3. You’ve provided her with a strategy to engage Johnny in less fun activities so that going to class is an easy decision.
  4. You’ve laid out when Johnny should get ready for class without complaint.
  5. Before her eyes, you taught her son important lessons with real world examples. No doubt, your authority sky-rocketed in her eyes and in her heart.

Look for places where you can make these kinds of strong emotional connections.

Demonstrate true authority and leadership. That will last much longer than a trite, shallow compliments like “Awesome! Good job.”

This will help your students to understand how and why they are training with the best school.

See our comprehensive library of Martial Arts School Insurance Information and Interviews.

Martial arts school insurance is something that school owners know they need, but are not sure how much or what type of insurance they need.

A new strategic partnership between the Sports and Fitness Insurance Company (SFIC) and the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association seeks to educate and prepare school owners and instructors for the potential liabilities they face while teaching self-defense and martial arts.

John Graden is the founder of MATA and the author of many books on how to run a martial arts school. Graden says, “It’s ironic that we teach that learning self-defense is like taking a personal insurance policy out on yourself. With the help of SFIC, now we can help our instructors truly protect themselves on a business level.”

Among the many topics related to insurance MATA and SFIC will post include: 

1. How much does martial arts insurance cost?

2. What does martial arts insurance cover?

3. Do I need martial arts insurance for my special events?

4. What insurance do i need to teach martial arts?

5. Do I need insurance for guest instructors?

6. How far back does my insurance cover me?

7. What are some little known martial arts lawsuit liabilities?

National Accounts Manager for SFIC, Jennifer Urmston Lowe, is the point person for this union. Lowe has been with SFIC as a licensed insurance agent, insuring health clubs and fitness studios since 1998. According to Lowe, “Lately we’ve seen a boom in the martial arts community. There seems to be a new school on every corner of towns across the country. With such a surge in popularity, instructors and owners not only need to know how to teach defense, they need to make sure they have one. We’re looking forward to working with John Graden and helping his organization get the information they need to make smart choices to reduce liability.”

For thirty years, SFIC has worked with both large and small health clubs and fitness studios, martial arts and dance schools and yoga and Pilates studios. They also insure individual fitness professionals, both personal trainer and group exercise instructors. SFIC is the Managing General Agent for Liberty Mutual Insurance for the fitness industry and are licensed in all 50 states. They write General Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella, Commercial Property and Workers Compensation insurance, along with Surety Bonds.

SFIC is also a founding partner of the Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) and dedicated to helping small business owners in the fitness industry succeed.

MATA has members in five continents and covering nearly every style and system of the martial arts.

This partnership will kick-off with a series of online webinars in 2015 with the inaugural topic of “Decoding the Insurance Mystery” and will continue with other relevant and informative topics for martial arts owners and instructors throughout the year.

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