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Grow Your Martial Arts School

Since 1993, MATA has been the must-have membership for martial arts school owners. Get all the tools, connections, and answers you need to succeed.

The Martial Arts Teacher of Teachers

“On his path of inspiration, motivation, and unparalleled success, John Graden has had a profound impact on the manner in which thousands of martial arts are operated worldwide.” — Martial Arts World magazine


Black belts working hard to create a great living for their families so they can focus on their passion for changing lives through their schools.

Earn more income

Learn how to create the revenue that you deserve for your hard work and the life-long benefits you provide your students.

Enroll more students

We’ll show you the programs to offer to move a stranger to a student and a student to a black belt and staff instructors.

Become the "go to" school

Learn how to become the school people think of and talk about when “martial arts” are mentioned in your town or area.

Recent MATA Certification Graduates

The MATA Instructor Certification Program provides teachers an effective process
to create and maintain a productive classroom environment.

“MATA is a professional and quality organization. I wanted my Instructors and myself to be certified by the best.”

— Sidney Burns, Blue Ridge Martial Arts

I am continually looking for ways to improve my teaching knowledge and the MATA Instructor’s Certification is one of the finest and most updated courses an instructor can take. I was impressed by the honesty of the content and detailed explanations of the various issues surrounding the teaching of Martial Arts these days.

“MATA is a professional and quality organization. I wanted my Instructors and myself to be certified by the best.”

— Sidney Burns, Blue Ridge Martial Arts

“Getting feedback on video from Mr. Graden was eye-opening. It was really helpful.”

Richard Brugger, Martial Arts for Life


Father Sues Karate School

Father Sues Karate School

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - A father alleges his son's leg was broken in a karate class in Feb. 2018 is suing the school. A father sued the school and his son's training partner, alleging they "negligently" caused his son's injury. The suit, filed in state Supreme Court,...

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Student Blinded by Injury Sues Instructor and Facility

Student Blinded by Injury Sues Instructor and Facility

A beginner student called by an instructor to participate in a sword demonstration instead got an accidental blade through the eye that pierced his skull and left him blind, paralyzed and brain-damaged, according to a $9 million lawsuit filed against the teacher and...

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A Lesson in Guns for Self-Defense

A Lesson in Guns for Self-Defense

https://vimeo.com/369583155 Live demo from COBRA-Defense Real Estate Agent Safety Seminar by Chris Sutton Here is a live demonstration of the realities of using a gun for self-defense. NOTE: The entire Real Estate Safety Seminar is available in the MATA Store. We see...

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The Ugliest Fitness Apparel

The Ugliest Fitness Apparel

Do you think the gi hurts or helps to promote martial arts to adults?

Play to listen. This was heard by approximately 14-million listeners.

The Gi is not an issue with kids as much as adults.

One of my schools was next to an aerobics studio. I was at lunch with the owner when she said, “Some of my students walked over and watched your class. One said, ‘That looks interesting.’ Another woman said, ‘Yeah, but look at what we’d have to wear.'”

That is not the only time that I’ve heard complaints about the gi.

I coined the term “black belt eyes” as the natural tendency for school owners to look at their school through the eyes of a veteran black belt instead of a potential student.

Many women WILL NEVER put a gi on and/or take a class in their bare feet.

That has NOTHING to do with “lack of discipline or tradition.” It’s pure black belt eyes. You came up wearing a gi and you like it. It’s what you’ve always worn to class.

Here are two of the latest examples of why the gi needs to go.

Video 1. Watch a nice BBC profile on a very pretty girl in a very ugly outfit.

Video 2. Listen to a short audio clip from Sean Hannity as he describes his MMA training to Bill O’Reilly, who teases him about his “little white outfit.”

Question: What do you think? Should the gi go?

Summer Camp Insurance

It’s very important if you’re holding a summer camp, to reach out to your agent and make sure that your current insurance policy will cover the summer camp.

Your martial arts insurance agent needs to know how many students are going to come and how many hours of the day they are going to stay there. 

If you are taking them off property, you need to tell your insurance company. Make sure your liability waiver states clearly that might be taken outside of the school walls.  

Make sure the parents are signing off that they know their child is going to be off premises. 

When you do have kids for summer camp, make sure to always have two adults in your group of kids. This is important for protecting yourself from sexual abuse or molestation claim.  

If kids are changing clothes, make sure kids of the same age are in the dressing room, changing clothes, versus, kids that are significantly older. 

Make sure that again you are aware of the need to protect the children and supervise the children at all times. 

Also, make sure you’ve done background checks on any extra instructors that are going to be helping you out in the summer.

It’s very easy to perform background checks online these days. Check every volunteer over age 18 that are working with your kids, and that they haven’t had any priors for abusing children. 

Keep a copy in your file that you did everything you could ahead of time to protect your students.

Many martial arts schools experience far more claims related to bodies of water than anything else. Most insurance policies do exclude communicable disease, so that’s something important to be made aware of in your waiver, that you’re telling the parents that the kids are going to be outside.  

Your liability is that you are prepared to administer first aid and that you are prepared to get that child safely the care that they need. 

Make sure your instructors have been trained in first aid and in CPR. Have an emergency plan if you’re taking kids off-site, how you are going to get them to the emergency room, if they fall and break something or if they get bitten by a snake, etc. 

Make sure whatever pool or a body of water you bring them to, has expert lifeguards there, and are trained to administer CPR. 

Summer camps can generate great revenue for your facility, expose new people to your facility, and get more students in the fall. Always be cautious and make sure you have spoken to your insurance carrier. 

Write down all the activities that they are going to do and disclose that to the insurance carrier and the parents.

If you’re going to make thirty or forty thousand dollars over the course of a summer camp and there is going to be an additional premium for two or three hundred dollars, it’s worth it to make sure you have coverage, for all these things that you want to do with kids that aren’t familiar with your normal business.  

Don’t take that liability on yourself. Communicate it to your insurance carrier and make sure they are covering you for those summer camps because they are an outstanding way to grow your business.

Summer camps are great for the kids, it’s great for the parents, it’s great for the business. Just do your homework ahead of time to know what you’re doing and communicate it to the parents and the insurance company.

A Typical Martial Arts Summer Camp Day

A Typical Martial Arts Summer Camp Day
Structure two classes per day each day with one class at 10:00 a.m. and the other to coincide with your after-school program from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm. On field trip days, you may only want to do one class for a total of 8 classes instead of 10.

Kids start to arrive at 7:30 – 8 am.

They can spend that time in quiet activities until the program officially starts at 9:00 with a morning snack. They will have to bring a snack or purchase a snack. It’s against code in most areas to provide snacks. Kids help to clean up.

10 – 11 am
Board games and a short movie or TV show will fill the time until the first martial arts class of the day. This is a martial arts class just like your evening classes.

11 – noon
Martial arts class.

12 – 12:30

12:30 – 1: 30
Downtime as kids watch a G-rated movie or play board games.

Maybe a field trip or a guest comes in to teach and speak with the children. Local police and firefighters are great options. Amateur magicians looking for stage time can work as well. Get creative.

4 – 5 pm
Second martial arts class of the day.

Clean up and prepare to go home. Pick-up is between 5:00 and 6:00 with a late fee for anyone after 6:15 of $3.00 for every 15-minute block of time. During the summer, you will have late drop-offs and early pick-ups, because of the nature of summer camp.

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