Martial Arts Instructor News and Articles

John Graden

John Graden

Executive Director

John Graden led the martial arts into the modern era by creating the first professional association, trade journal & instructors certification program.

Get a Great Looking Website at

The first 2.6 seconds a visitor spends on your website determines their first impression. British researchers analyzed how different design and information content factors influence the trust of business websites.

The study showed clearly that the look and feel of the website is the main driver of first impressions.

Great design gets people to trust you and to stick around. Poor design creates mistrust and makes people leave. First impressions are formed in milliseconds.

The first second on your website matters more than all other seconds that follow. Make sure your site makes a great first impression.

First impressions are most influenced by the visual appeal of the site.

This means that within a fraction of a second, half of all your visitors decide that they can’t trust you – purely based on what they see, and not what you say. You can’t afford to be losing half your site visitors every day.

And according to 3M, human beings process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Invest in a well-designed website and find a photographer in your school’s circle to take great pictures of:

  1. Happy, smiling students
  2. School Interior
  3. School Exterior

You can use your phone if you have to, but you DO NOT want to use stock images. Stock photos look fake. People can spot them a mile away.

The better the pictures, the more attractive your school will be.  Your photos can go a long way toward communicating an authentic, solid first impression. The key word is authentic. When a visitor sees the same stock images on three sites in the area, your trust level plummets.

Understand that just having a website is not enough. You can have the best-looking school but if it’s out in the desert people will not find it. You have to invest in SEO so that people searching for martial arts will see your website on the first page of the search results.

Notice Tyson’s hand is by his face, not his hip.

His chin is down instead of up.

His shoulder is up instead of pulled back.

His body is sideways to his opponent instead of squared off.

His legs are under his body not spread apart like he was riding a horse.

With this kind of form, he would fail his orange belt exam in most schools. 

How does that make any sense?

Sensei Tyson?

If Mike Tyson or a world champion kickboxer came to your school to teach your black belts. What do you think he would work on? Double punches, square blocks, and keeping your chin up?

I’m pretty sure he would emphasize head movement, how to snap your punches and a defense that does NOT include pulling your punch back to your hip.

I’m sure the students would learn advanced applications to adjust for different fighters. Notice I said advanced applications, not advanced strikes.

When you focus on application, you can apply that to almost any technique.

For instance, if the drill is about how to fight a taller fighter, the answer is more about footwork to stay on the outside until you can secure quick access. My brothers are 6′ 3″ and 6′ 4″ so I know something about fighting a taller opponent.

Drills that teach that application do not require complexity. They require simplicity.

The more complex a skill becomes, the less chance it can be used. Have you ever seen a double punch? Only in kata and here:

If you eliminated all kata and traditional skills, you could devote that time to drills and conditioning that would give your students a true advantage in sparring or self-defense.

Imagine teaching fewer skills that are easy to teach and learn than traditional skills and kata.

You could spend more time on the application of those skills rather than stepping up and down the classroom and holding blocks and punches out in the air, which leaves you wide open for a counterattack.

Rather than spending student’s time with the complexity and frustration of spending years perfecting the bad habits of pulling their hand back to their hip, keeping their chin up, aiming and holding a punch in the air, and blocking with power while stepping forward, your retention will improve. Your student quality will improve. Your curriculum consistency will improve.

This is the core of our white to black belt curriculum Empower Kickboxing.

It’s an old saying, but true. “Less is best.”

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