Info for Martial Arts School Owners and Instructors

The Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA) is a professional organization that helps martial arts school owners and instructors improve their teaching skills and grow their schools with proven marketing, management, and curriculum design.

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Leadership Team-Overview


white belt child kicks with instructor watching

Get Certified as a Martial Arts Instructor Online

MATA Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course

Module 21-The Proper Use of Student Instructors

by Scot Conway, Esquire

The $25,000 Volunteers

Excerpt from the Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course:

Using upper ranks to teach classes has been a long-standing martial arts tradition. But, is it legal?

A California instructor had his black belts teaching under-rank classes at his studio. In exchange, he no longer charged them tuition.

This continued until one fateful day when the owner and a black belt student had a disagreement.

The vindictive student contacted the California Labor Board and reported that his instructor had been employing assistants by requiring that they teach classes each week.

This can constitute an Employer – Worker relationship. The only thing missing was payment for the workers and the taxes the government would collect if they were being paid.

The State of California investigators concluded that the owner, over the years, had a total of 25 black belts teach classes.

They defined them as uncompensated employees, which is illegal under the laws of California, and fined the instructor $1,000 per incident.

The final bill: $25,000 for the volunteers.

Lesson: Know your state laws regarding utilizing assistant instructors.

Click to See All Leadership Team and Staff Articles and Files.

Here is the copy from our Leadership Team Handbook.

“Welcome to the Best of the Best”!

Your selection to our Leadership Team is the result of numerous meetings, discussions and ”spirited lobbying” by your instructors to narrow the choices down to you; the best of the best. Your acceptance of a Leadership Team position is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly.

We are totally dependent on our Leadership Team to help us maintain our, “Tradition of Excellence.” Our goal remains to provide the very best training for our students. This requires a motivated and talented leadership team.

As part of the tradition and heritage of the martial arts, students have always assisted the instructor to maintain the quality and integrity of the school. While we didn’t always have a title for the team, we had the desire to teach and the pride in our school to go the extra mile to insure our reputation as the best!

You too must have tremendous pride in your school and the desire to help others enjoy the benefits and excitement we offer. For this to happen, you must be very open minded and teachable. Teaching students our way requires very special qualities.

As a Leadership Team member, you will be trained in the art of communication. Much more than the technical skill of your sidekick, your skill as a successful communicator and motivator will determine your success as a teacher.


As a Leadership Team member, you will be “taken into the kitchen.” You will understand more about the actual operation and management of this school. While there is nothing to hide from anyone, we prefer that this information stay in our Leadership Team classroom and not find its way into the locker room.

Most people prefer not to know what goes on in the kitchen of a restaurant. All they want to see is the beautiful meal served. We are no different.

Leadership Team Responsibilities

Leadership Team members must accept fully the following responsibilities in order to maintain their Leadership Team status. Failure to perform in these areas must result in the stepping down of a Leadership Team member (and returning of this manual) in order to allow another student a chance.

1. Leadership Team members teach a minimum of two -one hour classes per week.

2. Leadership Team members teach at least one 20-minute private lesson per week.

3. Leadership Team members must attend Leadership Team seminars, classes and workshops.

Our Commitment To You

The very best tool for learning about yourself and your martial arts is to teach. We will provide you with the guidance to develop your martial arts teaching skills and the opportunity to apply that knowledge consistently. As you well know, our instructors are some of the very best teachers many of us have ever encountered. The teaching system that we have developed works and works well.

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