“I can’t get into the schools around here…” If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard that a thousand times. I’ve also seen owners build great relationships with their local public and private schools.

In virtually every case, the reason the owner was able to partner with the school was that he or she simply approached the principle and said, “I’ve been in this community for XX years and have been teaching martial arts, self-defense and life-skills for XX years as well. What can I do to help you to help these kids?” That’s it.

I’m prompted to send this because I had a nice conversation with MATA member Aaron Wayne-Duke in Galesburg, IL. (MartialArtsGalesburg.com) Last month, he approached a local alternative school for 12-18 year olds that are dropout risks. Some have parents who incarcerated and all of them need caring leadership and discipline.

Aaron approached the principle with pretty much the same script outline above. Not only did they jump on the offer, they carved out $900 for a six-week contract and are already placing him in the budget for next fall. Did I mention he teaches just one class a week? Did I mention he doesn’t have a Masters in Education? He’s a veteran black belt just like you.

You will never succeed sitting behind your desk and checking Facebook. You have to get out and shake some hands. Make it your goal to get in front of an audience for a speech or demo at least once a month. Set appointments to meet principles and administration of the local school. Approach a real estate office with a safety seminar idea. Promote and teach a self-defense class for teachers.

You advertise that you teach confidence. Now is the time to tap into that confidence and make this year a year of action.


John Graden
John Graden

John Graden is widely credited with leading the martial arts school business into the modern age. He is the founder of the first successful professional association and trade journal. MA Success editor John Corcoran first called him a “visionary” in 1995. Martial Arts World magazine dubbed him, The Teacher of Teachers. Mr. Graden’s leadership was recognized in many mainstream media outlets including a cover story on the Wall Street Journal, documentaries on A&E Network, and as a guest on the Dr. Oz Show and many others.

    1 Response to "How to Partner Your Martial Arts School with Public Schools"

    • Robert Hazlewood

      A good idea but I know in our school district there is a school board regulation that forbids principals from allowing any for profit enterprise from participating in any in school activities. Might be able to form a 501c division and get in that way.

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