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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Reputation Management for Martial Arts Schools


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.

Find more Social Media resources here.

The old adage is that if someone likes your business, they will tell a friend. If that person does NOT like your business, they will tell four friends.

That has changed BIG TIME. Today, the average person on Facebook has 200 friends. A negative post about your service is seen by a whole more than just four friends today.

This is why you must have a system in place for monitoring and managing your reputation.

Here are six quick tips to help you with your reputation management for your martial arts school.

1. Audit Directory Listings

It is a mistake to assume that all of the directories listing your school are accurate. Audit all of your current listings in legal and business directories. Profiles should create confidence and trust.


Secure your personal name and office name as a domain names. Protecting your name starts with gaining control of your

3. Optimize Your Listings

Optimize all of your current listings in legal and business directories.

a. Label images with your keywords

b. Write a keyword rich description

c. Include as many videos and images as allowed.

d. Include links on your website and emails to these directories so students can post positive reviews.

e. If permitted, have a separate profile for location.

4. Monitor 24/7

a. Create a Google Alert with your name, your school’s name, your top competitor’s name, and your staff member’s names at

5. Be Responsive

Respond asap to negative reviews and false reviews. Ideally, you could work something out that would satisfy the student and have the review removed or edited.

6. Try to Turn a Negative into a Positive

If you get a bad review, do your best to keep the emotions out of your response.

a. Keep your ethical parameters in mind at all times.

b. Be extra cautious not to reveal confidential case or student information in your response.

c. Keep your response brief and professional. The larger your response, the more creditability you are giving the review. Less is best.

d. Look at this as an opportunity. Assure the writer that you are concerned about the situation and have commenced an investigation or at the least, looking into it.

e. Make it clear that in order to protect your student’s confidentiality and the school, you are not comfortable discussing this on a public forum and invite them to contact you directly.

f. Make sure you do respond. Ignoring a bad review undermines your professionalism and image. If you don’t answer it seems you don’t care.

g. Make any response positive or neutral. Make sure it’s not negative and a counter attack against the writer.

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