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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.

Martial Arts 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.

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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