The Martial Arts Gap

The Martial Arts Gap

The GAP is the divide between your martial arts experience and the market’s expectations

It’s safe to say:

1. You love the martial arts.

2. The martial arts improved your life.

3. You want to share that experience with others and make a good living doing it.

It’s also safe to say:

1. The only reason you were raised in your style is that it was taught in the school you joined. 

2. You did not join the school seeking a style, forms, or any specific techniques.

3. You joined because it was geographically convenient and / or the cheapest option.

The love you have for your style, its techniques, and traditions is the result of indoctrination, not informed decision making. Simply put, you didn’t know what you didn’t know.

The GAP is the divide between your indoctrinated bias and the benefits that your prospects are seeking.

Empower Kickboxing™ strips away all of the complexity of style based martial arts and presents just the easiest to learn, most effective skills. The class focus is on different applications of these skills with an emphasis on conditioning.

The Result: The Gap is eliminated. The students learn skills and get fit much faster.

How to Position Yourself as the Local Crime Expert

How to Position Yourself as the Local Crime Expert

If you want to stand out above your competitors, here is a strategy that can result in you getting the phone call from media for expert advice.

To get your website to rank, you have to convince Google that your content has value and authority. The following strategy is designed to give you both by commenting on crimes in your local area. This will start to position you as the local crime expert.

It should also improve your search rankings when Google sees local IP addresses click to your blog. Be sure to include an RSS feed that people can subscribe to in order to get alerts when a new post is up.

This is the RSS logo on the right side of MATA’s blog posts. image of RSS feed for self defense reporting

Step 1
Find and register a free account on local community websites that welcome guest/members posts and links. For instance, here in Tampa Bay, the website has a PR service that allows posting your articles for free. You can include up to ten photos (label the photos with your article keywords)

Other sites might include the Chamber of Commerce,,, community organizations and civic groups, local papers, local TV and radio station websites, college newspapers,, non-profits, colleges, and universities etc…
Some may require a donation to post. That’s up to you, but it’s something to consider if you’re serious about standing out.

Step 2
Each day, look for the news about local crimes that you can comment on and provide tips to either prevent or defend against.

Step 3
Write a “Self-Defense Analysis” blog post about the crime and provide tips or resources to help readers prevent or deal with the crime in the future. Post this article on your website’s blog.

The important part is this. The news article describing the crime will provide an address of where it happened. Be sure to include that address in your article.

Over time, the accumulation of all of these local addresses on your blog make your site more important in Google searches.

Keep the article short and to the point WITHOUT any promotional copy for your school.

Step 4
Email your list directing them to your article. Encourage comments.

Step 5
Post either the article or a link back to it on the network of websites you created in Step 1.

Example Article
One Person Shot Dead in Hillsborough Home Invasion – July 12, 2016 (always date and source the article)

(Copied straight from the article)
TAMPA — One person was killed in an armed home invasion at a mobile home park in Town ‘N Country late Monday, deputies said.

Three people burst into a home at 219 Baywater Drive, Tampa according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and shot one man inside. He later died at the hospital, and investigators did not immediately identify him.

Crime Stoppers Tampa Bay is offering a $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. Tipsters can call 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) or report information anonymously at

7 Tips to Prevent and Defend Against Home Invasion
by (your school) Expert John Graden Comments on the Crime (your article)

This tragedy illustrates a key distinction between robberies and home invasions. Robberies are typically carried out during the day when a home is empty. This way, there are no witnesses.
Home invasions happen more often at night when people are home. In many cases, the fact you are at home is attractive to bad guys with violent intent.

1. Keep your doors, windows, and garages locked at all times.
2. If you have a gun, practice with it once a month.
3. Never open the door to strangers or solicitors.
4. Have a rehearsed escape plan in mind for your family.
5. Don’t fight over your property with an intruder. Let them have the property; it is not worth your life and can be replaced.
6. Make sure your bushes do not cover up your windows.
7. Do not depend on a sliding glass door lock. They easy to get around. Get a reinforced sliding glass locking system instead.
Home invasions are terrifying. Decrease the chance of it happening to you with good prevention and increase your chance of surviving with a little bit of family planning.

John Graden is the Owner and Chief Instructor at USA Self-Defense in a local town.
Phone. 727-644-3384 Email:

How to Create an Emotional Connection with Your Reviews

Find more Social Media resources here.

According to Nielsen’s Trust in Advertising Report, 88% of respondents said they trusted online reviews as much as they’d trust a personal recommendation.


For the martial arts school owner, two things are clear.
1. You must have a review solicitation program in place.
2. It helps to have a way of sharing these reviews that goes beyond hoping someone will see them on Google or Facebook.

Here is a review video  that gives regular text reviews an emotional connection.

Here is a powerful tool to put your reviews on steroids.

Create a short video featuring some of your best testimonials and reviews, and post it to YouTube.

Both the title and description need to contain your company name, the word “reviews”, and even the city where your school is located.

When it’s all done, you should have something that looks like this. Review Video

How to Create a Review Video
1. Research your testimonials and reviews.
2. Copy 4 – 6 of the best testimonial texts to file
2. Create a 16:9 or 4:3 video slate with an attractive design, colors, and setting.
3. Create a video lower thirds for the slate.
4. Copy and format the testimonials onto the slate.
5. Save the slate files into a “Review Video” folder.
6. Open a video editor like iMovie or Camtasia.
7. Import the slates into the editing software.
8. Create special effects like zoom and pans.
9. Insert transitions between each slate.
10. Find copyright-free music.
11. Add copyright-free music underneath video.
12. Edit copyright-free music to fit the video.
13. Upload to your YouTube channel.
14. Send embed code to us and we’ll insert it in your Reviews page.

Or, have us do it for you.

Free Martial Arts Website

MATA Annual Martial Arts School Business Report: 2015: Where Did 13,014 Martial Arts Schools Go?

martial arts business statistics

Martial Arts Business Statistics: Number of Active Schools in the USA

Martial arts business research is hard to come by. We’re a small field of private, mom and pop businesses. Still, we make an effort to provide consistent information based on the resources available.

In 2013, we reported that according to, there were 20,234 businesses under Karate & Other Martial Arts Instruction (7999-44) and Martial Arts Instruction (7999-45.) Today, that number is down to 15,896 schools.

Where did 13,014 schools go?

In 2013 there were 20,234 schools.

In January 2016 there were 15,896 schools

The difference is 4,338 schools. 

It stands to reason that at least that many new schools open each year. That’s just 87 schools per state. Odds are, more are opened each year, but let’s just use that as a base.

If 4,338 schools opened in 2014 and 2015 that would add 8,676 to the 20,234 in 2013 giving us 28,910 schools to start 2016 with. That is of course if the martial arts business had 100% retention.

20,234 schools in 2013

+ 4,338 in 2014

+ 4,338 in 2015

= 28,910 potential total schools to start 2016.

The actual number for 2016 was 15,896.

The difference is an estimated 13,014 missing schools.

Mind you, since you are still in business, the drop off in competitors is not keeping you up at night. Still, it’s our business to ask why is the number of schools declining so rapidly?

Read what we think on

Based on the numbers, the martial arts school business is declining at a serious rate. 15,896 schools still open out of a potential 28,910, represents 54% of active schools in the past three years.

If we were to go back to the 1990s, we did research reports that showed that, in the hottest markets, there were never much more than 20,000 schools in the USA.

We are doing some investigating and will have more information for you as we uncover it, but in the meantime, please comment below on why you think that the number of martial arts schools has declined so much in just two years.

If you have information or suggested martial arts business research sources, please let us know about them so we can share the information with the martial arts school business community.

Please comment below.