Martial Arts Instructor News and Articles

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.

Introducing our new All-in-One Membership including Empower Kickboxing, MATA, MATA Certification, memberships all included.

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The Martial Arts School Trial Lesson Process

Here is how SMS marketing can help you grow your school.

MATA/Empower Kickboxing members have a free dedicated SMS marketing platform in their account that allows them to text up to 100 people a month for free.

This is a good strategy for converting your trial lessons into students.

IMPORTANT: Respond to information calls immediately. There’s a good chance the prospect is doing some research and will call other schools as well. This will also help make sure that you have a lot of knowledge about the prospect and their needs.

Once they’ve enrolled into your trial program, send the parents a text like this about an hour before the first class.

“Hi, Lisa! It’s Sensei Grant from USA Karate. I just wanted to let you know that we’re looking forward to Joey’s trial lesson at 5. I’ve already told his class that they will have a new friend. We‘re looking forward to seeing him.”

The mention of friendship helps to alleviate concerns about taking the class. Now, parents and kids will be welcomed as friends rather than strangers or prospects.

Post a “Welcome, Joey” on a whiteboard that is by the front door so it’s the first thing they see when they arrive. This lets the parent know that, their child is welcome in the school and that you’ve been preparing for his first class.

After class, be sure to get a picture of the child with the instructor. Both should be smiling with thumbs up.

Also, get a shot of the entire class with Joey in it. Everyone should be smiling and energized.

Photo Tip: If you take the shot while the students are laughing it creates far more energy than just saying, “Say cheese!” So have a joke or quip ready.

NOTE: All trial students/parents should sign an injury waiver and a waiver that grants permission to use images.

Send the parents the shot with Joey and the instructor that same evening with a message, “Just a quick note to let you know that we really enjoyed having Joey in our class. We know he’s going to be a great fit for our program.”

Use the group shot in a text that you send an hour or so before the second trial class. This one reads something like this, “Hey, Lisa, big night tonight because Joey is going to take his white belt test at the end of class. That should be exciting. See you soon, big smiley face.”

Even if Joey enrolls after the first trial class, still send the follow-up group shot the day of his second class.

Texting is instant and is opened 97% of the time, so it’s a real-time communication that helps to confirm to the parents that they made the right decision to choose your program.

If you enroll him on that first night and then they don’t hear anything else from you, then it looks like all the excitement was fake just to get Joey to enroll.

If you have their permission, post the photos on social media and tag the parents.

Texts work great and MATA/Empower Kickboxing members have a free dedicated SMS marketing platform in their account that allows them to text up to 100 people a month for free.

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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