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.

Reactive Marketing

Smart owners plan their marketing in advance. Holidays, weather changes, national and regional special days are all planned for in well in advance.

Most school owners think about marketing when they realize rent is due in a week, so they jump on Facebook and post a poorly designed ad screaming, “50% off. Hurry now! No contracts!” That kind of marketing smells desperate compared to a well planned and designed ad.

How you market your school is a reflection of where you place the value in what you offer. For instance, 50% off, hurry now places the value of your school at 50% off. Of all the things you could share about your school, that’s the best you can do?

This kind of ad presumes that there are people waiting on Facebook for a discount ad from your school so they can “hurry now!”

The truth is the less than 2% of the population in your school’s pull radius will enroll in any martial arts school. Every school in your area is fighting for that 2%. Yet, in virtually every market, the school with the highest tuition and contracts has the most students.

Your marketing plan should be at least 90-days in advance, with the offer, platform, and goals laid out in advance. Focus more on education than desperation. For instance, “Did you know that over 60% of bullied children hide it from their parents? Our program shows kids how to report bullying to you the day it happens.” This is a good headline for National Bully Prevention Month in October. Knowing that my child will report bullying to me is more important than 50% off now!

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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