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.

If you’d like to get a better feel for how to move prospects down the path of discovering and joining your school, read this short post.

At the bottom, I have a link to a new prototype website for Empower Kickboxing™ that illustrates that you can’t assume that a visitor knows anything about martial arts.

The site is not complete yet, but you can see that it is speaking to someone in the early stages of their journey.

What percentage of your website or Facebook page visitors do you think are:

  1. Just starting to look for a school?
  2. Ready to join a school but undecided?
  3. Ready to join your school?

Before you design any marketing for new students, decide which group you are targeting.

People just starting to look for a school are faced with a number of choices.

How are you helping them to understand and navigate the complex world of martial arts where many styles are hard to pronounce, much less get excited about in 2019?

A two-week trial doesn’t make your school attractive. Everyone has something similar. How can stand out by helping people understand how to choose a school without talking down to them.

Most school websites and FB ads lead with a price offer or an insider headline that only 1 in 1,000 visitors would understand. Example, “We teach Nihon Goshin.”

Virtually every website uses the same stock images and same stock headlines, so how does a visitor make sense of a world that, by design, is foreign to them?

Here are the headlines from the top 8 martial arts schools in a Google search where I live in Tampa Bay. I did a private window search for “martial arts schools near me.”

  1. Welcome to our dojo where we teach Nihon Goshin Aikido
  2. Gulf Coast FCS Kali
  3. Traditional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, & MMA Training
  4. About Iron Dragon MMA
  5. About the Academy
  6. A Complete Fitness and Martial Arts School
  7. Confidence Building Martial Arts Classes in Palm Harbor, FL
  8. Our Mission: To Train Relentlessly. The Learn the Perseverance of a Warrior

What makes your school different from these guys?

When you see the new Empower Kickboxing website prototype, notice that we don’t say, “Watch out for schools that have contracts!” Or, “We’re the only accredited school from the Kukkiwon.” Or, “Master Graden’s lineage goes right to Bruce Lee!”

No one cares. I didn’t find out about the Kukkiwon until I was a 4th-degree black belt in tae kwon do. I didn’t care then and I don’t care now.

What we do say is that martial arts is complex and here is how we’ve made it easier for you to understand and learn.

If you’d like MATA’s help in crafting a more clear message for your prospects, just comment below and reply to this email.

Click here to check out the new Empower Kickboxing™ website.

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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