Info for Martial Arts School Owners and Instructors

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Your Martial Arts Website vs Store Front


white belt child kicks with instructor watching

Get Certified as a Martial Arts Instructor Online

MATA Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course

Module 21-The Proper Use of Student Instructors

by Scot Conway, Esquire

The $25,000 Volunteers

Excerpt from the Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course:

Using upper ranks to teach classes has been a long-standing martial arts tradition. But, is it legal?

A California instructor had his black belts teaching under-rank classes at his studio. In exchange, he no longer charged them tuition.

This continued until one fateful day when the owner and a black belt student had a disagreement.

The vindictive student contacted the California Labor Board and reported that his instructor had been employing assistants by requiring that they teach classes each week.

This can constitute an Employer – Worker relationship. The only thing missing was payment for the workers and the taxes the government would collect if they were being paid.

The State of California investigators concluded that the owner, over the years, had a total of 25 black belts teach classes.

They defined them as uncompensated employees, which is illegal under the laws of California, and fined the instructor $1,000 per incident.

The final bill: $25,000 for the volunteers.

Lesson: Know your state laws regarding utilizing assistant instructors.

Which is More Important?

I was on a consulting gig yesterday with a fast rising nutritional company. I was meeting with the 24 year old video producer. He said two things that I found interesting and worth sharing with you.

1. When he goes to Walmart, his eyes are on his phone. “They are wasting money with their Jurassic Park displays. That should be popping up on my phone or I’ll miss ‘em.”

2. A video should not last longer than a red light. Why? Because that’s when he watches videos. He hits play until he hears a honk behind him.


To me, this supports the evidence that young, hungry, web-raised school owners are running circles around some veterans simply because they “get” that their martial arts website design is MORE IMPORTANT than their school design for attracting and enrolling students. 

Your grand master titles and belt ranks mean nothing to a student body with an average age of 10. Your school and style history mean nothing and your championships mean nothing.

Yet, most martial arts school websites are full of information that means nothing to anyone but the school owner. The best martial arts websites keep the spotlight on the benefits the school offers and testimonials from happy families.

Here is a short video, though it’s longer than a red light, explaining why your website is more important than your storefront for attracting new students.

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