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.

The New First Impression

The first impression you give to a prospect most likely will be your website. We know that over 70% of people search locally online and half of those searches are on Smartphone’s. If your regular site and your mobile site do not look good, then you’ve blown the critical first impression.

In many cases, the prospect has formed an impression based upon the online experience, so it’s important that both the online and brick-and-mortar locations are congruent and reflect each other well. If your site looks great and your office is a mess or the business needs remodeling, you’re creating barriers rather than eliminating them.

Studies show men form an opinion based on the first impression within 20 seconds, while women get there in 15. Those impressions speak to your prospects whether you know it or not. Make sure the message is the one you want them to receive.

On your own turf, you should have no problem setting yourself apart from the competitors in your city. From the prospects’ perspective, you and your competitors are the same unless something clearly sets one apart.

One of the most effective ways to win the perception battle is to look at the space inside and near your business as being made up of marketing ‘zones.’

Zone maximization is the planned, strategic use of the physical areas in and around your business. We will spend some time on these zones to increase business and revenues by influencing your business’ impression and using specific promotional messages or visuals in each zone.

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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