Martial Arts Instructors | Are You Ready to Go Pro?

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A martial arts instructor in action

An instructor must be passionate about martial arts and love working with their students

I have been asked many times in my career, how did you build a successful business as a martial arts instructor? They see the results, our many kids martial arts locations in Sydney, but they do not see all the years of work and sacrifice that went into it. Many have asked me how to get into the martial arts business full-time. The person who is considering going professional and doing martial arts as a full-time career should ask themselves some important questions.

Passion for the Martial Arts

Are you truly passionate about the martial arts? In your spare time do you spend hours looking at martial arts videos on YouTube trying to better your game? Do you spend a good percentage of your budget on martial arts DVD’s and gear? Do you absolutely love coaching martial arts and passing on your knowledge to the next generation? Passion will carry you through the inevitable tough times, and will attract people to your club.

Organizational Skills and Work Ethic

Are you organized? Running a martial arts club takes superb organizational skills, as there is an incredible amount of preparation involved in running the classes. Are you able to schedule your day and prioritize your tasks? If you are not organized, you will make mistakes, lose credibility, and finally, lose students.

Are you willing to work harder than your competitors to make your business a success? I wore out a lot of shoe leather to build our organization in Sydney, particularly in the areas of marketing, student retention, and instructor development. There are times when I wake up and face a difficult day of something I’m not particularly fond of doing, while my friends are at the beach. But I relish hard work because I know my competitors are not going to keep up the pace.

Are you motivated to stay healthy and fit? Will you continue to train hard in order to inspire your students? Will you eat right and get plenty of rest, so you can give your students your best?

Martial Arts are About Relationships

Are you able to build relationships and sell yourself? You will need to get out there and hustle, particularly when building your name in the community. You will need to attract people who will be keen to help you.

Are you willing to admit that you do not have the skills in every area, and get the appropriate help? You will have strengths and weaknesses, and must know yourself well enough to find help in areas in which you are lacking.

Drive to Be the Best Instructor Around

Most important, are you willing to put in the time to ensure your service is the best out there? Are you enough of a perfectionist to challenge the status quo and keep pushing it, but not so much of one that nothing gets done? Are you always in pursuit of knowledge about the martial arts? Are you continually trying to improve as an instructor? Do you have an open mind when it comes to new ways of doing things?

If you answered yes to these questions, perhaps you should think about going pro in the martial arts business. For me, it has been the most rewarding of all careers. Martial arts instructors out there, do you have anything to add?

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  1. Zoltan says

    Hi Sensei Matt,

    I think there are a lot of variables in making the decision to “Go Pro”. To be a Martial arts instructor full time you really need to dedicate almost every work hour a week (38-48) to either keeping up your admin, social media, teaching and keeping your own skill base up and learning new things. Otherwise your business or martial arts will not be very successful.

    I really feel that this, like many things in life will never be something you can enter into without a burning passion to drive you. You will just not last or make a good name for yourself without the drive to be the best and provide the best service with uncompromising morality.

  2. Sensei Matt Klein says

    Hi Zoltan! Yes, it really is a commitment to a full-time martial arts lifestyle. Many try to do it as a hobby, but the most successful view it as an occupation/lifestyle. Keeping up your own skill base is a necessity as you say, and it presents the biggest challenge for many. To go outside your comfort zone to learn something new is necessary for growth!

    Passion is probably the biggest factor influencing one’s chance of success in the martial arts business. Your passion–students feed off it, and it sustains you during those inevitable “plateau” periods when you feel you are not getting anywhere. Thanks for commenting Zoltan.