This article was written by Alan “Gumby” Marques, a Ralph Gracie black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the owner of Heroes Martial Arts in San Jose, and one of the original founders of On The Mat
The Covid-19 Pandemic is unprecedented in scale and uncertainty in the future and many school owners are left wondering if they schools will survive the ordeal. If I can take comfort in anything, with a large percentage of the planet on some form of shelter in place is that this is truly a moment in history where we are all truly in it together.
As the situation with the COVID19 virus continues to develop, gym owners are faced with difficult decisions that will have serious repercussions for the future of their business and livelihood.
We’ve been talking to some of you regarding this situation, and wanted to share some of the ways gyms have been handling this situation so others can learn from it and perhaps apply it to their own situation.
For the last several weeks we’ve been working on enhancing the gym schedule feature based on user feedback, as well as adding a completely new feature to allow members and visitors to book sessions, such as private lessons, through the gym website.
In this article we’ll give you a quick tour of the new features and provide details on how to get started:
Processing payment cards and bank debits is a common requirement for most membership based businesses, such as martial arts schools, fitness / MMA / cross-fit gyms and yoga studios. Being able to charge members on a regular schedule for memberships and create on-demand charges for selling products is how those businesses generate revenue.
Despite being so important for such businesses, payment processing is often one of the most misunderstood aspects of it, and particularly how payment processing fees are calculated.
Since launching in 2016, one of our major selling points has been the ease-of-use and simplicity of our user interface. User feedback has always been very positive in that regard and we’re looking to build and improve and on that.
In the four years since we originally designed the look and feel of our software. Many new features and whole sections of the software have been added, adding additional complexity and pushing the limits of what our original user interface was designed for.
…without selling out, watering down, or becoming a McDojo
Effectively marketing your school doesn’t mean you have to sell out like a McDojo or burn through tons of capital you don’t have.
Unfortunately, dojo owners tend to shy away from professional marketing techniques because they perceive them to be shady, dishonest, and manipulative.
This was true in decades past, but the marketing world has changed for the better, and the best marketing practices available now can explode your business without hurting your conscience or polluting your reputation.
Can curriculums and lesson plans be too structured?
The question might seem absurd. In the old days, instructors would teach random techniques without rhyme or reason, making it difficult to learn a system and dramatically slowing progress toward mastery. So when structured curriculums came along, martial arts instruction was revolutionized and learners unquestionably benefited.
But with structure comes another danger. Jia Yi Chow, et al. (2016) pose an interesting question to martial arts instructors:
As instructors, we want our students to show up consistently, try their best, and put the work in.
But there’s the problem:
Students sign up for classes and then drop like flies.
With student attrition rates so high, how do you motivate students to stay and put the work in?
During my time studying Teaching and Learning in graduate school, I discovered that a concept known as motivation is one of the biggest factors in learning. Moreover, intrinsic motivation is the most lasting and meaningful type of motivation for learning.
Charisma and character aside, most people will say a good instructor is very detail-oriented or is a detailed communicator or doesn’t let you get away with poor form. Students appreciate the high standards, and instructors pride themselves.
And, after all, detailed instruction intuitively feels like high-value instruction…
But what if that’s just an illusion?
What if our ideas about good instruction are based less in the reality of how humans learn and more in a bias toward traditional teaching strategies?