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How to Motivate Martial Arts Students

August 18, 2014

Keeping students motivated is a great way to ensure the success of a martial arts school.

For many martial arts school owners, not only is there an understanding that students are taking classes for self-defense purposes, but practicing karate and taekwondo is also a great way for many to stay in shape. There are many activities that people can do as a way to accomplish physical fitness goals, but martial arts combines competitiveness and inherent challenges that many students find enjoyable.

However, as is the case with any physical exercise, keeping participants motivated is a key factor. Many people start their regimens with a sense of excitement and fervor. However, this feeling is usually fleeting, and many fall off due to a lack of motivation. For those who own martial arts schools, this is something that you’re likely all too familiar with. Many students sign up for martial arts classes, only to drop out and not see their training all the way through.

For school owners, this can be a source of frustration because the success of any business of this kind is almost entirely dependent on enrollment numbers. When these figures are high, a school can not only grow, but thrive. Conversely, when class sizes are routinely small, it can threaten the existence of any school.

This is why keeping people engaged is just as important as the discipline being taught – perhaps even more so. Owners of martial arts schools must find ways to keep students motivated enough to see their training through to the end, which will add more money to the bottom line as well as keep the doors of the school open.

Motivational tips for martial arts students

School owners have a lot of responsibility to juggle in order to keep operations going. Business management software can help keep track of day-to-day items such as billing needs and class sizes, but these tools are useless without participants. So how can those tasked with running schools help keep people enrolled? Arrowhead Martial Arts offers some salient suggestions:

Encourage students to set goals:

If those signing up for classes don’t have established goals in mind, then they are the ones most likely to fall off as opposed to those who have a clear purpose for enrolling, such as achieving a black belt or just improving their overall level of physical fitness. When sitting down with prospective students, it would be a good idea to have them write down their goals and refer back to them whenever they feel unmotivated to train.

Participate in competitions:

Martial arts classes can be fun, but adding a competitive element to it can raise a student’s level of interest. Taekwondo and karate are both sports where individuals want to test their skills against others. By encouraging participation in martial arts events, students will be more likely to increase their training and maintain continued enrollment in classes.

Highlight the importance of setting a routine:

People are creatures of routine. It doesn’t really take a whole lot of time to establish a routine. Most experts feel this can be accomplished in a little as two or three weeks. For martial arts school owners, this is a pivotal time, especially for new enrollees. Encouraging students to stick to a routine that includes class participation will help keep enrollment numbers static and not fluid.

Other good motivational suggestions for school owners

The previous suggestions are valuable for martial arts school owners trying to maintain consistent student enrollment, but there are others as well. In an article written for LinkedIn, former U.S. Army officer Benjamin Moriniere offered other suggestions that can help keep students motivated during martial arts training.

One of the best suggestions is to reward students who do well. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done, but this is especially important in such a demanding task as martial arts training. By offering incentives for performance that can be presented in front of a class, it can serve as a great inspiration for the student receiving the recognition while also being a goal for other students to strive for.

Another helpful suggestion is to use videos that serve as a form of inspiration. Some of the best would be to film classes and track the progress of those students who were inexperienced in martial arts when they first started training to highlight their level of proficiency in the disciplines being taught. This can help any student – particularly beginners – feel as if they can achieve mastery of the martial arts as well.

Martial arts schools are supposed be fun for those who enroll, but at the end of the day, it’s a business for those who own them. Taking any and all steps necessary to ensure that classes are always filled should be a goal for anyone running a school.