There are a lot of people in the world that like to put martial arts down.
Sadly these people are usually martial artists themselves!
In all my years on this planet, I have never met a group of people that are so self-destructive and quick to put down their peers.
We hear it all the time. “This style is the best, that style is terrible” to “he has no real experience”, “who have they ever trained with?”, ” a black belt in this style is worthless” etc etc etc.
So what is the deal here? What is really going on in the arts to cause so many issues?
The answer- scarcity!
There Arent Enough Students To Go Around
Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person?
It is a simple enough question but very often we are met with martial arts instructors who think that students are in short supply. They think that not many people want to train in martial arts.
Do you think this is correct?
Or do you think that people just haven’t been given a compelling reason to take martial arts lessons?
And by compelling reason I am not referring to the overuse of statistics to scare people into thinking that there is an attacker behind every corner!
The martial arts world has a tough time accepting the fact that they are really terrible at getting people into martial arts.
Yeah, sure they can kick ass and protect themselves but when it comes to actually selling martial arts they tend to be really bad!
So can you imagine being a sales person and not actually doing any selling? Your boss comes to you and says “why aren’t you selling any cars?” To which you say ” The cars just sell themselves”
As you would guess the owner of that business would soon be asking for you to leave the company.
So why does the martial arts world think it can get away with acting this way?
There is a lot of arrogance that surrounds martial arts when people think that the arts should just sell themselves, it is because there is an inherent dislike among the arts about those that make a good living from teaching.
It is as if they shouldn’t be able to do this.
Only in martial arts do you see this type of attitude. As Andy Norman has said to me in the past “Lawyers get paid, Chefs get paid, Doctors get paid and no one says a thing, but if a martial arts instructor gets well paid he is some sort of crook or con man”.
This can’t be the right attitude for this industry.
Change the Words- Change the Focus
Hate the phrase selling, then call it promotion.
Don’t like the term money, then use the term ‘Hall or Matt Fee’
Dislike asking people for money each week, then set up a direct debit format.
If you change your terminology for phrases or systems you can feel more comfortable with then you WILL change your martial arts business.
I started off by telling you that I would let you know what the future of martial arts is.
The future is PROMOTION.
Yes, you heard that right, the future of martial arts is not about styles or systems it is all about how you promote martial arts to those that would not normally take up the activity. It is this that will dictate the future and the best promoters will ultimately be the ones that shape the future of the industry.
If you are a poor promoter then perhaps you need to address this.
No Money and In a Strange Town
Imagine that you have been dropped off in a strange part of the world and in a small town. How would you earn any money?
This is not about becoming rich overnight, this is about getting enough money to have a bed for the night and to eat a meal. What would you do?
As a martial arts instructor would you use your skills and try and teach to earn a living or would you resort to washing cars or asking someone else for a job? This question may seem too simple, but it is designed to encourage thought processes.
If when the ‘chips’ are down and you have nothing, you aren’t prepared to use your skills to earn money then just how valuable are your skills?
Let us take a different scenario;
You are dropped into London one day, right in the middle of Leicester Square. Thousands of people are walking through this area every hour. You have 3 hours to get as many people signed up for a martial arts class as you can. Do you think you would be able to do this?
If the answer is no then you really need to develop more than just your martial arts ability.
Defence Lab Instructors are Different
Ask a DL Instructor what they would do in that situation and they would have a solid plan. They would know where to start, what to say to people and how to talk to complete strangers about Defence Lab and why they should join up.
Please note, this is not about style. To the average person out there Karate is no different than Judo!
No, this is all about promoting the benefits of martial arts training and this is a skill that is lacking in most. This is why Defence Lab is growing faster than you could imagine! Not because the system is the best because we know there are a lot of great systems out there. It is growing because Andy Norman and Grek are well aware that a good product doesn’t always sell itself.
Now ask yourself- “do you have the skills to promote martial arts?” if you don’t then you may need to look at others who can.
Many Defence Lab franchise owners came to DL not just because of the self-defence training, they came to DL because of the incredible business training that goes alongside this, because the aim of DL is not to get martial artists into Defence Lab but actually get people from all walks of life training in martial arts!!
This is a pivotal shift in thought.
Imagine that instead of looking for people who you think might be interested in learning martial arts, you were able to speak to anyone and get them interested in learning martial arts.
So what does this have to do with you? Well, if you are reading this it has everything to do with you because you are either interested in martial arts, teach martial arts or train in Defence Lab. It really doesn’t matter which. Simply put you need to be able to promote the martial arts at a very early stage in your training.
Learn to Promote and The Classes Will Be Full
Many years ago I ran a martial arts club and it was always the same, people weren’t committed to coming each week, it was my fault. I had failed to re-enforce the value of martial arts to them, so in essence it became just another activity.
What I should have done was to tell them just how amazing the arts are and I should have done so in a manner that gave the students the language and skills so that they could tell others just why martial arts are so amazing and important.
Why didn’t I do this? Well, it is because I didn’t have the skills!
Now if you are a student or an instructor this is one area that you can improve on because it really is up to you to convey to others just how amazing the martial arts are!
Do not leave this to others to do, we all have to be able to promote martial arts in a way that is both ethical and inspiring. Now if you are involved in Defence lab you are already doing this. It will be a natural thing because your Instructors got you involved by doing just this and most DL students bring to a lab other people with them as a result of the natural enthusiasm of students.
If you are not involved in Defence Lab then you need to try and gain these skills from elsewhere. There are countless training courses available that can help you but ultimately it has to come from your heart.
Now this is a major and often neglected aspect of sales or promotions. If you do not believe in the product you are promoting or selling then you will not make many sales. Why? Because people can smell insincerity a mile away.
Honesty sells a product but you have to love that product and believe in it to be able to sell it.
If you are teaching martial arts and you simply have lost faith or don’t believe in what you teach then perhaps you need a change and Defence Lab has provided that change for 100’s of martial arts instructors already.
Simply go to our instructor discovery page to learn how you can be a part of Defence Lab
I started off this post by explaining that the future of martial arts is not what you think. Many of you will have thought I was just talking about Defence Lab but I wasn’t. Although I feel DL is a huge part of the future of martial arts, the real future lies with instructors improving the way they promote and sell martial arts to people who have never tried it before.
There is a world of people out there who are yet to experience martial arts but please don’t rely on ‘luck’ to convince these people to ‘give it a go’. You need to learn how to get more people involved in the arts.
Defence Lab has developed a system of martial arts promotion, sales and business skills that has encouraged hundreds of people from different countries to try martial arts. It may be well worth you checking out how you can become an instructor to learn these same skills.
Until next time- keep promoting the martial arts folks!