Running A Martial Art School – Do You Have What It Takes?

Successfully Running A Martial Art School Takes “It” – Do You Have It?

Running a martial art school requires this one thingRunning a martial art school is tough – no doubt about it.

Do you have what it takes to successfully run a business?

That’s a question you should ask yourself if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • You’re thinking of starting and running a martial art school
  • You’re running a school, but struggling to make ends meet each month –
  • You’re running a successful school, but feel burned out all the time –

So what is “it”?

There are a million and one things people cite as being “must have” traits for successful entrepreneurs… but I can only name one that will make or break you.

But before I get to it, let me tell you what it’s not…

  • It’s not knowledge, because knowledge can be learned, bought, or hired –
  • It’s not leadership skills, because you can learn them or operate as a solo practitioner –
  • It’s not delegation skills (see above) –
  • It’s not high morals (unfortunately) because people succeed in business all the time without them –
  • It’s not a strong work ethic, although we’re getting warmer…

Give up?

Okay, here it is:

It’s an unquenchable desire for excellence in everything you do.

Now, granted – you can’t do everything perfectly, and you’ll kill yourself if you think you can. However, you can do everything to a standard of excellence that exceeds that of the accepted norm…

And that is the true key to success in running a martial art school, or any small business. Excellence.

Why A Desire For Excellence Is A Necessity For Running A Martial Art School

Excellence counts, because it’s the foundation for doing everything else well:

  • Customer service,
  • Product and service quality assurance,
  • Marketing,
  • Hiring, training, and managing staff,
  • Administrative duties, strategic planning, and accounting,

And a myriad of other tasks that fall under the above areas.

Excellence counts.

You must have a strong desire to aspire for excellence in everything you do if you are to succeed in running a martial art school.

And if you don’t?

Well, don’t quit your day job, that’s for sure.

But if you do, you should feel confident in your ability to succeed in running a martial art school.


  1. Jason Stanley on December 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    So true Mike… a desire for excellence is so important.

    The flip side to that coin as I’m sure you know, is letting go and allowing others to help you. The hard part for many people is they take the approach that others “can’t do it as good as me”. This of course limits growth and expansion, because there is only so much we can do ourselves.

    This probably affects martial artists more than others since we tend to be perfectionists by nature and want to do it ourselves.

    One of the biggest challenges I faced in running a full time school is to still have the desire for excellence, while also trying to elicit that desire in others, to maintain the standard originally set.

    Nevertheless, you’re right – once again – especially about the “high morals”… haha! So true!

  2. Mike Massie on January 4, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Yes, you have to know how to delegate when you’re running a business. However, you have to know how to do every single job in your school, and as good or better than anyone else you might train or hire.

    This allows you to lead from the front, to train help properly, and to know when things are going south with an employee so you can correct it before serious damage is done.

    You can’t instill a desire for excellence in someone – they have to want it. You can model it, but not everyone will “get” it. That’s why you have to be selective in your hiring process.

    Thanks for your comments, Jason!

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