The Cost Of Being A Successful Martial Art School Owner

martial arts business success

“THE COST OF BEING WHO YOU ARE IS CONFLICT WITH THOSE WHO WANT YOU TO BE SOMEONE ELSE. THE COST OF BEING WHAT OTHERS WANT YOU TO BE IS CONFLICT WITH YOURSELF.” ~UNKNOWN

I like this quote this week because it reminds me of the dissonance many instructors and school owners experience when they first begin to pursue financial success in earnest.

This is because achieving financial success requires a shift in mindset. It requires the shedding of old paradigms. It requires change.

Martial artists hate change. Moreover, they hate anyone who bucks the system. “We’ve always done it this way!” they’ll say. “Why fix it if it isn’t broken?”

The problem with that statement and question is that, from a business perspective, much of what “we’ve always done” is broken.

We use teaching methods that were created by people who hated Westerners, who designed them for Western military personnel, who based them on the values of an Eastern society.

Or we use methods that were designed to create high performing combat athletes, that were intended to weed out the weak, and based on a culture that values machismo and winning above all else.

And quite frankly, those methods chase away students.

We value personal sacrifice, and mistake that for taking a vow of poverty.

We assume that quality teaching and quality living are mutually exclusive.

We resist change because we worry about what our peers, instructors or even random people on the internet will say if we do things differently.

We avoid teaching fun classes because we are worried about labels. “Oh, they play games in that class, so it must be a McDojo, a romper room, a daycare.”

Never mind that the games are only 5% of the class, and they teach transferable skills. Never mind that those games keep our younger students engaged in training and wanting to come back for more. Never mind that research and neuroscience have shown that students learn faster and retain more information when they are having fun.

Never mind that, at the end of the day, we are the ones who have to pay the rent, keep the lights on, maintain the facility, and still have money left over to do the same thing at home.

Many of you think you know how to do things better than I do. You think you’re smarter, wiser, and more experienced—or you think you’re a better martial artist, which in your mind is pretty much the same thing.

In some cases, it may be true.

And yet, you’re still broke.

You’re still riding the struggle bus every day.

You’re still teaching to an empty room several times a week.

You’re still scraping by each month.

While I figured out how to teach quality martial arts and turn out quality black belts while running six figure dojos during two major recessions.

How long are you going to continue gaslighting yourself into thinking that subpar results are an indication of highly effective methods?

How long are you going to cling to your own ego and pride?

How long are you going to resist change instead of modeling success?

Go. Read. The. Books.

Then, put what you learn into action. Not just pieces of it. Not just the parts you like, or the parts that you feel comfortable with, or the things you know your instructors/peers/NPCs online won’t ridicule you for doing…

Do. It. All.

And, give all of it 100%.

Find out who was right all along—you, or me.

I’ll wait.

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