Can You Make a Living Off a Martial Arts School

Making a living from a Martial Arts School

Interesting question, making a living off a martial arts school. So many want to do it, so few succeed. So what are the barriers to success in teaching martial arts as a living?

bruce lee school

Bruce Lee started out teaching in a garage in Oakland!

First, sad to say, you have to treat it like a business. This means keeping track of students, reminding them on the phone, doing all the paperwork, collecting money, and so on.

The difficult thing isn’t getting students, the difficult thing is keeping them. Most people, in this enlightened age, are flakes. They get excited over something they’ve seen on TV or the net, and then something else comes along, and so very few people actually make a plan and stick to it.

You, as a martial arts instructor, have to sit down with the student from day one, and get him to make a plan.

And, on day two, you have to resell him on the plan.

And, on day three, you have to resell him on the plan.

And so on.

Someday he’ll ignite, start following the plan on his own, but it will take a lot of work to get him there. Heck, just getting students to turn off their cell phones during class can be a lot of work.

Interestingly, I estimated it takes about an hour a week to keep a student interested. So forty students would take forty hours, and then you get to spend maybe ten hours teaching them.

Of course, as time goes on, and you build a rep, and students actually start realizing what you are doing is good for them, these figures change. But, it takes time.

In the business world they say you have to run a business for a year at a loss before it starts to pay. This isn’t an absolute, but it does take an immense amount of work.

I know these things I’ve said here to be true because I have had a half a dozen different schools over the last few decades. And scores of classes at gyms and YMCAs and that sort of thing.

Anyway, I’ll write more about this later, address any specific points. If you have any questions or thoughts, use the comments below.

This has been a page about running a martial arts school.

martial art school

1 thought on “Can You Make a Living Off a Martial Arts School

  1. Kirby E. Tucker

    Very true article. So much of the school’s success depends on the head instructor. He needs to possess a number of qualities such as communication skills, good attitude, etc…. Its not like fast food where people come in for the hamburger and will put up with bad people behind the counter.


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