Monthly memberships and Pro Shop sales are not the only streams of income you have at your disposal as a martial arts school. If you need to stabilize your financial situation, or want to bulletproof a good bankroll, you have several options, many of which can directly or indirectly benefit your main source of income: memberships. 

In this article, we’re going to explore 5 options to creatively boost your martial arts gym’s income.

Community Workshops, Seminars, & Events

Workshops, seminars, and special events are one of the most powerful alternative income streams you have at your disposal. Workshops and seminars might include:

  • Anti-Bullying
  • Predator Awareness
  • Personal Defense
  • Women’s Self-Defense
  • Situational Awareness
  • Tactical Communication

Special events might include:

  • Parents’ Night Out
  • Movie Nights
  • Member Picnic
  • St. Patrick’s Day 
  • Halloween Dress-up/Trunk or Treat
  • Christmas Party

Many instructors feel they can’t or shouldn’t charge for these types of events, but as long as your marketing is decent, that’s simply not true. You are expending resources to produce these events, so are entitled to compensation, and community members interested in these events will definitely be willing to pay your price.

The best part about this income stream (and you should view it as a separate stream) is that it creates a dire pipeline of new leads to funnel into your membership base. Make sure you have systems in place to invite attendees to sign up for regular classes – and give them a good reason to!

Subletting to other Popular Fitness Programs

Some martial arts schools find they have a lot of unused hours for their spaces. While some have morning and lunch classes, most schools mostly just hold classes within a 3-4 hour window in the afternoon and early evening times. If you have lots of downtime during the day and in some of your evenings, instructors in the area might be interested in renting that space could include:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Dance
  • Tumbling
  • Aerobics
  • Personal Training (more on this below)
  • Calisthenics/Natural Movement

There really isn’t a limit on the type of activities you can host in your downtime. The only barrier you have is getting the word out to enough people that might be interested in subletting your space. 

Subletting other Martial Arts Programs

It’s common for instructors in different styles to sometimes partner with schools that teach other styles in order to rent mat space to hold classes. For a reasonable fee, you can make use of your downtime or extra space to make a little extra money while helping another martial arts instructor out. 

Martial arts programs that commonly borrow space might include:

  • Aikido
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Kali/Arnis/Filipino Martial Arts
  • Judo
  • Wrestling
  • Krav Maga
  • Cardio Kickboxing
  • Capoeira

But potentially any martial arts program might seek to rent space in its early stages of growth, and you can capitalize on that.

Personal Training

Personal training is a high impact way to use a short amount of time profitably. As a martial artist, you might have a lot to offer to both current members and new clients. But you don’t have to limit personal training to yourself; if your space is conducive to it, you can potentially contract in other trainers who need space to use, and take a percentage or charge a usage fee to them. 

Doing personal training and private lessons yourself is the most profitable way, but it comes at the expense of your time. Some instructors love doing these kinds of sessions, and some much, much prefer the energy of a group. At any rate, this provides you several profit levers since you can advertise internally for new members as well as take on new ones for this specific service.

Depending on your knowledge and credentials, you could offer these services:

  • Private lessons on technique and strategy
  • Strength and conditioning to supplement competitors in your martial arts style
  • General fitness or strength training
  • Niche coaching, on topics such as stretching and flexibility

Not all martial arts instructors have this sort of experience, however, so hiring in personal trainers could be a way to benefit from this financially without investing much of your own time into it. In fact, if you run a competitive program, hiring in a CSCS, Physical Therapist, or high performance trainer could be extremely advantageous not just for income but the roundedness of your program offering.

Online Training Programs

You don’t have to be a big name brand or tech guru to set up an online training program for your martial arts school. There are a lot of platforms that let you do this, or you could set up a wordpress and use plugins to build out a platform of your own. Gymdesk has a content management system built into it that allows you to properly gate, segment, and organize content without the hassle of other systems.

Access to supplemental reference material via your online program can be a great upsell for new or current members, which pushes up the overall ticket price of their monthly subscription. It can also be a great downsell if a student is moving away or wants to quit, garnering residual income from former members who otherwise would be contributing nothing toward your business after their departure.

Online programs also present the opportunity for you to advertise to people who aren’t in your local area so that they can train remotely. Many martial artists won’t approve of this, but if your program could work this way, there is a big market of people out there that would prefer to train through an online program from the comfort of their own homes.

To find out more, check out our Gym Heroes podcast on how to build a solid, profitable online program.


Stabilize or fortify your martial arts school’s income with these 5 alternative income streams:

  • Community Workshops, Seminars, & Events
  • Subletting Fitness Programs
  • Subletting other Martial Arts Programs
  • Personal Training
  • Online Training Programs

With a little creativity, you can bring in some extra cash or break profitability plateaus in your martial arts business – while growing your member base at the same time.



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