Martial arts schools can be wonderful lifestyle businesses. But with any lifestyle business, staff who work for the business can find themselves missing structured or consistent training pertaining to both teaching martial arts and proper procedures within the business. However, it’s important that you maintain regular training for martial arts school staff to keep their teaching at the highest level, their engagement with the business sustained, and their knowledge of procedure fresh.

In this article, we’ll go over what sort of training sessions you need, how often they’re needed, and why they matter to the functioning of your martial arts schools.

Put Mandatory Weekly & Monthly Instructor Trainings on the Calendar

The importance of regular instructor-only training sessions cannot be overstated. Physical fitness is important. So is engagement from your instructors. And so is constant review of your material as well as feedback on how to teach.

Weekly training keeps instructors on their toes, preventing them from becoming complacent or on “autopilot” with their jobs. In martial arts especially, it’s easy to get into a routine, do the same sorts of things for every class and phone in performance. Beyond that, it allows you to provide advanced training targeted not just at advancing in your style but advancing in teaching ability. 

If you own multiple locations, it’s unreasonable to have all instructors travel to your home location for weekly training. Instead, a mandatory monthly training session for all instructors in your system, within driving distance, could be a great alternative. These sessions tend to be much longer, sometimes 4 or more hours, to pack in as much instruction and feedback as possible.

Host Seminars from Big Instructors in Your Style

You can do this internally to the staff only, or you can fold it into a school-wide event for everyone. Seminars with eminent teachers within your style, especially your particular organization, is an excellent way to deepen skills and generate positive engagement from instructors.

Depending on your means as a school and the way your organization facilitates seminar conductors, this could be a really big bang for your buck in terms of high impact training. Twice a year is good, but if you can afford it, hosting a big name instructor quarterly would be excellent for your team.

In fact, you can help fund training for your instructors by also opening up the seminar to students and locals. Maximize the resources you have at your disposal.

Hire in Instructors from other Martial Arts

Instructors who are always learning and always expanding their knowledge are going to stick with you longer and serve your students better. In addition to making instructors more well-rounded as martial artists, learning other martial arts helps lead to “ah-ha” moments that can lead to improved understanding of their base style. This indirectly enhances their knowledge of the style or styles you teach in your school which will lead to downline improvements in teaching ability.

This option is a lot of fun, but it’s probably going to be a big expense unless you can source a great instructor locally. For that reason, it’s not necessary to host these seminars and workshops quarterly or any more than once or twice a year.

Attend Conferences & Summits

Martial arts is not as big on trade shows as other industries, but there are several big events around that are worth attending. The wonderful thing about these events is that they’re highly educational but feel like a vacation, both helping your business and increasing staff morale.

Century has been hosting its Martial Arts Supershow for several years now, which includes high level business seminars as well as instructor training clinics from industry leaders. And there are several business summits throughout the year that allow you to uplevel your marketing and operations by listening to and interacting with wildly successful school and gym owners.

Produce an Employee Manual & Review It Often

Not all training has to do with teaching martial arts. With a small business like a martial arts school, it’s easy to get into a teaching groove and neglect both training and policy documentation. Staff can be so light that it doesn’t feel necessary to have a printed employee handbook with policies and procedures, but that’s a mistake. 

Staff need to know how to handle common situations no matter how few work for you. If something bad happens, or a worker makes a mistake, you could be legally liable if you don’t have printed policies. An example of this could be child abuse within the school. This is why it’s important to write out and print those policies into an employee manual.

It’s advisable to have a weekly or biweekly talk, perhaps during your regular training, to refresh or review specific policies. This ensures that documentation is always covered, and new additions are always communicated, because you have a natural training cadence already set up for it.

Conclusion

Staff training often gets neglected for martial arts schools even though it’s really important for instructor performance and legal protection. Thankfully, establishing regular training times and cadences is not difficult. In addition to weekly or monthly instructor-only sessions, be sure to include seminars from both big instructors in your style as well as from other martial arts, to keep instructors interested, challenged, and learning. Finally, be sure to produce an employee manual and review its policies regularly.

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Published by Josh Peacock

Josh is a lifelong martial arts fanatic, taekwondo 4th dan, BJJ player, writer, and marketer. In addition to helping martial arts school owners market their gyms more effectively, he also holds an M.Ed. in teaching & learning and has a passion for improving martial arts instruction.

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