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Thread: Lots of Martial Arts Schools Are Closing?

  1. #31
    I've been driving 30 miles each way once a week for the last two years for private lessons, but outside of that I haven't set foot in the dojo much at all. For me it boils down to spending time with my family or spending time doing the three Ks over and over. I'm also using some of the time I used to spend in the dojo to get to the gym with my wife and get a good workout in. I'm surrounded by so-called affluent neighborhoods, but people have ****ed away alot of money on extra big houses and new cars so I can see why they've cut back on activities. It's funny seeing these 3600 sq foot $600,000 homes devoid of furniture. They'll cut back even more when they have to heat the **** things.

    And now we're getting into the summer dojo duldrums when attendance always goes down.

    Sorry to hear about your school Oso, have you thought of subletting it to other schools to reduce empty floor time? The guy that I know bought some top of the line mats when he opened his school and that made it easy for some Aikidoka and now a BJJ guy to set up shop in his school.
    Last edited by rogue; 04-27-2006 at 06:54 PM.
    I quit after getting my first black belt because the school I was a part of was in the process of lowering their standards A painfully honest KC Elbows

    The crap that many schools do is not the crap I was taught or train in or teach.

    Dam nit... it made sense when it was running through my head.

    DM


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  2. #32

    lion dance



    Greetings, any schools here teaches lion dance?
    Gd day,
    Joshua

  3. #33
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    Rogue:

    I just had an opportunity to do that. You must have missed my "Ya'll check me on this" thread.

    I met a tai chi lady who seems to know her stuff...cute little chinese lady about 4'11. But...her tan tui style kicks put mine to shame (well, that's not saying much)...anyway, she seems to know her stuff and is very energetic and obviously excited to teach her tai chi...short version: we worked out a deal where she would start teaching 2 times a week. I was going to let her teach for the month of April for free and then do a 30/70 split with her. Well, they hung a few flyers around town...I got them a demo at the local community college...and they came for the first two days in April and then didn't show for the 3rd class because 'no one is coming'. I gave them a short dissertation on the number of times I was sitting in the gym aerobics room by myself the first year I was trying to teach and haven't called them back. Next time they call me, it's going to be a flat $25 an hour to rent the space....ya bend over backwards for someone and they just don't get it....

    trying to work a gig with the local Girl Scout chapter to start doing some SD classes. I did one for a troop and the girls dug it and the leader was real happy with the things I said.

    not giving up yet...it's just real low at the moment.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  4. #34
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    Smile Hi Oso,

    Hang in there, buddy. You can do it.

    Warm regards

    Mantis108
    Contraria Sunt Complementa

    對敵交手歌訣

    凡立勢不可站定。凡交手須是要走。千着萬着﹐走為上着﹐進為高着﹐閃賺騰挪為
    妙着。


    CCK TCPM in Yellowknife

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  5. #35
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    Thanks, Robert. Frankly, I can't give up...I don't know what I'd do.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  6. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Oso
    Rogue:

    I just had an opportunity to do that. You must have missed my "Ya'll check me on this" thread.

    I met a tai chi lady who seems to know her stuff...cute little chinese lady about 4'11.
    not giving up yet...it's just real low at the moment.
    Oso, you have a school in Asheville ... Tong Long Men ... sounds like some sort of Mantis. You probably have at least one form you can do nice and slow like they do Yang Tai Chi these days.

    Just market the crap out of it. Claim this is the best thing for health, claim Buddhist Taoist influences. (Heck, what Chinese MA can't claim Buddhist or some Taoist influence), stick up fliers all over UNC and in the cafes and all that.

    Or teach women's rape prevention. That should be a big one. "Get healthy and in shape while you learn how to protect yourself." Get a lot of padding and have them attack you.

    Or teach to seniors ...

    Start Asheville's "Little Mantis" kids program. Offer deals for the entire family or something.

  7. #37
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    neil: I know we're going around and round on the forms subject and to be honest I was a little bored at work yesterday. So I apologize for being argumentative.

    It sounds like what you really need is just a couple of good training partners that you can hook up with a few times a week.

    I go to my sifu's house twice a month for instruction. The rest of the month I meet up with friends to review the material.
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  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilhytholt
    Oso, you have a school in Asheville ... Tong Long Men ... sounds like some sort of Mantis. You probably have at least one form you can do nice and slow like they do Yang Tai Chi these days.

    I have a tai chi form...LOL...the Chao Family 36-37

    Just market the crap out of it. Claim this is the best thing for health, claim Buddhist Taoist influences. (Heck, what Chinese MA can't claim Buddhist or some Taoist influence), stick up fliers all over UNC and in the cafes and all that.

    naw, there's already too many idiots claiming that crap...we even have our own 'cosmic chi center' now.

    Or teach women's rape prevention. That should be a big one. "Get healthy and in shape while you learn how to protect yourself." Get a lot of padding and have them attack you.

    working on that with Red Cross and the Girl Scouts

    Or teach to seniors ...

    too diversified...I have a full time job as well so I only have 3 time slots each night and saturday mornings.


    Start Asheville's "Little Mantis" kids program. Offer deals for the entire family or something.
    working on that as well...except it's "Little Bears"...not really. maybe 'mantis bears'...yea, just get with Mephesto and.....

    this is a funky town for MA. very thick with over 20 schools trying to do their thing with a population of 70k or so....and there are another 8 or so schools in the county as well.

    but, thanks for the input.



    as far as forms and how old they are and what the 'old masters' did...what I'm hearing more and more of is that very few forms pre date the mid 1800's.

    Cheif Fox: I totally agree with what you are saying about how you can interpret a move in a form a bunch of different ways. In the karate world, the differentiate between that interpretation, bunkai, and the 'original' intent of the form creator...can't remember what they call it...starts with an 'o' I think.

    anyway, I find it great fun to figure out different ways to apply the principles or movements in a form. But, under the KISS rule...you don't really want a bunch of different options floating around in your head. You certainly can't train them all to a good enough degree to be reflexive.

    I think this is where 'modern traditional' (post 1900) has maybe made some mistakes in propagating too many forms and the idea that those forms are the be all and end all.

    just my thoughts.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  9. #39
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    Oso,
    Have you tried referral programs? Things such as having a "bring your friend" day, where all your current students have to bring in at least one person on a designated, and you have a specific, really high energy class for them (and even putting your students in front to lead sometimes), and then give an incentive to your students to have their friends to join, such as, whoever has the most people sign up gets a 3-section staff, for example.

    Most of the time, it seems that what is needed is to just get people to the door. If you have good content, and are a great instructor with a great personality, that tends to sell itself. Getting people to the door is the biggest challenge.

    As for getting your name out there, have you looked into the idea of doing a fundraiser? Like doing a Punch-A-Thon or a Kick-A-Thon, where each of your students take pledges from their friends, family, coworkers, etc., to sponsor them in an event to throw 1000 punches or 100 kicks. The money all goes to a charity, it's a special event that'll get students excited and on top of their game, and best of all, the media loves covering fundraising events, so it's free publicity. Some successful MMA do a Grapple-A-Thon, and some TKD schools do a Break-A-Thon.

    You may want to solicit local publications and tell them that you're willing to write columns about martial arts. Anytime there's a story about where martial arts are involved, a lot of times, it's written by non-martial artists. Offer this service, and I think you'll be surprised.

    Are you friends with other business owners in town? You may want to have a setup with them where they hand out your card/brocuhure to their customers, and for every person that joins, you can give them a percentage of your enrollment fee (like $50 or so). You can do this same method with other martial arts schools who are vastly different from yours, like say, a grappling or throwing school, or even TKD schools.

    Marketing is tricky. Demos and flyers can only do so much. They tend to work better when you have other marketing methods (like what I mentioned above) in place simultaneously.

    Are you the only Kung-Fu guy in town?

    -123
    The 10 Elements of Choy Lay Fut:
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    And it doesn't hurt to practice stuff from:
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  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by yutyeesam
    Oso,
    Have you tried referral programs? Things such as having a "bring your friend" day, where all your current students have to bring in at least one person on a designated, and you have a specific, really high energy class for them (and even putting your students in front to lead sometimes), and then give an incentive to your students to have their friends to join, such as, whoever has the most people sign up gets a 3-section staff, for example.

    yep. I have a stepped program where they recieve weapons, sparring gear and even a permanent reduction in their tuition.

    Most of the time, it seems that what is needed is to just get people to the door. If you have good content, and are a great instructor with a great personality, that tends to sell itself. Getting people to the door is the biggest challenge.

    agreed...I won't blow my own horn in regards to how good a teacher I am or my personality (LOL). Till this spring my overall retention has been high. I just don't get that many walk ins.


    As for getting your name out there, have you looked into the idea of doing a fundraiser? Like doing a Punch-A-Thon or a Kick-A-Thon, where each of your students take pledges from their friends, family, coworkers, etc., to sponsor them in an event to throw 1000 punches or 100 kicks. The money all goes to a charity, it's a special event that'll get students excited and on top of their game, and best of all, the media loves covering fundraising events, so it's free publicity. Some successful MMA do a Grapple-A-Thon, and some TKD schools do a Break-A-Thon.

    well, I co-promoted the tournament that was a charity benefit but the ******* I teamed with stole all the media attention.

    I just did and awareness/self defense program for a girl scout troop for free and will be working to start a program with all the troops.



    You may want to solicit local publications and tell them that you're willing to write columns about martial arts. Anytime there's a story about where martial arts are involved, a lot of times, it's written by non-martial artists. Offer this service, and I think you'll be surprised.

    that's something I haven't thought of. thanks.

    Are you friends with other business owners in town? You may want to have a setup with them where they hand out your card/brocuhure to their customers, and for every person that joins, you can give them a percentage of your enrollment fee (like $50 or so). You can do this same method with other martial arts schools who are vastly different from yours, like say, a grappling or throwing school, or even TKD schools.

    Marketing is tricky. Demos and flyers can only do so much. They tend to work better when you have other marketing methods (like what I mentioned above) in place simultaneously.

    I have pretty much done everything marketing wise. We're getting ready to do another flyer push for a summer only program and will do another women's only class in the fall. dropped money in print ads w/ 0 return.

    whenever I check with my students to see if they are having any succes with their friends they say they try and talk it up but nobody is really interested.

    laziness is fairly rampant I think.




    Are you the only Kung-Fu guy in town?

    -123
    nope...there's a shoalin-do school right down the street and another SD guy teaching out of a community center only about 3 miles away.

    another guy who is doing a mix of stuff, mostly internal

    3 or 4 tai chi folks

    and about 10 other karate or tkd schools.

    I'm reevaluating my curriculum layout and trying to pare it down a bit and maybe jazz it up some so it's a little more exciting...without feeling like I'm dumbing it down.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  11. #41
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    Smile Hi Oso,

    Just a thought... I think a lot of schools these days are there to do business and business only. i don't think that's good for marketing the schools. I mean do they care what's happening to the community that provides the student base? I think you are somewhat on the way to caring about the community working with the girl guides and other groups. If you can capitalize on the momentum, may be it would open up a lot more doors for you. Business is about relationships too. An extra step goes a long way. So....

    Warm regards

    Mantis108
    Contraria Sunt Complementa

    對敵交手歌訣

    凡立勢不可站定。凡交手須是要走。千着萬着﹐走為上着﹐進為高着﹐閃賺騰挪為
    妙着。


    CCK TCPM in Yellowknife

    TJPM Forum

  12. #42
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    do you have a website?

    I could help you out with this if you don't.

    I hate to hear that a kung fu school is hurting. I could put together a quick little website for you. Special, one time offer, kung fu brother pricing of no charge!
    Check out my wooden dummy website: http://www.woodendummyco.com/

  13. #43
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    www.ashevillemartialarts.com


    thanks though, I appreciate the thought.

    my problem is I have what my senior students who are closer to me refer to as:
    "The Conflict"

    I've always trained hard with the only emphasis being on fighting. I guess I've been lucky that the teachers I've stumbled across have matched up well with what I want.

    Nobody in this town seems to want to learn kung fu for fighting...or rather, they don't want to train kung fu the way you need to train it do fight with it.

    anyway...gotta get ready for a sash promotion tonight.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

  14. #44
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    Talking Yes this is also a problem faced in Vancouver

    several of the clubs here are noticing a serious decline in numbers and some have shut down.

    Personally I see several problems;
    1) Culturally people are changing, short attention spans (MTV generation & fast food syndromn), a lot of different things to do now (too many chanels on TV, internet, etc...), and as someone said people are just lazier now...

    2) so many different martial arts vying for the same students; Modern Martial Arts, Cardio Kick Boxing, TKD, Capoeira, Freestyle, McDojos, etc... all cut into the same market that CMA is vying for. And CMA is just harder to find, there is maybe fifty active CMA instructors here and only one or two of them can be found in the Yellow Pages or do any advertising, versus all the other forms of Martial Arts that maintain a much higher mainstream profile.

    3) the CMA community is so fragmented and spends so much time dealing with it's own internal strife that it can't get it's head out of it's own a s s long enough to look around realize there's a problem and do something collectively about it... Vancouver's CMA community now has three CMA type unions / associations, none of which does very much of anything to promote CMA outside of the Chinatown community (and that they don't even really do much of).

    4) Attitude, some (not all) CMA instructors have the most apathetic outdated attitudes when it comes to training & motivating students. Some still cling to extremely old methods of training and don't try absorbing anything new. Some still don't do much in the way of stretching, conditioning, supplementary training. Nothing wrong with trying to maintain your traditional style but keep an open mind and look into new ways of training and motivating students.

    5) the image of CMA is not so strong as it was say twenty or thirty years ago. People don't immediately think of CMA when they think of practiical self defense or fighting. Let's face it the truth is not that many CMA clubs produce fighters and this doesn't do much to promote the image of CMA as a practical fighting art. Now certainly there are some schools that are an exception to this.

    The good thing about CMA as I see it is they have diversity that typically can't be found in any other Martial Arts. What I have noticed is that the CMA schools that embrace this diversity are the ones that tend to do well and survive the lean times (be they driven by poor economy or changing cultural interests). Many of the CMA schools that I see doing well here in Vancouver will often teach a traditional style or two but will also include programs such as Modern Wushu, San Shou, Lion Dance, women's self defense and so on. Also schools that keep a high public profile tend to do well (advertising and promotions).

    Personally the way I see it is that all CMA instructors should want to and try to help build up the mainstream pubic image of CMA and pushing the diversity of CMA is one positive way to do it. If the public image of CMA is strong then all benefit.

    Just my two cents
    Last edited by firepalm; 04-29-2006 at 07:41 PM.

  15. #45
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    Question: How do you get two CMA teachers to agree on something?

    Answer: Shoot one of them.








    I agree, firepalm.

    dig this though: I've had this guy who is a bjj student back home (about 5 hours from here) but is in school here in Asheville come in once before to see what was up. Decent enough dude and decided who wasn't ready to do any crosstraining and was going to keep doing just the bjj for a while yet. He comes in last night while I was giving a test and asked if he could interview me for a journalism project he was doing in school. It was about 'MMA in NC' and he's interviewed some guys I'd never heard of on the MMA scene here and wanted to interview me to get a TMA's perspective. I've asked for a copy of the paper when he's done. I got to get on my soapbox a bit. We'll see how it sounds if he uses any of it.
    "George never did wake up. And, even all that talking didn't make death any easier...at least not for us. Maybe, in the end, all you can really hope for is that your last thought is a nice one...even if it's just about the taste of a nice cold beer."

    "If you find the right balance between desperation and fear you can make people believe anything"

    "Is enlightenment even possible? Or, did I drive by it like a missed exit?"

    It's simpler than you think.

    I could be completely wrong"

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