Sports Karate Business Benefits
Andries Pruim | February 2023
Sport Karate Business Benefits
I met with Jackson Rudolph
to discuss Sport Karate in the Olympics as I had read his Black Belt Magazine article on the benefits of
bringing Sport Karate into your martial arts business. We were able to
collaborate on an excellent article on the merits of having Sport Karate in the
Olympics, which, in turn resulted in a secondary discussion on the tangible business
benefits of leveraging Sport Karate.
As I try to focus my research on the business side of the Martial Arts industry, it was obvious that the benefits of having Sport Karate in the Olympics would be industry wide. In fact, any additional exposure to Karate in general, whether Traditional or Sport Karate would be advantageous for all Martial Artists.
I wanted to further explore
Jackson’s position that adding a Sport Karate element to your curriculum can
also provide sizable financial benefits to your business. As our discussions on
Sport Karate in the Olympics spilled over to how this additional exposure could
benefit the martial arts industry, I have decided to include a number of
Jackson’s personal thoughts and comments as I feel he is fast becoming one of the
leading spokesmen for Sport Karate.
Andries Pruim Jackson Rudolph
Highlighted here are the top 4 benefits your martial arts business can obtain if you do decide to include some facet of Sport Karate into your curriculum.
Retention of Existing Student Base
Here is where Sport Karate can improve the lifetime value of your students. Today’s students can get easily bored, so it’s is imperative that you as a business owner ensure your students are content to the point that they wish to return to class over and over again.
The Sport Karate retention opportunities are sizable as it provides you with more martial arts related activities, which in turn provides for a very diverse student base. With more ‘arrows in your quiver’ you are able to attract students who may not be into Forms but really enjoy working with Martial Art weapons, while other prefer the more traditional training.
JR: When I preach the gospel of Sport Karate in terms of business, it is in the retention benefits. Let’s take student satisfaction for example. That six-year-old, seven-year-old, or eight-year-old, in their mind they are going to that Karate class because they think they can learn the spinning kick that they saw Captain America do in a Marvel movie.
If you’re already teaching them the front stance, the low block or a punch, then what’s the harm in showing them a superman punch. It’s not going to impact their traditional training. You’ve taught them what they need to know in class. You taught them a proper stance, you taught them how to block, you taught them how strike, so give them that little bit of fun in the last five minutes of the class.
One of the weakest components of most school’s
curriculum is the Black Belt program, especially seeing that most schools focus
primarily on how to get to that first Black Belt level. A lot of traditional
styles suffer from this problem and lose a number of students once they attain
their Black Belts. Using something like Sport Karate could keep your Black
Belts interested in training at some new martial art discipline, which in turn
provides you with long-term students (and potential staff).
JR: Particularly at the Black Belt level, because I can’t tell you how many schools I’ve been in where it’s seems that Black Belt classes are really just whatever the Sensei wants to teach that day. That’s how people commonly handle Black Belt classes, where it becomes a chilled, loose class format. Sure, that might be fun for the first few classes, but at some point, those students are no longer going to be stimulated, they’re not going to be challenged. This is because a lot of the traditional curriculums that have been passed down for years, don’t have complex Black Belt programs.
My point is that the
curriculums are way underdeveloped for the Black Belts. That is why we see a
lot of people get their Black Belts and then quit the martial arts. This is
because they may have tried a few classes after getting their Black Belts and
then they realized that there is not much left to learn. In reality, there
is a whole world of possibilities out there to enhance your classes. If you want
to do a completely traditional curriculum and you’re getting students to Black
Belt and retaining them effectively, then maybe after Black Belt is where you
supplement it with some Sport Karate.
Recruitment of New Students
If Sport Karate was added to the Olympics as well as your curriculum, it would provide the industry with a wealth of new student prospects. If you took a survey of all the stunt doubles in both movies and television who had a martial arts background, you would quickly note that almost all of them came from the Sport Karate community.
Whether it be the DC or Marvel Movies or the huge number of action Video games, there will be a number of kids who want to emulate those various action heroes. When you look at the Extreme Divisions of Sport Karate you will see similar “flashy” techniques that you see in the Movies or Video Games. Using these Sport Karate elements can be an excellent marketing tool.
JR: I think there a lot of kids that come into the martial arts right now because they see these Marvel or DC movies and all the fight scenes. And guess who is performing these scenes?? Sport Karate world champions, Caitlin Dechelle, Matt Emig, Sammy Smith, Mackensi Emory, the list goes on and on. It is all those Sport Karate champions that are behind the scenes doing all these stunts and putting Sport Karate moves into the stunt choreography. So, when a kid comes into the martial school because they were at a Marvel movie and saw Captain America do a spinning kick on things, then they want to do that.
One of the most underappreciated aspects of having Sport Karate in the Olympics and possibly part of your curriculum (in some form) would be the retail side of your business. The Traditional side of the retail business is somewhat limited as you are looking at a single standardize Gi and the same with fighting equipment, with the weapons side of the Traditional Karate not even represented in any Traditional tournament.
If you add Sport Karate to your curriculum and then considering the extra exposure of the Olympics, this combination could lead to a wonderful opportunity to increase your retail business thanks to the variety of Sport Karate uniforms and related equipment.
JR: When you go from a traditional curriculum that doesn’t have Sport Karate to one that does, well then all of a sudden you need a black uniform, if you were using a white uniform, you need a black uniform for the creative divisions, you need a separate Point Fighting uniform, otherwise you’re going to look like you don’t know what you are doing, you also need head gear, hand pads, double pads, foot pads. You also need whatever the weapon of choice is. For a lot of competitors that could be two or three weapons. You can see those dollar signs add up from a product or retail perspective very quickly.
One final benefit both financial and professionally would be scheduling seminars for your school. Whether Sport Karate or some other martial art where you don’t have the skill sets to properly introduce the style into your school, then you can still invite top practitioners of the style to your school to put on seminars.
JR: If a martial arts school owner that’s new and is trying to figure out some of the best things they can do for their school, then sees an article about Sport Karate, and they think “This will bring more kids into my school?” Okay, let’s give this a try! Or maybe its supplementing your program with a Jujitsu program. You may say “Hey we teach karate here, but every Friday we have a guest instructor comes in and we do a Jujitsu class”. So having something extra that isn’t what your school always does, is something that can definitely help you increase your retention regardless of the style.
This way you not only introduce something new to your students, you can make some extra money for your school as well as grow your network of Martial Arts professionals. The more quality Martial Artists you can associate with the more you are going to grow as a Professional, a Businessperson and as an individual. This can do nothing but lead to success.
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