After 50 years in the martial arts and going through various incarnations of successfully teaching various arts, being one of the first professional instructors and starting one of the first full time centres, growing old and having to use others to teach many classes I’ve learned a bit about teaching and running a full time centre.
What’s the biggest secret of success? It’s you. The coach. This point is often glossed over with ‘continued professional development’ like gathering certificates, doing courses, seminars and the like, but neglects the most important part. You need depth, the part that can’t be easily replicated because it requires fundamental personal change. A real leader has emotional intelligence and martial skill that requires ‘kung fu’ (time + effort), the gym, fitness and exercise routines just don’t cut it and will inevitably lead to lack of long term student retention.
Students want someone to look up to. Someone to go to for advice. They eventually want those character changes that you put on your flyers and website and would expect the person teaching them to also have those qualities. If your ego is too big or your knowledge insufficient they will eventually see through you and leave.
So proper long term personal and skill development through the martial arts is essential and should be your foundation and that of the service you provide. Good business will flow from your honesty, emotional intelligence, reliability, genuine humility and high skill level because it will command natural respect.
A happy, skilful, humble person is always happy to share knowledge and students are always happy to see and learn from them and know that they won’t have someone trying to fulfil a needy ego and constantly have a hand in their pocket.