Attracting adult students

thesensei

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Hello all...just looking for some tips. My TKD instructor is trying to find someway to attract and keep more adult students. We have quite a few kids, but we want to get more adults as well. We were talking about the belt system, and wondering if maybe adults aren't as excited about that aspect of it. Has anyone been successful with either taking away, or reducing the belt system?? What about other promotional ideas to attract them? What should we focus on? Why do adults take MA??

If it helps, Mr. Booker teaches a very traditional ITF TKD style. We are also affiliated with the AAU. You can check us out on the web at http://www.broadwayfamilykarate.com. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks,
jb
 
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GouRonin

Guest
I like to go around and beat people up then leave my friend's martial arts dojo card on them so that when they wake up they have a note saying, "If you don't want this to happen again, call this number."

I like to sign it, "The Phantom."
:rolleyes:
 
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thesensei

thesensei

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ok...that's what i'll do today then...i'm sure that'l get us lots of business!!

jb
 
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GouRonin

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I tried to recruit strippers for a school I was a member of. In fact I went as far as to tell them to bring their boyfriends if they thought I was kidding. After a demonstration of what we were doing, not only did I get thrown out of the bar but the girls saw the bruises I left on their boyfriends and decided against joining.

But imagine...a class full of strippers with a big bay window so people walking by can see...you'd make a mint if you were located near a high school.
:rolleyes:
 

Chris from CT

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Originally posted by GouRonin

I like to go around and beat people up then leave my friend's martial arts dojo card on them so that when they wake up they have a note saying, "If you don't want this to happen again, call this number."

I like to sign it, "The Phantom."
:rolleyes:

Gou, I have to tell you. This hasn't been a great day for me, but every thread I've read today you've made me smile (only a little bit though)

Thanks Bro. :asian:
 
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Elfan

Guest
thesensei, on the belt system, what do you do now? I know a lot of schools do lots of stripes and half belts 1/4 belts 2/3 belts and stuff like that with the kids. However, as an adult that is a huge turn off for me if its done in the adult program as well.
 
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thesensei

thesensei

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Originally posted by Elfan

on the belt system, what do you do now? I know a lot of schools do lots of stripes and half belts 1/4 belts 2/3 belts and stuff like that with the kids. However, as an adult that is a huge turn off for me if its done in the adult program as well.

well...we use a 10 gup system. yellow, senior yellow, green, senior green, blue, senior blue, purple, senior purple, red, senior red, black. Within each belt level, there are 3 stripes representing stages of the curriculum. testings are held every 2 months. the stripes are primarily for the kids, we use them for the adults, but they're not as big of a deal.

jb
 
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Elfan

Guest
Doesn't sound that bad but you might want to consider those 3 stripes inbetween.
 
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RCastillo

Guest
Originally posted by thesensei

Hello all...just looking for some tips. My TKD instructor is trying to find someway to attract and keep more adult students. We have quite a few kids, but we want to get more adults as well. We were talking about the belt system, and wondering if maybe adults aren't as excited about that aspect of it. Has anyone been successful with either taking away, or reducing the belt system?? What about other promotional ideas to attract them? What should we focus on? Why do adults take MA??

If it helps, Mr. Booker teaches a very traditional ITF TKD style. We are also affiliated with the AAU. You can check us out on the web at http://www.broadwayfamilykarate.com. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks,
jb

Same here. I teach at a YWCA. Great facilities, great prices, get free adds in the paper that come out 2-3 times a week.To make a long story short, very few takers. At one time, I had up to 6 people. Not alot by any stretch, but good for me, and now I'm down to 2 people.

I've been here 2 years, and people know I teach, but I'm at a total loss. We're in an area where there's money, so, I don't know. I do know that it's killing me on the inside, but I still manage to keep on.:(
 
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TangSooGuy

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I'm also having some difficulty attracting a lot of adults. I teach traditional World Tang Soo Do at a YMCA in a relatively small-town environment northwest of Pittsburgh, PA, and there is plenty of advertising available through the Y.

I've been in operation exactly 1 year as of today, and currently have about 20 kids, but only 4 full time adults. All of these adults are parents of kids I have in the youth class. The funny prt about this is that when i taught for my instructor, I taught at a YMCA as well, but exclusively taught the adults class, which consisted of 20 adults. The youth class there though had about 50 kds.


In short, it seems that adults are just harder to recruit and retain than youth students, at least at the Y.

I am almost running out of room at the current facility for the youth students, and am considering expanding the youth class schedule.

It is my goal over the next year, though, to try to attract more adults.

I will continue to recruit from the parents of my youth students, as this can become a great source of potential adult students, but I am not sure what exactly will attract adults who don't have kids training with me.

I have had a couple of other adults train with me for short periods of time, and there reasons for leaving were always that they just didn't have the time to dedicate to it, or that it was just a lot harder than they expected (both cop-outs in my opinion, but what do you do?)


So, to make a long post longer, what has anyone seen that really works to get those adults in the door?
 
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RCastillo

Guest
Originally posted by TangSooGuy
I'm also having some difficulty attracting a lot of adults. I teach traditional World Tang Soo Do at a YMCA in a relatively small-town environment northwest of Pittsburgh, PA, and there is plenty of advertising available through the Y.

I've been in operation exactly 1 year as of today, and currently have about 20 kids, but only 4 full time adults. All of these adults are parents of kids I have in the youth class. The funny prt about this is that when i taught for my instructor, I taught at a YMCA as well, but exclusively taught the adults class, which consisted of 20 adults. The youth class there though had about 50 kds.


In short, it seems that adults are just harder to recruit and retain than youth students, at least at the Y.

I am almost running out of room at the current facility for the youth students, and am considering expanding the youth class schedule.

It is my goal over the next year, though, to try to attract more adults.

I will continue to recruit from the parents of my youth students, as this can become a great source of potential adult students, but I am not sure what exactly will attract adults who don't have kids training with me.

I have had a couple of other adults train with me for short periods of time, and there reasons for leaving were always that they just didn't have the time to dedicate to it, or that it was just a lot harder than they expected (both cop-outs in my opinion, but what do you do?)


So, to make a long post longer, what has anyone seen that really works to get those adults in the door?

Bro, you're doing way better than me. I've just left the YWCA after almost 3 years. I just couldn't draw any people from there, or elsewhere, and they weren't supporting me either. I relented, and was gonna do kids, but screwed on that deal also.

No disrespect, but never work at a place run by women who have no earthly knowledge of the arts, and run through 4 Fitness Directors in 3 years.

I've shifted over to another gym, and rent space at $15 an hr, that way I won't get thrown out by a Weight Watchers Group! Plus, this owner is supporting me also. I don't expect many lifters from there, but at least I have a place that wants me.

We'll see, BTW, good luck with your continued success!:asian:
 
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Disco

Guest
Most adults that I have interviewed, prior to starting training want to learn SELF DEFENSE. Very few are interested in competition. They shy away from schools loaded with kids, (I know that the youth market keeps the doors open). Advertising a self defense class for adults only could'nt hurt. You may have to revise to just teaching nothing but self defense techniques. But once there in and getting into the flow, they just may want to go for the full blown training.

Now bear with me on this one. I was in the mall one day and there was an Instructor giving a self defense demo in a vacant store front. After the demo I asked him if this was profitable. He told me that the mall gave him the use of the area for free and every time he did a demo (every 6 mo's), it would be good for a minimum of 10 new adult student's.

Another way would be to try to get into your local College, Jr. College or Tech School. Some schools will even make it a credit course.

Just a couple of ideas. Hope they can help...........:asian:
 

Touch Of Death

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Focus on the kids. If you are good some of their parents will join.
Practice good business skills like using thank you notes and and full page letters detailing your goals or your visions. Most adults are dabblers so dont't expect to keep and hold them. When the Kids grow up they will be your adult base; they will steer their freinds toward you. Weve got about 400 kids and only 20 or thirty active adults at our school. Kids are the future of the Martial arts. Thats is just my opinion. Check out United Proffessionals in florida they can get you going.
 

Nightingale

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raise your prices just a little bit, and offer the parents a two for one deal if they train too. the parent pays for the kid to train, and then the parent trains free. works well to get a good, solid adult base, and when you have that, it'll spread by word of mouth, and you can stop offering the special.
 

Matt Stone

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I have been teaching, off and on, since 1991. I have taught in the civilian sector as well as on military bases in the US and overseas.

I get a real kick out of how many adults claim they want to learn self-defense, and when they see that a) it takes actual work to become the martial arts master they saw at the Jet Li movie marathon, and that b) it typically hurts (a lot), they run like they are on fire to leave the building...

I have taught "Tai Chi for Health and Wellness" (which is really nothing more than teaching our Taijiquan basic form without the emphasis on learning what is going on in the form, without the practice of form and self-defense applications, etc.), and that gets a lot of interest, but even with the watering down and removal of the fighting aspect of it, they still typically don't last more than a few months...

Bottom line, IMO, as martial arts becomes more and more mainstream, less and less people are actually interested in pursuing "the Path." Like it was said upthread, adults are "dabblers," and as soon as they tire of the effort, they bail.

Also, it seems like the way to financial solvency as a martial arts teacher lies with high tuition, high profile location, low quality and shallow depth of instruction, lots of oriental mystique, lots of belts (which cost to "earn") and lots of hype... Real traditional MA that work will just get you one or two dedicated students, but no real increase in popularity...

Gambarimasu.
:asian:
 
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lvwhitebir

Guest
Originally posted by Yiliquan1
I get a real kick out of how many adults claim they want to learn self-defense, and when they see that a) it takes actual work to become the martial arts master they saw at the Jet Li movie marathon, and that b) it typically hurts (a lot), they run like they are on fire to leave the building...

In my experience, they say they want to learn self-defense, but it's really more than that. They want to look and move like Jet Li. They want to believe they can walk into a crowd of 50 people and be the last one standing. When they see that it takes hard work to be *that* proficient, they may bail, or they may be enlightened. We have to somehow break the stereotype that with two classes you too can beat up anyone.


Originally posted by Yiliquan1
Bottom line, IMO, as martial arts becomes more and more mainstream, less and less people are actually interested in pursuing "the Path." Like it was said upthread, adults are "dabblers," and as soon as they tire of the effort, they bail.

It depends on what "the Path" is. When they find that's it not fun, not what they want anymore they bail. Adults want to get what they feel they're paying for. If they feel like they're progressing and not just getting beat up, they tend to stick around. Granted not everyone will stay around in one school for 5 years, but does that mean they don't still "train?"

I personally find that kids are more "dabblers" and go by what feels good at the moment. Just about every kid I know goes into 2-3 sports, moving in and out of them on a whim. Adults can stick with it more readily and can see it more for it's potential.

At my school, I try to have a variety of programs that appeal to different groups. We have internal programs and external programs that emphasis more of the "art", health programs like kickboxing for strength and cardiovascular training, and a self defense program for no-nonsense self-defense. We also have an "optional" sparring class for those that want more fighting. Some people straddle programs because they want the whole "experience" but most stick with what interests them. With a mix, as their tastes change, they can try something different.

Originally posted by Yiliquan1
Also, it seems like the way to financial solvency as a martial arts teacher lies with high tuition, high profile location, low quality and shallow depth of instruction, lots of oriental mystique, lots of belts (which cost to "earn") and lots of hype... Real traditional MA that work will just get you one or two dedicated students, but no real increase in popularity...

As with any commodity, high tuition and high profile location have nothing to do with the other qualities you mention. A high profile location attracts more students to "the arts," but unfortunately costs more, so higher tuition is necessary. Training with someone that's really good, should cost you more. Training with high quality instruction should cost you more. Besides, if you're happy with what you're paying for, does it matter what the cost is? People pay a lot more for a lot of other activities that don't have near the benefits. Financial solvency is a balance of getting and retaining students and charging a reasonable amount for your services that at least covers expenses. Many schools choose the mall front because it attracts more students to enable the instructor to do what he likes for more people. If you don't go that route, you have fewer prospects, but fewer bills.

Also, people complain about the cost of some schools but have you looked at what inflation has been the last couple of decades? I looked the other day and $50 in 1982 is now $95 (in 2002). Almost doubled! What did we pay when we were training? I'm not charging the same amount I paid, when inflation is figured in.

"Real traditional MA" to me sounds like the military training in the '60s. That type of training is definitely fading since most people don't want/need that type of hard-core training. They want something that meets their needs (whatever that may be) while still allowing them to go to work the next day. While hard-core training may still be helpful, I would reserve it for the 1-2 *dedicated* students that you pull from the larger MA crowd, those that are truly interested in it. The others will still stay students for their own reasons and will at least get some benefit.

WhiteBirch
 
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tonbo

Guest
One thing that we do is offer certain promotions. For example, in May, we have "Mother's Day Month", and "Father's Day Month" in June. During each of those, the Moms and Dads, respectively, can join in the white belt class with their kids for free. Quite often, we see people sign up when they have a chance to play with it a bit before having to commit. Then they don't feel like such beginners to start.

Another thing we do is offer 25% discount on tuition for the first family member, 50% discount for the third family member. This is often quite a nice incentive as well.

I don't know that I necessarily agree that all adults want the "kick butt" results. From what I've seen, most adults who call to get info on the school don't *know* what they want--they only have a vague idea about what the arts are all about.

If you get a call asking for information, set up an appointment then and there for that person to come in for an introductory course. Have a "free week" (2 classes or so) that they can come in for no obligation. After the second class, offer them the beginner's program, and go from there. Oldest sales trick in the book: Put the product in the consumer's hands!! Give the adults a chance to try it out, and more of them will be sold.

To get 'em in the door to begin with, put up flyers at the local supermarket, or other high traffic areas. Offer your special (the free week), or hold a raffle for a free month. There are a number of tricks......most just need a combination of marketing and persistence.

Good luck!!

Peace--
 

drunken mistress

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I agree. Mixed classes are a good idea. I saw my son training at Karate and thought it looked fun. Several other parents did the same. It織s much more fun than sitting around watching. I hope to do the same with TKD when classes start locally.
 
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