Ideas for when I finally open a school!

terryl965

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here, let me try to reitterate this again.

Colored belts.. if student A has reached a certain level in his form.. he gets a piece of tape on his belt. If Student B needs more work.. he keeps working on it til he has reached that level. If Student A advances in his sparring.. he gets another piece of tape.. and so on. He's still a yellow belt, and he's still a yellow belt til he's ready to test. If you have alot of students its easier to go "Student A is getting about ready to test.. he has his 3 stripes". Yes, I should be able to tell that without the tape.. but it sure would make it less confusing. It also lets "them" know where they are at, and what they need to improve on.

I'm not sure what your replying to about testing. So I cannot reply to that.

I don't see anything that says "Mcdojo".


OK Sylo let me re say things in a different approach, everytime I see some piece of tape at the bottom of a belt it says two things to me and remember this is my opinion here so it is not God words, they say Mc dojo because every single one in my area does them and charge anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 for them or it says the head instructor is not competant enough to even know his own students well enough so he uses the tape sytem. Liek I said you said you will not be charging so great so I need to look at the other side which is he needs help knowing his student progress. Not trying to start a war with you because you seem to have some great topics and advice on this forum.

On the testing you explained it was just a date so people would know and not a group thing so I was agreeing with you on that.
Sylo I hope when you open your school it become swhat you would like it to be. Like I said Best of luck sir.:asian:
 
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Sylo

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OK Sylo let me re say things in a different approach, everytime I see some piece of tape at the bottom of a belt it says two things to me and remember this is my opinion here so it is not God words, they say Mc dojo because every single one in my area does them and charge anywhere from $10.00 to $25.00 for them or it says the head instructor is not competant enough to even know his own students well enough so he uses the tape sytem. Liek I said you said you will not be charging so great so I need to look at the other side which is he needs help knowing his student progress. Not trying to start a war with you because you seem to have some great topics and advice on this forum.

On the testing you explained it was just a date so people would know and not a group thing so I was agreeing with you on that.
Sylo I hope when you open your school it become swhat you would like it to be. Like I said Best of luck sir.:asian:

I see what your getting at now Terry. Yes, I've seen exactly what you are talking about.. and I despise it. I would never charge for anything like that. It could be left out, and the curriculum and testing wouldn't change in the slightest. 90% of the idea was based on letting the students have an easy way of knowing where they stand. 10% of it was giving me an easy way of knowing who is where in their training. Doesn't have to mean I don't know where they are without it, but the less I have to "think" about.. the more training I can do..

I think its a personal preference thing more than anything. If you can teach without it, then awesome. If you want to make things less complicated by having it.. awesome too. As long as the curriculum doesn't change, and noone is forking out extra money.. I see it more like an instructors "post it note".

thanks, I see your view now.
 

jks9199

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A few people have mentioned or alluded to something that's very important. Sylo, you've clearly put a lot of thought into the format and practices of the martial arts side of things. But, even in a non-commercial school, the business side matters just as much -- or you won't be able to do the martial arts side. Take the time now to take some classes in business and accounting. Learn how to develop and present a business plan. Have you looked at insurance? The benefits and problems of incorporation? Take some classes on teaching, too. Adult learners aren't the same as kids, and you need to know the differences. There's no real justification for the old "this is how my teacher ran classes!" mindset.

Do you want to go it alone -- or do you want to work with the benefits that a larger organization can provide? If you go with a larger organization, you may find that you have to alter your ideas of today to fit the organization's structure. You can't just throw any rank structure you want into the mix.

Moving away from some of that stuff... You define "adult" as 12 and up. I don't know how old you are... but I'll tell you from experience that even a class of mostly high school kids can put "grown up" adults off. A 20-something doesn't want to hang out with 12 year olds. We've arrived by trial and error at a line of about 16 years old or so; basically, once they have a driver's license as being a reasonable compromise. But there's a good argument to have 3 levels of class: kids, youths/young adult, and adult. Each age group learns a little bit differently, and needs to be addressed differently.
 

terryl965

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I see what your getting at now Terry. Yes, I've seen exactly what you are talking about.. and I despise it. I would never charge for anything like that. It could be left out, and the curriculum and testing wouldn't change in the slightest. 90% of the idea was based on letting the students have an easy way of knowing where they stand. 10% of it was giving me an easy way of knowing who is where in their training. Doesn't have to mean I don't know where they are without it, but the less I have to "think" about.. the more training I can do..

I think its a personal preference thing more than anything. If you can teach without it, then awesome. If you want to make things less complicated by having it.. awesome too. As long as the curriculum doesn't change, and noone is forking out extra money.. I see it more like an instructors "post it note".

thanks, I see your view now.

I completely agre with you each there own and lets remember we can dis-agree and still be brother in our Arts.:asian:
 

jks9199

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I see what your getting at now Terry. Yes, I've seen exactly what you are talking about.. and I despise it. I would never charge for anything like that. It could be left out, and the curriculum and testing wouldn't change in the slightest. 90% of the idea was based on letting the students have an easy way of knowing where they stand. 10% of it was giving me an easy way of knowing who is where in their training. Doesn't have to mean I don't know where they are without it, but the less I have to "think" about.. the more training I can do..

I think its a personal preference thing more than anything. If you can teach without it, then awesome. If you want to make things less complicated by having it.. awesome too. As long as the curriculum doesn't change, and noone is forking out extra money.. I see it more like an instructors "post it note".

thanks, I see your view now.
If it's for the student alone... try something different. Give 'em a "report card" or use a progress chart for each student. Or give them "testing tickets", and they can't test until they turn all three tickets in. Or anything else that lets them and you chart where they stand, but doesn't advertise it to the world, either.
 
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Moving away from some of that stuff... You define "adult" as 12 and up. I don't know how old you are... but I'll tell you from experience that even a class of mostly high school kids can put "grown up" adults off. A 20-something doesn't want to hang out with 12 year olds. We've arrived by trial and error at a line of about 16 years old or so; basically, once they have a driver's license as being a reasonable compromise. But there's a good argument to have 3 levels of class: kids, youths/young adult, and adult. Each age group learns a little bit differently, and needs to be addressed differently.

This is what I was looking for.

there are more than just 1 side to opening a martial arts school. Every side will be looked at.. but this side of it.. hit me first because it doesn't cost anything to daydream and brainstorm.

The "what is an adult/kid" thing would have to most likely be handled either on a situation basis or by a strict rule. One or the other.. not both. I know 17 years old that act like 10 year olds.. and 10 year olds that act alot older. There really is no real 100% perfect solution.

In my experience.. being 27 years old.. and attending class.

it tends to be the kids that are 12 or younger, that puts me off. They are slower, and less attentive.. I get less training done because I am having to stop to wait for them to catch up, or having to wait for the instructor to deal with them when they act out. There are 2 red belts in my class now that absolutely annoy the living crap out of me. They always show up late and miss stretching. Their belts are always tied wrong, and they ALWAYS act out. If we are doing bag work they take forever to actually kick the bag, so while the rest of us are waiting.. we are losing time. They shouldn't be red belts at all.. but more so.. in the same class as adults.
 

Brian King

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Sylo wrote:
I've been tossing around ideas, with another instructor friend of mine, and another friend who studies TKD with me as well (1st dan, we are talking about doing this as partners).

To quote a business advisor, partnership is the only ship that does NOT float.

I would strongly advise against doing this as a partnership.

Good luck
Brian King
 

terryl965

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Sylo wrote:


To quote a business advisor, partnership is the only ship that does NOT float.

I would strongly advise against doing this as a partnership.

Good luck
Brian King

Make it a corporation and have a board of directors, much better than a partnership.
 
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Sylo

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Sylo wrote:


To quote a business advisor, partnership is the only ship that does NOT float.

I would strongly advise against doing this as a partnership.

Good luck
Brian King


Yeah, it was just an idea. This all just brainstorm.. and something to think about.
 

girlbug2

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As a student, one of the things that impressed me recently when I joined was that the instructor had carefully arranged the studio with a separate room for the kids of adult students to hang out while the adults were in class. It has a large window so they can watch if they want and blinds to close off the view if they don't. It is located toward the back of the training area but right next to the rest room: if a kid need to use it, it's right there, but if a kid wants to leave the dojo he would have to go all the way around the training mat area to get out the front door, so it's nearly impossible to leave unnoticed. The kids' room has a table, chairs, dvd/tv, small refrigerator and a microwave and even a 10 gallon aquarium! The school's master had been teaching since he was a teenager and obviously had put a lot of thought into how to serve his customers needs.

As a parent I really appreciate this setup although I use it rarely, but it does get used a lot overall. It's good to know that if the babysitter is out I can still make a class and my kids will have an area all to themselves that's safe while I train. There would have been a lot of times I would have missed classes this summer if not for knowing I could bring the boys with me for an hour.
 

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Mango Man,

Interesting idea -- live for a full year on no income. Probably not practical for most though. Most need to begin by teaching the martial arts as an avocation rather than vocation. In other words, don't quit your day job at first. If you do this, then you don't need a year's expenses in the bank. And even if you do teach full time, not many can really pull together a full 12 months of cash before they start. Start small, build a quality product, the students will come.
 

mango.man

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Mango Man,

Interesting idea -- live for a full year on no income. Probably not practical for most though. Most need to begin by teaching the martial arts as an avocation rather than vocation. In other words, don't quit your day job at first. If you do this, then you don't need a year's expenses in the bank. And even if you do teach full time, not many can really pull together a full 12 months of cash before they start. Start small, build a quality product, the students will come.

That is why so many start ups fail so quickly. They run out of money to continue to operate. If they started with enough money in the bank to survive that critical first year, they would have been much better off beyond the first year.

Like I said, some niche businesses might get lucky but most fail miserably.

But, it turns out that the OP is not looking for this type of info so allow me to return you to the topic at hand.
 
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Sylo

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That is why so many start ups fail so quickly. They run out of money to continue to operate. If they started with enough money in the bank to survive that critical first year, they would have been much better off beyond the first year.

Like I said, some niche businesses might get lucky but most fail miserably.

But, it turns out that the OP is not looking for this type of info so allow me to return you to the topic at hand.


I don't mind that type of info. It was just starting to seem like my original intentions was fading further and further.

Money and funds to run a business depends on many factors noone on any message board is going to be able to help me with. Running a school in NY city or other large area.. is going to be far different than trying to do it in podunkville where there are no schools for at least an hrs drive. If there is no competition, things become easier or harder. I agree with you that a load of start up capital is needed so that you can survive without going under. I just haven't quite got that far into it yet :)
 

terryl965

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Sylo have you consider if you will be part of a group or an individual. Do you want your players to be competitive or just withen the school. Are you looking for advancement pass where you will be. Have you decided if the population is worth opening a school? These are all types of question that need answers, also have you done any research in the area to see how many school was there and failed? Sometime knowing the pass can help build the future.
 
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Sylo have you consider if you will be part of a group or an individual. Do you want your players to be competitive or just withen the school. Are you looking for advancement pass where you will be. Have you decided if the population is worth opening a school? These are all types of question that need answers, also have you done any research in the area to see how many school was there and failed? Sometime knowing the pass can help build the future.


Briefly yes.

This is something that won't even be in serious planning for another year or 2.

Plan A: Open a school as a sister school to the one I attend now. I would teach the same curriculum for the core system, and I would offer some extra stuff to fill the gaps in TKD. My school doesn't teach knees/elbows and doesn't do any grappling. I want to offer a self defense specific side as well as the health/wellness side. If my instructor agreed to this, I'd open under his organization. I would also be apart of a couple of other organizations only for the sole purpose of opening up my students to competition. I will not teach sport TKD, but will teach sparring rules for the organizations we are apart of. The main issue here is, my instructor already had one student break of and do exactly the same thing I am talking about. After opening his own school under my instructors host school.. he was testing for 2nd dan. He was failed. This angered him, and caused him to break all ties with my instructor. He basically shunned TKD after that and began teaching his own system based off of things he's learned at seminars. He basically burned bridges with my instructor, and I'm not sure my instructor wants to do it again and risk the same thing happening.

Plan B: Same as plan A.. but I will be my own school/brand. I will be a member of the same organizations as before.. but won't be affiliated with my school in any way other than the style of TKD we teach. I would like to offer more than what my school currently offers.. so this is always an option.

Location: The town I am thinking of doing this in, is very small. 12,000 people tops. There has only ever been 1 school here.. and its the school opened by my instructors former student.. that I mentioned above. I started TKD here, and he actually did very well. He was there long enough to have several black belts under his belt. I enjoyed it there. But soon, he started getting lots of complaints from parents from the way he treated their kids. He was a little rough with them, a little more than he should have been. He closed down and opened up shop somewhere else. He has a school currently, this will have been his 3rd over the last 10 years. He's been at this location longer than any of the others and is supposedly doing well. I feel like I might be able to come in, especially since my family is well known in the community and I have lived there most of my life. I think that will help in building trust and students, as I am already a respected member of the community.
 

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Back to the belt stripes:
I started using them and I came from schools that did not. I find they are a great help to me as a teacher. I can glance at each student and quickly know what they have covered, based on those stripes. On each belt, they can get up to 3 stripes of the next color belt. When they have three stripes, that is a que for me to know they are nearly ready for their next belt. When they are white belt, they get yellow stripes. When they are yellow belt, they get orange stripes. When they are orange belt, they get purple stripes. At purple, I stop using stripes because they are hitting intermediate level.
Also, I use green stripes for the younger students. If they get an A or B on their school report card, they get a green stripe for each, up to five stripes. The parents and kids LOVE this idea. Also, green electrical tape is around $4 for about 20 feet (I think).
Since I don't charge for belt tests or stripe tests, everyone wins on this one.

Now, read this thread regarding opening a school: http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=42320 then print it. That is worth gold.

Another thing: you need a website. I get my dot com for $9 per year at Godaddy.com Then I get my actual site for free at weebly.com Godaddy.com links people over to my Weebly site if people visit my dot com and even masks the Weebly address. I get all of that for only $9 per year. Check my site out below.

AoG
 

jks9199

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If you want to do this in 2 years -- now is the time to start seriously planning.

Bluntly... the economy is not good. It's not going to get better fast. Discretionary spending will drop. (I'll bet many of the professional instructors here are already seeing this.) Martial arts classes are, by definition, discretionary spending for most people. That's not a promising picture, is it? If you start planning now, you can take your time lining things up, investigating different ways you might want to work, and just getting ready. Doing the homework to present a solid proposal. Save lots of money now. (Hint... as a very non-profit, "hobbyist" teacher, I've spent several thousand dollars a year buying equipment. For a school, you'll need more.) Start the research now to determine that there is actually interest and support for a martial arts school.

Take the time to learn how to run a business. If you want to add things to TKD as it's been taught to you -- spend the time actually learning them or making the connections to have a good teacher of them who will come in and teach them. (Maybe make sure they really are missing, first, though... instead of simply not emphasized yet at your level of training.)

As I said earlier, take the time to learn how to teach. Teaching is an art all its own and it requires dedicated study to learn how to teach. Especially if you're going to teach kids and adults and everyone in-between.
 

ArmorOfGod

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Briefly yes.

This is something that won't even be in serious planning for another year or 2.

Plan A: Open a school as a sister school to the one I attend now. I would teach the same curriculum for the core system, and I would offer some extra stuff to fill the gaps in TKD. My school doesn't teach knees/elbows and doesn't do any grappling. I want to offer a self defense specific side as well as the health/wellness side. If my instructor agreed to this, I'd open under his organization. I would also be apart of a couple of other organizations only for the sole purpose of opening up my students to competition. I will not teach sport TKD, but will teach sparring rules for the organizations we are apart of. The main issue here is, my instructor already had one student break of and do exactly the same thing I am talking about. After opening his own school under my instructors host school.. he was testing for 2nd dan. He was failed. This angered him, and caused him to break all ties with my instructor. He basically shunned TKD after that and began teaching his own system based off of things he's learned at seminars. He basically burned bridges with my instructor, and I'm not sure my instructor wants to do it again and risk the same thing happening.

Plan B: Same as plan A.. but I will be my own school/brand. I will be a member of the same organizations as before.. but won't be affiliated with my school in any way other than the style of TKD we teach. I would like to offer more than what my school currently offers.. so this is always an option.

I think you are using the right kind of thinking above.
It sounds like you are headed in the right direction overall.
The poster above me mentioned that the economy is in ruins right now. That will be a problem, but if you are looking at doing this in 1-2 (or more) years, you are doing right thinking now.

Another thing you may want to consider is rent will cost you anywhere from 1,000-2,500 per month, then you have to pay for utilities. That is per month. You may want to start out at the local rec center and build you student base for a year or two. Local rec centers in my area only take 20% of whatever you bring in. That way, you are never in a hole. You always make money, even if it is only a few dollars per month. You build up your reputation, student base, and make a rec center happy.

If you are taking notes for later, there are certain companies like Bold Look and AWMA that will give you wholesale accounts without you having a business license. They will ask you to provide proof you run a class (flier or business card) or ask for a letter from your rec center supervisor, but will give you uniforms for around $17 each. That is far below what Century sells retail. I use Bold Look, AWMA, and KWON. I had to have a business license for KWON, but love their customer service and quality.

AoG
 

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Sylo,

First things first.

The school itself. I suggest going to a gym or dance school, or such and renting time for your classes. This helps in several ways.

a) Students can be found right there as many people go to classes there.
b) Overhead. You don't have to pay rent. Just a percentage of the monthly fees.
c) When you have enough students to pay for a rented place (and those places cost maybe $1000 a month OR MORE not including utilities) then you can think about moving your school. Otherwise stay put.

Now about training. WORK THEIR BOTTOMS OFF. Don't make it a McDojo. Do roll call or have them sign in every time and after so many lessons they qualify to take the next test. BUT, don't make the qualifications short in lessons.

Personally I'd have just White, Yellow, Green, Red, Black for the belts. While it is popular to have intermediate belt levels, I personally don't give a hoot. As their rank increases, then lengthen the number of lessons they must have attended before their next test.

Now about the methods. I have found that forcing the low ranking belts to do just the basic kicks, blocks, and punches, and leaving the advanced stuff to the higher ranking belts to learn is far better than trying to get them to do spinning heal kicks, back kicks, hook kicks, hammer fist, spinning back fist, and other advanced techniques. In fact, I'd have the White belts just do the three basic kicks (snap, side, roundhouse), basic punch and backfist, and the four basic blocks. Yellow belts learn the double kicks. Green the back kick, and Red the hook and spinning heal.

I've just seen to many student try the fancy stuff first and not learn the basics right. Like Master Chu said to us, "If you came here to learn out to kill, you are wasting your time, go buy a gun. Here you will learn to be an martial artist and that will take time."

Hope you have a nice big school Sylo for a long time.

Deaf
 
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Sylo,

First things first.

The school itself. I suggest going to a gym or dance school, or such and renting time for your classes. This helps in several ways.

a) Students can be found right there as many people go to classes there.
b) Overhead. You don't have to pay rent. Just a percentage of the monthly fees.
c) When you have enough students to pay for a rented place (and those places cost maybe $1000 a month OR MORE not including utilities) then you can think about moving your school. Otherwise stay put.

Now about training. WORK THEIR BOTTOMS OFF. Don't make it a McDojo. Do roll call or have them sign in every time and after so many lessons they qualify to take the next test. BUT, don't make the qualifications short in lessons.

Personally I'd have just White, Yellow, Green, Red, Black for the belts. While it is popular to have intermediate belt levels, I personally don't give a hoot. As their rank increases, then lengthen the number of lessons they must have attended before their next test.

Now about the methods. I have found that forcing the low ranking belts to do just the basic kicks, blocks, and punches, and leaving the advanced stuff to the higher ranking belts to learn is far better than trying to get them to do spinning heal kicks, back kicks, hook kicks, hammer fist, spinning back fist, and other advanced techniques. In fact, I'd have the White belts just do the three basic kicks (snap, side, roundhouse), basic punch and backfist, and the four basic blocks. Yellow belts learn the double kicks. Green the back kick, and Red the hook and spinning heal.

I've just seen to many student try the fancy stuff first and not learn the basics right. Like Master Chu said to us, "If you came here to learn out to kill, you are wasting your time, go buy a gun. Here you will learn to be an martial artist and that will take time."

Hope you have a nice big school Sylo for a long time.

Deaf

Thanks.

I've actually been checking around some. Everything is alot cheaper here than it is other places..

building rental here would run from 300-600 depending on the size and condition of the building. The only school within an hr's drive.. has been in its location since the mid 80s and has been in the same building this entire time.

I already have an idea of a place to rent when the time comes. Its a very small shopping center, and slots are always open. One of my friends opened up an internet cafe in one of them a while back.. so I know the rent had to be pretty cheap.. seeing as my friend is a cheapskate lol.
 
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