Increasing adult enrollment

msmitht

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jun 4, 2009
Messages
838
Reaction score
69
Location
san diego
I have a pretty good ratio of adults in my classes I think and I believe its because adulst want adults type training. Yes, you can cover the same stuff you do in a kids class, but in an adult way:
- Patterns over and over until you sweat like a pig
- sparring rounds til you puke
- Serious fitness work (again, til they are exhausted)
- pad work - hard hitting, not technique based stuff you may do with kids (though that as well)
- Traditional sparring for the higher grades
- Serious, Self defence drills.. done in a serious way ie. lots of tapping out, techniques tha hurt (but not too badly) + of course the more dangerous techniques, applied ina safe manner

Adults can handle pressure.. give it to them.. they'll love you for it - honest!

Stuart

Ps. And dont mix kids and adults - you can get away with teens, but not kids in an adult class if you want serious commitment and training
I agree completely. I have a good adult base and use the same principles. The only difference is that I do not stress Poomsae until after they hit yellow belt. Some Adults think that it is too hokey.
 

NPTKD

Brown Belt
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Messages
426
Reaction score
8
I run a program every few months that gets some of the parent out on the matt. Parents training month. I let them train for free for a month then offer them a chance to enroll at a discounted fee.
As for the teen market.....Good luck. For me anyway it has been a very hard group to get a handle on. I don't what to add programs to my school just to attract certain age groups ( XMA,MMA,etc....) I run the same program for all ages. Now, I don't teach it the same way to children that I do adults, but the curriculum is the same. Traditional TKD. We are about 30% adult ( 14-65) and 70% Children (3-13) Most of my adults are parents of students.
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
929
For increasing adult enrolment the same types of techniques for any enrl0olment increase may apply. Referrral incentives, Lead boxes, New student specials i.e 2 for on efor the first month, self defense intro classes.

However, FWIW, is there perhaps a chance the no head punches Olympic style is a non starter for many adults from two perspectives: 1. Practical Self defense / offense issues, and 2. Flexibility potential.
 

celtic_crippler

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
3,968
Reaction score
137
Location
Airstrip One
I don't do TKD...and this may not be the kind of answer you had in mind but..

Speaking as an adult MA student, a HUGE perk to belonging to my school is that they have a great kids' room off to the side. It has a tv and dvd system, a small table and chairs, and a box of toys and kids games. It is closed off and has its own door and a window so the kids can look out and watch if they want. Believe you me, when I did karate before a barrier to my going to class was often "who's going to watch the kids if I go to class?" the kids' room solves that problem neatly. I think if more MA schools had something like this, more adults would come to class and renew their yearly contracts. Without the kids' room I would miss half my workouts during the summertime.

I have a pretty good ratio of adults in my classes I think and I believe its because adulst want adults type training. Yes, you can cover the same stuff you do in a kids class, but in an adult way:
- Patterns over and over until you sweat like a pig
- sparring rounds til you puke
- Serious fitness work (again, til they are exhausted)
- pad work - hard hitting, not technique based stuff you may do with kids (though that as well)
- Traditional sparring for the higher grades
- Serious, Self defence drills.. done in a serious way ie. lots of tapping out, techniques tha hurt (but not too badly) + of course the more dangerous techniques, applied ina safe manner

Adults can handle pressure.. give it to them.. they'll love you for it - honest!

Stuart

Ps. And dont mix kids and adults - you can get away with teens, but not kids in an adult class if you want serious commitment and training


Good points.

In short, it helps to keep the kids separate fromt he adults in some cases.

Families may want to train together, but I've enrolled student after student over the years and many of them have asked, "I won't be training with little kids will I?"

The truth is, kids are the financial base of the majority of schools these days. If you had to survive on adults alone you'd probably starve. But you can increase your bottom line by attracting adults.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
271
Location
Olney, Maryland
Think about not just what adults want, but where most adults are. To qualify, I count sixteen to about twenty two as kids, as they still have school obligations and are still dependent upon parents' money and still may have the tendency to try things out for a month and then lose interest.

In martial arts, adults come in essentially two flavors: lifers and noobs.

Lifers are easy: offer a solid traditional program that has high expectations and where black belts look like black belts. These are the ladies and gents who have been in martial arts for years, often since childhood, and are looking to be somewhere. You do not need to convince them to train, but rather to convince them to train at your school.

Noobs: theses are adults who either have never practiced or perhaps have not practiced since they were a kid and have taken more than a decade off from training. These ladies and gents want generally to get into shape and do not want to lift weights. Sometimes, they want to be able to defend themselves, either due to a recent experience or as a fringe benefit to being in shape. Then there are those who "always wanted to try a martial art but never got around to it."

Noobs will be less able to take hard training: they lack the stamina of lifers and they lack the resiliancy of youth. They are often fighting obesity due to fast food and a sedentary lifestyle and have lost their muscletone and flexibility due to not having done anything remotely athletic since high school. Even the twenty five year old who played football in high school may be woefully out of shape.

On top of that, these people have day jobs and by the time they get out of work, they do not have the energy that a fifteen year old or a lifer will have. In addition, they may have family obligations that limit their practice time.

The adult who has had a scary experience and suddenly wants do defend themselves is likely to be in poor shape and looking for a silver bullet, thus will need to be handled differently than the adult fitness crowd.

Lastly, all of them will be wary of anything that may cause them injury, as they do not want to jeopardize their ability to earn a living, so hard core classes will not be an option for most.

On the plus side, adults have disposable income of their own and if they see a benefit, are more likely to stick with it.

These are the factors that you are dealing with with adults. Others have offered you some excellent suggestions, certainly as good or better than I can offer. In considering suggestions, those factors will be the ones that you will need to work with.

Daniel
 

Red Menace

Yellow Belt
Joined
Nov 26, 2008
Messages
24
Reaction score
1
An instructor I know, implemented a Tae Bo type of exercise program with a focus on fitness and not fighting or self-defense and it brought in a lot of adults, especially women. The interesting thing was that for a lot of the women it gave them the confidence to try the traditional art as well. They had that moment of of "Oh, ok, I can throw kicks and punches, maybe I'll try the regular class too." The bad news, was that his master did not approve of the school having a non-traditional class that "looked like dancing" and he had to end it. Not sure I'd want to teach Tae Bo myself, but it's a thought.
 

K31

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 20, 2006
Messages
295
Reaction score
2
This is a topic I have thought about starting a thread about many, many times.Tailor your program to adults by cutting out the high, spinning and jumping kicks as well as the emphasis on stretching for those techniques that go with them.How many threads here are about people with bad knees?Also, more self defense and sparring.
 

KELLYG

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
717
Reaction score
21
Location
North Carolina
I think that adult classes are the way to go. Most adults that I have trained with do not like training with children not because they are kids but because they are smaller and are perceived as being disruptive. They are afraid of stepping on them or hurting them by accident. Face it most adults do not want the super restricted "old school" disciplined environment but somewhere that they can train with like bodied people, work hard and learn something. Specialty classes are not necessary to entice older people to train. The focus should be flexibility, strength, endurance, practical self defense, and building a healthier body.

Just set time aside for an adult class. Invite the older students and the parents of some of the younger students to attend if it works out they will be all the advertisement that you will need. Word of mouth is a wonderful thing.
 

ATC

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
70
Location
San Jose
This is a topic I have thought about starting a thread about many, many times.Tailor your program to adults by cutting out the high, spinning and jumping kicks as well as the emphasis on stretching for those techniques that go with them.How many threads here are about people with bad knees?Also, more self defense and sparring.
But Adults are teens and up. Teens and adults in their 20's love the jumping and spining kicks. What you are talking about is the "Old Mens Club" Maybe adults over 30 and up.
 

d1jinx

Master Black Belt
Joined
Jun 13, 2009
Messages
1,390
Reaction score
17
Location
all-ova
But Adults are teens and up. Teens and adults in their 20's love the jumping and spining kicks. What you are talking about is the "Old Mens Club" Maybe adults over 30 and up.

HEY.... I'm over 30... and i can still jump and spin.... make the old mens club 40 and up... no better make that 45 and up, I'm half way to 40 now. gotta give myself some more time.......

And I wanna teach TKD in a strip club! I'll lay my "belt" down and be a white belt again for that one. where do i sign up!
 

ATC

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
70
Location
San Jose
But Adults are teens and up. Teens and adults in their 20's love the jumping and spining kicks. What you are talking about is the "Old Mens Club" Maybe adults over 50 and up.
Rut Row Shraggy -- I seemed to have hit a nerve
icon11.gif
. I reserve the right to change my statement. See above for corrections. Hey if you are 50 and about and still jump kicking like you were 20, feel free to shoot me.

By the way I am in my late 40's and I am still jump and spin kicking too. Although it is not on the same level as when I were in my 20's.
 

celtic_crippler

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 15, 2006
Messages
3,968
Reaction score
137
Location
Airstrip One
Rut Row Shraggy -- I seemed to have hit a nerve
icon11.gif
. I reserve the right to change my statement. See above for corrections. Hey if you are 50 and about and still jump kicking like you were 20, feel free to shoot me.

By the way I am in my late 40's and I am still jump and spin kicking too. Although it is not on the same level as when I were in my 20's.

:bow:
 

Stac3y

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 27, 2009
Messages
1,103
Reaction score
40
My school has a "coupon" that allows a parent who has a child enrolled to get their first 11 week session free, plus a free gi.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
271
Location
Olney, Maryland
HEY.... I'm over 30... and i can still jump and spin.... make the old mens club 40 and up... no better make that 45 and up, I'm half way to 40 now. gotta give myself some more time.......
Actually, as far as athletic activity goes, thirty is generally considered old. At 42, I am ancient as far as competing athletes go.

Daniel
 

Kwan Jang

Purple Belt
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
345
Reaction score
27
Location
Gallatin, TN. (suburb of Nashville)
Just a quick reply to old men over 40 being able to jump kick:
OK, now that my old ego has that out of the way, back to the topic at hand. Regarding jumping and spinning kicks, we don't have them as required test material for the adults and have a non-mandatory class on saturdays for any student that wants to work on them.

First, many posters have brought up very good suggestions, so I won't re-hash them all. A few good points would include an emphasis on fitness and practical and effective self defense. Seperating adults from kids. In our school, we have a completely different training floor for the adult classes and the kids are not allowed in there. It's decor is more like starbucks while the kids is very bright and busy in it's scheme. I think it's important to have a seperate class for the beginning adults (or if you have to combine them, have a seperate instructor working with the beginners and one working the advanced much harder). That way, you don't overwhelm or kill the "noobs" (as another poster put it) and still can work the "lifers" the way they should be.

The final thing that I'll add is something that made a huge difference for our adult program. Changing the class schedule to accomidate having adult students. Most adults want to train after work and if they go home, have dinner and make it to the couch, it's far less likely they will get back off of it on a consistant basis for class. Most schools prioritize their schedules to accomidate the kids classes in the schedule, but if you want a thriving adult program, they have to be a priority rather than an afterthought.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

stoneheart

Purple Belt
Joined
May 8, 2004
Messages
317
Reaction score
2
The final thing that I'll add is something that made a huge difference for our adult program. Changing the class schedule to accomidate having adult students. Most adults want to train after work and if they go home, have dinner and make it to the couch, it's far less likely they will get back off of it on a consistant basis for class. Most schools prioritize their schedules to accomidate the kids classes in the schedule, but if you want a thriving adult program, they have to be a priority rather than an afterthought.

That's a fantastic point. There absolutely should be more options available for adults to train starting around 4:30 PM or 5:30 PM. Too often schools ask for their adults to come in at 7:00 PM or even 8:00 PM. That's a negative proposition for people with children at home who might very well need a stress-relieving workout.
 

K31

Blue Belt
Joined
Dec 20, 2006
Messages
295
Reaction score
2
But Adults are teens and up. Teens and adults in their 20's love the jumping and spining kicks. What you are talking about is the "Old Mens Club" Maybe adults over 30 and up.

That's an interesting remark because I learned of such classes from a late 20's - 30 year old woman. The only reason I don't attend a school that teaches her MA is because they are too far away. Also, my previous instructor, ~22, quit because of a torn meniscus. So maybe I'm advocating a a practical MA that allows it's members to continue practicing so they can join the Old Men's Club. Go into the threads on why people joined the MAs how many say it was to learn to do a 360 hook kick? Adults, yes, old men and woman over 30 are now the largest segment of the population. Why not, if you are an instructor, tailor a course try to attract them to your school?
 

ATC

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
2,664
Reaction score
70
Location
San Jose
That's an interesting remark because I learned of such classes from a late 20's - 30 year old woman. The only reason I don't attend a school that teaches her MA is because they are too far away. Also, my previous instructor, ~22, quit because of a torn meniscus. So maybe I'm advocating a a practical MA that allows it's members to continue practicing so they can join the Old Men's Club. Go into the threads on why people joined the MAs how many say it was to learn to do a 360 hook kick? Adults, yes, old men and woman over 30 are now the largest segment of the population. Why not, if you are an instructor, tailor a course try to attract them to your school?
Keep reading and find my other post after that.
 
Top