Teaching the Martial Arts Review

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
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Jan 4, 2012
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New York
Hey everyone,

So I'm sure some of you remember about a month ago when BryceSPQR asked for people to read his book, and asked for people to review it. If you weren't here/don't remember/missed it, here's a link. Teaching the Martial Arts
I was originally going to write just a quick review, but decided to write a longer one for this site.

I just finished reading Teaching the Martial arts by BryceSPQR. I currently have no interest in opening up a dojo or starting a club; I am nowhere near that level in my training. However, it is something that I have considered doing eventually, so when he posted on the forum about his book, I decided to read it immediately. It was a great read, and if I ever decide to run a club/dojo, I am definitely buying a hard copy and keeping it with me to guide me through the process.

Before I go further, I will say what this book was not. It does not claim to be any of these things, and if any of this is what you are looking for you are looking at the wrong book. This is not a book directed towards how to run a successful mcdojo, or how to create a franchise. It goes slightly into the idea of satellite schools, and that is as far as it goes in that direction. It is also not a book with any new profound insights that will shake the business world, or the martial one. No if you do this, I guarantee you will have 100 students at each class or anything like that. This book is also not a legal book. Bryce states in the book when talking about the legal issues, he states multiple times that he is only giving a brief overview of various legal decisions, but that you should consult with both a lawyer and an accountant before making any decisions in those matters.

Finally, this book is not geared specifically toward me (or you). To clarify, it goes over the differences in locations and what those could be. However, if I decided to open up a dojo teaching Kenpo in NYC, the book does not tell me how to best market Kenpo, or what streets are the best to open up a dojo. The book is not magical, and if you expect it to be, you will be disappointed.

Now to talk about what the book is. The book is an incredibly clear, concise, and easy to read guide for anyone considering starting a club. It goes over each step of the process in enough detail to make sure that you understand all the options. This includes steps that I did not think about, such as fully knowing what the layperson may stereotype about your martial art. It also includes steps that I think about but do not normally hear about, such as how to handle the different ages and goals of future practitioners, and the importance of the very first class.

Every step that I can think of was mentioned in the book, along with a couple that I did not. Each step was made into its own chapter, and how to proceed in that step was explained in a logical way that breaks it down and gives you the essentials. For instance, in the first chapter he talks about understanding how to market your future club/class/dojo. He breaks this process down into two parts: Understanding what your martial art has to offer, understanding what you as an instructor has to offer, and understanding your own teaching ability. He explains how to fully understand both of these, along with the benefits and drawbacks that may be involved. He then uses shotokan karate (Bryces art) to demonstrate what that understanding should look like, and how to use that newfound knowledge to successfully/accurately market it. As I said earlier, this is not marketed specifically to me teaching Kenpo in NYC. However, using the knowledge in the book I was able to apply it to that. I used what he points out in this chapter to evaluate Kenpo as a whole, my personal Ken/mpo, and my credentials as a teacher. Even outside of marketing, this will be useful when describing my martial art to others.

Every subsequent chapter had the same logic and clarity when talking about its step. Finally, the last chapter focused on the key points from each chapter, as a guide to the book, which would be immensely useful if I was using this book as a guidebook. Due to the knowledge, clarity, and generalizability presented in this book, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in starting a martial arts group.


Yellow Belt
Jan 13, 2016
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I am incredibly thankful and flattered that you took time out of your day to write such a thorough review. I greatly appreciate it. I'm not going to lie, reading this review made my day. You described exactly what I wanted to create - a simple, straight forward, "have all bases covered" kind of book. So thanks for that!

I would also like to mention that this martial arts forum as a whole was supportive and non-judgmental as a whole. That is a rarity among forums these days, this place rocks.

Thanks! I look forward to writing more.

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