Martial Arts Studio’s Tips for Greater Retention

What if I told you that the success of your school could be determined by two physical objects right in your schools? These objects are not special and you probably overlook their importance all the time. They are bigger than a bread box but smaller than some martial artist’s egos. I am of course talking about the front and back doors of your schools. Our business can be simplified by understanding that if we can keep our front door open getting new students in, and keep the back door closed to keep our existing students, we will grow our business and be successful.


It has been said that “everyone sooner or later quits”. That is true, but it’s how long they stay that is important. We owe it to our students to do the best job we can, to give them such a positive experience in the martial arts that they will stay until they reach their goal of black belt. We can’t have the attitude that we should get as much money from our students as fast as we can, because they are not going to be around six months from now. If we have this type of attitude we are sure to ruin our reputation that we have worked so hard to build up in our community. We must take certain steps to help our students stay focused on their training, and not get side tracked. Remember, if a student does not attend for 3 or 4 weeks the chances are they have quit. If they quit attending, they soon quit paying! Here are some tips for greater retention,

– Track Attendance- Never has attendance been so easy for us to track now that we have software that allows our students to simply scan their membership cards and allows us to print a non-attendance report complete with all the membership information. So, be sure that you are making those missing in action calls (MIA’s) on Wednesday nights for the students that have not yet been there for the week. This will let them know that they are not being overlooked, that their attendance is important, you notice when they are not there, and you care. – On Saturday’s send a “We miss you” post card for every student that missed the entire week. This is great way to ensure that a student does not fall through the crack of the back door. (Oh, that didn’t sound right.) If my instructors can not reach a student by phone, they will receive a reminder in the mail.

– Have social function that brings your students together like a big family. Students stay longer if they have a social network to be a part of. Some ideas for the summer would be a pool party or a school picnic. – Have guest instructors’ visit to teach your students. This brings lots of excitement and makes the students feel part of something bigger than just your school. – Have special seminars that bring excitement to your school. Offer gun defense, competition forms or weapons, sparring clinics, self defense, ground fighting, or a kid smart seminar. We want to continually remind our students and build a reputation in the community that our school is the place to be! – For the summer, keep attendance high by having the “Eight weeks of summer surprise” curriculum. Every week teach something that you would normally not teach. This will keep your students excited and guessing what comes next all summer long. – Make sure that all students get the opportunity to make up missed stripe tests. Again, when a student misses a stripe test they may feel that they are behind the other students and become disinterested in continuing.

– Understand that your classes have to be the most exciting part of a student’s day. That is not to difficult when they are sitting in a classroom all day. So, get creative and have so much fun that would make Mickey Mouse want to take your classes!