3 Things Why Students Quit Martial Arts and What to Do About It?

Retention is important. 

The most important we can do like martial arts school owners is to keep our students long-term. 

Ask yourself three things:

  • Why do students quit?
  • Why students are still in school and what keeps them going?
  • And the most important question, how do you cause more people to fall in love with martial arts?

Here’s the thing, if you want people to stick long-term and it’s crucial that you get to nail the foundation at the very beginning. 

What can you do in the first to six months of your program to make your students fall in love with your program? 

First, you can do, is your program should be fun – that they would smile because it’s a good time.

Second, on their first trial don’t mix them in a group class with regular students but instead do it one-on-one, it will make them feel comfortable and give them an assurance that it’s going to get tough but you’ll help them. 

Third, look at your student attendance and see who consistently attended class and who is not consistent in attending classes, then reach out and communicate to the students when they missed classes. 

Paint a vision of what a long term looks like for your school and set the foundation right to keep the student in the long-term. 

Read one of our blogs: Best Methods To Maximize Your Gym’s Monetization

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How To Increase Attendance In Your Kids Jiu Jitsu Class

When first starting out your studio, it is important to remember and select the demographic you are looking to teach. Some new owners already have a following, while others are looking to build out their market. Whether or not you will be teaching both children and adults, or just focusing on a young age group, there are many factors to consider before scheduling your training program. In this article, we will explore some reservations that can be overcome in introducing a children’s Jiu-Jitsu class, and ultimately, how to maximize their attendance.

What is Jiu-Jitsu for children

If you started your studio for the sole purpose of finding training partners and competition, it may be difficult to ascertain what a training program can look like for young kids and even teenagers. It is important to remember your own training and that of your sparring partners in the past. More than likely, they have undergone some sort of martial arts training as young children, rather than pick up the sport in adulthood, and transition to a professional career.

Jiu-Jitsu does not need to be changed for children, but rather, the approach to teaching must be different. This is why training is often segmented into their belt colors, as the curriculum can be taught easily when first working on the fundamentals. Remember that teaching the curriculum must be focused less on the self-defense techniques and exercises, and more on attention, praise, and making learning fun.

What age should Jiu-Jitsu be available to children

Parents often have reservations about enrolling their children in martial arts, let alone a very close-contact art like Jiu-Jitsu. The world champion Yuri Simões says that even though his father had a huge love for the sport, he didn’t enroll Yuri in a qualifying curriculum until the age of 9. His father believed that starting any younger would cause children to lose interest quickly in the sport, and not make a lasting connection with it throughout their life.

Yuri Simões – Image Source : BJJ Heroes

In an attempt to answer this question, BJJ heroes reached out to leading Brazilian psychologist Hernani Caroço. Hernani is a specialist in working with children between the ages of 3 and 17 on their psychology and development. He mentions that any sort of activity that develops a child physically, emotionally, and socially can only be beneficial for their upbringing. He says that, with few exceptions, between 5 and 6 years of age would be the earliest age that a child can be prepared to be enrolled in Martial arts. However, it is only between the ages of 8-10 that competition should be introduced. Children younger than 8 typically do not yet have the maturity to deal with frustration and loss and are more likely to follow the rules of self-defense and combat.

How to make kids Jiu-Jitsu attractive

When looking to establish a training curriculum for children and the marketing to match it, it is important to know that your target audience (at least at first) will be parents, caretakers, and decision-makers. With this being said, here are the top five ways to make kids Jiu-Jitsu more attractive, and how to achieve an increase in attendance.

  • Focus on the benefits 

Some parents may be looking specifically for your school if they have been taught in the Jiu-Jitsu discipline, but most are not that specific. You will be competing not only with your own local schools but also, with other martial arts disciplines and self-defense classes as well. As such, you must focus less on the sport, and more on how Jiu-Jitsu will improve the child’s life. Mentioning increased confidence, better grades, discipline, focus, and maturity are great ways to convince parents that this is the program for them.

  • Participate in tournaments 

Most children and teenagers, at some age, dream of being a superstar. Tournaments allow this kind of creativity to flourish, and also will add some application to their training in a real scenario. It is one thing to practice sparring with the same class every day, but a much different feeling when pitted against other schools. Not only will this competition motivate students, but it will also bring awareness to your BJJ club. Make sure to list any accolades or trophies that you win.

  • Separate your classes

This may be intuitive, but some schools do not do this. Do not mix your classes, especially between adolescents and young children. Age groups should be early, as there is a huge difference between a 6-year-old and a 10-year-old, but less so between a 15 and 17 year old. You will not be able to provide the required attention and risk losing your classes.

  • Get social 

Live demos, tournaments, posts, interviews, curriculum, class schedules and more should always be posted to your social media pages. Not only does this help to keep your current students updated on any events or grading, but it brings brand awareness from potential members about your curriculum, achievements, and progress.

  • Lifestyle

BJJ should be a lifestyle. Children will often grow up in the same school throughout their formative years and even as adults. As such, BJJ will be a lifestyle for them and their family. Belt ceremonies, grading, and self-defense achievements are just one of the few drops in the bucket of the BJJ lifestyle, but should also be centered around core values. Make sure to develop a student creed that all your practitioners should abide by and form a sense of comradery.

How to tie it all together

Now that you have the knowledge and confidence to build your Jiu-Jitsu curriculum, it is important to manage it properly. This means scheduling, marketing, re-targeting, email/text reminders, newsletters, class attendance, payment, and staff management need to be transparent and tied together. Spark Membership is an all-in-one solution, the best of its kind on the market. Try it from the comfort of your own smartphone for just $1

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The Best Martial Arts Summer Camp Idea To Increase Attendance

During the summer, students have much more time available on their hands to attend and attain their next level of training. Not only this, but parents are often looking for ways to keep their children occupied during the summer holidays so that they can focus on their regular schedule. Hosting a martial arts summer camp not only serves to alleviate this issue for parents but also creates an additional income and branding possibility during the summer holidays. Below, we will explore a great martial arts summer camp idea, and how to keep training fun and interesting.

How can I make martial arts fun

On a regular curriculum, most martial arts studios adhere to a strict training regimen to develop discipline and confidence in their students. As such, children may be used to a more rigorous class environment, and may not consider their training fun. Summer camps provide a great way to not only show that martial arts are a great lifestyle, but they can also potentially attract new members to the camp that will eventually become regular members during normal hours. In fact, you may already be incorporating some of the things that wellness living writes about making martial arts interesting and engaging for children.


This is true not just for children, but for adults as well. In the process of learning, the gamification of activity creates incentives for students to work towards getting better. For example, it is common for children to refuse to do proper pushups or to learn proper stances. A common method of making this fun is to incorporate music and rewards based on the amounts of pushups completed, as well as naming stances after animals and fictional creatures that the student can adopt as their avatar for the class.


 Children need much more attention and validation of their actions to build self-confidence. After all, they have much less life experience and have difficulty discerning between right and wrong. Praise often and praise sincerely, for any little action that was a step towards success.


This can also be combined with gamification to produce lasting results. For example, sparring is a staple across all martial arts disciplines and is something both children and older students look forward to. Further, dividing students into groups and assigning each a color, and having them create a team name and motto will bring a sense of accomplishment and ownership for their team to win.

Best summer camp activities

Turning your martial arts academy into a summer camp can be challenging yet extremely rewarding. Prior to setting up, it is important to properly notify your staff and change the schedule for the new environment. Furthermore, this takes new email notifications, marketing and onboarding, payments, and reminders to both the students and the parents. You must also arrange for after-camp care in case parents are late for pickup. Having academy management software makes this simple. Spark Membership is the best on the market, and you can try it for just $1. Now that we’ve gone over the 3 key things that make martial arts fun for students, let’s go over the best martial arts summer camp idea below:

  1. Themes

Martial arts are usually done in uniform, but summer camp is about mixing curriculum with a fun environment that they would usually have at a normal summer camp. Depending on how many weeks the summer camp takes place, children enjoy having themed days (or weeks). For example, if following a standard 6-week summer camp schedule, every Friday could be a themed day, where students don’t wear their uniform. Common themes include superheroes, animals, video game characters, and movies.

  1. Obstacle courses

Instead of a standard warm-up, some days can feature an obstacle course prior to the day’s lesson. This can also be pivoted into a race and the students can be divided into teams to cheer on their runners.

  1. Wood breaking competitions

This may be something that is found in a standard curriculum to demonstrate the technique, but every martial arts student dreams of breaking multiple cinder blocks with a single strike, as can be seen in popular shows and movies. Encourage students to bring in as many boards as they can break, or provide re-breakable boards

  1. Team contests

This can incorporate many different activities including sparring, kata, knocking over pads/dummies, races, obstacle courses, and many others.

  1. Sensei says

A popular game among students of the martial arts is “Sensei Says”, which is similar to “Simon Says” but only related to martial arts techniques or movements. For example, have your students practice their kicks, strikes, and blocks, but only if preceded by “sensei says”. If not, they are eliminated

  1. Belt “tag”

One student is “it” and places a flag or clothing pin behind their back. The rest of the students will chase the one who is “it” and try to recover the item. Incorporate this with self-defense and grappling to make it a more instructive environment.

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