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As rewarding as it is to run a martial arts school, it comes with its challenges. 

Martial Arts School owners often find themselves trying to overcome obstacles relating to attracting students and retaining them, all while making sure they stay ahead of the competition.

If you own a martial arts school and these obstacles resonate with you, this post is for you. Let’s delve into some of the most common challenges faced by martial school owners and how you can overcome them.

Staying Competitive

Staying ahead of the competition is essential for long-term success in the martial arts community. However, many instructors struggle with defining their unique selling points to stand out from other schools in the area. 

To overcome this challenge, focus on providing an exceptional level of customer service and offer your students a personalised experience. Consider introducing specialised classes and programs, reinvest revenue into improving the dojo and regularly ask students for their feedback to understand where you can make improvements. Finally, stay on top of industry trends and adapt your offering where necessary to stay relevant.

Financial Management

Managing finances can be challenging for martial arts school owners, especially if you’ve never had to manage cash flow and track business expenses before. Rent, utilities, and maintenance costs can add up quickly, so be sure to create a detailed budget and stick to it. 

Keep an eye out for opportunities to lower costs without compromising on quality (such as searching for affordable alternatives to essential tools, exploring equipment leasing options or negotiating with suppliers). It may even be worth diversifying your income streams through selling merchandise, one-on-one lessons or renting out unused space in the dojo.

Marketing and Promotion

Marketing is the spearhead of any business – without it, you’ll find it hard to expand your reach and attract new students to the dojo. While many understand its importance, martial arts schools often get overwhelmed when it comes to finding the right strategies to reach their desired audience.

The most effective way to overcome marketing overwhelm is to break it down into smaller tasks. Start by making sure you have a functioning, mobile-friendly website that allows prospects to book and join online. Then, promote your martial arts school on social media by sharing photos, tips and student success stories to show what’s possible at your school. Finally, kickstart a referral program incentivising existing students to get their friends and family to attend a class. 

Member Retention

Martial arts enthusiasts have more options available than ever before, meaning it’s trickier than ever to keep students engaged with your club. It might feel like a daunting task, but student retention doesn’t have to feel impossible. 

Focusing on building a community is a great way to get students to see your dojo as more than the place they go to train. Host social events and encourage student-to-student connection. At the same time, don’t forget the basics: keeping the dojo clean and tidy, staying on top of maintenance and acknowledging your students when they enter and exit the dojo. 


While owning a martial arts school may come with its fair share of obstacles, with the right strategies and mindset, you can overcome them. Set your dojo up for long-term success by being practical when it comes to financial management, effective marketing and staying ahead of the competition. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a successful martial arts school! Stay consistent, pro-active and don’t forget there’s a whole community out there that has faced similar challenges. You’ve got this! 💪

ClubRight is the go-to martial arts school management software for hundreds of businesses across the UK. It’ll help you take care of everything from managing memberships and billing to class bookings and online joining – plus a whole lot more. Give us a call today on +44 (0)203 884 977 or book a free online demo with one of our product experts to find out why we’re trusted by more than 900+ businesses worldwide.

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