Both. My target demographic is any woman willing to put some amount of effort into learning about the sport and being part of the team, regardless of if they're looking to be a competitive athlete or just get into a fun group activity for women.
Originally Posted by 7thSamurai
Believe me, I've been to my fair share of gyms and done my fair share of muaythai classes and am fully aware of how few girls stick with it for more than a couple classes.
I don't mean that to be insulting. I'd be all for joining a class like you've described, but I also enjoy getting hit so that makes me a weirdo in some social circles. I'm concerned about your ability to get numbers involved and interested enough in the program to make it viable. We have (usually) one or two girls a week pop in for our striking class, but none ever stay for anything more than the first class. We've gotten to where we just smile and try to be as nice as possible when they state how excited they are about joining the class and that they'll be back for the next session.
I definitely know what you're talking about here and new people definitely require special attention to get them motivated about the idea of sticking with the group. I actually tried to make it a point in my curriculum descriptions that I would try and put as much personal attention towards the newer people as I could manage.
So how do you plan to keep people around?
A few things that I do....
I try to be involved with the newer people and not make them feel left out or marginalized by their newness...even if this slows down my training. I think it develops a sense of comraderie and gives the new people someone they can approach for help or just have a conversation with. Maybe it sounds kind of stupid to even mention this, but I know that people feel left out when they're on the side stretching/warming up and everyone else around them is having a conversation. I guess what I'm saying is that your workout sounds great, but if you plan to run it as a team, all members need to have a role.
I actually do already always introduce myself to whatever new girl tries the class, make a point of working with them, helping them out and make friends. I'd do the same with this team, certainly, and since it would be supposed to be run like a team I would make sure that everyone introduced themselves to each other and really make the effort to make everyone feel like a team. I think this would be especially easy since there's pretty much an automatic camaraderie between women in combat sports (or any sports, really).
Being that it's a team, everyone will be involved with helping each other prepare for whatever upcoming competitions in whatever ways they can. If anyone has a fight, I will also make it a point to have everyone get to see it. For those that can't come and support their teammate in person, there will be a time set aside during the class time where everyone can watch the video together.
One thing that I do here in Austin is help out the guys at the school who are training for fights. It gets me involved in the activity and I'm learning while training them and myself. With a baby on the way, my days of getting knocked around are coming to a rapid halt, but I still like the idea of being a part of the effort to have our guys win (as in their upcoming fights next weekend!!!).
Hitting up general fitness centers and trying to get the word out to women into athletics and physical fitness activities was definitely on my list.
I think it'd be wise to consider who you're going to be bringing in and how you'll retain them. I know some of the women who are involved in a local Crossfit program who do some pretty intense workout programs. Perhaps start there and see if you'd be able to swing anyone over to your side for an alternative to spinning.
The input is appreciated. Getting and maintaining members is probably going to be the biggest challenge, but I don't feel it's beyond my capabilities by any means. I actually do know a few women who have their own teams full of women, so hopefully I can get some input from them on how they do it.
Sorry, that was all mainly jibberish, but I'm always concerned with how to draw in and keep women in martial arts. If you can figure out a great way to do it, let me know so I can get my wife involved.