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  1. kungfujew is offline
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    Sexe dans la derrière!

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 2:34pm

    supporting member
     Style: Muay Thai Khmer

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Staying afloat in McDojo world

    New to Bullshido, been lurking here a while, love that voo-doo that you-doo.

    Anyhow, I've got a question for anyone out there with experience pertaining to the business/management end of MA. My school is an oldschool CMA studio in the increasingly commercialized, starbucks riddled heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. What one of our senior instructors pointed out (yeah, we only have 2 people considered instructors, both of them have been studying here at least 15 years... like I said, oldschool) was that:
    1) We have almost no kids/newer students (new = a few months or less), with the exception of friends/relatives of old students. This is probably a result of something of a lack of aggressive marketing on our part.
    While this is of course partially a good thing, the 50 strong kiddie klass being ubiquitous to the McDojo; it also means that there is very little new blood or (and ashamed to say but given today's economic necessities) new money coming into the school.
    2) How do we compete with the local Rex Kwan Do outlet that promises a belt a month, where Trevor can have the satisfaction of getting that blackbelt that goes down to his ankles within a year.

    So my question is: How does one market a traditional, hard-work-or-no-gain school to the teeming, MA ignorant masses without losing what keeps us from sliding into the realm of the McDojo?
    The rent's just going to keep going up (I'm sure the local business bureau would LOOOOVE to stick another starbucks in our location), and even with our Sifu not being payed for teaching (he's a professional tailor, big business in Oakland Chinatown), we need to find a way to be... *groan* commercially viable.

    Copious thanks.
  2. daGorilla is offline

    Senior Member

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 2:47pm


     Style: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kungfujew
    New to Bullshido, been lurking here a while, love that voo-doo that you-doo.

    Anyhow, I've got a question for anyone out there with experience pertaining to the business/management end of MA. My school is an oldschool CMA studio in the increasingly commercialized, starbucks riddled heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. What one of our senior instructors pointed out (yeah, we only have 2 people considered instructors, both of them have been studying here at least 15 years... like I said, oldschool) was that:
    1) We have almost no kids/newer students (new = a few months or less), with the exception of friends/relatives of old students. This is probably a result of something of a lack of aggressive marketing on our part.
    While this is of course partially a good thing, the 50 strong kiddie klass being ubiquitous to the McDojo; it also means that there is very little new blood or (and ashamed to say but given today's economic necessities) new money coming into the school.
    2) How do we compete with the local Rex Kwan Do outlet that promises a belt a month, where Trevor can have the satisfaction of getting that blackbelt that goes down to his ankles within a year.

    So my question is: How does one market a traditional, hard-work-or-no-gain school to the teeming, MA ignorant masses without losing what keeps us from sliding into the realm of the McDojo?
    The rent's just going to keep going up (I'm sure the local business bureau would LOOOOVE to stick another starbucks in our location), and even with our Sifu not being payed for teaching (he's a professional tailor, big business in Oakland Chinatown), we need to find a way to be... *groan* commercially viable.

    Copious thanks.
    There's no easy answer to this, but marketing and advertising are probably your first, best venues. You don't necessarily need to change the way your school trains or does things... but you do need to 1) get the word out that your school exists; and 2) sell your school's strengths. Traditional martial arts still appeal to a lot of people, you just need to market them well.

    And yeah, you might need to look into a kids-friendly program, but not one that necessarily gives away a belt a month. :)

    Flyers and leg work might make for some inexpensive advertising, if putting ads in the phonebook/newspaper are too costly.

    Just some thoughts...

    -daGorilla
  3. bunyip is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 2:55pm

    hall of fame
     Style: jits with hits

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I understand Luis Gutierrez of SBG is doing a phenomenal job of this.

    http://www.onedragon.com/videos/teamonedragon.wmv

    http://www.onedragon.com/train_childrenprog.shtml
    "I'm offering straight punch, kick while downed to the ribs or head, and of course- the german suplex...which is one suplex quickly followed by another." - Guerilla Fists

    Matt Thornton explains "aliveness": http://www.bullshido.com/videos/sbg2.wmv

    West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu thread
    West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu archive thread
    (experiment to see if I can boost the thread's Google rank)

  4. Darkpaladin is offline
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    The r34l Drunken Jiu Jitsu

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 3:12pm

    supporting member
     Style: _razilian _iu _itsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Find a way to get your school on google search.

    When ever I look for a business anymore (that includes my recent switch to a bjj school) I google it first. Far more efficient than yellow paging it. Try googling for your style in whatever area you are in. See what pops up. That being said, I have no idea how to make your name pop up more often in a google search, but I'm sure there are ways.

    Rex Kwan do...wasn't that in Napoleon Dynamite?
  5. ojgsxr6 is offline

    Dorkus Malorkus

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 3:19pm

    supporting member
     Style: Boxing/BJJudo/Crossfit

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I don't know what particular style you do, I am not familiar with CMAs, but you may want to put together a competition team for San Da/San Shou what ever it's called. You may also want to rent out you school to other people who teach MAs.

    Also Lei Tei, but I don't know exactly how that works I think you're on some sort of pedastal.
  6. kungfujew is offline
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    Sexe dans la derrière!

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 3:21pm

    supporting member
     Style: Muay Thai Khmer

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks guys,
    Yeah, we are looking into marketing and publicity options; some footwork never hurts.
    As for a kids friendly program, seems like a good idea to me, though I still do have some reservations; as long as we give them something meaningful and not just kung-fu day care, maybe a few will stick around for the real stuff.

    BTW, Bunyip, I'm in the middle of your West Wind thread, and part way through (aside from trying very hard to stifle laughter, as I am at work) I realized that the McDojo I went to as a little kid was remarkably like West Wind, it was called East West Bok Fu (then changed to "kung fu", then to "karate", then back to "kung fu", and now back to Bok FU". I don't know if the two schools are at all affiliated...

    On edit: holy crap, I just realized that the West Wind logo is on a bunch of (now mostly broken) medals that I got at the EastWest tournament about 13 years ago... maybe their tournaments are affiliated, I dunno.
    Last edited by kungfujew; 8/11/2005 3:30pm at .
  7. kungfujew is offline
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    Sexe dans la derrière!

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 3:23pm

    supporting member
     Style: Muay Thai Khmer

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    BTW, as for google, we're right in the frikkin middle of redoing the website, the old one looked well... old... so I'm making a shiny new one, should be up by the end of the month (hopefully), unless my photoshop skills have betrayed me...
  8. bunyip is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 4:49pm

    hall of fame
     Style: jits with hits

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Cool, come to the throwdown on Sunday, we'll chat.
    "I'm offering straight punch, kick while downed to the ribs or head, and of course- the german suplex...which is one suplex quickly followed by another." - Guerilla Fists

    Matt Thornton explains "aliveness": http://www.bullshido.com/videos/sbg2.wmv

    West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu thread
    West Wind Karate / West Wind Bok Fu / West Wind Kung Fu archive thread
    (experiment to see if I can boost the thread's Google rank)

  9. JKing is offline

    No longer a Kaju-Critic

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 4:57pm

    supporting member
     Style: Kajukenbo, BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by bunyip
    I understand Luis Gutierrez of SBG is doing a phenomenal job of this.

    http://www.onedragon.com/videos/teamonedragon.wmv

    http://www.onedragon.com/train_childrenprog.shtml

    Holy crap, I work with kids myself and we haven't gotten them to do something like that! that was really awesome.
  10. JohnnyCache is offline
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    All Out of Bubblegum

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    Posted On:
    8/11/2005 5:00pm

    supporting memberforum leader
     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Compete in everything you can. You're in the middle of california, so get into grappling, sportfighting, pointfighting, rep everwhere you can and get known as a class group. That's my advice. Solid competition schools will always have interest, and it will be interest that will be commited and interest that will come to you.

    Also, I personally have never had a problem with places that sell healthfood or are inside and affiliated with a gym.
    There's no choice but to confront you, to engage you, to erase you. I've gone to great lengths to expand my threshold of pain. I will use my mistakes against you. There's no other choice.
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