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Whats up with contracts in Martial Arts?????

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    Contracts are becoming necessary and in more ways than one.

    The main thing a contract does is secure the owner against a lawsuit in case you get hurt by his shiity teaching.

    Martial arts is a BUSINESS now, first and foremost. People run schools like fukking MCDONALDS. Its sick.


      When I was coming up through the ranks(still am), I had no problem dedicating myself to training for one year(contract) at a time. I made that commitment to myself and reinforced it with the one-year agreement with the person and school that would provide the training. Luckily, I had a good teacher and did not experience a "fast food" school that is rampant today.

      I've met many people that are afraid of contracts and cautious so that they won't get caught in something that is not worth their time or money.

      Now that I have my own school I offer several options for prospective students, as I understand people being leary about contrats.

      1. Come try a free class to see if what we offer is what they are looking for. 2. After the free trial lesson, if they are still not sure but very interested, I offer a one-month trial course with unlimited training(train as often as they would like), plus a uniform for $99. They get the same treatment and curriculum as a student that is regularly enrolled.

      This is a small investment when trying to find a school you'd like to train with for year to come.

      If they decide to stay an enroll for one of our courses at this point, I apply the $99 trial course fee as credit towards any course they choose.


        Wow...$00/month..taht boggles my mind! lol I charge $40, and wonder sometimes if I'm charging to much!

        OK..contracts. Sure, if you're a teacher and trying to make a living at the arts..use them! It's the only way you will know how much money you'll have every month to pay the rent.

        Personally, I won't use them. I have low overhead and a GREAT setup teaching in a gymnastics school locally. Rent is based on a flat percentage of my income that month.

        My opinion of contracts OTHER THAN

        He who dies with the most toys...still DIES!


          Hi tallpaul50,

          Yes, that's a great way to do it. I did the same thing when I started. I would give the fitness center owner 50% of the monthly tuition I collected. Students would pay month-to-month. This was not a problem since the owner would take care of the expenses and I mere paid a percentage of what was collected.

          With a professional school that has a lease, utilities, phone, advertising expenses, etc., month-to-month tuition has too many uncertainties in the income amount. Any amount that is not paid by students comes out of the owner's pocket when tuition doesn't cover expenses - not too much fun when you'd like to have money for groceries.

          I tried the month-to-month for all students when I established my own professional location. But, as a relatively unknown, new teacher without a local reputation it is difficult to make it when enrollment is slow. So, the contract option gave more stability is my case...

          I still offer a month-to-month option for students, but it is a higher amount, as was suggested by Phrost.

          R. McLain


            No probs at all about month to month, but some teachers--even reputable ones--will require a new student to commit to 6 months - 1 year minimum.

            I have no problems at all with month to month, or even an initial two month contract for a complete newbie. But contracts for substantial amounts of time (6 months to 1 year; @ $75 = $450 to $900), with just ONE class upon which to base your decision?

            I also know of one 'reputable' school that charges $425 for one belt test.


              Things can change pretty quickly in life. The last thing I want is to be stuck into a long contract when shit hits the financial fan.
              One school I looked at demanded a three year contract to be allowed to test for black.

              I there is a big difference between contracts and belt contracts. I found it almost impossible to sign up at any of the local TKD schools without having to sign a belt contract.
              Belt contracts are total Bull Shit and only benifit the school not the student. I went to one school for a trial. They had some black belts who to be honest were maybe 2nd-1st gup in skill. And they all were telling me how great the Master's 2 year blackblet program was.

              Your skills are EXTRAordinary; You have our Gratitude.


                I think as pretty much everyone has pointed out that it's simply a matter of having some math skills (and business accumen) to make the low-attention threshold folk come and stay (or at least keep you from losing money)

                My advice would be:

                a) Have an intro deal that is cheap (at cost - perhaps under cost if you work the montly rate right). Every gym uses this approach (sometimes several different ones each season targeted to different markets). When I was training in TCMA. I ended up picking a school that had a 1 month + free uniform deal (uniforms in general are kind of lame but thats another issue). Now since (a) is going to mean a large class and a considerable amount of your time. Have some of your better students teach it (choose them carefully and give them some prep and help them make a lesson plan). Thus it won't take your focus from the more advanced students. Also it's good to give students in (a) an idea of where their training is going (one of the things that helped me decide on doing WT is that they actually published a 'plan' for my training).

                b) Have a montly rate significantly higher than your contract rate. Make sure if youre doing (a) under cost that you work that deficit into the pay-by-month rate.

                c) Have your contracts start at 6 months (most people can plan that far in advance). Make the year or two year contract close to that of the intro rate (a).

                So this way..people come in check it out and if they like the program and the price then they can continue at a price close to what they paid for the intro fee...if they're willing to commit.

                This is better than many other clubs which give you things like:

                (i) one free lesson - If you're doing this then you better be doing some amazing stuff in that one class as it's going to be their first and only impression.

                (ii) Contract or else - Some people simply can't guarentee that they will be in for this kind of training.

                (iii) One month at a cheap rate then either high prices or (ii). Either of these approaches only discourage people.

                Some donts:

                Don't surprise students with equipment fees. Be up the lower levels to be done with as little equipment as possible.

                Don't advance your students just to get extra cash. My TMCA club was in financial difficulty (or at least so it appeared) and all of a sudden our (entire) orange belt class was allowed to enter the "exeptional extra training" program. Which...of course was an extra fee.

                Edited by - sarkeizen on August 27 2003 11:56:44


                  I offer 2 weeks of free classes (I NEVER use contracts) to see if they like it or not. That's approx. 8 hours of training for free. By that time, they should have a decent understanding of:

                  basic stances
                  basic blocks
                  basic kicks
                  basic punches
                  and a general idea of how the first kata (Pinan Shodan) works.

                  They would have also been exposed numerous times to self defense techniques, basic applications of blocks, body movement, limited sparring with myself or another senior belt...yadda yadda yadda.

                  In other words, in 2 weeks, they should have a good feel for what the class entails, and what is expected of them.

                  At that time, they will be asked at the end of class if they want to continue and sign up, or not.

                  Most that stick out the first 2 weeks are excited, and raring to go!

                  He who dies with the most toys...still DIES!



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