What To Avoid, At All Costs | ITF Taekwon-Do

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ITF Taekwon-Do - Avoid

When I first started teaching Taekwon-Do, my father and I had a school that was pretty much like every other school out there.  The things that we thought made us different were the fact that we’d been around longer than just about anyone and that we did ITF Taekwon-Do.  And we thought those things made us pretty special.

As good as those things are, to the market we were just another martial arts school.  Aside from our logo, our history in the area and the style we teach, there wasn’t much else that differentiated us from other martial arts schools.  I’d hear parents refer to us as a karate school, and even as popular as Taekwon-Do has become, karate was (and to some extent, still is) the generic term often used for martial arts schools.

We thought we were doing pretty good for ourselves, but were working really, really, really hard to keep things going.

I happened to have attended a marketing training around that time and the speaker asked us to consider a question that has stuck with me to this day.  It was a quick thought exercise and the speaker asked us to write down a question and then gave us two minutes to think about and come up with an answer.  The question was:

Why should I do business with you versus any and all other martial arts schools available to me?

I quickly realized that a cool logo isn’t a good reason, specializing in Taekwon-D0 wasn’t all that unique and that the length of time we’d been in business was a good thing, but wasn’t going to cause someone to take action, to pick up the phone or stop in.

I was suddenly faced with the horrible realization that we were just like everyone else.  In the market’s eyes, we were just another martial arts school on the corner.

That brings me to the point of this article and to the one thing you must avoid at all costs!

Being seen as just another martial arts school

When you are seen as just another provider of martial arts lessons, at best it makes you uninteresting and undistinguished.  At worst it makes you terrifying or toxic.  Your reputation becomes subject to whatever trends and fads that come and go associated with your industry.

If you had a school in the 80’s you’ll remember the influx of kids entering the martial arts following the popularity of The Karate Kid and television cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  During that time if you were “just another school”, but you only wanted to teach adults, you were out of luck and probably compromised and started teaching kids.

In the 90’s it was cardio kickboxing.  Remember Billy Blanks and Tae-Bo? Nearly every martial arts school in the country had a cardio kickboxing program in their school because it was a money maker.  They had to in order to stay in business.  They couldn’t survive off of just teaching Taekwon-Do or whatever art they taught because everybody wanted to “feel” like a martial artist and didn’t care if they had any real skills.  While it was popular it did bring in the money, but if you got an honest answer out of any instructor who taught it, you’d find out that they didn’t really want to be a martial arts/aerobics instructor.  But that’s what they did.

Theses days it’s MMA.  Many schools that have nothing to do with MMA are starting programs because they feel like they can tap a new market and and earn some extra money.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that there’s anything inherently wrong with running any of these programs in your school, its just that I don’t want you to HAVE TO run these programs in order to make more money or stay in business.  If it’s a passion of yours and you want to teach it, go for it!

I just want you to know that you don’t have to go which ever way the winds of profit happen to be blowing in order for you to be successful teaching Taekwon-Do.

So, how do you do it?  How do you insulate yourself from fads and trends of the day and still stay in business?

You do it with a powerful and compelling answer to the question I stated above:

Why should I do business with you versus any and all other martial arts schools available to me? 

At my school, our answer to this is that we develop safer, stronger and smarter children that grow to become leaders in the community and we assist parents in the awesome responsibility that it is to raise a child.

This is at the core of everything we do.  It shows up in our marketing, in our conversations and in the students training experience.  We don’t just say that we’ve been around longer than anyone else, we have testimonials that show students from twenty years ago who have become doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs and other community leaders.  Testimonials of former students that now bring their children to train with us.  Parents talk about us as the people that make their job easier and as the school that develops leaders.

Now we’re not just another martial arts or Taekwon-Do school.  We develop leaders and make parents’ lives easier.

It doesn’t matter what the next martial arts fad or trend is, because this is what we’re known for and why people will come to us.  It would be weird for the students if they showed up one day and there were a bunch of people on the mat with their shoes on, not bowing and yapping away as they waited for their cardio kickboxing class to start.  I know this because I’ve done it.

I invite you to take the time to come up with a powerful answer to the question above.  I’d also love to hear your answers!  Please comment in the box below and let me know.


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About the Author:

taekwon-do phoenix, taekwon-do arizona, taekwondo phoenix, Phoenix taekwondo, itf taekwondo, taekwondo itf, tkd phoenix, taekwondo az, taekwondo Arizona, martial arts phoenix, martial arts Arizona, martial arts az, Phoenix Martial Arts, Arizona Martial Arts, Phoenix Karate, arizona taekwondo, karstadt, karstadt taekwondo, ITFJohn Karstadt

Senior Instructor – Karstadt Taekwon-Do

Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt.  He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline,  leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world.  He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do winning numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy.  Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children.  Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at 1tkdinsider@gmail.com

So how do you insulate yourself from having to go with the trends?  How do keep yourself from having to waste time and energy

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