8 Things to Avoid When Running Martial Arts Training Classes

8 Things to Avoid When Running Martial Arts Training Classes

Whether you’re a young MMA fighter or your competitive career is coming to an end, you might be interested in learning to run your own classes–or even open your own gym one day. 

If so, you might be wondering what makes a good class. In this article, we’ll outline the top things that make a great instructor and also 8 things to avoid when running an MMA class. 

What makes a good martial arts class? 

A good martial arts class is often one that is taught by a competent instructor who displays a genuine passion for the art and for teaching others. Some top signs of a great instructor include:

Teaching for fitness 

A good instructor will often emphasize the holistic benefits of practicing MMA–it’s not all about the fight!

While MMA can be an incredibly useful self-defense system, skills such as de-escalation, along with the physical fitness and mental resilience that martial arts can teach, can also be important to emphasize. A good instructor will usually provide teaching in all of these areas to equip students with well-rounded knowledge and skills.

Displaying experience 

It’s unlikely that many people want to be trained by a coach who can’t do half the moves and techniques themselves!

Demonstrating moves yourself, or showing videotapes of your previous form, or competitive history can be great ways to show your students not only how to practice certain moves, but also that you are serious about the sport. 

This can help to keep the class inspired to stay dedicated, as well as keeping you in good shape and on top of your game. 

Being mindful of differences 

Every individual student has needs that have to be adjusted to, and it’s the trainer’s job to find out what those needs are.

A student may need to be trained at a completely different level than another and might need to focus on other skills. If coming back to MMA training after recovering from an injury, the student’s routine may need to be adapted. 

Some of the best traits of good MMA trainers are when their students are having a good time, seeing progress, and have access to good equipment, attention, and are trained safely. 

8 things to avoid when running martial arts classes 

With so many martial arts gyms out there, students will often do their research to find the best quality classes in their area. 

Here are 8 mistakes to avoid when running your martial arts training classes.

Lacking the proper training and expertise in your martial art 

Even if you don’t have prior experience in operating a gym of your own, you will usually want to be confident of your skills and expertise in MMA before you attempt to train others and build a student base. Whichever martial art your experience comes from, you’ll need to have a clear understanding of the elements and skills that comprise MMA.  

This not only means having extensive competitive and training experience but continuous dedication to staying on top of your fitness and practicing outside of your class schedule. 

If you lack this experience and can’t display your skill to your students, chances are, you won’t have too many students putting their trust in you. 

When looking for the best MMA coaching classes to join, people pay attention to the safety you as a coach can provide them with, and that only comes with knowing exactly what you’re doing and teaching. It can be helpful to have as much training and competitive training time under your belt as possible to ensure that you can meet the expectations you set for your students yourself. 

While being well trained and experienced doesn’t guarantee that you will make a brilliant coach, it is one of the foundations of ensuring you and your students are heading towards success. 

Choosing not to get certified to teach 

You’ve heard from your social circles that MMA is an unregulated sport and industry, so you don’t legally need a license to offer training to others, and that is technically true. However, there are many advantages to being a certified trainer for MMA

Of course, the training certificate and license will not only set you apart from hundreds of others who may not be the experts they claim to be but also assure potential students and clients that you know what you’re doing.

Moreover, because of the physical risks this high contact sport brings with it, it is beneficial to be certified as a trainer for your confidence in skill and ability. Most importantly, people looking to train may not even consider your services if you’re not certified, regardless of how many years of experience you claim to have. 

Opting out of martial arts gym insurance 

A choice that can land you in legal, financial, and medical trouble is not opting for the appropriate insurance for your gym operations

Once you’ve studied your business plan and decided the main services you wish to offer to potential clients, it’s important to do a risk analysis, specifically those related to physical and health-related concerns. 

Insurance can cover things such as accidental injury, equipment breakdown, and other business-related aspects of running a gym.  

It might be useful to talk to others in the industry to know the decisions they made in terms of insurance before starting their journey to become an MMA trainer. 

Only offering classes at a certain time of day 

Catering to a variety of schedules can be a great way to increase the popularity of your mixed martial arts classes.

It’s important to have classes in time slots when people who attend school or university or have full-time jobs can regularly join

For example, most school-age children most likely will be comfortable with training after school in the evenings, or on weekends when they don’t have school. 

orking-age adults may either prefer classes in the morning before work, during lunch hour, or at the end of their workday. 

If you only offer classes at a few time slots of the day, you’re setting yourself up to limit a potentially booming client base

Teaching for the fight 

If you’re interested in becoming an MMA trainer so that you can fight your students and ‘win’ against them, you may be looking at the wrong outlet. 

Many coaches become trainers to boost their egos or continue fighting those weaker or less skilled than them because they are no longer fit enough or eligible for competition. 

As an MMA coach, you need to have a strong skill set in the art as well as a foundation of morals. This includes the knowledge that MMA or any physical combat sport is not to encourage violence, but mainly for self-defense, fitness, discipline, and mental training. 

If you’re looking to continue fighting, it might be a better option to join MMA classes yourself and be set up with those who have a similar skillset to yours.

Neglecting your own training 

It can be important to maintain your own physical fitness and skill level to provide a clear example to those you are teaching. 

The dedication and focus you expect from your students are what you should expect from yourself at whatever time you decide to strengthen your training. 

This also benefits you as a teacher as it ensures that you’re on top of all the trends, teaching tips, tricks, and international community changes that occur. You can keep your art and your coaching sessions updated to offer the best possible learning experience to your clients.

Grading students too frequently 

Grading students too often is a common mistake with the martial arts community. 

While frequent grading might seem motivational–especially to younger students–this can devalue grades over time and lead students to believe that MMA is easier than it is.  

One of the biggest red flags clients look for to avoid a particular trainer is too many evaluations and gradings, as it shows that the trainer or school is more concerned with ranks than actual training. 

Ideally, aim to grade with a regular gap of anywhere between 8 to 12 months

Failing to invest in proper equipment 

When investing in equipment for your students–whether it’s dumbbells, mats, or safety equipment–you need to make sure you opt for the best quality. 

Not only will it be far more cost-effective in the future when you can avoid replacing cheap equipment because of wear and tear, but potential clients will take it as a testament to your dedication to training them. 

Additionally, low-quality equipment can also lead to injuries, which you want to avoid under your watch. 

Ready to offer the best MMA training in your state?

MMA classes, whether focused on one martial art or several, can be an incredible addition to your gym–providing value and virtue to your work in the community. 

If you’re looking for more information on becoming an MMA trainer, here at Wodify we have all the information you need to get started.

For help organizing those classes, and keeping your gym in fine shape on its own, then you might want to check out our innovative gym management software. 

Ready to put what you’ve learned into practice?
Download a free PDF handbook with many of NCFIT’s gym management procedures and philosophies that you can implement in your gym today.
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