Impact Martial Arts, out of Oshkosh Wisconsin, offers anything from kids classes, Krav Maga, BJJ, Judo, and Kali. They promise to teach discipline, confidence, and a newfound knowledge of how to use your body in defensie situations while getting in shape.
We were able to ask the owner, Chris Baardsen, some questions about the history of Impact, what has helped his business grow, and advice he would give to future studio owners.
Take a read here, and then make sure to grab hop into a class if you’re in the Wisconsin area!
A: My first recommendation is to invest in a business coach who has been through the experience of opening and growing a martial arts gym. Many individuals fall victim to the belief that because they are a talented martial artist, that they would excel in running their own academy. As a business owner, you are responsible for so much more than just teaching classes. It’s incredibly valuable having someone you can go to as a resource who has experience starting a gym from nothing and scaling it as it continues to grow.
My second recommendation is to invest in a quality gym management software right away on day one. A good gym management software can be the equivalent of having an additional employee on staff. There are certain features gym management softwares can do to automate business systems without you having to lift a finger.
A: It depends on the goal of the gym whether you want to focus on one style or offer multiple styles. The key is having a dedicated staff that can assist with whatever choice you make. Having a solid team and culture behind whatever services you offer will grant the best product to your members.
A: We are a self defense oriented gym, so all of our class types and styles support that focus. We offer multiple styles that members can cross train in that include Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Judo, and Kali. Everyone comes into our gym for different reasons, but with the variety of styles we offer, our team can recommend a specialized, goal inspired training schedule based on the goals of the prospective student.
A: Martial Arts has always been that one constant I could have in my life. No matter what was going on in my personal life, I could always step foot on the mat and that was my time to focus on just me and my training. When life was trying and things weren’t going my way, I could always go to the training center and train with the team.
Through Martial Arts, I learned that by investing in myself, I could continue to grow as a person and as a martial artist. I learned failing was inevitable, but it was my responsibility to figure out the problem and the solution. Getting into competitions at a young age allowed me the opportunity to fail and rebound. I think it’s important that everyone feels the pain of failure and learns the resiliency to keep fighting. It’s a trait that is necessary for success in one’s personal life and in business.
A: Gym management softwares are essential for automating business systems, sales, data analysis, and much more. The previous gym management software I used was inconsistent and any issues your software has reflects you as a business. I switched to Wodify because they offered a better product and a better user experience, not just to me as a gym owner, but also to my members through their convenient to use app.
A: I enjoy teaching new students fundamentals. I enjoy watching individuals with no experience work through the techniques and then watching the breakthroughs as they start to understand the techniques and applications.
A: I am a huge advocate for competition. I understand that for some individuals, they have no interest in competitions, but I believe there is so much value in what they reveal. I stress to our members that it’s not about who wins and who loses, but it’s what you learn from the experience that is invaluable. It’s an opportunity for you to look at yourself and be honest with what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong.
I started in Sport Karate Point Fighting and competed for almost 15 years in that system before transitioning to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I have been competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the last 5 years. I use competitions almost as a guide as to where I take my training. All my matches are video recorded and sent to my instructors for evaluations. With their insight and analysis, I am able to set new training goals going forward. Like I said, competitions are an irreplaceable piece of my training.
A: One of my fondest memories was after our one year anniversary. When I first opened the gym, the total size of the gym was 1,400 sq feet. We grew out of that space pretty quick and after the first year, it was necessary to expand. We then added on another 1,000 sq feet which provided much needed space.
At our one year anniversary, we ran a special seminar and I had the opportunity to sit back and just watch the members train. I sat in the back of the room and observed the seminar, seeing members enjoying themselves in the gym. I sat there for maybe 5 minutes just thinking about the years of planning that I had put in to create the gym. I thought back to the total number of books I had read about business in preparation for opening the gym. After years of having this vision of creating a successful academy, it was here and operating in front of my eyes. I was finally able to share my passion for martial arts with my community and to hopefully allow martial arts to have the same positive impact on their lives as it has had on mine.