The Key to Motivating Lifetime Students

Why are we in the business of martial arts?

Is it purely for the money? Is it because we want to spread the love of the art? Whatever your particular reason is, it is it’s the motivation that drives you to make it in for those early classes, or drives you to put in the long hours doing what it takes to grow your business. The purpose of this article is to help you identify all those different triggers that motivated your students to take the plunge and decide to get sweaty with a bunch of strangers in pajamas at their first martial arts class. Knowing what motivates your students is a great way to keep them in classes  and will also help you when it comes to persuading that prospective student to take the plunge and join your school.


Just Ask - The simplest and most forward way to find out why someone wants to do something is to ask. Maybe their first response is to lose weight. In that case ask them how would they feel if they achieved their goal? Their response could be anything from living longer for their children or to simply look and feel better about themselves. Whatever the first answer is there’s a more motivating answer underneath, this is their true motivation. The further you get down to the root reason that’s brought them to you, the more powerful that motivation will become.  They may not even know why they’re there beyond the first answer they gave you.

Not too long ago actor Jonah Hill began training jiu-jitsu and in an Instagram post he revealed his motivation to begin training. When he was in high school he was bullied by guys that did jiu-jitsu and this turned him off to the sport, but as an adult he’s working towards letting go and moving past things that made him feel weak and insecure as a teenager.  Whatever the reason, uncovering your students or prospects true motivation will help increase the likelihood of them making their jiu-jitsu or martial arts training a priority.


What To Do With That Knowledge - In a sales situation getting down to the true motivation can help you make the sale. Finding their motivation and connecting jiu-jitsu to it will help turn them into students. The skills learned in jiu-jitsu translate into all aspects of life and better prepare us for so many of the obstacles we face daily.


Plan On Success - Studies have shown that the simple act of attaching a plan to a goal greatly improves the odds of success. When a student or prospect shares a motivation or a goal with you take a few moments to help them come up with a simple plan. Even planning out baby steps towards that goal will help them reach it. If the motivation is to lose weight ask them a few questions about their diet or eating habits. Maybe they indicate that they drink a soda with every meal or are on the road all the time and often eat fast food. In which case you can prescribe that they try replacing those sodas for water for the rest of the month and see how that affects their weight. With the road warrior introduce them to meal prepping or ask what are the fast food places they regularly go to and plan out what meal options are better for them that would help them reach their goals. Five minutes of your time might be all the help they need to keep their motivations up and coming to class. (Photo: Trophies - no caption needed)


The New Crop - The first burst in the popularity of jiu-jitsu came with the UFC - Millions of people were exposed to the not-so-gentle side of the gentle art. Many of you who own schools and have a few stripes on your black belts, saw a VHS tape of the first UFC fights and decided that it called to you. Sure, “self-defense” is still a big driver for new students in the martial arts, but so many other benefits and factors are becoming known.


Let Them Know - It’s An Art - In self-improvement circles one of the most popular forms of building one's self is meditation. Clearing the mind, becoming self-aware and gaining inner peace are all espoused benefits of meditation. You and I both know that there’s nothing else that gives these benefits like fending off a mount attack from someone bigger, younger and faster than you. For some students, this might subconsciously be the reward that helps make attending class a lifetime habit.


We hope this article serves you well and provides you some motivation to be more conscious of what motivates your students. Uncovering this law of human nature may be the key to helping you impact even more lives and reaching greater success in your business.


Written by: Mike Velez