Offering Self-Defense Programs at Your Gym

Martial artists train in a variety of the “fighting arts,” but one common element they all have in common is the ability to defend one’s self.

Hence the title, “self-defense.”

Look at it’s History

Martial arts history is packed with examples, from the tales of Shaolin Monks keeping bandits at bay on dusty roads in China to the Gracie family engineering the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu system in Brazil -a style that is based on using leverage – so that the smallest of practitioners could fend off even the largest opponents.

Many academy owners and teachers have said that their schools bread-and-butter is the student who wants to get into shape and be able to defend themselves. But running a successful MMA business should also include building a good self-defense program.

What You’ll Need to Teach Self-Defense

No martial arts program is complete without the right equipment. It is necessary to train with the right tools in order to make things run smoothly. If you are going to offer self-defense classes, make sure you have:

  • Kicking targets
  • Striking targets
  • Wooden guns
  • Rubber or foam Shoto knives
  • Escrima training sticks
  • Headgear
  • Gloves
  • Elbow pads

You can even use existing equipment like a ring or MMA cage to simulate what to do if someone pins you against a chain-link fence. If you are running a women’s self-defense class, provide each student with a Kubotan (a small metal baton that can be attached to a keychain) and teach them how to use it. If you are offering anti-bullying classes for children ages 3-6, you can teach many of the same techniques as the older students, but use stuffed alligators, dinosaurs or bears as teaching aids.

Creating a Complete Self-Defense

If you are creating a complete self-defense program and have customers willing to spend some money, create self-defense kits that they can buy that include apparel and weapon gear.

For example, create a Krav Maga Kit that includes:

  • A training shirt
  • Gloves and shin pads
  • A mouth guard
  • A sparring helmet
  • A rubber knife

You can put it all in a small bag (that has your logo on) that they can bring to class each session. It’s a good bet that students who receive this kit will eventually step up to higher quality equipment, such as high-end gloves and pads.

At the end of the day, the key to a successful self-defense program is creating a program that your students use to gain the self-confidence necessary to protect themselves if they ever need to, and we hope they never have to.

Keep training and stay safe!