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David Price
David Price's picture
Making a living from martial arts

Hi All,

I’m a Tae Kwon-Do Instructor currently have 2 clubs and about 35 paying members. I’m interested in making this my main income and occupation. I’m after help as to how I can go about it, plans for building up my clubs, etc. I’ve been trying to hit Facebook advertising but I have many parents contacting me about teaching their 3 year olds, I normally cap the age limit at 5 years old and normally teach these separately anyways.

Look forward to your feedback,

Kind regards,


John M Avilla
John M Avilla's picture

Lateral thinking. Put up a two unit space metal building. Commercial rentals are through the roof in most parts of my country (US). Rent one side out to pay the mortgage. When you are not using the other space to teach Tai Kwon Do (off peak hours), don't let it just sit there. Rent it to fitness instructors, Yoga teachers and other martial art instructors from complimentary styles like BJJ. Look into deals that get people in the door, such as letting friends sign up half price for the first few months or a year, veteran discounts, etc. Get creative. All of the martial art instructors I know say you need 100 paying students to make it work and that is based on an average monthly fee of $100. All of the business people I know say you have to be able to take a loss for the first year to two years. For what it is worth, I am not running a gym but intend to in the future and have given this some thought. Best of luck to you.

David Price
David Price's picture

John many thanks for your input on this one. 

John M Avilla
John M Avilla's picture

No problem, just hope it was useful. I have been looking into doing something similar and there are a lot of details that have to be accounted for beyond what can be written in a single post. Hopefully others have something to add as I too would like to know all of the angles involved.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

This book is a good resource:


The author is a regular at my seminars and residentials. A good guy, with solid ethics, who produces good students. Living proof that good martial arts and good business practises aren’t necessarily contradictory. I have an interview recorded with Mike on teaching kids which I hope to get out soon.

Money and the martial arts is sometimes a controversial topic, and I did a podcast on that which you may find interesting too:


All the best,


David Price
David Price's picture

Hi Iain,

I have listened to the podcast last night, very interesting.

I think I’ll just have to keep plugging away at it, considering the idea of doing a kids class, there’s a few “mini ninjas “ classes near me which seem to be doing well. 

AllyWhytock's picture

Hi David,

Consider the following:

  1.  Morning classes for those parents with kids at school or nursery.
  2.  Morning classes for retired folks (there's a lot of folks taking early retirement).
  3.  Afternoon classes for the same. 
  4.  Unemployed during the day - reduced fees. 
  5.  1-2-1 sessions - one hour is a good starter. A lot of folks are now on shift work or non-standard hours and are looking for something different.
  6.  A different class in the evenings before/after the main class - strength & conditioning, bag work, application practice, sport elements etc
  7.  Get with a local government schools authorities/boards or sports activity group. They may sponsor classes and arrange training halls.
  8.  Hall fees - look for places with badminton or indoor sports courts. Ask how much you'd hire it for other sports and negotiate. 
  9.  Hiring commercial units - be wary of high rents and additional charges for change of use - power & water bills. 
  10.  Look for locations with other activities - you coould pool resources - parents at yoga & kids at karate - or vice versa. 
  11.  Avoid online booking software unless you get charged a very small fee. 
  12.  Facebook or Web Site. A tricky one this. People may google or search but I find it's word of mouth.  

Ganbatte! :)

Kindest Regards,