How to Retain Students

In our last article, we’ve talked about how a business plan helps the survivavility of your dojo. In today’s article, we are going to discuss how we can further extend the life of your martial arts business by making sure that you have a high percentage of student retention.


Before we dive in, it’s very important to note that students leave for a lot of reasons. We cannot control all of the factors that involves the decision of a student leaving the school. Some uncontrollable reasons are lack of funds, moving to other interests, moving from one home to another, and scheduling conflicts. Although we can create some strategies to somehow prevent these students from quitting, ultimately, if a student wants to leave then you must focus your attention to the kids who are staying.

Student retention is very important because it will decide if your business is successful or if you’re business plans and strategies are working. It is even more important if you want to expand which means that you need to have a solid base of loyal students. Most martial arts studios fail because the number of students who leave their school exceeds the number of students who stays plus the new students who enroll. If you are having this problem then you should read up and learn how to retain students, here are some of the tips and tricks on how to do so.

-          Ask why the students are quitting. Getting to know the reasons can be a step on how to prevent that student from leaving by changing some things on the dojo or by uncovering  certain problems like conflicts and misunderstandings. You can also prevent future problems by knowing these reasons.


-          Make things more interesting by adding fun to your lessons. A teacher is not just a mere person who talks and shows how things get done. You need to make sure that entertainment is incorporated in your teaching to hold your student’s attention. Show a flashy move, explain some interesting origin of a defensive technique, or discuss your favorite martial arts master. Kids nowadays have very low attention spans co the challenge is there, be creative and think of out of the box from time to time.


-          Have extra classes or extra days for students to participate in your classes. Scheduling conflicts is one of the top reasons why students drop out so adding days and classes can prevent that from happening. It may be inconvenient for you but it will help you in making sure your business stays open.

-          Make an effort to get to know your students a little better. Always call them by their first names, support them, encourage them, and make sure that you give a bit of a compliment when they do something good or impressive. Call them once in a while or talk to their parents. Tell them about their progress and make sure they get fired up for the next lesson. Building a relationship with your students outside your studio, no matter how small, can increase their chance of staying in your school.


-          Give them a goal and a challenge, promise your dedication, and ask for their commitment in return. The advantage of being in the martial arts business is that we have the belts as goals already. But there a lot of challenges and goals for students that you can present. If students are interested and challenged, tell them that you will do everything in your power for them to reach and overcome, but you need to get their full commitment. In this way you are creating a pact or an agreement that benefits you (by making sure that your students stay loyal) and your students.


Sometimes, being a learned master is not enough. If you wish to retain your students and have more in the future, you must master the different aspects of running a martial arts studio. Retaining students can be a lot of work, but if you have sacrificed and endured your way into being a great master, then keeping your students, in comparison, should be a piece of cake.

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