Here we aim to bring you martial arts news and articles from around the web, especially the more whacky and weird aspects. We will also post blogs here from the Bear Martial Arts team, and also from you guys.
If you fancy writing a blog or posting an article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org your article and we will publish it on our site. You'll get full credit for your article, and we will even promote your own website / blog if you have one :)
Please note that any articles which are offensive, or are deemed inappropriate, will not be approved for publication.
Date: 22nd March 2018
Starting a new martial art is a commitment. You are giving up your time, your money, and putting your body under some stress. So it’s important to find the right club for you. Use our Find a Club Locator Map to find clubs in your area, and then use our handy guide below to find the best club for what you’re looking for.
Proximity to you
When you’re starting out, your club needs to be close enough so you will keep going back. Its location needs to fit in with your day, as you’ll be going after work / school etc, or taking time out of your weekend.
As you get more into your martial art you’ll find that you’ll be willing to travel further for sessions / seminars / tournaments / gradings, but to start with stay local.
Instructors do not have to have a black belt to teach a class, so do not be put off if you turn up and find a non-black belt is teaching. But your instructor should be allowed to teach by his / her governing body, and preferably insured.
In the age of the internet everyone has an opinion. Check out the club’s Google / Yelp / Facebook page and have a look at the online reviews and comments. Remember that the internet is a wonderful and awful place, so take all comments, good and bad, with a pinch of salt.
What do you want?
Do you want to hit, grab, throw, use weapons, get fit? Each martial art has a different approach to fighting and training. Check out our martial arts style guide to get an idea on what each one offers.
Do you want formal or informal?
Do you want to call your instructor Sensei / Sifu, or Dave? Some martial arts are very formal, and some are very relaxed. This can be down to the art itself, or the instructor’s teaching style.
All of us thrive differently under these different styles, so think about which one you prefer. Try both out, and decide which one you feel more comfortable in.
Go and Try It Out
You never have to go back to a class, so make a list of the ones you like the look of and try a few out. Most offer a first lesson free, so it shouldn’t cost you very much to have a few taster sessions.
Sport Club vs Training Club
Some clubs focus only on competitions, some on training, some both. Again, try out different variations to see which you prefer. Also have a think about whether you want to compete, or just train and work through the grades.
It Should Be Fun!
If it doesn’t feel like fun, don’t go. Find somewhere you enjoy. That’s how you will keep it up in the long run. Martial arts training will be hard at times, frustrating and even painful. But it should always in the end be fun.
Date: 12th March 2018
How Much Should I Spend Marketing My New Martial Arts Club?
In a world where the economic climate is difficult, setting up and running a profitable club can be tricky. To give you a helping hand, here are some tips and hints from us to help you promote your club for free, or for as cheap as possible!
Pretty much every company / club in the world has a social media account of some sort now, and your new club should as well. They are free, great for finding new students, and great for keeping in constant contact with existing students.
The following social media channels all offer free pages / accounts:
The important thing to do is work out which of these mediums suit you / your club / your style. Most people will search to see if your club has a Facebook page, so that's the only one we would say is essential. The rest depend on you. The more you use, the better your SEO will be.
SEO if you weren't sure stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and simply means how high up a search engine's pages do you appear when people search for you or for a related word to your club. The higher you are, the easier people will find you.
All these social media channels offer you the chance to pay for advertising. The great thing about most of them (especially Facebook), is you can set your budget, and only pay for the audience you reach. You can also set your advert to only be seen by people in a certain area, with certain interests, and also of a certain age / gender – all this means you can reach the people you want to.
Google Trends is a great free tool from Google that allows you to see what people are looking for on Google. Simply type in a word or phrase (i.e. your club's name or "martial arts") and see what the top related search terms around the world are.
You might be thinking why this information is useful. Well you can use this information when thinking about what to talk about through your social media pages, or on your website. The closer your content is to what people are looking for, the more people will find you and your page. Easy!
Another great free tool from the world's largest search engine, Google Analytics is a must for your website. Simply open an account, add the Google Analytics code to your website (ask your website provider if you are unsure), and then you will have access to a world of data that you will help you optimise your message to your potential new students.
Google Analytics will give you more data about your website than you can probably handle. Here are some of the key things you can find out from this data:
All this data can be used to streamline your marketing.
Find a Club Databases
A lot of pages offer you the chance to advertise your martial arts club for free. We at Bear Martial Arts are no different here and we have our own Find a Club Locator Map. It's free to sign up and we strongly recommend that you do.
There are lots of databases like these around the internet (none quite as good as ours, obviously!) and it's worth signing up to all the free ones. Each one will give you new exposure, a new web page with your club's details on - all helping improve your SEO further.
On our site you can go one stage further, and advertise your events for free on our Martial Arts Calendar. It's worth taking advantage of this as well.
Blogs are another free way to promote your club. Writing a blog and linking it to your club has lots of advantages:
If you wish to write a blog for us then please do! We will publish it through our social media channels, and on our site - where we will also link it to your site / club.
You can spend however much you wish on a website. There are providers that give you great free website, managed websites that cost a modest fee per year, and then all singing and dancing websites that cost a less modest fee.
The free website services are more than adequate for a website to advertise a martial arts club, especially when you are starting out. Providers such as Wordpress and Wix are definitely worth checking out.
Date: 9th March 2018
Here are some of our favourite podcasts, sorted by each art so you can easily find the right ones for you.
Do you listen to / create a blog that should be included here? Let us know!
Date: 23rd February 2018
We all have different goals as martial arts practitioners. For some it’s fitness, for some it’s learning self-defence. But the most common goal for most of us is that elusive, powerful, magical black belt. But a question we are often asked here at Bear Martial Arts is this – do you actually need that black belt to teach?
Certainly, within almost any club, once you are past novice level your instructor will ask you to teach a few of the novices / lower grades. All this is part of your journey to black belt, and very a sound teaching strategy.
As you become a “high grade” you will be asked to teach more and more within the class, maybe even reaching the point where you cover a class for an ill / late / holidaying instructor.
The real question though is this - when can you run your own club?
The answer is a relatively simple. Each club will have rules in place, where you reach a certain grade and you will be able to teach your own class. In this writer’s experience, my Jiu Jitsu association let me teach my own club at brown belt / 1st Kyu, whereas my Kung Fu club allows students to teach their own class at red sash (2 from black, Chinese equivalent of 2nd Kyu).
Of course, running your own club without wearing the all powerful black belt has its own set of challenges. A black belt to new comers commands a respect and sense of authority, so you will find retaining new students a challenge. But if you are good enough they will soon see that, and success will be yours.
If you are reading this and wish to teach your own class but have not yet reached black belt, have a chat with your instructor and find out what their rules are – you’ll then know what goal you need to set yourself when it comes to gradings.
Teaching a club Is very different to running one, so unless you are setting up your new class on the same night as your current training night (your association would frown upon you setting up direct competition!) make sure you keep your training up as well, so you can eventually earn that black belt.
Date: 1st January 2018
It's 2018 and there is never a better time to kickstart a new and improved training program, or even to get started if you aren't currently training.
Here are some of our favourite videos to get you in the mood.
Also, here are some of our favourite blogs to get your 2018 kickstarted:
Date: 11th October 2017
Apart from our blog (obviously!), there are some other great martial arts blogs out there for every type of martial art. Here are some of our favourites, sorted by each art so you can easily find the right ones for you.
Do you read / write a blog that should be included here? Let us know!