Bear Martial Arts

Starting a Martial Arts Club

Starting a martial arts club can be a lot of fun, especially as you are essentially starting a business in what you love. Training students up to become confident individuals and maybe even instructors under your own wing can be incredibly rewarding.

However, you are starting a business that teaches people potentially lethal techniques, and this from a legal stand point can have challenges. 

Whether you are an experienced instructor looking to start your next empire of clubs, or a newly qualified instructor looking to start your first club, here is our brief guide to some of the key areas you should consider when starting out.

Be Qualified

It's very important that you have the correct level of experience and have been graded to a certain standard before you start your own club. All martial arts vary slightly on deciding at which point you can start teaching classes, but if you are looking to start your own club we strongly recommend that you are at least a black belt in whatever art you are wanting to teach.

Not only will being a black belt ensure you are ready to teach, it will instil confidence in your new students that you are able to help them learn (do not underestimate the power and respect that a black belt has) and will also help you secure a better insurance deal with whoever you use for your insurance.

Be Insured

You won't be able to start a club without insurance, especially due to the nature of martial arts. Use internet searches and shop around for insurance, and it's best to use a company that specialises in martial arts insurance - normal insurance companies won't fully understand what you do and will be scared by what you are planning to teach.

Compare as many quotes as you can before paying for a policy with someone.

Your students will also need to be insured, so once you have picked a provider talk to them about how to make sure that all your students are covered.

Location, Location Location

Your new club will probably not yet have a following, so teaching your class in an area where it's easy to attract new students is very important. Schools, churches, leisure centres, gyms, town halls - all these places have rooms you can rent, and tend to be in more populated areas, so go and check out several of these and get pricing for deciding.

It's also worth considering the facilities in the building and near by (changing rooms etc) and also bus routes and car parking, as these will be factors your students will also consider.

Pre-paying for a room for a few months in advance can save you quite a bit of money, but it also commits you to that venue for that period of time, so think carefully before committing to long term deals.


It's worth checking out your competition before setting up shop, maybe even to the point of going to a class or two at each to gauge how many students they are currently getting. Chances are if they are struggling for numbers then you are too.

Checking out the competition will also let you know if there are many clubs similar to your style in the area already. Newer students rarely know the difference between Shotokan Karate and Wado Ryu Karate, so think like a student - 20 karate clubs in the same area, even if they are 20 different styles of karate, is still 20 karate clubs to new students. Does the area need a 21st karate club? If it doesn't then look for areas with lower clusters of clubs.


Getting the word out there about your new club is the only way you are going to get students. Marketing doesn't have to cost money either. Here are some free ways to market your club:

  • Word of mouth. You presumably know people in the martial arts world in your area, so spread the word and ask them to spread the word too!
  • Social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ pages are all free, and will all help promote your club
  • Google Trends. This tool allows you to see what people are searching for on Google related to any keyword you enter. Use this to see what people are looking for in relation to your martial art in your area, then taylor your marketing accordingly. Simple!
  • Approaching local businesses with an email, letter, call or in person is a great way to generate business. Showcase your club as a great way for the employees to bond, get fit, and learn vital self defence techniques. People are more likely to attend a new class if they are going with friends as well

Once you are up and running don't forget to check out our Running a Martial Arts Club and Marketing 101 sections for tips on making your club a great success.

Check out our blog on 7 Things You Need To Start a Martial Arts Club for even more hints and tips.

Good luck with your new club. As always if you have any questions we are happy to help. Email us, or ask us a question using the box below!

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