Jiu-Jitsu is a great thing, but, as with all great things, it needs some advertising to make the general public aware of its greatness. To open a Jiu-Jitsu academy is as tough as any other business and it demands a lot of hard work, especially during the early years. So, since the GMA has hundreds of members with successful academies all over the world, we decided to gather their experiences to help those who want to venture into the business of teaching the gentle art. We listed ten strategies and took our members as examples of how successful they can make your school. You don’t need to adopt them all, and some of them even work fine on their own.
1. OFFER JIU-JITSU DEMONSTRATIONS AT LOCAL SCHOOLS
Many of our GMA members present Jiu-Jitsu to the general public through special presentations in local schools. There is no better place to gather new students than schools teeming with kids with lots of energy to burn. Jiu-Jitsu has the answers for many of the problems kids today face, such as obesity, bullying, self-esteem issues, loneliness, and lack of will power. Make sure to show that to the kids.
2. BE PART OF THE ACTIVITIES IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Every city has its holidays, with fairs, parades and all. Stay connected with your community and make sure that your academy will have its spot at the local fest. A simple table with pamphlets and maybe a small mat for quick demonstrations go a long way in attracting the general public’s attention.
3. PARTNER UP WITH OTHER LOCAL BUSINESSES
Jiu-Jitsu is not merely a sport, it is a lifestyle. With that in mind, look in your community for other businesses relating to a healthy way of life, and propose special offers of all kinds. Drawing their customers to your academy should be easier than attracting the general public. Free class offerings and tuition discounts are always a success. Gyms, juice shops, health food restaurants and stores selling sportswear are some of the businesses eligible to partner up with.
4. ATTEND LOCAL AND REGIONAL COMPETITIONS
The World Jiu-Jitsu Championship is loads of fun, but it only happens once a year. On the other hand, local and regional com- petitions multiply by the week, and each one of them is a great opportunity to bring your team together, elevate your students’ moral and advertise the work you’re doing at your school. If you do well, you will draw the attention of potential students. If there are no local or regional tournaments in your area, you can start thinking about organizing one yourself.
5. AFFILIATE YOUR ACADEMY WITH A WORLD-FAMOUS TEAM
The logic behind franchising applies to the Jiu-Jitsu universe, too. The GMA network has schools affiliated with all the great Jiu-Jitsu brands, like Alliance, Gracie Barra, Brasa, Renzo Gracie, Relson Gracie, Rilion Gracie, and Gracie Humaitá. Being part of one of those teams is a significant boost to your academy, as you will have a successful and recognized brand behind you. If you don’t like running solo, the GMA list is the place to go. There you will find the info you need to get in touch with one of the big-name teams.
6. INVITE JIU-JITSU STARS FOR SEMINARS
The time of bitter rivalry between teams is long gone. Nowadays, we all work for the art’s growth and technical development. So there’s nothing wrong with inviting Jiu-Jitsu stars to teach seminars at your academy, even if they’re not from your team. Having big names teaching on your mats is also a great way to attract new customers/students. Advertise the event well and the class will be packed with people.
7. FEAR NOT USING ONLINE SOCIAL NETWORKS
There is no denying the power of the internet these days. Twitter, Facebook, My Space and other social networks have an immense capacity to spread news and gather people. It is thus unwise to ignore it. Besides having an updated and informative website, set up FB and Twitter accounts and keep them updated with your team activities. Don’t forget YouTube, also a great (and free) way to promote your academy. Post technique videos, your students competing, seminars with big Jiu-Jitsu names, etc.
8. OFFER SPECIAL CLASSES FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC
Rape-safe, bully-proof, law enforcement, self-defense, and crisis management courses are some of the special activities you can offer the general public using only what Jiu-Jitsu has taught you. These classes are a great way to use the gentle art as a day-to-day problems solver. Advertise them well and you’ll get a great response from the public. On the sports side of things, don’t forget about MMA and Jiu-Jitsu technique classes for wrestling, a good idea in the USA especially.
9. ENCOURAGE YOUR STUDENTS TO COMPETE AT THE BIGGER EVENTS
You can only gain from having your students compete at Jiu-Jitsu’s big events, like the Pan, European Open, Asian Open, Worlds, etc. That is the proving ground, and the only way to know the quality of their learning and your teaching is to put their skills to the test. If they do well, it’s great advertising back home. If they don’t, it’s time to rethink your strategy and strengthen your team.
10. OFFER GRACIEMAG AS AN ASSET TO YOUR PRESENT AND FUTURE STUDENTS
The process of learning Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t need to be put on hold when your student leaves the academy. GRACIEMAG is the best way for your pupils to continue to be involved in the gentle art when they are off the mats. Become a part of the GMA and offer the magazine to your students and advertise it to potential new customers.