How I Began my Karate Club on my College Campus
Posted on 28 March 2017
If you are commendable at karate, have some good teaching qualities, can organize and have time, you can organize a karate club that can actually pay for your college education. In this article I will give you some tips on how I began mine. I have been training since I was seven. I have trained with sensei’s William Oliver and Peter Urban. Although I was not top of my class, I was told I posses potential and skill. When I first applied to my college, I noticed that it was expensive. Then I began to think, How can I somehow make this easier on myself, rather then taking student loans. How could I do something in my college and somehow get a scholarship. Then I noticed my college didn’t have a karate program. So I brought this idea up to my headmaster and he was interested.
The first thing I did was plan. I publicized and posted posters all over the school. I posted that during the first two weeks of the fall semester I would be holding demonstrations after classes in the Student Union Building and the Residence hall cafeteria. The reason I picked these two places is because they are both very busy and have a lot of student traffic. Next, during the demonstrations I wasn’t trying to only impress, but I was also trying to show karate in a meaningful progression of skills and grades. I didn’t concentrate on or emphasize anything spectacular. I didn’t want to have people leaving my demonstration with reactions like, I could never do that, or that is impossible for me to do. When people have a lack of skill and they see someone who has skill far superior to theirs, they tend to become intimidated and they end up not wanting to sign up for the program. After I finished with my demonstrations I took peoples names, addresses and phone numbers. Then I followed up with a sign-up sheet for those truly interested in learning.
Next I had to make a financial rate schedule below that of a commercial school. I charged $65.00 a month. I personally believe anywhere between $50.00 to about $80.00 should be sufficient and fair enough for this program. Then I applied to be an instructor within the university. I approached my Headmasters office with a good resume and a good plan. While I was applying, the headmaster asked such questions like: How do I ensure the safety of my students, and how can I guarantee these students with their new fighting skill will not abuse them. I was very well prepared so I gave many good answers to all of his questions. I recommend that if you decide to do this too, that you should plan and think through it as I did. If you are not well prepared, you will not get this program. During this meeting I brought up the important question of time in the gymnasium. How was he going to help me out and allocate time for my program. He responded by saying the larger the program, the more priority I would have and the more time I would be able to get. Also he recommended getting adults and people of all ages in my program. The more diverse the students are; the better.
In your first year of your program I recommend to have 10 to 13 good commited students rather then 100 mediocre ones. Now let me emphasize on the word good. The reason I say 10 to 13 good students is because you need to have a quality program. You also must demonstrate how people get better and progress. If you have 10 to 13 good students, by the end of the semester everyone should have progressed, and this will be your advertisement for the future.
Next, I invested into equipment like a stretch machine, punching bags, mats and gi’s. The reason I invested into these equipments is because I wanted to have a program and a place where my students would feel comfortable to come during their free time and work out. At first when I told my students they would need a karate gi, they all looked at me like I had 5 eyes. I explained to them that a gi is a uniform worn when practicing Karate or Judo. Next they had no idea where to buy them. So I bought them and supplied all my students with them. I gave them all a lightweight student karate uniforms. This to me I believed was ideal for my beginning students. Next I bought many books, martial arts sparring gear and safety equipment. Student safety is very important. If students begin to get hurt or have bad injuries, your program will be shut down immediately.
After that, I used local media for publicity. I used newspapers, such as the campus newspaper. I began with articles about myself and my training and how dedicated and knowledgeable I am about this sport. Then as time went by I began to change the focus from myself to my program. I began to have to editors write about my class and students in it. I especially had them focus on the sparring I would have at the end of my class. Also I would have them focus on some of the guest instructors I had. It is good to have guest instructors because it adds variety and makes things a little more interesting.
Now at this point I had my program up and running. Then I thought to myself there was a few more things I needed to make sure of. I had to make sure I was always available to my students. I needed to be available because many students would have questions I had to answer about their progression or future progress for them. Also availability does much for your rapport with class members. This leads me into my final tip I have and final thing I did to have the successful program I have today. I needed to make sure the quality of my instruction and my influence through my personality was all really good. I had to make sure my program wasn’t just some free for all, zoo. I had to make sure that my program was disciplined yet fun at the same time. I had to make sure I influenced all of my students in a positive way. I wanted to make sure everyone felt for me the way I feel about my sensei. I love my sensei and respect him to the fullest.
This is very important, because that is how you will get the most out of every student you have. Once the students truly love you and your program you will finally be able to truly teach and help advance the students. I will always remember my first student. My student years after completing my program came back and visited me. While he visited we caught up and I found out that he was competing in many tournaments. I was very proud of him. I told him how proud I was, and he replied its all because of me. I made him love the art and respect the sport. He told me that he has a place in his heart for me because of the way I taught and influenced him. He also said that my class was a lot of the influence for him and the person he became today.
By Paul Peso