I often get asked the question of how to get rich fast teaching martial arts and this is as good a time as any to answer it. But first, some background information on what triggered this post:
There’s a little meme going around about the supposed “big bucks” in teaching martial arts for money. That selling aspects on DVD, or in seminars is somehow “selling out”, and betraying your teachers. There’s a rumor that somewhere, someone is raking in boatloads of cash from students, and living the high life.
Let me bring the room to order and state for the record: People who teach martial arts solely as a means of income are usually the POOREST people on Earth. There are a few exceptions, of course, but the common example is a pauper in pajamas. The ones who make it with a commercial school are predominately day care centers that offer Aerobic-Kickboxing and half a dozen other “peripheral” services just to keep the doors open and the lights on. (nothing wrong with that, by the way.) Most of us, myself included, must hold down actual full-time jobs and juggle out free time with commitments to our students. We have learned that precarious tightrope walk between family, work, and training. We have discovered how misguided our priorities were, and often learned how to correct them the hard way. We have done a hell of a lot more, laid a hell of a lot of groundwork and suffered a hell of a lot of grief for no other reason than to cross hands with another human being who is seeking the same knowledge we once sought.
So, a little free advice for all of you who are the next generation of teachers, the up-and-coming with your eyes on being an instructor of the arts: There is no money to be made in martial arts. None. The top-paid MMA fighter in the world today makes HALF of what I do per year as a computer geek…on his best day, and my worst. The best most of us can do is make some gas money or spare change for this art that we’ve dedicated our lives to learning.
We do this because we love it, period. Any teacher of any subject worth their salt will tell you the same.
Also – there’s nothing wrong with charging for your time and effort. Teaching for free doesn’t make you “noble” in any sense of the word. That’s nothing more than an illusion used to cloud your mind from the sacrifices you must make when you assume the role of a leader. Leadership means accepting responsibility.
If you feel led to teach in the bottom of your heart and the very limits of your soul,
If you love leading people to knowledge, and being a part of their growth,
If you can suffer the backstabs and betrayals of students who lied to your face while plotting your downfall, (and it WILL happen, sooner or later) and retain your dignity and integrity through it all, and STILL want to get up each day and give everything you have to your class,
If you have your student’s best interest at heart, and strive to be the best instructor you can every day,
If you survive your first ten years as an instructor, and you still love your art as much as you did your first year as a beginner…
Congratulations. You’re a teacher, no matter what anyone says.
Here’s what Jason asked me: [Read more…]