Martial arts gyms are often considered the home of tough, unstoppable, hardcore athletes. And they absolutely are, but all too often, especially in gyms that may have a lot of MMA fighters or competitive jiu jitsu athletes, it may be difficult for the gym owner to create a family atmosphere that will help grow kids and adult programs and add to gym revenue. What’s the best way to make sure that kids and families will feel comfortable at your martial arts gym?
This may be a no-brainer, especially if you have a smaller facility, but planning out class time is important to creating a family gym. Kids’ classes should be earlier in the evening to allow for more structured meal times and bedtimes. 5:30pm or 6pm classes allow parents to bring their children after work and school while also having enough time for the rest of their evening schedule. Fighters often have more flexible schedules and can be accommodated in later classes.
Parents often bring their smaller children to watch their siblings at class, and having a small area set aside with toys and games can help occupy them. In addition, for gym owners that choose to have an adult class after the children’s class, a play area is an enticement for parents to stick around and try/attend class knowing that their children will have a place to be entertained.
An area with chairs, benches, or bleachers is key in promoting a family environment. Parents often appreciate being able to watch their children at class, or have a (fairly) comfortable place to get some work done, read a book, or have a cup of coffee while their children train. You don’t need to have a lot of seating, but even a little will entice parents to stay around and be more engaged in their children’s class time.
A Professional Look
Gone are the days of the old school boxing gym with worn down equipment. Parents expect a clean, modern, welcoming facility when entrusting their children to a martial arts program. Your equipment, including martial arts mats, wall pads, heavy bags, and fitness equipment should be free of rips, worn spots, or other issues that may compromise safety. In addition, the facility should be clean, both in the training areas and bathrooms, entryways, and locker rooms.