There are many martial arts disciplines across the world, and each one provides its own set of unique benefits for your health. Not only can students gain valuable skills for self-defense and an intense workout, but they can also see advantages for their physical and mental well-being.

Here’s a look at three types of martial arts training from across the globe and how these disciplines can kick your constitution up a notch:

Karate is a martial art with roots in Japan. In English, the name translates to “open hand.”

When it comes to your health, this discipline provides two distinct benefits, among many others: improved gait and greater flexibility. For older adults in particular, age-modified karate can lead to better balance and stride. Considering the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted 1 in 3 people 65 and older experience falls each year, karate’s associated skills are a huge plus for this community.

Additionally, karate demands flexibility because of the wide stances and high kicks, which gives students a leg up on those on those who don’t practice.

This discipline stems from Korea. Its name translates to “the way of the foot (tae) and fist (kwon).”

Taekwondo has marked benefits for younger students. In particular, adolescents who practice can experience a 13.6 percent boost to reaction time compared to their peers who aren’t involved in martial arts training.

Older children aren’t the only ones who have much to gain from taekwondo. Compared to nonpracticing peers, kindergarten-age taekwondo students excel at prosocial behavior and self-regulation. This is good news for parents and teachers alike.

Tai chi chuan
China is the birthplace of tai chi chuan. Its defining characteristics are slow and fluid movements.

This discipline has a variety of health benefits and is a popular choice among students of all ages. One noticeable advantage relates to respiratory health. Tai chi chuan participants can experience increased efficiency in regard to their respiratory systems’ oxygen supplies. In fact, one study published in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease reviewed a wide breadth of previous research and determined tai chi could help chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients exercise longer.

These are only three of a large number of disciplines potential students can enjoy. Check out a local studio to see first hand what martial arts training can do for your health.

Facebook has grown exponentially since its creation in 2004 and has changed in the process. When it kicked off over a decade ago, it was exclusively a young person’s website. But those days are over.

Parents of these young men and women use Facebook to connect to friends and even find community events and groups. In fact, according to eMarketer, about 23 million U.S. moms in 2011 used Facebook and, on average, logged on seven times per day. Whether it’s to snoop on their children or reacquaint themselves with old friends, moms everywhere are being exposed to the social media beast that is Facebook on a constant basis.

So, what does that mean for martial arts schools? It’s time to use Facebook to engage moms whose children are interested in martial arts.

When a mom is perusing the Web and thinking about what kinds of afterschool activities to enroll her child in, it’s only logical to assume she will be drawing ideas from a website like Facebook because of the sheer amount of time spent there. There are certain aspects of Facebook that are more likely to catch her attention, however.

Hashtags are outstanding tools for creating awareness and increasing contest participation. According to Fast Company, 35 percent of Facebook users participate in such contests. Adding a photograph seems to be the fastest track to engaging mothers, and other users for that matter. Facebook posts with accompanying photos gain 120 percent more attention than those without them. Another successful way to engage an audience is to pose a simple, stimulating question.

But overall, the most successful advertisements through Facebook align themselves with the interests of their intended audience. By becoming relatable to their audiences, businesses of any kind are effective in self-promotion through popular websites like Facebook. That being said, drawing to up-and-coming karate kids may come down to targeting moms on Facebook.

When running a martial arts school, there’s a lot to think about off the mat. Managing attendance, coordinating effective outreach and stewarding communication with current and future students are just a few things that keep operations running smoothly. There are also the necessary logistics, such as timely billing and accurate accounts management.

You may have limited staff or may be the only one in charge of organizing operations. It can take an enormous amount of effort and problem-solving to construct effective ways of carrying out each task.

There are a slew of administrative choices to make, such as whether to employ an online billing system and the best platform for doing so. Then, there’s logging student feedback and strategizing the best ways to keep them engaged. There will also be questions of how to properly manage outreach on multiple social media sites. Vetting all your options becomes one more thing on your long to-do list.

Too many choices can actually overwhelm us to the point of stifling the ability to make decisions, according to UX Myths. The logistics game can send the brain into overload and lead to frustration. Even if you’re up for the challenge, doing so means sacrificing time spent on teaching and community-building. Don’t overlook the potential for technology to relieve this burden by automating administrative processes for you.

It may seem counterintuitive but having fewer choices actually gives you more control, noted 52 Weeks of UX’s interface design expert Joshua Porter. The best approach is to simplify these choices so you can run your business better. You’ll spend less time making decisions, so that you can channel your energies into what you most care about: teaching. More time away from your desk means you can develop a richer connection with your community, and that means building a stronger martial arts business.

One of the components of any successful business is effective communication. This involves decision-makers and other organizational leaders keeping staff members updated on important happenings within the company. It is also extremely important to maintain an open dialogue with clients to assess quality of service and to uncover any issues that need to be addressed and ultimately corrected. Having clear communication, whether external or internal, is also a critical component of running a successful martial arts school.

Instructors of karate, taekwondo, Muay Thai, jiujitsu, or any other form of self-defense discipline, will generally only spend several hours per week with students. These individuals will likely be engaged during classes, but the key is to develop strategies that keep their interests piqued once they walk outside the doors of the training facility. Accomplishing this goal will require heavy amounts of communication.

Engaging with students after class ends

Martial arts instructors have a wide array of options for relaying information to students in between training sessions. However, the most efficient means is leveraging the use of mobile devices. These days, cell phones are more prevalent than ever. In fact, according to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, 9 out of 10 people in the U.S. own a cellphone, and 58 percent use smartphones.

The latter device serves as mini, portable computer with a wide array of functionality. People who have this particular gadget will often send and receive text messages, check email and engage on their social media accounts.

Martial arts school owners can employ a variety of communication techniques, including sending students’ emails, text messages or communicating with them on Facebook, Twitter or any other popular social networking site.

However, the trick is not to be too aggressive in your communication efforts. Best practice, according to a survey conducted by BlueHornet, is to send no more than one or two messages on a weekly basis. Any more than this can be considered a turnoff, rendering your communication efforts ineffective. However, engaging in two-way communications not only strengthens the bond between instructor and student, but it helps the school develop a much more positive reputation that can increase enrollment.

Letting students know that you’re interested in their development in martial arts and also as individuals, will encourage them to continue their training and see it through until they reach their intended goals. In addition, taking this extra step will also encourage them to tell others about their positive experiences. This is good for the school in general and great for business, in particular.

The key to running any successful business is streamlining daily tasks and thus avoiding any extra work. A martial arts school is particularly vulnerable to developing an extensive list of “to do’s” while also trying to manage student training and other aspects of the business.

However, many martial arts school still use old, antiquated methods to keep track of important data that helps a school evaluate how well it is doing financially and where it can make improvements. For example, many owners still use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to track how many new members have signed up for classes and the number of dropouts that have occurred. When it comes to tracking attendance, many schools still use a card system to log this data.

When critical information needs to be shared with those students, owners will often email this information using their personal email accounts or a third-party system that blasts information to large groups, regardless if the contact information on file is correct or not. Lastly, the most critical component of any student’s training is the mastery of one belt level and advancement to the next. Many martial arts school owners manage this process using a combination of several different methods, such as tracking progress via spreadsheets, making announcements using email and leaving it up to individual instruction staff to decide when a student is ready to test for the next belt rank.

These separate processes are a lot to handle for any martial arts school owner. Thankfully, Kicksite offers an all-encompassing solution that allows all critical information related to running a martial arts school to be stored in one centralized database. The less time owners spend on back-end processes, the more time is available to teach students the finer points of martial arts while increasing the efficiency of the school.

Business owners benefit significantly when they prioritize efficiency. With a more efficient business model, owners save time and money and enjoy stronger customer relations. For an owner of a martial arts school, it’s no different. An effective material arts school leader focuses on efficiency for several reasons. He or she can spend more time building stronger relationships with students and their parents, serving as an advocate for martial arts and focusing on personal and professional goals.

Some martial arts instructors attend to tedious everyday tasks, which take them away from what’s important. Master Garth Cooley can relate. As an owner of the Korea Taekwondo Academy in Indianapolis, he used to waste time on mundane tasks, such as obsessing over emails, manually tracking attendance and monitoring membership. Spending a lot of time on these activities doesn’t necessarily generate results. Effective owners acknowledge that busywork doesn’t lead to productivity. According to Next Avenue, it’s easy to get burnt out when attending to secondary duties. An owner who experiences burnout is less likely to meet his or her financial goals, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

Naturally, Master Cooley sought solutions to streamline his business. It’s important for Cooley to reduce distractions and time-wasting efforts during his day, so he can focus on his goals. Not only does he care about his academy, but he also hopes to make kyoroogi an Olympic sport and develop poomsae internationally. With these big goals, he needs to be as efficient as possible.

One way of improving efficiency is turning to smart technologies. Automating attendance and belt promotions save owners time and energy. With innovative tools and an efficient approach, owners can devote more time to networking with the martial arts community, surveying membership trends and identifying processes in need of improvement.

Your young child is looking for a fun way to exercise, but isn’t interested in some of the more traditional sports. Don’t worry; this is your opportunity to get him or her involved in martial arts classes. Not only is this a place where kids can grow friendships with other students but also learn to become more confident in themselves, which can greatly aid their development as they grow. These are just a few of the benefits that children can experience when learning martial arts. As you can see from our recent infographic, there are many other ways your child can get a positive experience out of martial arts training.

Help children thrive in school
.Every parent wants his or her child to do well in school. Who knew that martial arts could help turn kids into better students? The infographic states that training at martial arts class gives children the opportunity to improve their ability to focus, as well as master listening skills. Taking Tae Kwon Do or Karate classes requires kids to pay attention to their instructors so they can properly learn each self-defense technique. These skills can translate to school, which will allow children to get better grades and feel strongly about their performance.

Kids learn the value of respect
.The martial arts have been around for centuries, and they are based upon having respect for opponents and instructors. This is something that children will realize quickly when signing up for Tae Kwon Do or Karate classes. The infographic shows that respect is the first lesson learned when beginning martial arts training and the most important aspect. This is another personality trait that kids can take from class and apply to real-life situations. Being respectful can give children endless potential.

Our infographic illustrates the several benefits of signing kids up for martial arts classes. Allow them to enroll in a school to develop into more well-rounded students.

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