1- MMA Is your re-brand
While many martial arts view MMA as a bunch of savages, and completely different from their own refined martial art, the overlook the fact that their target audience is increasingly draw to it. To many people who would have studied Karate in the past, MMA means simply:
The ability to fight on the feet as well as on the ground, and not be embarrassed when my friends ask me about my hobby.
Make sure your gym offers some elements of standup striking, as well as some grappling, and call yourself an MMA gym.
Why? Because it’s what people are searching for. Google Insights for Search show searches for MMA growing each year, and searches for Martial Arts, Karate, Kung Fu, and all of the others declining. Like it or not, your branding needs to change or die.
Stop hating MMA. Start seeing the value it striking as well as grappling, and get on the bus, while keeping the elements of your art that make your gym so good at that aspect.
2- You have to offer it all or die
There are no islands.
You will nto be able to survive in the long run as just a BJJ dojo, or just a Muay Thai or Kenpo facility. If you don’t offer all of the elements your students will find somewhere that does.
This includes Grappling and Striking at a minimum. But you can’t even just think of BJJ when you think of grappling anymore… Wrestling will need to be a part of your training as well.
3- The Gi is going the way of the T-Rex
I know… It is going to break a lot of hearts, and traditionalists will fight this tooth and nail. but even in BJJ competitions they not only offer Gi and no Gi divisions, but we are starting to see more interest and participation in the no Gi side than we are in the Gi.
Bottom line: Your students can walk proud in a pair of fight shorts and a t-shirt. But dropping by the 7-11 in their Gi after practice looks about as cool as if the marched in wearing a their Dungeons and Dragons costume.
Does this mean there will be no place for the gi, or that there isn’t value in training with it? No. But if you don’t offer any no Gi classes now, you had better start.