You would assume, all that is required to develop a successful kids martial arts program is the integrity to teach valid, honest content. Oh, if it was only that simple!
More and more I come across instructors with a ‘McDojo’ approach to coaching, combining dubious credentials with outlandish subject matter, hell bent on spreading their rubbish without a care of what they are actually passing on and who it affects. As marketing demigods, they are able to sell their ‘snake oil’ whilst the rest of us are left wondering what the attraction is. Maybe it’s the lure of attaining a black belt at 10-years old, it could be the promise of ‘fast-tracking’ children through their ‘belt system’ or the 35-years’ experience they advertise on flyers that seal the deal with parents that ultimately know no different. Of course this opinion is all very subjective. Who am I and what gives me the authority to judge one coaching method over another?


David Webb

As the full-time head coach of the Tōukon Academy, David holds a first degree black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and a second degree black belt in Shotokan Karate. Together with this he also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Science and is the founder of a number of Jiu-Jitsu platforms, online resources and initiatives for children. Rostrum Jiu Jitsu: A network of Jiu Jitsu competitions across the UK that’s Consistently Attentive™ to the competitor. Jiu Jitsu in Schools™: An Independent Scheme Established to Promote Jiu Jitsu in UK Schools. Jiu-Jitsu Tots™: the UK’s First Jiu Jitsu Specific Play-Based Program for Pre-School Children....

I’ve spent years coaching, made a tonne of mistakes and lost hundreds of students as a result. Nevertheless; I believe, in fact I know, that after all those years of misunderstanding and a lack of guidance I have developed the perfect series of focused strategies and logical routines that are key to developing and sustaining a fully functioning program dedicated to children – I’d like to share the process with you.
In 2011 I began implementing these routines across a wide variety of initiatives to strategically align my academy and ensure I governed a unique position across a number of micro-niche areas. Throughout this time I refined and condensed my knowledge and understanding into a focused formula that I now deliver weekly to 200+ children across a number of highly successful initiatives including ‘Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Schools’ and ‘Jiu-Jitsu Tots’.
Through condensing my knowledge and streamlining much of the work I commit to, I have come to realise that there are five ingredients that once recognised, reviewed and relentlessly refined can develop a self-sufficient kids martial arts program from scratch – I call these ‘the Five Essential Elements to a Successful Kids Program’.
They truly make up your blueprint for success and they are the key to whether your kids program explodes into something phenomenal or becomes the perennial bystander to all other programs in your area.
Identification and alignment with the appropriate agencies and networking groups is critical if the foundations you lay are to be strong enough to build and support structure. 100%
A brand is simply an idea, it’s your stamp on that idea. However, it’s paramount to elevate your brand by offering it as a ‘remarkable’ idea. What makes your idea remarkable? & how does your idea provide value? 100%
Correct communication is vital to revealing your service level expertise. Alignment ensures security and legitimacy and branding captures attention but clear concise communication must be consistent, honest and mindful. 100%
Your delivery must not be superficial, inferiority is difficult to mask. Remember that brand? How are delivering its value? Plan everything, professionalism is the key and offer a level of detail that others simply cannot match. 100%
Cultivate learning through language and behaviour. Encouragement breeds effort and in turn transforms into progression. Derived student satisfaction ultimately retains students and ensures growth. 100%
Allow me to go all ‘cliché’ on you for a moment.
Building a successful kids program from scratch is much like building a house. Before you start the construction you must have plans, plans that require examination. Inspection of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your idea – this is no simple, easy task and success depends on the rigours of this review but once complete, foundations can be asserted –strong foundations.
The foundations you lay will exist for years to come; they must be robust and revolve around transparent legitimacy. Your ability to identify and align with the appropriate agencies and networking groups is critical if the foundations you lay are to be strong enough to build and support structure, structure for your idea, your brand and your ability to market that brand. Together these vital foundations and structure, enable a considerable attempt at the ‘first fix’ of your program – a chance to open relevant communication channels with your clients and reveal and market your service level expertise that ultimately clients buy into.
By now, your plans have been exercised into a program with its very own foundations; you’ve developed a structure, a framework that can support itself, that is watertight and secure. You’ve communicated you services well enough to have clients, now is time for the ‘second fix’: your opportunity to implement your delivery system.
Your delivery system must not be superficial.
Parallel to a construction site ‘second fix’, inferiority in your workmanship will show through, your delivery system will not withstand reasoned criticism. Ensure logic and above all rationality in your plan before you lay early foundations in your program and everything else will be steadfast.
At times there may be a need to refine certain processes that have come before, through various forms of feedback, nevertheless; you have achieved alignment, a brand that’s been marketed well, communication channels are set and functioning and a delivery system in place. Provided your approach to your own development is conscientious and honest the fifth and final cog to hack your kids program is encouragement – your ability to understand implications for engagement, progression and reward.
If you are sharpened by the idea of learning more about these five essential elements and how they relate to achieve your full potential in the market for coaching children, I am keen to delve much deeper and share more with you on how precise Alignment, Branding, Communication, Delivery and Encouragement form the cornerstone to any successful kids program and principally help you Grow Your Kids Classes.