MARTIAL ARTS CLUB MANAGEMENT 101: A Colloquium - Short Talks & A Round-Table Discussion - Waterloo ON

  • 24 Mar 2018
  • 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Waterloo ON Canada


Registration is closed


Short Talks & A Round-Table Discussion

WHEN:  Saturday 24th March 2018, 2-4:30 p.m.*

WHERE:  Heuther Hotel Barleyworks Boardroom, Waterloo ON Canada


Update... Thanks to those who have already registered as this helps us with room set-up.  If you have not registered but are interested in joining us that day... please do!  Scroll down to the bottom to the list of topics if you would like to mull them over before we meet in person.  If you would like to help with our documentation that day, we'd be delighted to have a scribe (or more) tracking the action.  Many hands make light work.  Thanks in advance.


Here's a date to mark on your calendar -- Saturday March 24th -- if you have interest in exchanging ideas about Tai Chi or martial arts club management. If you are not interested yourself but know someone who may be, please pass this along! This is open to all martial artists and is not confined to Tai Chi practitioners.

Location: the Heuther Hotel Barleyworks Boardroom in Waterloo from ~2:00 to 5:00 p.m.  Consider staying for dinner afterwards, on your own tab.  

The focus will be on issues relating to money, management, promotion and retention. Format:  short talks to introduce the subject, then a round-table sharing of ideas.

Steve Higgins

Shifu, Cold Mountain Internal Arts


*Registration is open!  Join us!  Help us help the Heuther by letting us know how many folks we should be expecting.  If you're seeing this information online on the CTF website, click on the green Register button on the left side of the screen on this page.  Seeing this information in an email?  You can click here to be taken to the event page:  Register me!  Or, go to the CTF website, click on events, and then click on this event listing--it's currently first in line for upcoming events.  

We'll send a reminder email in the few days leading up to the event.  In the meantime, make note of this information, or visit the CTF website events listing section to find it again.  See you there!



From Steve Higgins, below.

Hi everyone,

Our second symposium is coming up in several days at the Heuther on Saturday from 2:00 to 4:30.

The attached [below] is my working document for our meeting. Please look it over and be prepared to contribute. You may also want to take notes. I would be astonished if we got through this material. What we do not get to will form the agenda for future meetings. Also, please bring and share your promotional material!

As in the Sept. 30th. symposium, we will be meeting in the Barleyworks Boardroom at the back of the Huether on the top floor. This is an old heritage building; the space is therefore not wheelchair accessible. Huether Hotel There is no charge for they space they are providing us; it is their hope that they can supply us with food and drink. (The in-house beer, brewed on the premises, is excellent!). Dinner after!

Looking forward to seeing you, Steve.

Topics for Club Management Symposium

Heuther Hotel in Waterloo, 2:00 – 4:30 p.m., Mar. 24th., 2018.

There is no single way to do things.  Clubs are started in different ways to address the needs of different markets.  They also offer different curricula according to a variety of different philosophies.

Further, clubs over the years change.  Their markets change; their guiding philosophy may change; their personnel may change. Certainly, their curricula will probably change with time in response to the interests of members and instructors.

So today’s gathering is not to outline a method of how to do things, but to share what we have done, what we do, what has worked for us and what has not worked.

What is your club’s mission?  Do you serve the health needs of the community at large? Do you serve a smaller community such as those people who wish to penetrate deeply into Tai Chi and Qigong?  Do you serve a particular exclusive tradition or art?

How do clubs get started? Someone just starting out may work as 'staff' at a rec. centre to get experience.  At some point they'll have to leave if they want to develop a base.  Did you take over an existing club, and if so has this presented problems for you?  Have you experience as both a teaching consultant and as a club-sifu?  Have you ever taught for a health or recreation centre?

Describe your base, the core of your club. And how much is a base?  Astonishing, but the Wu club in Toronto has only about 30 regulars, and is a healthy organization.  At Cold Mountain we presently have around 55 and are in good shape. Phoenix in London has maybe 150 members with a smaller core.

Do you use assistants?  Are they compensated?

Have you a dedicated space?  What are the pros and cons of a permanent ‘shop’ vs. renting from a school, church etc. as needed.  In the case of a shop, how do you finance ‘down-time? Do you sub-lease?

Do you have a formal lease? Is your rental expense fixed or variable?  J. has a lot to say about this, particularly since his club has a dedicated space (which is something Gloria advised me against.)  At Calvin I negotiate a yearly rental contract.  But at the Cedars I have none.

What is your legal structure?  Sole proprietorship?  Corporation?  Non-profit?  Registered charity?  Pros and cons?

Do you teach sessions or are your classes open-ended? What are the pro's and cons of offering an 8-week session as opposed to something on-going and indefinite? 

What do you charge and why?  How much to charge and for what: class-tuition or membership?  Some people charge per class attended.  How do they manage income stability?   

What about private lessons? How much to charge and for how long?

Do you carry liability insurance?  From whom?  Do you have a limited or a club contract?

Do you advertise?  How?

How do you handle internal communications / promotion with your members? E-mail lists?  Newsletters?  Blogs?

Do you use social media? Facebook etc.

Do you have special events or activities? Tournaments? Open Houses?  Parties?  Guest instructors and workshops?

Do you promote the activities / classes of other clubs?  Are other clubs colleagues or competitors?

How is your club governed? ‘Sifu says’?  Committee?  Board of Governors?  Co-op?

Do you plan for your future?

Have you any experience with succession planning?

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