Oh my goodness… is this for real?

You know I was just speaking with one of my student’s parents the other day and they were telling me about a new service that one of the martial arts schools in my area is now offering…

When I heard what it was I was actually quite shocked.

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m all for improving my school’s business systems, offering the best service possible, and tweaking what needs to be tweaked in order for my school to grow and get the edge over my competition, but when I heard about this I couldn’t quite believe it.

In my area it’s very common for families to have working parents who commute 1-2 hours to work and then home again. The result is up to 4 hours per day in the car. You can imagine with an 8 hour work day, plus 4 more hours traveling, this doesn’t leave much quality family time…

These families I believe are in a little bit of a bind. Many of course want their children involved in something, rather than being stuck at daycare, hanging out at the local mall unsupervised, or in playing video games at their friend’s house.

So to combat this problem, in an attempt to break into the “commuter family” market, a competitor of mine is now offering the following services.

1. Pick the kids up from school in a minivan and take them to the so called “karate” school.

2. The kids can wait at the dojo until their class begins and then attend training. After training they wait until their parents / family can pick them up.

I wouldn’t personally offer these services for the reason I’ll discuss in a minute, but get this… here’s the kicker…

3. In on the training floor there is a camera that is hooked up to the internet. The parents can “login” from work to watch their kids in action!

Now I don’t know how successful this has been for that school, but for me this violates a CORE family issue!

It’s this:

What has society become in order for parents to be so UNINVOLVED in their children?

One of the reasons I believe my school has been so successful is of the well formed relationships I and my staff have with my students, parents and families. We try to target families who WANT to have their children do well; families who WANT to be involved with their kids and support them. The kids in my program who do the best are the ones whose parents watch their classes and come to their examinations – the ones who take an active interest in their child’s progress.

I feel that the “web cam dojo” just puts parents FURTHER from their kids, not closer. If they REALLY were interested in their children and their development, I believe they would make the effort to change their schedules and support their kids.

Your thoughts? Post ’em below!

~ Jason

2 thoughts on “Oh my goodness… is this for real?”

  1. Hey there Jason, interesting. On one hand, it fills a need right? Maybe these children are missing an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a martial art due to parents circumstances. On the other hand, the webcam idea is tacky though I'm sure some will like it. It is simply not necessary and I agree with your overall sentiment. I think with some tweaking it is a service that could work with integrity. Main thing would be processes that ensure parental involvement 100% GUARANTEED. Personally, I would NOT go for a service like that, having someone pick my girls up from school etc. I as a parent would find some way to do it with me involved.
    Dan Lee
    1st Dan, Shidoin Ho
    Kusano Ha Shito Ryu

  2. Hey Dan,

    Nice to hear from you.

    Yep it fills a need alright.

    In my experience the students whose families are invovled stick around a lot longer and the kids achieve a lot more. With this kind of service, the families aren't really involved. I wonder how long a student stays with their system?

    Students who quit after a couple of months aren't worth having in my opinion. That may sound a little harsh, but I really value what I do… and it's really frustrating for the students and me when you put a lot of time and energy into teaching and helping, and then parents don't offer the same support.

    I would rather spend my time and my marketing budget finding families who can be there for their kids.

    And like you say, I don't know if I would feel comfortable with my kids being picked up by someone else…

    ~ Jason


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