I run an intro program at my school before anyone may join as a full member.
The reasons are many, and one of the most important ones is for the health of the club. I like to see if the potential student is a good match for our program.
This way I make sure that parents don’t just “put ’em in karate” because they need discipline. They’re not the kind of students I want. I don’t want to have to spend loads of time disciplining children instead of teaching karate.
Sure, discipline is part of the program, but it’s not THE program. As instructors we can’t give a troubled child all the consistency and discipline they need in 2-3 hours per week. That starts at home with the parents.
For adults I also like the idea of an intro program where they can train for 4 classes before being admitted to join the full program. At the end of that time if they’re not a good “fit” for the school, we go our separate ways.
Now most people who try the intro program are fine to join, but occasionally there’ll be someone who does something (or doesn’t do something that is required), that’ll violate the rules we set for the school.
Things like – lack of basic respect, failure to be courteous to instructors and other students, and trying to “beat up on” existing students to prove a point and satisfy their ego.
If they breach any of these basic rules, or after 4 lessons can’t get it together, then we simply refuse their business. Simple as that. Yes it is our job as instructors to “help them learn the way” but if they aren’t receptive to learning then we’re fighting a long losing battle.
If you think this sounds harsh, consider letting a weed grow in a beautiful garden that you’ve spent so much time and energy growing. The consequences can be devastating. I’ve made this mistake several times over the years, and let me warn you that when your school is in its infancy and class numbers are small, the effect of the one bad apple is multiplied ten fold.
Keep your gardens weeded well and your fruit will grow and flourish.