Running Your Own Martial Arts School - the Internal Fighting Arts Podcast Interview with Kimberly Ivy and Michael Celeste
December 13, 2022
On my latest edition of the podcast -- Number 65 -- I wanted to talk with a couple of different people who own bricks-and-mortar martial arts schools. It is the dream of a lot of martial artists -- to own your own school and teach martial arts for a living. It can be very satisfying, but there are challenges that everyone should realize, and skills you need to have to achieve success. The physical demands can be very great, at least early on, the expenses range from rent or building payments to utilities, mirrors and mats, marketing costs, including website, video and social media, martial arts equipment, and possibly costs for a staff. Other challenges arise when you feel as if you have to accept virtually everyone in order to pay your bills, even if non-serious students take up class time.
Kimberly Ivy, who teaches Chen Taijiquan and Qigong in Seattle, was one of the first who came to mind when I thought about this episode. She has been teaching in her school for three decades. Like everyone who has a school in a big city, she has faced challenges with rising rents and, of course, Covid. Kim has appeared in two earlier podcasts several years ago.
Michael Celeste works full time at Pfizer and teaches Yang Taijiquan and Wing Chun in Mt. Arlington, New Jersey. He has owned his school for six years.
My own teaching history involves renting space, buying a building, then selling the building because of a change in full-time jobs. For the past 15 years I have primarily taught in a park, but I clearly remember the challenges and pleasures of owning my own school.
In the current economy, and as we have come out of Covid, I think, I wondered if someone who is thinking about starting a school should do it or run from it. I hope you enjoy these conversations. Listen online or download the podcast through this link.