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Living Your Passion Through Jiu Jitsu & The Common Misconceptions About Opening Your Own Gym

in this month’s blog, we address all the common misconceptions related to opening your own martial arts gym, and the importance of following your passions in order to live a happier and more fulfilled life.

common misconceptions:

1. That you need to be a black belt to open a gym

2. That you need to be a competitor or have a championship title

3. That you need to have over $X0,000 saved in the bank

what do i actually need to open a gym?

What you critically need is a true passion for the sport and a desire to learn. We have some really interesting stories at SJJA, where many of our gym owners quit their full time jobs that weren’t making them happy, and opened up their own jiu jitsu academy to completely live and breathe their true passion which is jiu jitsu.

what belt level do i need to be to open a gym?

You can be a white belt or a blue belt if you want to open a gym (as a business owner), but if that’s the case, it’s recommended that you partner with a brown or black belt to be your head coach who can teach the classes. The higher belts will also be very valuable in helping you build your competition team over time.

should i partner with someone else to open a gym, or do it by myself?

That’s entirely up to you. It also depends on whether you’re realistically able to do it all yourself, but a lot of the time in business it’s all about match-making: i.e. matching investors/those with money (capital) with those who have expertise. For example, you may have the capital, but you are a blue belt and would therefore need someone more advanced to teach the classes, so some potential options could be hiring one to be a head coach or having them as a business partner. Conversely, you may be a black belt with all the skills to teach classes, but you may need some financial assistance with the initial setup of the gym, so it may be best to partner with someone who has the capital you need (where they could be either an investor in your business or a long-term partner/co-owner).

What skills should i work on acquiring ahead of opening up a gym?

1. Learn to teach by observing the black belt instructors and asking the black belts for tips

2. Learn to teach by helping out in kids classes

3. Learn online and perhaps even via some people in your network about how to run a small business, specifically how to run gyms

4. Learn about marketing

5. Start researching about where to set up a gym and the best locations

how to find a brown/black belt in your city to partner with:

1. Look around the school you train at for higher belts who could be potential business partners 

2. Get in touch with other gym owners who have higher belts training at their gym

3. Ask Bruno and other black belts if they know of any black belts

how to find an investor/business partner to provide financial assistance:

1. Ask existing gym owners if they’re interested in opening up more schools

2. Ask existing gym owners or others in the gym if they know of anyone who would be interested in either a) investing in a new gym or b) becoming partnering with a black belt as a business partner

Opening a jiu-jitsu gym is a truly inspiring endeavour that requires a unique combination of qualities. At its core, an unwavering and intense passion for jiu-jitsu becomes the driving force that fuels the journey. With an indomitable spirit, fuelled by the deep-rooted desire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of adults, kids, and families, the possibilities become boundless. Embracing this profound love for jiu-jitsu empowers you to overcome any obstacle or challenge that may come your way, infusing every setback with the determination and resilience needed to persevere. The path to success is not solely measured by monetary gains but rather by the impact you have on the lives of those around you. By embracing this philosophy and nurturing your passion, you can create a remarkable and fulfilling space where dreams transform into reality. So, let the fire within guide you, and consider one day in the future that you can very easily take the leap towards opening your very own jiu-jitsu gym—a place where passion, purpose, and the power to make a difference converge in the most extraordinary ways.

Sydney Jiu Jitsu Academy SJJA
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