We are so fortunate to have the Winter Garden Rec Center to train and appreciate this a great deal. We moved into this wonderfully spacious facility at the beginning of the year and it was been a boon to our school since. During this time, I have kept data regarding students and prospectives and would to share this, along with my own conclusions regarding them.
Here we go. . . . .
- Info: For every 10 people who observed a class (that is, they watched but did not participate), less than 1 came back the following week.
Personal Conclusion: There are those who watch and those who do and this is just another classic example. Do-ers participate in classes and in life. Watchers talk, analyze, observe and move on to watch something else.
- Info. For every 10 people who participated in a FREE class, 1.5 came back the following week.
- For every 10 people who PAID for a class and participated, 4 came back the following week.
(Note: This section refers to the initial class only.)
Personal Conclusion: There is always truth in cliques. This one is no different — Greater value is always placed on that which we have to pay for, even if they payment is modest.
Free classes do only a little to generate long term students.
- 5 minutes is the key.
- When phone conversations inquiring about Systema were LESS than 5 minutes, 60% of the callers showed up to class.
- When phone conversations inquiring about Systema were MORE than 5 minutes, less than 8% showed up to class.
- I had 7 conversation in 2010 that lasted 15 minutes or more. Zero showed up.
Personal Conclusion: I would think this is a variation of the above – do-ers and talkers. Perhaps pro-active and “do it for me” types may be a better description. For the former, they have already done their homework (looking at tapes from Vlad, YouTube clips etc.) and now just want verification of details such as place, time etc. The latter simply seem to enjoy the talking about martial arts, not the participation in it.
- Those who are continually comparing, rarely stick with Systema.
Personal Conclusion: One of the red flag comments that catches my attention is this – “. . . but it is not like my other style.” Once, no problem Three or more times, the personal rarely returns to training. Systema is a little like a few styles but taken as a whole, it is a unique entity. Some prefer familiarity and cannot deal with being a beginner again.
- The students who stick it out the most are those that either are brand new to martial arts or have trained (or have rank) in multiple arts. The students who rarely stick it out are those that did one art only and have rank in that art.
For example, of our core 11 or 12 students, only 3 have prior martial arts experience of any sort. Only one has the rank of black belt.
Side note: Please refer to my prior article “30 in 30” as it illustrates this point to a large degree.
The 4 commonly cited reasons for not participating in Systema:
- No ranking system.
- Location is not convenient. If someone has to drive more than 25 minutes, they most likely will not come back or be very consistent in their training.
- Not like prior styles.
- Work and/or family conflicts with times schedule.
The 4 most commonly cited reasons for participating:
- Love of the style
- Classes are always different and creative
- No pressure (to test or no ranking)
- Most useful form of martial art
Overall, this information has been helpful in gearing and adjusting our advertising. It has not affected our training to any degree, nor will it. We have an outstanding core group and look forward to continuing to grow for 2011.
Thanks to everyone who helped make this possible!