Martial Arts


Defining Your Martial Arts School's Purpose For Success & Significance
by Grandmaster John St. James - 9th Dan
Atlantic-Pacific Tang Soo Do Federation

In the centuries-old martial arts tradition, the essence of practice extends beyond physical prowess - cultivating a sense of purpose and direction. For martial arts school owners, this principle is pivotal when shaping the vision and future of their academies. In this article we explore the pathways to defining a school's purpose and the profound impact it can have.

The Journey to Discovering Purpose

Every accomplished martial arts school has a clearly defined purpose at its core. Discovering this purpose is akin to walking the Master's Path - it's about revealing, rather than creating, the essence of your school. As martial arts teaches, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, and so it is with your school's purpose.

The Crucial Questions

To begin this voyage of discovery, consider four fundamental questions:

- Why does your school exist?
  Lean into this question. Understand the unique offerings that set your martial arts practice apart.
- What are you to be as a significant school owner?
  Reflect on your role and how you can embody martial arts principles in your leadership.
- What are you to do as a quality martial arts school owner?
  Beyond teaching martial arts, ascertain the broader impact your school aims to have on its students and community.
- How are you to do it?
  Strategize the methods and approaches that will best serve your school's mission. Record your reflections and strive to distill them into a
  succinct purpose statement - a single sentence that encapsulates your mission.

Crafting a Powerful Purpose Statement

A purpose statement must be specific, transferable, and measurable. It's a beacon that guides your decisions, your school's growth, and your students' personal development. Passionately articulating this message can be the catalyst for creating a thriving martial arts community.

The Five Purposes of a Strong School

Consider the following five purposes that build the foundation of a successful martial arts school:

- Recruit new members - Utilize the Success Paradigm to help every student learn, grow, share, serve, lead, and inspire.
- Develop quality black belts - Focus on cultivating well-rounded individuals in mind, body, and spirit.
- Certify well-trained instructors - Ensure that those who teach are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to uphold the school's 
- Create professional branch operators or school owners - Develop leaders who can carry forward the school's legacy and expand its
- Teach by example the importance of significance - Demonstrate the deeper value and impact of martial arts through actions.

Crafting Your School's Purpose Statement

When constructing your purpose statement, consider integrating five key words that reflect your core intents. For instance:

Magnify - Amplify the values and benefits of martial arts training.
Mission - Commit to recruiting and nurturing students to harness their "superpowers" for the greater good.
Membership - Foster development of individuals into quality black belts in mind, body, and spirit.
Magnificence - Lead with the art's message and significance as an exemplar.
Mastery - Focus not just on growing your school through programs, but on growing individuals through a proven process.

A sample purpose statement that unifies these elements could be: "Our mission is to magnify the martial arts, offering a pathway to
mastery where membership means more than skill - it means magnificence of spirit and character."


Defining your school's purpose is an introspective process that requires honesty, wisdom, and foresight. It's a statement of your commitment to the ancient tradition of martial arts and a testament to its endurance in the modern world. While facilities and programs
are important, ultimately it is the growth of individuals that will define your school's success.

In the words of a great martial arts master, the goal is "not to develop what has already been developed, but to recover what has been left behind." These principles apply just as effectively to developing your school's purpose as they do to practicing martial arts itself. Focus on cultivating significance in your students, and your school will indeed flourish.

Stand tall, stay humble, and open yourself to the myriad ways of achieving growth in your martial arts school. Remember - true martial arts mastery extends beyond the mat; it encompasses the wisdom to lead and expand your school without compromising its core values.

Always in the Spirit of Moo Do Excellence


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