10 Tips To Recruit 10 New Students For Your Gym

martial arts class wearing Gameness BJJ gis


The most common question we are asked when it comes to owning a martial arts school is, “how can we get more new students?” Well, that’s the most common question by far.

School owners of all sizes are looking for new members and it doesn’t matter what time of year it is — spring, summer, fall, winter — they’re always looking for new recruits.

And even though new students are not the end-all, be-all to growing your school, we recognize that they are the lifeline of our business and necessary for growth.

So, we thought it’d be handy to give you a list of 10 ideas to recruit 10 new students for your Jiu Jitsu school.

Some of these ideas will be simple. Some of them a little complex. Some will cost you nothing. Others, maybe a little time or money. 

But every one of these ideas have been successfully used in martial arts schools to build their business.


There are a lot of different ways to market this event, but the point is to get more teenagers or adults in your program. You could go to your own lobby, have parents stick their business cards in a fishbowl, draw a winner (or 5 winners) and then have the winner (or winners) invite out 5 or 10 of their friends.

Or, you could go out to apartment complexes or other businesses, frame it as a “free community event” to keep everyone safe and then just give them some passes for the self-defense workshop. Tell them to invite their friends. This workshop will really capture the portion of your market that wants to learn self-defense and it’s a great way to raise awareness with an older audience. After the Free Workshop, offer them a trial to learn more self-defense for 2 weeks, 4 weeks, or whatever time frame you want.


This one is simple but super effective if you consistently do it. Anytime anyone calls and schedules an appointment for an intro class for their child or themselves, simply ask if they have a friend or sibling that they would like to bring to the intro class. Tell them you find it makes students more comfortable if they bring a friend. And if they are doing a trial (ex: 4 weeks for $49), tell them you’ll do 2 for 1. This one might not work every time but if you do it enough, you’ll get more signups. Like Jiu-Jitsu it’s all about being consistent.


This is another one we could characterize as a breeze. It’s a simple email that you send out to your list. The goal is to start a conversation with your prospect and try to get them to come in for a class. The email goes like this:

Subject Line: Quick question

Body: Hey (first name), are you still interested in Jiu Jitsu?

You might be surprised at the response you get. The secret behind this email is that you’re just asking the prospect a direct question. 

People can’t help but respond to a question and if you make it conversational, they will normally engage with you.


This one isn’t so much a strategy you need to execute once every blue moon; it needs to be done every day. Any time you enroll a new student, or someone comes in for their first Jiu Jitsu class or intro, you should be asking “Hey. Can I ask who referred you to our school?” Even if they say they saw a flyer or no one referred them, explain how a large portion of your students comes from referrals and you like to give back by rewarding those who refer someone with a gift card or certificate to the pro shop. This will get their wheels turning for how they can get their own reward by bringing a friend in. Your referrals will increase simply by asking and explaining your referral rewards. It’s very important.


For this one, you can use the existing adults in your Jiu Jitsu school or the parents of students who work for companies. Ask if you can do a corporate team-building workshop for their company. Position it to build camaraderie among their team, because that’s what Jiu Jitsu is, team building. A great time to do this is at the beginning of the year because adults are always trying to get in better shape for their New Year’s Resolutions.


This one would require a little more work. But it’s such an important system for school owners that you need to be doing them. There are so many different free community events you can use to get people in your Jiu Jitsu school: Bully Defense Seminar, Confidence Seminar, Women's Only Defense Seminar, the list goes on and on. If you truly want to impact your Jiu Jitsu school and get more students, you need to learn how to do them.


If you’re not taking advantage of social media, you absolutely should. Create and share informative and educational Jiu Jitsu content, be visible and available on social media to start new conversations, show what your academy has to offer the best such as mats sizes, professional level of the academy’s instructors, locker rooms, shower rooms, etc.


If you’ve ever been in a P.E. class, you know how exhausting it is to teach that class day in, day out. A great way to provide value for the P.E. Teachers is to just be a substitute for a day. Teach a very basic Jiu Jitsu class to the P.E. class and give that teacher a day to relax. They will appreciate you for it immensely. Then you can hand out passes to come visit your Jiu Jitsu school and enroll them into your program.


To add on to that, if the schools will allow it and you can plan it in conjunction with the P.E. Teacher For A Day, this is a great time to launch 2 or 4-Week course at the same time at the school. The P.E. Teacher for A Day serves as a fantastic catalyst for signups to a 2 or 4-Week Course. It gets the kids excited, and they’ll want to immediately try it out, especially if they can train at their school with their friends. Then, you can hand out passes to come train at your Jiu Jitsu school.


Getting out in the community and holding demonstrations of Jiu Jitsu lessons is a great way to get new students. If you’re not having a ton of success getting new members from this strategy, it’s most likely because you’re not making it a presentation. There is a difference. Bring some kids up. Give them a 10-minute class. Give them a special offer for that day and book the appointment right then and there. This is a great way to get more students.

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