In the past I’ve written a lot about seminars. It’s my hope to not only promote myself but to also help academy owners have a better seminar experience.
With all the time, effort, and money that goes into hosting seminars it’s only right that you and your academy benefit as well.
I’ve often seen academies host seminars only to stretch themselves financially. If your family and students are counting on you then you can’t take chances on who you decide to bring to your academy and you can’t waste the opportunity that hosting a seminar brings.
Namely being able to use the seminar as a marketing tool to reach new clients and as a way of bringing together your existing students in a team bonding experience.
There are 3 simple questions that I want you to ask yourself before reading on.
#1 Why are seminars so hard to set up?
Seminars take a little work in setting them up in the beginning stage, but once you have all the details set they are really easy to promote.
Keep reading and I will show you a few easy steps to help make your next seminar a huge success.
#2 Why are seminars so hit and miss?
A big part of the success of a seminar is who you choose to host.
Let’s face it, many Jiu Jitsu instructors are a little out there and might not be the most social creatures.
A large part of teaching seminars is that your students will get to meet some of their favorite athletes that they’ve seen compete and have them live in person to train with and to ask questions.
Hell! some people only go to seminars so that they can have their picture taken and day they went to so and so’s seminar.
Whatever the case, who you decide to bring will say a lot about your academy. So it’s very important that you pick a professional with the technical ability to keep your students captivated but also someone that they can relate to and have a good time with.
Do you know anyone like that? Wink wink…
#3 Are seminars even worth doing?
This is a question that a lot of smaller academies have especially if their financial situation isn’t the best.
Like many things in life, seminars are an investment opportunity. Not only are you investing in helping your students improve their techniques.
Which every instructor should do by the way.
But you’re also investing in your school.
You’re investing in retaining students at your school through creating a memorable experience.
Seminars can be used to bring your school closer together much like how corporations will do team building events to get their employees to work together better.
Seminars can also be used as a marketing tool to bring attention to your academy and draw in new perspective students to your doors.
Through my travels I found that academy owners and the students that attend seminars have had many complaints about seminars in general.
I’m not saying that all seminars are bad!
There are a lot of really great ones. But there is still a lot that can be done improve the level of seminars.
Seminars are too expensive
Yes. Some seminars can be expensive.
A lot of it depends on who you decide to host and the associations that they are under.
There are often fees that are paid to the association before the instructor sees a penny.
For instance, I am a part of team Alliance. And while there are many academies under that association. I choose to work independently. Meaning that I have to do more work but it also allows me more freedom to decide where I go and which academies I teach at.
But back to the expense of seminars.
If you see the value in learning an instructor’s technique and you know that their style has something to offer your Jiu Jitsu game. Then you will find a way to afford the cost of the seminar.
One little detail or a different approach to a specific position is all it takes to boost your game.
If you’ve invested so much time in learning Jiu Jitsu then it makes sense to also invest in seminars as well. Especially when the instructor is great in an area of Jiu Jitsu that you might not be strong in.
I price all of my seminars to account for my expertise in Jiu Jitsu. So while there are definitely a lot of cheaper options out there. You also pay for what you get.
Think of it this way. When sports teams are looking to sign the big star. They don’t make a lowball offer. They have to entice the athlete with the proper incentives.
I have personally turned down academies that tried to get me at a discount.
It’s all about opportunity cost. Is it worth my time to travel to this academy and teach a seminar or would my time be spent doing something else.
Even though my seminars are not cheap I really try my best to work with academy owners to find the best solution.
Often this will include me helping to market my seminars for a few weeks or months in advance to allow for people to get their finances in order or even letting the students that can’t afford the seminar pay what they can or even volunteer to help in whatever way they can.
Seminars are not about money. They are about the exchange of ideas and your academy coming together and having fun.
My academy is too small to host a seminar
The size of an academy doesn’t really factor in too much when it comes to setting up seminars.
Of course, larger academies can leverage their student population to help cover the cost of a seminar more easily.
But with enough time and good marketing. A smaller school can host most of the top guys in our sport.
I have taught many seminars at smaller academies and often these were the seminars that I enjoyed the most.
Many of the larger academies have the resources to bring whoever they want to teach whenever they want.
But with smaller academies, since they often have to plan months in advance to afford seminars, they are more appreciative of an instructor’s time.
They literally get their everyone involved and it’s more than just about technique. It really brings the whole academy together.
I don’t know how to set up a seminar
Most academies don’t know how to properly set up and market a seminar, even the top academies sometimes slack on this and will not set up all the details with the instructor or properly market their seminars.
This means that there is a lot of money that could go to the instructor and the academy left untapped. If you are going to host a seminar then all of your students should know about it and be kept up to date about the important details.
Communication skills are really important in this industry. A skill that I feel that many martial arts business owners don’t put as much effort into to their own detriment.
I’m always in communication with someone. Be it different academies, former students, training partners, businesses, etc.
Again, if you are planning on hosting seminars at your academy. Even if you don’t know the first thing about setting them up.
Open communication will be key.
That means being upfront with the prospective instructor, being transparent in all business dealings, and not leaving any questions unanswered.
Depending on my travel availability, I will often contact academies in an area that I am soon to visit to see if they would be interested in hosting me for a seminar.
After contact has been made, I then begin coordinating my schedule with the host academy’s schedule and dealing with their pricing and other details such as the dates, topics I would like to cover, and the duration of the seminar.
When both parties agree on a set price and date most of the work is out of the way.
All that’s left is to market your seminar.
I see a lot of academies will mention their upcoming seminars maybe once or twice and then leave it at that.
To effectively market a seminar you will need to tell everyone about it constantly. Tell your students. Tell your staff. Tell your followers on social media. And keep telling them!
People have so much going on in their lives that it will often take hearing your message multiple times before it really sets in. You should also invest in flyers that you can use in your digital marketing as well as physically in your academy.
I like to involve myself in marketing efforts for my seminars.
I’ve done a lot of seminars and have a lot of experience setting them up.
I also realize that hosting a successful seminar not only helps to promote my own personal brand but it also helps promote your academy.
Many academy owners look at seminars as a necessary expense, but I see seminars as a tool to bring all of your students together for a fun and exciting experience learning new techniques.
In my effort to promote the seminar, I create detailed blog post, share video of relevant techniques, and post on social media to keep the seminar on your students radars and get them pumped to attend.
Setting up a seminar involves a lot of communication and planning. But if done correctly can be a great way to promote your academy to new students while also adding value to your existing students.
Seminars are too long
There is nothing worst than a 3+ hour seminar.
Let’s face it. There is a limit to how long the average student can focus on doing techniques.
Even as a black belt, I find it hard to work more than two or three techniques before burning out.
I keep my seminars less than two hours for this very reason. Not only will it allow your students enough time to practice their techniques. Helping them to better recall the techniques long after the seminar. But they will also have enough time to enjoy the moves being taught.
Most instructors have terrible pacing when it comes to seminars. That means that students are often not left with enough time to fully experiment and ask questions about a technique before they move on
That’s why I never go over 2 hours during my seminar. I know that with proper pacing of techniques that I can keep your students focused without burning them out.
No one attends seminars
Again, this is more an issue of marketing. Most students are excited to learn techniques and interact with a new instructor.
Let your students and everyone know that you are hosting a seminar.
Make it affordable.
Give them enough time to budget and fit it into their schedule.
Keep marketing up until the day of the seminar.
It’s not rocket science!
This is one thing that I really appreciated training at a large academy. We would get a lot of visiting instructors showing us the latest techniques. It was super exciting. We learned a lot and it opened our minds to different styles of Jiu Jitsu.
I find it helpful to focus on interesting topics that many students will be eager to learn. This doesn’t always have to be what’s currently popular in Jiu Jitsu tournaments.
I like to show techniques that I have developed and learned through my travels that many people might not know or that I think will be beneficial.
It’s all about value. If your students value the instructor and his techniques then they will make the time to attend the seminar.
The instructor’s style doesn’t fit what our academy focuses on
This is even more reason to host a seminar with that instructor.
It doesn’t matter how advance your technique is unless you constantly update yourself on the new techniques being developed or you will find your game is not as effective as time passes.
Recently there was a well known black belt that publicly demoted himself to purple belt. In the past he was a legit black belt and still is but when you take a long break from Jiu Jitsu you will find that it will quickly pass you by.
As a student of Jiu Jitsu you should have an open mind and seek to develop yourself outside of what you know and what your strengths are.
I’ve been a black belt for over a year and I make it a point to learn from everyone that I train with. No matter their belt rank, how tough they are, or if they are an instructor or not. You can and should be able to learn from anyone.
We already have a black belt instructor
Learning at black belt doesn’t stop. In fact I think black belts are some of the best students. The humble ones know that while they do know a lot there is so much in Jiu Jitsu that they do not know.
The best black belts in the world continue learning new techniques. Adding to their games. That’s how they stay on top.
We can just use youtube, an online site or a DvD to learn new techniques
While these are great resources and have helped spread Jiu Jitsu to an ever growing audience.
There are a lot more gimmicky techniques being pedaling for likes and views on the Internet than actual useful techniques.
I bet if I posted two techniques online right now. One a technique I use everyday in training and in competition. The other a super flashy move ending in a berimbolo.
The latter technique would get more views and shares than the one that would be more beneficial.
That’s crazy right!
There is so much content out there that it’s getting harder and harder to filter the good from the bad. Especially with more impressionable lower belts.
Plus there is no comparison between watching a technique on a screen versus experiencing that technique live in person being done on you.
You can watch Lucas Lepri pass all day on flow grappling. But actually rolling with him and experiencing his passing is mind blowing.
That’s one reason that I like doing seminars.
I get to share my technique in person.
Helping to explain any details that a student might have questions about and of course I get to roll and actually perform the techniques that I show in real life.
I couldn’t do that with a dvd or an online course. Humans are social creatures. There are some experiences that are better felt in person.
Benefits to hosting Alec for Seminars
Of course I want you to host seminars with me. But I’m not just saying that because I’m looking to profit off of your hard work. I genuinely have an interest in helping your academy and others like yours succeed.
That’s why I’ve dedicated so much time and effort in creating content to help martial arts business owners make their academies successful.
Some one has to do it.
I’ve seen many martial arts academy’s go under. Not only does the owner feel like they let their family and their students down. But I’ve seen and experienced what it’s like to no longer have an academy to belong to. To not have an academy to call your home.
I would have many regrets if I didn’t do everything in my power to help other martial arts academy owners just like you.
Many academies have chosen to host me for seminars. Check them out…
Pics of past seminars
There are a lot of benefits for your academy to host me for a seminar.
As much as I would like my technique to differentiate me from my competitors.
I believe that it’s my love of business, martial arts businesses in particular, that gives me the upper hand.
Not only are you getting an internationally known black belt instructor but you’re also getting a martial arts business owner that knows the ins and outs of this industry.
Someone who can help grow and improve your academy, and someone who wants you to win.
If it was just about money I would have chosen a different field, a different industry. But I love martial arts. I know the power that it has to help people. So I want to do just that. Help.
So why should you host me at your Academy?
Professionally taught seminar by one of the best up and comingBrazilian Jiu Jitsu Competitors in the world.
I am a professional BrazIlian Jiu Jitsu instructor.
I’ve put many years into my study of this art form that in similar fields would reward me with a PH.D. professional degree.
I’m not saying this to brag or to say that I want you to host me for seminars because I’ve trained so long.
Instead I want you to think of it this way.
I put in the same amount of effort that one would put into the study of medicine or law.
That’s how committed I am to my practice of Jiu Jitsu and in hosting me for a seminar your students will be exposed to this high level Jiu Jitsu. Which could also prompt them to further commit themselves in their training at your academy.
Instructor at 11x World Championship Alliance Headquarters
For years I was an instructor at the Alliance Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
It’s here that I honed my teaching skills under the watchful eyes of some of the best Jiu Jitsu instructors in the world.
Not only did I learn how to convey techniques to every level of student from beginners to advanced, but I was also taught the power that Jiu Jitsu has in changing people’s lives. Which I think is more important than any technique.
Being an instructor comes with a lot of responsibility in how I conduct myself and I promise to bring my best when you decide to host me at your academy.
I’ve taught seminars all over the world.
I’ve been fortunate enough to share my Jiu Jitsu technique all over the world.
This has given me a depth of experience in dealing with different cultures, languages, and people that I think will carry over very well with in your academy.
This also means that I have been exposed to many different techniques and training methods that many instructors have not witnessed before that will give your students something to really look forward to during my seminars.
Well rounded technician in self defense and modern sport Jiu Jitsu.
Many instructors specialize in the Jiu Jitsu that they teach and while I do have favorite techniques that I tend to favor over others, just as anyone else, I also understand the benefit in being well rounded in all aspects of Jiu Jitsu.
This means that I am well versed in modern sport Jiu Jitsu techniques as well as the old school self defense techniques that many competitors forgo.
I look at Jiu Jitsu as a complete art form as it was taught by the Gracie family and those before them and will continue to practice and teach this way.
Being able to draw from these two sides of Jiu Jitsu allows me to teach to a wide variety of students and academies that might not be a good fit for many of today’s instructors.
Great communicator able to break down complex techniques.
As good as I like to think that my technique is, I believe my ability to convey that technique is what differentiates me from other instructors.
Years of experience teaching and months traveling to other countries where English is not the dominant language has taught me the importance of being able to communicate effectively.
I make an effort to communicate my techniques in as much detail as possible while also trying to make it as easy as possible to understand.
I believe that great instructors can teach to anyone’s skill level and ability to understand.
Just as many instructors focus on solely on their technique, I do my best to also improve my ability communicate.
This means that your students will be better able to follow along during the seminar and they will also be able to convey any questions to me and know that I will be completely able to understand them and help them.
Flexibility in traveling allowing me to better fit into your busy schedule.
Unlike many instructors that have limited times in which they can teach seminars due to other obligations.
Teaching seminars is what I do.
I have the ability to travel all over the world without worry.
I don’t have an academy to hurry back to nor students that need my constant presence.
So I am able to have an unmatched flexibility in scheduling seminars. This means that I am better able to work with your needs. When you need me.
I offer traditional and nontraditional seminars experiences.
In addition to teaching seminars I also offer longer workshops that can last anywhere between 1-3 months.
In fact, I find this to be more effective than seminars where only a few techniques can be worked on before the instructor leaves.
Having an instructor stay for months allows your students to experience having a high level, full time athlete in this midst 24/7 and it really rubs off.
I will never forget when a well known World Champion moved to teach at my academy. In one year the level of the whole academy was so high that we had competitors that went from not placing in regional tournaments to winning Pans and Worlds.
I’m skilled in marketing and will promote the seminar via social media.
Most instructors will post once or twice about their upcoming seminars and this is well and good.
But I understand that many academies stretch themselves thin financially to host instructors.
I know that a successful seminar is not only about myself but also about the school coming out on top.
A win win situation.
In this goal I like to differentiate myself through a high level of marketing that most instructors doing seminars are simple too lazy or unable to do.
This includes design of marketing items such as flyers, social media posts, video, audio, blog posts and good old word of mouth that you will be able to use to market your school both before and after my seminar at your academy.
Again, I know that my success is also your success.
Who is Alec?
My name is Alec Baulding. A black belt under Romero ‘Jacare’ Cavalcanti and a member of the 11 times World Champions, team Alliance.
I am a professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor.
This means that I teach private lessons, classes, seminars and workshops for a living as well as competing in some of the largest and high level competitions.
Through my career I have traveled a lot. And plan on traveling even more in the future.
But through my travels I have always made it a point to talk with local instructors and martial arts business owners.
I love the technical and the business side of this industry. So I try to keep up to date on all the new happenings in our art. Which I am fortunate to share during my training and seminars.
Many Jiu Jitsu professionals are great on the mat. Able to show every technique under the sun. But they neglect the business side of things. I guess they think that everything will magically take care of itself.
But I’ve been in your shoes. Running an academy isn’t a game. If you have a family or students depending on you or both. You can’t take a chance on getting lucky.
That’s why I put my all into my seminars in order to make them a great experience for you as a martial arts academy owner and for your students.