I’m so tired of hearing Judo people say that you can’t make money teaching Judo, that I can’t take it anymore. Why is it that TKD, BJJ and MMA instructors can teach for a living, but we Judo coaches can’t? An obvious reason is that if you’re charging $30 a month for your twice a week classes, and you only have a handful of students, it’s hard to envision how you can earn a living. The instructors in the other arts have already figured out that a different business model is needed, a model that may run contrary to everything we’ve ever been told about Judo. To our detriment, we in Judo are allergic to the use of “business” in conjunction with Judo. To be successful, we must comes to terms that our Judo club is a business. Left to discuss is how successful do we want that business to be?
I believe that each community in America could support a Judo club if only we had enough coaches. Since we don’t have enough coaches maybe we should take a page from the American Youth Soccer Association (AYSO) when it set up shop almost fifty years ago. The AYSO recruited volunteer parents, mostly with little knowledge of soccer or coaching, provided them with a manual, a brief coaching clinic, a few balls and cones, and then cut them loose to coach their child’s soccer team. Many of these neophyte volunteers actually developed into relatively good soccer coaches after several years, in spite of knowing little initially or never having played the game themselves.