Yesterday, I happened upon the very closest thing to a perfect martial arts school web site I have ever seen. I was literally trying to contact this place within 45 seconds of seeing the site. Here it is:
Mind you, this is not the front page; this is the entire site. Without watching any videos, enduring any cheesey music, scrolling through any lengthy mission statement, or even clicking any links, I am provided with exactly what is being taught, exactly who is teaching it, exactly when it is being taught, exactly where it is being taught, and what deals are offered to students.
Sure, the paragraphs at the top of the left column are a little corny, and the whole thing is excessively capitalized. But I don't care. In a quick glance, I already have most of the information that I would ask for in an e-mail, much of which the average for-profit taekwondo school is unwilling to give me unless I talk to them in person.
Oh, and that part about "No Contracts or Registration Fees"--I have to admit, that helps too.
I understand that martial arts schools need to attract the attention of children and parents, most of whom know nothing about the martial arts, to stay in business. But in order to stay relevant in a world where krav maga and MMA sportfighting are as accessible as karate, traditional martial arts--that is, the kind whose practitioners wear pajamas with colored belts--also need to attract and keep grown-ups who are serious about their arts.
I wonder what might happen if, rather than trying to dazzle us with logos, sort-of-true histories, strategically-placed quotes from parent testimonies, full-length instructor biographies, and action-packed videos, martial arts establishments simply told us what, when, where, and how much and let the quality of their training speak for itself. Maybe the world of for-profit marital arts instruction would crumble around us.
But I can say this much: it worked on me.