Many martial arts schools take their students on trips, whether it’s for out-of-town tournaments or camping trips. These trips can provide many benefits for your school, students, and culture. Camping trips especially should be on every martial arts school’s itinerary. They can be done in a cost-effective manner, it’s affordable for most, and they can serve as a bonding opportunity for your members, increasing student retention rates. Camping trips can also bring on many inherent benefits; spending time outdoors, especially with exercise, can boost mental and physical well-being. Here are a few reasons for hosting a martial arts camping trip.
Science tells us that getting outdoors on a regular basis is excellent for your health. Health benefits of an outdoor lifestyle are well-documented and both mental and physical well-being are affected; the perfect combination of values expressed through martial arts. Especially when spring and summer roll around and the weather warms up, you’ll have many opportunities to take your class outdoors.
A camping trip can take these benefits to the next level, giving you and your students a break from technology and the city. Stress reduction, improving cognitive abilities, vitamin D, boosting your vitality, and promoting concentration are some of the benefits correlated with an outdoors lifestyle. This direct connection with the natural world can be an excellent time to impart more of the philosophical aspects of martial arts that can often seem a little more abstract, when teaching them in the dojo.
Keeping Things Fresh
Staying motivated during a martial artist’s journey to a black belt and beyond can be tough. The blue belt blues can happen to many martial artists who may have previously flown through the ranks. Doing what you can to keep your students motivated is essential for keeping your retention rates high.
Taking your martial arts class outdoors can help break up the monotony and a camping trip can re-ignite that missing flame in some of your students’ hearts. As a once or twice a year excursion, this can be a good time to give extra responsibilities to students, by having them lead smaller groups for the first time. This can act as a means to reinvigorate their interest, by giving them responsibility, while also giving you a chance to identify potential instructors.
Guests are Welcome
Some martial arts schools like to have training-heavy martial arts camping trips, while others prefer to give everyone a break to focus on leisure and bonding. Depending on the kind of trip you have, you may or may not want to allow your students to bring any guests. While it might be a good idea for your martial arts family to meet and spend time with people important in each others’ lives, it might be better for your students to spend time with other students, to build more rapport.
Allowing guests could be a good idea, if your martial arts family is very tight-knit. If your martial arts trips are more training-focused, getting a guest martial artist to come with you can be perfect for growing your martial arts community and to get your students excited. Likewise, if the trip is open to the public or students are encouraged to bring a friend, it can be a good source of new students and a great way to showcase your school to those who may not have already taken your classes.
Make it Happen
Planning a martial arts trip isn’t necessarily difficult but you still need to do your due diligence. See if you have any volunteers who want to help you organize – bonus points, if they have event planning experience. The main things you need to be concerned about are transportation, location, food, supplies, and any insurance and waiver forms that are necessary for protecting yourself, in the case of any accidents or emergencies.
While the owner or general manager will need to take care of the insurance and other administrative duties, the rest of the planning can be divided up to your staff and any volunteer students. This planning process, like the day-to-day programming of your trip, can help to give responsibility to students and get them more invested in your school.
To learn more about how you can host a great summer camp, check out our previous webinar with Grand Master Ciarfella on how to kick your summer camp into action.