There's a lot to owning a martial arts school than teaching martial arts. For starters, a person has to have the initiative, drive and discipline to succeed. Without the daily discipline of putting one foot infront of the other, it can be very easy to give up and quit teaching martial arts. Very often in this business, people close up shop after one to five years of teaching. So, if you really want to teach martial arts for a living, I suggest you do your homework and visit a ton of schools (outside of your living area) and talk with a ton of instructors and get the real deal on what it takes to be successful.
Of course, each person has to define success. For one person, it's making a lot of money. For another, it's developing a name for themselves within their community. For another, it's changing lives. For me, it was making a positive impact on people's lives.
So, if you still have the drive, I suggest you take a look at the costs of opening up your own studio. Take a look at the cost of renting space (industrial versus commercial), initial set up costs, equipment (mats, gloves, gis, heavy bags, etc..), advertising (yellow page ads, flyers, radio and TV stints, etc..), and miscellaneous (insurance, supplies, printing, paint, signage, tee-shirts, gis, belts, etc..). Over the course of seven years, I purchased $51,000 in equipment for my academy.
Next, I suggest you seriously consider how much this career will affect your personal life. For example, martial arts school primarily operate during the evening hours (Monday through Friday) and Saturday mornings. So, if your friends work Monday through Friday, 9-5pm, kiss most of your social life goodbye.
Next, you must understand as an martial arts instructor, you will wear many hats. Of course you will wear the instructor's hat. However, you will also wear the following hats:
Marketing and advertising pro.
Referee (when students/instructors/parents feud among themselves).
Counselor (when student come to talk with you).
PBX pro (when your phone rings off the hook).
Mommy (when students leave training gear, t-shirts and gis on the floor after class).
Judge (when students want you to resolve a quarrel).
Student (when students ask, "Why do we grab like that?" and you don't know the answer).
Web pro (when you finally decide to make a professional website).
As you can see, teaching martial arts has a lot of responsibilites. Many think they will come into the business and teach (because that's what they think they are good at and that's all they want to do). But then when they find out a lot more is required of them, many give up!
So, think long and hard about teaching martial arts for a living. While it is a rewarding career, it's not cracked up to be what many say it is. There will be a lot of sacrifice involved. People will Monday morning quarterback you on many of the decisions you make. People will stab you in the back and smile doing it. However, for the lives that you change (for the positive) along the way....it makes it all worth while!
I have been teaching martial arts full time since September of 1996. And while I have certainly had my fair share of heartaches and disappointments, I am also thrilled that I was able to be there for the people that needed a person like me in their life!
To sum it all up, I suggest you do your homework before opening up an academy. Read tons of books, interview hundreds of people and watch tens of hours of classes at other martial arts studios. Find out everything you can so you can make an informed decision about teaching martial arts for a living!