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My Thoughts on the 2019 Economy and Potential Martial Arts Trends

continuing education maia Dec 01, 2018

By Frank Silverman


When the calendar rolls over to the month of January, various groups of people ask me the same question every year: “What does the future look like for the martial arts industry, and what’s in store for martial art schools?”


This is a fair question any time of year, but I hear it more frequently in January. If I had a crystal ball, I’d gladly give a definitive answer. But, without that, here is my best "guestimate:"


This question really has two components. First is how I believe the schools will do relative to the economy and overall health of our industry. The second part addresses the trends and changes that we may see in the future.


Economy/Business Health

As for the economy and the business health of the industry, I have strong sense that 2019 will continue on a positive path. Overall, I expect my own personal schools to enjoy a repeat of 2018.


On occasion, some of the schools had “hiccups,” but that wasn’t based on the economy. They resulted from internal challenges.


I speak with scores of school owners monthly and hundreds, if not thousands, each year. I find that most schools are thriving. That is not to say we aren’t working harder than ever to seek great results. But gross revenues appear to be higher, and profitability better.


I see every reason to believe schools that are professionally and safely managed, and that teach safe, quality martial arts with top-notch instructors will thrive for years to come. The truth is, I can’t imagine a scenario in which a professionally run, safe, quality-oriented school will not thrive in 2019 and for years and years to come, even in up-and down economies.


Martial Arts Trends

The second component regarding trends and changes is a bit more challenging. As school owners, we must understand that when a trend develops, we need to be careful not to abandon our core martial arts product, such as TKD, BJJ, karate or kung fu. We should view a trend as an opportunity and decide if we want take advantage of it.


Past crazes that influenced the industry are kickboxing and TaeBo. Their popularity added a fitness component to our schools. The UFC and MMA spurred schools to add Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and motivated more 18- to 35-year-olds to get out on the mat.


In addition, pop culture and media play a big part. The next Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Karate Kid movies could light up the big screen, become trendsetters and alter the way we market and do business.


For now, the trend I see having a huge impact on the industry is the continuation of fitness playing a larger role in our schools. This is not good or bad. It represents an opportunity for the whole industry. How we react to trends will determine our success.


If I’m correct, and there are, in fact, two parts to the question about the future, I cannot think of a better opportunity than the 2019 Martial Arts SuperShow to help with your school’s success. The entire convention is committed to delivering aid and information to help you create a genuinely successful school with the best teachers, best martial arts, in the safest and most professional environment possible.


In addition, there is no better place to identify the industry’s newest trends and products than at the MASuperShow. Commit to being part of the conversation on success and help make 2019 your best year yet! Register for the 2019 MASuperShow by calling (866) 626-6226 or register online at­­


Contact Frank Silverman at [email protected] Follow Frank on Twitter and Facebook @ franksilverman.



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