Martial Arts Training and Marketing: Things of The Spirit.
Maybe, like me, when you first started practicing the martial arts it was because you thought there was some magic in the work (I was 9).
Maybe, like me, you went into your teens obsessed with how you looked, to yourself and others, and your training was shaped by how you wanted to appear. Maybe, like me, you went through a competitive phase, a self-defense phase, then a "I want to be successful" phase, where your focus was on testing yourself, being "capable" in combat, and then the accumulation of things and money and status.
Maybe, like me, at some point --your martial arts started to become more a thing of the spirit.
The change in what you focused on in your training might have been brought about by, what? Age? Injury(s)? Maybe by personal trauma? At some point while doing many of the same things, your own internal focus, your motivations, learning, and intentions simply and quietly evolved into something much different that what you used to train for.
You most likely know what I'm talking about, where ever you happen to be in your own journey.
All of the above is how, today, I look at marketing --which I now think of as "communication," and a deep and useful mental / spiritual practice for the serious, professional, lifelong martial arts teacher and/or practitioner.
Early on in my career marketing was all about seeking return. I believed, as I was told, that the ONLY purpose of marketing was to get leads. But over time I have come to view marketing (communication) as a thing of the spirit.
Writing the words of your work, done mindfully, cultivates understanding. Looking closely at the images you take of your work, cultivates an eye for expressing the difficult to express. Speaking about the nuances of what you do and why and how it affects others, cultivates a deeper understanding of the power of your own words to influence, to touch, and to inspire. Making videos of your work and all that swirls in the periphery of it, not only documents moments in time that offer a broader and richer understanding of the work overall, but it can serve as a tool for the video-maker to try and communicate what is behind the obvious.
I'd like to encourage you to think of the communication you do in your community, to it, as something more meaningful, something more important than what is so obvious about marketing as we know it today. Through your communication, via all media platforms, you have a chance to explain what you know, what you care about, and what you're seeking to do for others. You can tell stories. You can highlight members. You can inspire, teach, and build rapport with people you might never meet otherwise. With the right words and sustained focus, you might even save lives with what you know, communicated effectively.
I see my martial arts practice, today, as a thing of the spirit. I feel the same way about many other things I do, including how I talk about what I've learned on my long journey. Marketing is, I believe, a thing of the spirit, for those who are ready to see it that way.