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DWx
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6455
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2023 4:25 pm    Post subject: Rival instructor sets up in same venue? Reply with quote

Hi all,

After some advice how you would approach this.

As some of you know, I have a Taekwon-Do school in my town and an teaching 3 nights a week, two in a sports centre and one in a small community club where I hire the function room.

A few months ago one of my blackbelts approached me asking whether he could teach at a Kickboxing school in the next town which is maybe 5 miles away at most. He's recently split from his partner and times are tough so he was looking for the extra cash. (He doesn't teach for me but does help out. I can't afford to pay him because my school is not for profit and we don't really have spare money right now). I didn't have a problem with it and even chatted with the other instructor, giving him a reference although I said say I wouldn't be happy for him to teach in my town, if that were the case then I would ask my blackbelt to choose his affiliation.

All good. Or so I thought.

Because I rank well on Google and have really active social media, I get a lot of enquiries every week, more students than I can actually handle. Sometimes I invite potential students onto a waiting list or if it's someone who I think would get on well at a different school, especially very young children as we don't have a dedicated program, I recommend other schools in the area that they might have a chance at

So today I get an enquiry for a 5 year old and I don't really teach that age group but I know the b Kickboxing school in the next town has a dedicated kids program. I go into to their website to see that they are launching new classes in my town. In my venue. This isn't even a sports centre or school hall, it is a function room in a community working men's club (might be a UK specific thing but it's essentially a local community hall for hire).

What on earth do I do now? I'm a bit shocked as I gave this guy all the benefit of the doubt and recommended students to him and he chooses to launch his new program in my venue when there are lots of other school halls or sports halls he could choose.

It's terrible of the venue and I will be addressing it with them tomorrow as I've used them for 5 years now and feel we've always been great tennants. I pay my rent like clockwork and keep it tidy. I don't want to move as why should I buy I feel like he's deliberately encroaching on my territory. Anywhere else in town would have been fine.

So advice please? Short of challenging him to a Mortal Kombat style tournament I'm a bit lost.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 16246
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2023 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By no means whatsoever are his actions appropriate in any shape, way, and/or form. Give someone an inch, and they take a mile with no conscious thought at all. Totally unprofessional on both your student and the venue.

Having said that, anyone can open and start their program whenever and wherever they fell. Nothing prevents that from happening. There's no local, state, or government law that states that like business can not open their business right next door to their competition.

In the USA, landlords do not allow like business open in the same venue, aka in the USA, a strip mall, for example, due to the fact that one like business is already established and causes distress to the established business. Not a can of worms that any landlord wants to open. In a store front location, similar businesses don't exist in the same location, and not because it's not cool, but because the landlord doesn't believe it's a smart business practice, and no CI would open their school at the same location where another MA school was, for the most part.

So many long years ago, I was approached by a CI in order to inform me that I didn't get his Sensei's permission to open my dojo because I was in his Sensei's territory!! I never laughed so hard and showed him where the front door was. We were opposing styles, and I was 25 miles away from his Sensei's dojo!! I suggested to that CI that if he persists, I'll open up right next door to his Sensei's dojo.

Now, I've seen community centers and the like rent space to competitive tenants based on the fact that said space IS for rent and NOT the community center. of which time slots do dictate quite a lot as far as availabilities and the like.

Yes, it's strange that 2 TKD schools be in the same community center, but not unheard of because money talks. I've seen that at YMCA's do that very same thing and how they worked around any difficulties was that one TKD school taught beginners and the other school taught the intermediate and advanced. Also, have seen where one TKD school taught kids and the other taught adults.

If it was me, I'd remain the consummate professional and make sure that what I have to offer is what the prospective students are looking for across the board. Sour grapes are unpleasant to swallow especially if you cause the grapes to sour.

Lease agreements are the bible between landlord and tenants. Therefore, if there's nothing written in the lease agreement that prohibits same like programs in the venue, then the landlord can do whatever the landlord wants to do.

It's a sticky wicky situation, for sure. Good luck and please keep us updated.

Imho!!



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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30001
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2023 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bob makes lots of good points here; there just isn't much you can do about this. The hall can choose to rent out it's space when it likes and to whom it likes. As long as they don't interfere with your agreement in regards to the time and space you are entitled to, it's all good.

Now, what does suck is if your student is tied up in it, especially if he's the one that spearheaded this movement. I can understand someone wanting to make some money and have a job doing something he enjoys. You noted that the Kickboxing school is the one that set this up, but you didn't specify that your student was the one spearheading it; if that's the case, then I think having a discussion with this student is in order (if he's still an active student with you). If he is no longer your student and has severed ties with you, then there's not much you can do on that front, either.

If he is still your student, have a discussion with him. If he is the one that is going to be teaching at your locale, then perhaps it's time for him to decide which school he wants to be a part of. Or, you can choose to allow him to stay on with you. I think at this point, it's really up to you. It's really a crappy situation, and pretty crappy of him to pull it on you like this.
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DarthPenguin
Brown Belt
Brown Belt

Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 722
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2023 3:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doesn't sound good - one other avenue that comes to mind is maybe approaching the governing body?

I assume you are affiliated to one of the UK Taekwondo associations. If you contact them and explain the situation then they may step in - having a club potentially non accredited / unable to perform gradings etc will likely stop it in it's infancy.

Sometimes venues can be funny though - eg the karate club i attend on a Wednesday night has another Shotokan club taking place in the same large sports hall on the other side of a net at the same time as us! Never had any issues with them though (they are always polite and respectful) so i doubt the venue will do much as to them it is just revenue.

Another thought is that your student might have misrepresented himself to them venue though as his class being linked to yours?
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DWx
Black Belt
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6455
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2023 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses. I should have been clearer but my student is not going to teach for them now (and the original agreement was he would teach in a different town to us). To be honest they were only offering to pay him 10 per class, cash in hand, which is below minimum wage here. He'd be an independent contractor for them so they were also expecting him to pay for his own insurance and DBS (background) checks. I told him its mad as he'd lose money doing this by the time he'd paid for all that and then he's got to consider petrol driving there too. IMHO they should also be paying for his background check and insurance, not him.

My student's out of the country at the moment but we chatted about this, and he had no idea they picked this venue and now has no intention of working for them but they are still trying to persuade him to teach the class for them.

The situation gets a bit madder though. Last week I turned up for my regular class on a Monday. I set up the kids class and then was to leave my sister (our other main instructor) teaching whilst I went to find the venue manager and ask him to reconsider. As I go to leave the room, the venue manager appears alongside the owners of the Kickboxing school! They came into the room to look at the space. I was a bit blindsided so asked to speak to the chairman privately and he tells me that they'd told him Kickboxing is different to Taekwon-Do so there is no conflict. I asked him to consider what he thought the potential market was for people interested in martial arts and he agreed it might be more limited but he's committed to them on a Tuesday night now. It's maddening as I would have absolutely have had added the Tuesday to my timetable as I'm bursting at the seams as it is.

Later I found out that the Kickboxing owners were taking photos of the room with my students in it. My sister had managed to move the kids out of the way quickly but it was disruptive to the class and we can't be sure that they didn't accidently get pictures with the children in it. So I've subsequently submitted a Safeguarding complaint to the venue manager but am yet to receive a response...

It's frustrating to say the least as there's not much I can do. My current tactic is to double down on my advertising and ensure that my web presence is sparkly clean, lots of reviews from students, and making sure to emphasize that we've got extra things that this kickboxing school doesn't like UK Sport Safeguarding certifications and a wider governing body we answer to.
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DWx
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6455
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2023 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DarthPenguin wrote:
Doesn't sound good - one other avenue that comes to mind is maybe approaching the governing body?

I assume you are affiliated to one of the UK Taekwondo associations. If you contact them and explain the situation then they may step in - having a club potentially non accredited / unable to perform gradings etc will likely stop it in it's infancy.

Sometimes venues can be funny though - eg the karate club i attend on a Wednesday night has another Shotokan club taking place in the same large sports hall on the other side of a net at the same time as us! Never had any issues with them though (they are always polite and respectful) so i doubt the venue will do much as to them it is just revenue.

Another thought is that your student might have misrepresented himself to them venue though as his class being linked to yours?


Whilst we have UK/International Taekwon-Do affiliations, as far as I can see the Kickboxing school isn't affiliated to anyone and operates independently. But as they are a different "style" it doesn't matter as no governing body would intervene unless between two of its own members.

Mad though to have two Shotokan clubs in the same room! When I was originally searching for venues for my club I was turned away from a lot as they had other activities on other nights which would have conflicted with us. A rival club on the same day is bonkers.

It's not so much the venue I'm mad at, business is business though you think they'd have asked me if I wanted an extra day first... It's more this Kickboxing school has been in dialogue with me about other things, I provided a reference for my student, and then they book out my location without a heads up. The whole thing feels so underhand to me.
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DarthPenguin
Brown Belt
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Joined: 03 Dec 2021
Posts: 722
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Styles: Shotokan, Judo, BJJ

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2023 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DWx wrote:
DarthPenguin wrote:
Doesn't sound good - one other avenue that comes to mind is maybe approaching the governing body?

I assume you are affiliated to one of the UK Taekwondo associations. If you contact them and explain the situation then they may step in - having a club potentially non accredited / unable to perform gradings etc will likely stop it in it's infancy.

Sometimes venues can be funny though - eg the karate club i attend on a Wednesday night has another Shotokan club taking place in the same large sports hall on the other side of a net at the same time as us! Never had any issues with them though (they are always polite and respectful) so i doubt the venue will do much as to them it is just revenue.

Another thought is that your student might have misrepresented himself to them venue though as his class being linked to yours?


Whilst we have UK/International Taekwon-Do affiliations, as far as I can see the Kickboxing school isn't affiliated to anyone and operates independently. But as they are a different "style" it doesn't matter as no governing body would intervene unless between two of its own members.

Mad though to have two Shotokan clubs in the same room! When I was originally searching for venues for my club I was turned away from a lot as they had other activities on other nights which would have conflicted with us. A rival club on the same day is bonkers.

It's not so much the venue I'm mad at, business is business though you think they'd have asked me if I wanted an extra day first... It's more this Kickboxing school has been in dialogue with me about other things, I provided a reference for my student, and then they book out my location without a heads up. The whole thing feels so underhand to me.


sorry i had misunderstood, i had thought that they were another TKD school and that the governing body might have stepped in. If kickboxing then it is unlikely that there is anything you can do unfortunately.

Does seem pretty underhanded of them though and not something i would expect out of a decent kickboxing school either tbh. My experience is that most decent schools are usually respectful (publicly at least) towards other styles - are they a legit kickboxing school or one where a mediocre first dan has become annoyed at not being a 6th dan and decided to branch out into his/her own school of kickboxing?
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 30001
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2023 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It sounds like seeking out another venue isn't likely, but if it is an option, consider it.
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Patrick
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Joined: 01 May 2001
Posts: 28644
Location: Los Angeles, California

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2023 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to hear that you are going through this, Danielle. Very frustrating to read.
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