Martial Arts Clubs Industry Snap Shot – 2016

Martial Arts Clubs – Industry Snap Shot

The martial arts club industry includes facilities that offer martial arts instruction and programs, including karate, kendo, judo, jiu jitsu, krav maga, tae kwon do, muay thai, kick boxing and mixed martial arts among others.

Martial Arts Industry Financial Performance

According to IBIS World Reports, in 2014 martial arts clubs generated $3.2 billion in revenue and Profit of $322.9 million.   The industry has proven to be very resilient.  During the great recession the industry showed positive growth of 1.2% between 2009 and 2014.  From 2015-2019 the industry is expected to grow at 2.6% per year to $3.7 billion by 2019.

Market Arts Industry Demographics

Martial Arts Industry Snap ShotNew York City-based research firm Simmons Market Research estimates that over 18.1 million Americans participated in karate or some other form of martial art at least once in the past year.  Roughly 9.4 million were adults, 5.5 million were teenagers, and 3.2 million children. Gender is pretty evenly split at 52% men, 48% women.

Although the industry serves a diverse customer base, in 2014, males accounted for 64.7% of customers, and consumers below the age of 17 generated 42.8% of industry revenue.

While the widely popular Ultimate Fighting Championships have increased awareness of martial arts programs, the growth in the martial arts category is really driven by its recreational and fitness value. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, 73.0% of those who practice martial arts do it so solely for physical fitness.  For example, National Sporting Goods Association data shows that martial arts is the third-most-popular physical activity among children aged six to 12.

There is some disagreement regarding the actual number of martial arts clubs since many fitness clubs offer martial arts programs. Simmons Market Research estimates that there are approximately 30,000 facilities offering martial arts programs in the United States while IBIS World Reports puts the number of martial arts specific facilities at approximately 8,500.

Martial Arts Industry Structure

The martial arts club industry is highly competitive and highly fragmented.  Most martial arts clubs are small operations that serve local markets and have revenues of less than $1 million.  Four of the five largest players in the industry have less than a 1% market share and together have less than 5% of the total market.  The largest players in the martial arts club market are as follows.

Tiger-Rock Martial Arts. The company began rapidly franchising in 2008. As of 2015, Tiger-Rock has 158 operations with locations across the United States. It has an estimated market share of 1.8%.

Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios LLC  is a martial arts franchisor that as of 2016, had 66 locations. Estimated market share: 1.0%.

United Studios of Self Defense (USSD) is a martial arts studio franchisor with 76 locations listed on its website in 2016. Estimated market share: 1.0%

Pro Martial Arts is a martial arts franchisor with 51 national locations that specializes in Korean forms of martial arts, like tang soo do, taekwondo and hapkido.. Estimated market share: Less than 1.0%

Tiger Schulmann’s Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts is a martial arts franchisor that specializes in kickboxing and mixed martial arts. As of 2014, Tiger Schulmann had 49 locations. Estimated market share: Less than 1.0%

For more information about buying or selling a martial arts club or studio contact Rich Jackim, a partner at Sports Club Advisors at or 224.513.5142.



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