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Use the iPad to revolutionize your BJJ gym

Updated on January 26, 2015

BJJ gym owner's dilemma

If you run a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym like me, you're probably interested in doing more teaching and training, and a whole lot less "owner stuff" (like accounting, taking out the garbage, signing up students, and on and on and on). Apart from reading the E-Myth Revisited, what can you do in order to facilitate your day to day operations at your BJJ gym?

One thing that works really, really well is empowering your staff with knowledge and technology. At my gym, we've managed to use an iPad and a wireless internet connection to accomplish an awful lot of things. I'll share some of the best tips with you here.

The iPad for gym owners

This iPad is so very easy to use, and yet so powerful, it really makes me appreciate being alive right now. I know that sounds pretty cheesy, but in this day and age, technology is improving so very rapidly that tablet computing- thanks largely in part to the iPad- is beginning to take over the paradigm of the laptop (which only fairly recently disrupted the desktop's paradigm!).

We use the iPad at my BJJ gym for all kinds of things, but predominantly, there are three main uses:

  • Waivers
    We have all new students fill out their waiver right then and there, using their finger to enter the data directly into a downloadable PDF file, which makes for super easy transfer to spreadsheets. This is absolutely huge for us in terms of both saving labor (not having to transfer some hand-written jibberish to a Google doc or Excel spreadsheet) and in terms of prestige (it just looks awesome to hand someone an iPad for their waiver, vs paper at most gyms)
  • Youtube videos
    We will often want to use a very quick video to show a technique we're working on in competition, for example, or our instructors will sometimes want to browse youtube for competition videos during down time in between classes (or I will). The iPad is great for this, with very high quality, fast loading videos
  • Pandora
    We play music all the time during class, and it's immensely important to have something playing all the time without having to constantly be adjusting the songs playing, etc. Pandora streams really nicely, and tons of other apps work really well on the iPad

Life without the iPad at our gym would set us back a few years, to say the least!

Does it have to be an iPad?

In short, no, it doesn't. We also have a Samsung Galaxy tablet. This works extremely well for all of the above listed tasks, but there's just something about the iPad that is superior to the experience with the Galaxy tab. Part of it is just the size- the iPad is considerably wider, and part of it is definitely style. The iPad just looks great to the potential (and current) students.

The iPad is also just a tad bit more user friendly, with the swipe functionality and very, very intuitive user interface just a hair ahead of the Galaxy tablet. I'd go with the iPad if you have a good bit of money to invest, but if your'e on a tight budget, consider a Galaxy or similar style tablet (I have first hand experience with this one).


Training at Revolution BJJ, where we have music constantly playing

Conclusion

Don't feel obligated to just go out and purchase an iPad right away for your BJJ gym. Instead, focus on getting your systems in place, as described in The E-Myth above. Once you have great systems, though, you're going to start to notice here and there where technology might be able to provide you with a little bit of assistance. Not only has the iPad's starring role at our gym helped me to spend less time doing things other than teaching and training (the things I love, and I bet you do too), but it has also wowed potential students, who may have signed up because of the first impression the iPad gave them when they came in to check out a class at the gym.

If you're interested in finding out more, you might enjoy learning about 10 must have Android apps for any BJJ school. You're also welcome to read how I was able to use Facebook to triple the size of our gym, Revolution BJJ, in just a year's time. As always, tell me what you think by commenting, and I sincerely hope this gives you some great ideas!

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