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The Martial Arts Industry Association's MASuccess Magazine exists to help grow martial arts participation by helping school owners succeed.

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5 Must-Haves For Your Marketing

Uncategorized Dec 02, 2021

Before initiating any marketing campaign, there is an important preliminary step that is often forgotten: Market Research.

While you don’t have to be a data analyst or statistical mastermind, it is incredibly important to fundamentally understand your AVATAR.

An Avatar, also known as your ideal customer, focuses on one person and outlines everything about them. It goes into much greater depth than a regular marketing persona, providing marketers with many more targeting tools.

There are 5 things you MUST understand about your avatar before creating a marketing strategy that will generate the best return on investment.

What is an AVATAR?

1) WHERE are you?

Your location will determine, quite literally, where to advertise. Since we can set up a radius around your school, understanding your own area is paramount to your success.

If a radius is too big, marketing efforts will be in vain. With the wrong radius, your hard-earned leads will likely live too far away to commit to your...

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A High Teaching Standard or an Ego Trip?

by Christopher Rappold


Recently, a friend shared with me an experience about going to see a chiropractor. The person was highly recommended and had a mystique about him. Over the years, he’d worked with many pro athletes, and he wasn’t shy about showing it on his website and in his lobby.

When my friend met with the doctor, he was treated more like the next number in a factory line of patients rather than a person seeking healing. The chiropractor poked and prodded my friend in all his injured and inflamed areas, creating enough pain to cause him to nearly fall off the treatment table.

As I listened to his story, I was thinking about many similar experiences I’ve witnessed in the martial arts. Here’s one example: A student takes a seminar conducted by someone he admires. He’s picked to go to the front of the class for a demonstration and surrenders his arm to the instructor. The subsequent application of force is so painful that the student has a...

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2021 Was a Learning Experience for Everyone!

by Kathy Olevsky


I’ve been writing this column for 10 years now, telling the world how I’ve survived 45 years in the martial arts business despite many mistakes. In fact, I have not even begun to cover close to all of them. I share my stories to help you learn from them, and because it is important for you to know that you, too, may blunder along the way, but that your school can survive all the same.

For five years, my martial arts business experienced slow-but-steady growth while meeting the needs of a solid foundation of students. The staff became skilled at keeping our students happy and excited about training as they rose through the ranks. Our retention rate was good.

Then everything changed when COVID struck. I’m guessing it’s the same for many dojo around the world.

We lost more than 100 students because of the pandemic. Then we grew by 150 students between February 2021 and August 2021. All of a sudden, we had to increase our support for...

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Don’t Be an Island

by Melissa Torres, MAIA Division Manager


There’s an old saying about coaching from the late, great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden that I think about a lot when it comes to MAIA: “A good coach can change the game; a great coach can change a life.”

That quote strikes a chord with me every time I think about it. A good coach can help you become better within a skill, career or hobby, but a great coach can instill something deeper, something life changing, something that alters the course of your life forever and opens your mind to possibilities never before seen.

We truly believe that here at MAIA. We believe that great coaching and mentoring can be a catalyst for unexpected growth and unprecedented discovery. We understand that no man or woman is an island, and even we did not get to the place we are today by going it alone. We all need some help from time to time.

That’s why I want to remind you of a feature on the MAIA website that allows us to...

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Halloween Frights

by Beth A. Block


As I was considering the impending wave of fall festivities, I decided to do some online research. (Many of you know that I’m a bit of a research nerd.) One of the first cases that jumped out at me involved a studio that had put together a Halloween festival in conjunction with several other local businesses.

This type of joint venture is an excellent way to find new prospects for your studio. Each of the businesses invited its own clients, and the event was promoted throughout the community. Talk about an opportunity to crank up your sales funnel! It’s important that we all continue the momentum of increased enrollments. For most of us, 2020 took a harsh toll on our student body, and we need to be creative in our approach to recruiting new people.

The festival I found during my research went off without a hitch — but I’ll play a bit of “what if” with you. After all, you know that I have true stories about bad situations in...

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Cousin Zeke

by Karen Eden


My very first broadcasting job was at age 15 in Roanoke, Virginia. It was for a powerhouse AM country-music station called WKBA. I hate to say this, but my official air name was “Karen, Your Country Honey.” (Evidently, there was a time in my life when someone thought I was “sweet.”)

I was known only by my voice, and it was a pretty good one for a young girl. Because of the nature of the job, no one had a clue what I looked like, and I didn’t have to worry about it. I fell in love with radio and to this day love being a “voice behind a mike.”

At WKBA, the coveted afternoon-drive slot was hosted by a man who was character both on and off the mike. His name was “Cousin Zeke.” After a couple of years, Cousin Zeke became very dear to my heart. There was just something about the way he embraced people from all walks of life. He encouraged me and treated me with respect — something I rarely saw teenage girls...

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Are You Still Training?

by Dave Kovar


I believe that one of the X factors that enable people to operate a successful martial arts school is maintaining a passion for the arts. Looking at it from the outside, most people think that because we run martial arts schools, we get to work out all the time. For many people, this is not the case. As a matter of fact, it can be challenging to find time to train when you’re running a business, raising a family and balancing other commitments.

With that said, we’ve tried to create a culture in our schools where personal training is not only encouraged but also expected. This has dramatically helped my team and me maintain our love of martial arts and our desire to improve, regardless of age or athletic potential.

As for me, I’m proud to say (at the risk of sounding arrogant) that it’s been 50 years since my first wrestling match in 1971, and I’m still training. I’ve certainly had my share of injuries along the way, but...

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Pause, Breathe, Give

mentor Nov 01, 2021

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs



I once watched my instructor Torey Overstreet work with a youth on a particular problem. Like many schools, TNT Jujitsu focuses on young people and their behavior and grades as a part of rank progression and overall development. One of our academic-based requirements is for kids to constantly improve their grades, especially in their tougher subjects.

One day, as our youth class was concluding, Overstreet reminded the students about grades and report cards/progress reports. As often happens, some of them were struggling. I recall one who was about 11 years old holding his head down because he hated math. I certainly wasn’t a math scholar and can recall spending many nights as a kid crying my eyes out in frustration and angst while trying to make sense of arithmetic. Seeing this student express his frustration through the defeated look on his face wasn’t anything new to me.

The student brought his report card to the next...

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Video Content Isn’t King - It’s the Kingdom!

If You Haven’t Started Posting Promotional Videos, What Are You Waiting For?

by Cris Rodriguez


I can remember every time my parents left the house to run errands in the early 1990s. I would run over to the television, turn on MTV and watch music videos — this was back when they actually played music videos.

Between commercials, MTV often would play a clip from the song Video Killed the Radio Star, by The Buggles. The song reminds us that “We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far; video killed the radio star.”

Video — along with the vehicle on which we watch it, the smartphone — has killed a lot more than just the radio. The ubiquitous smartphone has replaced the following, just to name a few:

  • Cameras
  • Photo albums
  • Televisions
  • Paper maps
  • Books
  • Laptops
  • Video-game consoles

The smartphone has changed how we communicate, how we date, and how we conduct our relationships and friendships. And we are addicted. Americans spend an average of...

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3 Pillars of Leadership

A Successful Business Requires a Talented Person at the Helm!

by Kelly Murray-Grys


I started training in the martial arts in 1986 when I was just 4 years old. I was the only girl in my class and, even more notable, one of very few girls I knew who did karate. The dojo didn’t have air conditioning to deal with the summer heat, and we all did our pushups on our knuckles on the hardwood floor. On more than a few occasions, I was hit in the abdomen to the point of having the wind knocked out of me while being told that if I’d kept my guard up, I wouldn’t have gotten hit. Needless to say, it was a different time to be a martial artist.

A couple of other observations from that time: Our instructors didn’t give much thought to our feelings, nobody cared if we were under the weather on a given day, chest protectors hadn’t become the norm, and it was considered a privilege to mop the dojo floor at the end of the day. The staff of the school was composed...

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