George Alexander, a shorin-ryu karate pioneer and the president/founder of the International Shorin Ryu Karate Kobudo Federation, began training in judo and karate in the Marine Corps. He currently holds the rank of 10th dan hanshi, or “teacher of teachers.” Alexander has been inducted into six halls of fame, produced more than 200 instructional DVDs and published 10 books. He is a professor emeritus of East Asian history at the State University of New York and a distinguished research fellow and member of the faculty of the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences in the United Kingdom. He teaches at the Budokan Martial Arts Honbu Dojo in Palm Coast, Florida.
MASuccess: Where did you grow up and what did your dad do?
George Alexander: I was born on Long Island and grew up in New York. Dad was in real estate there. We moved to Florida when I was 14.
MAS: When did you discover the martial arts?
Alexander: Dad was an officer in the Army Air Corps...
By Dwight Trower
I’ve been training as a martial artist for 38 years. The last 28 of those I’ve also been a school owner. Over that time, I have had the opportunity to visit and network with countless other martial arts professionals. As an industry, we’re all aware that many of our students have learning disabilities or physical limitations, and that we have to be able to adapt our programs to allow them to benefit, while maintaining the integrity of the martial arts and our chosen way of teaching.
One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that every student is unique. Each and every one of them has their own needs and goals. I’ve seen many schools, just like my own, train and develop elite martial athletes, successful adult students, children with learning disabilities, and those with special needs all within the same program.
October is Down syndrome Awareness Month, so this is a great time for me to get to share how...
By Dwight Trower
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month! To shine the spotlight on the amazing members of our martial arts community with Down syndrome, and those who know them training partners, students, family and friends, MAIA is proud to feature this guest article by Dwight Trower, Director of Instruction at St. Louis Family Martial Arts Academy.
In my many years as a martial artist and school owner, I have had the fortune of being able to instruct many students with Down Syndrome, as well as others on the autism spectrum and with various mental and physical disabilities. Given the inclusive nature of martial arts (no one sits on the bench!) I know that many of my fellow school owners have also had this experience. However, in 2010, thanks to Deidre Pujols and the Pujols Family Foundation, I was given the opportunity to do even more.
With help from the Foundation, I was able to create a stand-alone program and...
by Dave Kovar
To be quality martial arts instructors, we must keep up with our own training. Over the decades, I’ve relied on a dozen rules that have helped me develop my skills and maintain my longevity in the dojo.
The rules started as unconscious habits, but as time went by, I became mindfully aware of them to such an extent that I solidified them into rules. Whenever I put them into practice, good things happen. I’m confident you will find them as valuable in your training.
1 Empty Your Cup
Most martial arts instructors have their students bow onto the mat before they train and bow off the mat afterward. They do this for a variety of reasons, but the one that’s most important for me is it helps me empty my cup. Bowing can remind you that the world outside ends the moment you step onto the mat.
By making this action a ritual and consciously trying to clear your head before every training...
by Philip E. Goss Jr., Esq.
As a regular contributor to MASuccess, I derive great satisfaction from two things. One is receiving positive feedback in regard to my coverage of certain issues. The second is when someone lets me know that a problem I covered, which had previously flown under the radar, has become a hot-button issue.
On that note, I will bring up two topics that I’ve touched on and that are generating controversy in various jurisdictions: wage theft and salary inquiries. The second topic spans two issues: the ever-increasing prohibition against asking prospective employees about their previous salaries and the practice of paying similarly situated male employees more than females.
In the past, local government entities were hesitant to become involved in employment-related issues. When it came to wage and hour issues, protection of private-sector employees was minimal at best. Previously, an employee who suffered harm because an employer...
by Kurt Klingenmeyer, MAIA Consultant
Over the past year, I’ve had the incredible experience of working with many growing martial arts schools via MAIA’s Small School Forum. It’s a dedicated Facebook group for school owners with 80 or fewer students. The forum provides tools and advice to help them develop their schools.
One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How do I grow my martial arts school with only a small budget?” The following are five proven ways to do that.
This is an old-school form of marketing, but it always delivers results. Visit 10 local businesses that are community owned and tell the owners that you have students and families who may be interested in them. Ask if they have any business materials you could place at the front desk in your dojo.
If they have materials to share, ask if they can reciprocate by allowing you to leave a lead box on their counter. On the outside of the box, feature an enticing...
by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
In this column, I would like to share some perspectives on the value of yielding when it comes to working with others. First, I must make a distinction between yielding and surrendering.
In Japanese jujitsu, the principle of yielding is often essential to the proper execution of a technique and the successful defense of oneself. Yielding can be understood as going with another person’s energy or movement instead of fighting it. Surrendering means giving up and letting the other side have its way at your expense. I hope this helps you see how these two concepts differ.
When I was in my early 20s, I earned my MBA. Our family insurance agent helped me get a job at a local firm. When I left, I went to work for a much larger corporation. My manager — I’ll call him Phil — was a great example of how not to act as a leader.
Phil was self-righteously moralizing, inconsistently strict and condescending. The worst part was, he...
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.”
The quote strikes a chord with me. A good coach can help you become better at your hobby or career, but a great coach can instill something deeper. Something life-changing. Something that alters the course of your world forever and opens your mind to possibilities never before seen.
Here at MAIA, we truly believe that great coaching and mentoring can be the catalyst for unexpected growth and life-changing discoveries. We understand that no man or woman is an island. We did not get where are today by ourselves. We all needed some help along the way.
That’s why we recently rolled out a new feature on the MAIA website that’s going to allow us to better connect with you for coaching. With this addition,...
by Chris Rappold
It is always exciting to enroll new students. In most cases, it’s a fresh start with no history, only the promise of a bright martial arts future. The students enter your school and take their first class, receive their first promotions and win their first trophies. Everything is new and exciting.
Through continued hard work — both yours and the students’ — they continue to advance. At first, you may have just one advanced student, but in what seems like no time, you have a class full of brown and black belts. It’s a dream come true.
Then, without warning, one of those advanced students, perhaps even one you had mentally tagged as an assistant instructor, discontinues training. You feel like you got punched in the stomach. Why would the person suddenly stop training? Isn’t this what he or she always wanted? Why would the student come so far, only to quit? These questions and others race through your mind.
Guest Blog by Michelle Hodnett
Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is the story of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences in her martial art journey.
Halloween is a childhood-favorite holiday. However, due to the dangers in today’s world, many parents aren’t comfortable with the idea of letting their children roam around after dark. And, unfortunately, many children live in neighborhoods that are genuinely unsafe. Holding a Halloween event at your dojo gives them a safe way to enjoy Halloween, and gives all your students a family-friendly, fun event! Also, making your event open to the public, or giving your students “tickets” to use to invite friends, is a great way to get new...
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