I‘ve been operating a martial arts school full-time for 39 years. I think I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I’m still in business, I believe, is because I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this reality-based column, I’ll point out key mistakes I made in my business career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. Then I’ll share the solutions I applied to overcome them.
This is a time of year when we really need to be on our toes with our students if we don’t want to lose them to other activities. It is common for students to miss quite a few classes from late November to the end of December. Most people have other events that take up their time and steal them away from their martial arts classes. The holidays have a way of doing that.
So, it is our job to make them want to come to class and,...
As a school owner or instructor, you’re considered a community leader. Whether or not you think about it, owning a business helps your local community. You’re teaching children, teens and adults, and possibly employing others. You are a leader. People look up to you. Kids especially will notice how you treat others, when you give back, and how you help those in need.
The holidays tend to be when everyone starts planning ways they can give back. But really, it’s something we should focus on year-round. I encourage you to review your 2019 calendar and start planning what community activities you could get involved with throughout the year. Find things you can get your students thoroughly involved in, too.
Participating in community events is not just a good way to teach your students about helping others, but it’s also an excellent way to get your name out there in public. You can create positive buzz about your school. If you’re consistent...
Running your own business can be incredibly rewarding. But when problems arise — and as a small business owner myself, I know they do! — you’re responsible for solving them.
So, whether you’re working on the financial success of your martial arts studio or improving the health of your students, it’s important to apply the same principle: Always address the underlying cause.
For example, if your business’s gross revenue is less than stellar this month, it’s easy to say that you simply need more students. So, you decide to focus on
marketing. But what if the real problem is retention? You aren’t able to retain your students because the instructors are not aligned with your program. To target the underlying cause, you may need to focus more on staff training and development.
The same thing happens when you see a spike in injuries within the bulk of your students. If you’re seeing a lot of hamstring injuries, an...
As we end the year and approach the holiday season, I’d like to ask that you all view leadership as a gift, and one that you currently possess. Now, leadership can be a special, unique and often challenging present, but it is truly worthwhile.
Allow me to share a parable that will illustrate this point. A group of children are playing in the jungle near their tribe in central Africa, when a group of explorers approaches them. The explorers observe the children playing a game where they use dirty but somewhat shiny stones. The explorers ask their translator if the kids would trade their stones for some chocolate and the kids agree. When the explorers returned home, they discovered that the stones were large, coarse diamonds.
Now, for the explorers, the diamonds were highly valuable and worth a great deal of money in their culture. But to the children, these diamonds were simply toys that brought them joy and happiness. The true value of the diamonds was relative...
I have mentioned in the past that my wife and I volunteer between 20-25 hours per week at a South Florida-based, not-for-profit pet rescue. It started as a way for me to regain strength after chemotherapy, but became a labor of love for us to help protect the unwanted and abandoned animals in our “pet-disposable” society. Last year, the organization I volunteer with successfully completed the adoption of more than 350 pets into forever homes.
A national controversy has arisen over the last several years regarding where and under what circumstances an animal may accompany its owners. Many people believe that if they purchase a “service animal” vest on the Internet and strap it on their pet, they can take this animal with them wherever they go with impunity. This is patently incorrect and clearly creates confusion for small businesses, perhaps including your school.
There are very strict federal and state laws regarding the use of animals for...
Recently while attending a martial arts event in Washington, DC, I took the opportunity to do something that I’ve had on my bucket list for quite some time: View the actual Declaration of Independence. Evidently, I wasn’t the only one whose bucket list included this experience. The line was long, and I barely got in in time before they closed the doors.
What was most shocking about finally getting to enter the rotunda was discovering that there wasn’t just one “Declaration of Independence.” There were several. I never knew this. And I know that, like many other things, these details are not taught in our general history classes.
“Now, why didn’t they tell us that?” I asked myself. I was under the impression, like many Americans, that Thomas Jefferson just whipped out a quill and some paper, and an hour or so later said, “There you go.”
Nothing could have been farther from the truth. There were changes...
Kenpo 10th-degree black belt Professor Bob White began teaching in 1968 at the Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate school in Garden Grove, California, before opening his own location in 1972. He won numerous 1970s state, national and international fighting championships. He also fought on the National All-Star Black Belt Team, which went undefeated in 1973 and 1974. During his more than half-a-century teaching, White has produced 225 black belt graduates and trained thousands of students.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Bob White: Garden Grove, California. Dad was a carpenter.
HB: How did you first hear about martial arts?
BW: When I was 10, in the early sixties, comic books ran ads for a masked guy teaching the dim mak “death touch” [laughs]. I’ve always been athletic, and fighting was part of growing up, so it was something I was no stranger to.
I studied shotokan with a high school teacher. There were...
How many of you host a Game Night? Parent’s Night Out? Holiday Party? A large percentage of our readers run exactly these types of events.
If we make these events fun, we’ve hit a home run. Parents are happy with a small oasis of peace and quiet. Kids are happy with a super-fun evening. We are happy showcasing the fun of our studio for families that are not yet members.
Further, we always get the chance to make it a skill-builder by constructing our games around some foundational skills.
This all sounds like a winning plan, right? Well, not so fast. Those good intentions can turn into a TKO for your school!
Recently, one of the nation’s premier studios conducted one of these events. It had been carefully planned. The large mat space had been divided into two floors. On one side, it was set up with a very simple obstacle course. The other floor was set up for dodge ball. To separate the one large mat area into two floors, the instructors ran...
Every martial arts school can teach punches and kicks. But, to create mentally strong students that can change the world, your school must change at its core. By embracing setbacks, struggles and failures, one small dojo sought the answer to one simple question — and it changed everything. Follow the journey this little New Hampshire school traveled, answer your own question, transform your school and create a culture of determination.
By David Badurina
Everybody has a unique story filled with countless decisions, failures and successes. As a martial artist, a teacher or a business owner, you are very familiar with opportunity. Whether it’s the opportunity to own and run your own school, to find a bigger, better space or to do something you’ve always wanted to do.
Think about it. Your day is filled with countless opportunities, some tiny and some huge.
What about the opportunity to be a change-maker? I’m not talking about teaching some...
A medical emergency required Michael Bank to remain home for almost a full year as his wife battled cancer. Bank had to turn the operation of his very thriving school over to his highly trained staff. He says it was then totally reliant upon the business systems he had learned and implemented from the Martial Arts Industry Association. It was these systems that allowed the school to prosper in his long absence.
By Terry L. Wilson
At the Top of His Game Michael Bank, owner of Capital Karate in Columbia, SC, was on top of the world. He was just 32 years old. His martial arts school was extremely successful. His two homes and his car were paid off in full. He was already financially secure and debt-free! On top of all that, Bank had found the love of his life and was about to kiss his bachelorhood goodbye.
His girlfriend, Laurin Long, was excited because she was going to be starting a new job in two weeks. To celebrate, Bank suggested a road trip to Niagara Falls....
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