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...
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...
Over the last year, I have had the incredible experience of working with so many growing martial arts schools via the Martial Arts Industry
Association’s (MAIA’s) Small School Forum. The Forum is a dedicated Facebook group for school owners with 80 or fewer students. It provides tools and advice to help them grow and develop their schools.
One of the most common questions I have received is, “How do I grow my martial arts school with only a small budget?”
Here are five great ways to do just that!
This is an “old-school” form of marketing, but it always delivers results. Visit 10 local businesses that are community-owned and tell them that you have students and families who may be interested in their businesses. Do they have any materials that you could place on the front desk at your dojo?
If they have materials to share, ask if they would be able to reciprocate by allowing you to leave a lead box...
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...
Coming from a generation and environment that at times demanded compliance, it’s understandable how some people act when they move into the position of power. Many grew up in a culture that demanded respect for your elders. Martial arts tradition always centered around respecting your sensei.
Now that you’re in that role, how are you going to uphold the ideals of tradition? Will you create an environment based on love or one steeped in fear? Though it may seem simplistic, those truly are your two choices.
For me, the answer was always a supportive, encouraging environment based on love. Sounds kind of soft, right? Once again, we sometimes confuse context (how we communicate) with content (the techniques that are taught). I believe that when trust is high and support is strong, you can get more out of a person’s performance with sincere encouragement than belittling or demeaning them. And while everyone is, of course, different, what would you prefer?...
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...
PreSKILLZ is an innovative way to effectively teach 3- to 6-year-olds. At the same time, it enhances what every martial art school owner covets — increased enrollment and revitalized retention!
By: Andrea F. Harkins
Veteran black belt Melody Shuman bridges the gap of teaching preschoolers by showing that every three- to six-year old can learn valuable martial art skills, if taught the proper way. Additionally, every school owner can increase enrollment and improve retention by using these teaching methods.
Shuman spent many of her years in martial arts as an instructor. At 19 years old, she began working as a program director and instructor in Orlando, Florida. For six years, she co-owned and operated four schools in south Florida. During that time, she won the title of World Champion in forms and coached many young world champions ages seven and up.
In 1997, she presented her first innovative program, Little Ninjas, to the martial arts industry. It...
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,...
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...
In the production process of MASuccess magazine, when I write a column based on an activity or event, there’s a natural time delay between the event, my writing about it and the date it’s published. Therefore, as I write about the Martial Arts SuperShow Europe, held in August in Dortmund, Germany,
the report appears in the most current issue possible.
With that said, it was an honor for me to have participated in the recent Martial Arts SuperShow Europe. The event, spearheaded by Markus Liedtke, Sascha de Vries and Toni Dietl, was, in a word, phenomenal. It was well-attended and, more importantly, wellreceived.
Participants trained, attended business seminars and participated in a show that is sure to become a yearly event, just as the original SuperShow is in Las Vegas every year.
This event was not limited to just schools in Germany; schools from all over Europe attended. In addition to me, attendees from the United States included Caitlin...
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