The Martial Arts Industry Association exists to help grow martial arts participation by helping school owners succeed. Many school owners are never exposed to the foundational business concepts necessary to run and grow a successful business. At MAIA, we can help fill that need, as we are made up of school owners who have walked in your shoes, know your struggles, and can help with strategies to elevate you from novice to a "blackbelt in business".
By Herb Borkland
Tenth-dan Texas “Blood-and-Guts” era phenomenon Phil Wilemon started training in 1964. He won Allen Steen’s United States Karate Championships as a blue belt. As a brown belt, he either won or was disqualified in every tournament he entered, causing his longtime instructor Larry Caster to say, “Two out of three aren’t bad.”
Wilemon won 13 consecutive tournaments as a middleweight black belt and fought on national championship teams. A founding officer for the Texas Amateur Contact Karate Association, he also served as a representative for the Professional Karate Association in the Southwest. Wilemon refereed or coordinated more than 100 full-contact karate matches and is still in demand as an instructor and seminar leader.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Phil Wilemon: I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved to Arlington in third grade. My father came from a long line of bankers but ended...
By Karen Eden
Two days before school closed for summer break, it snowed in Denver, Colorado. It had been a long and grueling winter on the front range, and though springtime in the Rockies is notorious for bringing a wide range of weather surprises, few people had predicted this. Old Man Winter just didn’t want to go home.
“Will it ever end?” people asked themselves while defrosting their cars and shoveling the sidewalks. It’s a phenomenon that can really mess with your sense of time: watching it snow the week of Memorial Day celebrations.
As a former weather anchor in the Denver area, I know that TV ratings rise with the inches of snow. The more terrible the weather you forecast, the more the management will applaud, hoping the dire warnings will lead to increased viewership.
But I have news for everybody, and I say it every year. Our planet doesn’t stay still around the sun. It’s basic science. Seasons must change, and they always do.
By Kathy Olevsky
All martial arts schools go through phases of growth. Conversely, there are times when their numbers dwindle. The biggest lesson I have learned over the past 45 years in business is that you must properly analyze your numbers to find out why you are not growing and what you have done in the past that has promoted growth.
Prior to using my statistics, I simply went off what I thought was happening. This process of guesswork rarely helped me correct a curve in my business. However, as a small-business owner, I found it difficult to actually access the proper statistics.
Today, there are many software programs designed for martial arts schools. They can help guide business owners by providing all the necessary statistics to correct any depression in business. Before these programs became available, I kept track of our numbers using written charts, which I would periodically review to see what we might be overlooking or doing wrong. This might not be as...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
I have a question for you: What do you call a person you have brought into your business to provide a service that relates to your core product (teaching martial arts)? The answer might seem obvious — clearly, that person is an employee.
Issues arise when businesses choose to turn a blind eye and categorize an employee as an independent contractor. This must end now! New laws require that you err on the side of caution in how you classify your personnel.
A Seismic Shift in the Law
As is frequently the case, California is a trendsetter with respect to this employment law. I won’t bore you with legal details, but the short of the matter is that California, along with a growing number of other states, now uses a greatly truncated test to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee. There are three determining criteria: First, do you control the worker or direct that person’s activities? Second,...
By Beth A. Block
Many new cars and trucks these days come standard with all sorts of safety features. Cameras and sensors cover all 360 degrees around a vehicle. In theory, the driver of one of these “smart cars” should be aware of not just the road immediately ahead of them, but also what is behind them, what’s in their blind spots, and any potential hazards.
With all this technology designed to protect us, why are roadside fatalities still not declining? The problem is the human element.
I bet we’ve all seen the following while driving:
In January of this year, I was on my way to catch a red-eye flight when I saw a truck weaving across four lanes. The truck didn’t just swerve once and correct...
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
Well, friends, we've come to the end of our series on B.L.A.C.K. B.E.L.T. leadership! The last letter, “T,” stands for trust. This is arguably one of the most important concepts for effective leaders and teams.
The number of relationships that have been solidified or ruined by the degree of trust within is innumerable. We all have stories of being on the giving and receiving ends of both good and bad trust-related stories. But leaders and teams grow or fail based on how well trust is nurtured or withheld. Here’s a quick lesson on trust that I know you’ll find helpful.
I have an older cousin who worked for a big chemical plant in a rural town in southeast Texas. The workers there didn't have a union, so they were largely dependent on their supervisors to represent them and their...
By Dave Kovar
Every now and then, you meet someone who immediately grabs your attention. Joe Hammel was one of those people. I’ll never forget the day in the early 1990s when he walked into my school. He was 53 at the time, and I remember thinking how old he was. He told me that he had wanted to do martial arts since he was a teenager but never had the courage to get started.
I told him that it was never too late to start! Now was just as good a time as any! I didn’t really believe it, but I didn’t tell him that part.
Joe was no dummy. He was an English professor by day and a concert pianist by night. Smart he certainly was, but coordinated he certainly was not. During his first lesson, I remember thinking that he was the most ungraceful person I’d ever worked with. I asked him about prior athletic endeavors. He said he’d never done anything remotely like a sport in his whole life. It showed.
At first glance, the lack of previous physical...
By Andries Pruim
When you begin your martial arts training at a young age, it is nearly impossible not to incorporate their traditional philosophies into your daily life.
For the most part, this is a good thing! The life lessons taken from martial arts have created many upstanding, well-respected members of society. However, some of the philosophies can restrict a modern martial artist from becoming financially independent – and, ultimately, even curtail the number of people they are able to help.
There is a common misconception that teaching martial arts is a worthy cause, and, therefore, is its own reward – with or without adequate financial compensation. This has resulted in many talented martial arts instructors having to maintain a separate career outside of teaching in order to pay bills, raise a family, and (hopefully) own a home.
This practice of asking for less than...
By Terry L. Wilson
A Low Kick
People often say of a martial artist, “He was training as soon as he could walk.” In Joao Gabriel Rocha’s case, this was almost literally true. His introduction to Brazilian jiu-jitsu came from a summer camp for toddlers. At a mere two years, eight months, Joao had embarked on the journey of a lifetime. But this path would not be without struggle.
Joao worked hard and saw payoffs, in the form of a series of impressive victories as a junior (not yet black) belt. In 2013, Joao was promoted to black belt, earning him a spot to compete in the elite Submission Wrestling World Championships.
This grappling competition involves professional athletes of the highest level, from a variety of grappling styles, including jiu-jitsu. Joao worked his way to the finals in the 99 kg division but lost to Marcus “Buchecha” Almelda in the finals.
Despite the loss, Joao was skyrocketing to the top of his profession....
In May, 2019, longtime MASuccess Editor John Corcoran passed away after a series of health complications. The martial arts writing and publications industry lost a preeminent champion, and many of us lost a good friend. He leaves behind shoes that will never be filled, and a legacy that will always be honored.
By Karen Eden
“Writing is a talent. You can either write, or you can’t.”
Those are the words of the late John Corcoran, who passed away on May 17, 2019. I have to laugh, because if you could write, he’d be the first to let you know. And if you couldn’t write, he’d also be the first to let you know.
To the best of my knowledge, John Corcoran only went public about his life one time. It was in a two-part write-up in the now defunct “Inside Tae Kwon Do” magazine from 1995 (CFW Enterprises, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword,” Oct/Nov 1995, by Andre Alex Lima).
The biographical story “The Pen is Mightier...
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