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 Kathy Olevsky
Most martial arts school owners have humble starting places. There are a few who were given the opportunity to take over an existing, thriving program. But, for the most part, we all start in a small, single-instructor setting. The struggles of that type of program are universal from one style to the next, and we all face obstacles.
It is certainly not uncommon to find yourself in a conundrum because you are not feeling well, but you know that, because you are charging your students money for classes, someone still has to teach. I’ve talked to many school owners who don’t know how to resolve this issue. In our early days, we had one instructor and one person who answered the phone. Sometimes it was the same person. When one of us got sick or had a family emergency, it was hard to know what to do.
You have to begin somewhere. One method we found to develop assistants was to start using people in leadership roles during class. This...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
As I have stated many times, I get the best subjects for this column from the issues each of you face daily. I represent a medium-size school operating in a mid-sized town in the South. The owners are a conscientious husband and wife team. Operating their school is a second career for each of them. While their previous business lives allowed them to gain a great deal of knowledge that ties nicely into school ownership, there are still issues they face that are foreign to them. When that happens, they contact me for an opinion.
Typically, we end our discussion with them telling me that they have, once again, given me fodder for a future column. My conversation with them last week was no exception.
These school owners do everything they can to follow all rules and regulations. Shortcuts do not exist in their school. The laws of the state where they are located permit pre-employment drug screening, and detailed background checks...
By Beth A. Block
Do you have Sensei for a Day classes? How about Mother’s Day classes? Father’s Day classes? These classes give your students a chance to share their sport with their friends and family. They have the added benefit of giving you potential new students.
Waivers for friends are usually procured and signed before the child comes on your floor. Sometimes, the waivers aren’t signed by the friend’s parent. That can be a problem. Your student’s parent might sign the friend’s waiver. Just so you know, those waivers are useless. I recommend you have the child’s parent sign it.
During a Mother’s Day work out, one Mom was holding a floppy bag for her seven-year-old daughter. The martial arts students were doing round kicks to the bag. Mom was kneeling with the bag in front of her face.
The girl didn’t have great control over her round kick. She had only been taking classes for the last six months. On this day, she...
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
For this column, I continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address the second “L” in black belt leadership, which stands for Learning. Let’s start with one of my favorite Zen parables.
Empty Your Cup
A philosophy professor once met with a Zen master to learn more about Zen teachings. They met at the master’s home and spent the afternoon talking. It became apparent that the professor was not interested in learning. He wanted to show that his beliefs and philosophy were superior to the Zen master’s teachings.
After some time, the wise Zen master paused to make some tea. She brought over two cups and began to pour tea for the professor. As the professor proudly continued to chatter on, he noticed that the Zen master was pouring so much tea into his cup that it overflowed and spilled.
The professor exclaimed rather...
By Christopher Rappold
As martial arts instructors continue to get better and better at teaching large populations in efficient ways, the temptation is to move towards total classroom systemization. And while systems do enable us to do certain things more efficiently than we have in the past, there are some decisions you need to make about what to systemize and what should be personalized.
Let’s break this down and look at it in two separate pieces.
First, let’s explore systems. Think about a favorite restaurant you frequent. Behind the scenes, there are probably a myriad of systems that help to ensure the experience is first-class: a setup of warming lights to ensure food arrives at the table hot, a dishwasher that ensures the silverware, glasses and plates sparkle, and an extensive food-preparation effort that probably started late morning or early afternoon that ensures there’s enough of the right kinds of food. Desserts are all premade and ready to be...
By Karen Eden
One of the biggest lessons I learned in my broadcasting career didn’t come from me, but from my co-anchor, the renowned wrestler Kurt Angle.
You see, Kurt was homegrown from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and had just won Olympic gold for wrestling when I was getting my first major-market TV break alongside him.
I had worked a good 10 years in the business before finally making it in the “big leagues” of broadcast news. Kurt, on the other hand, was brought in as a promotional coup. The management was hoping that Pittsburghers would tune into our brand-new news program to see their history-making golden boy do sports.
I’m not telling you anything that Kurt wouldn’t tell you himself. It was a disaster in the making! As I sat with him night after night, I watched someone who had never anchored before try to pull off...
By MAIA Consultant Mike Metzger
A frequent question I’m asked is, “How can I market my school if I don’t have the money to market?”
You first have to understand that there are two categories in marketing, internal and external.
“External marketing” requires either dollars or sweat equity — meaning, you place flyers, access academic schools and daycares, network with businesses, etc.
“Internal marketing” is very effective, but doesn’t take as much effort. Here are four internal marketing promotions that you can do to get new prospects into your school, for summer and throughout the year.
1. Know How to Do a Buddy Day
Many schools promote a Buddy Day, where they allow their students to bring a friend to class with them. The key to making this successful is in how you present it. When promoting this, make it exciting! Instead of just announcing a Buddy Day, let your students know that you’re going to have a...
By Herb Borkland
John Duncan began studying martial arts in 1963. At age 14 he began training at the legendary Texas Karate Institute under Fred Wren. Allen Steen, Jhoon Rhee’s original American black belt, tested Duncan for his first dan. Later, Duncan became an instructor, and then head instructor, at Texas Karate, from 1972 to 1974.
In 1978, Duncan moved to Oklahoma, to study philosophy and literature at the University of Oklahoma. Close to earning his Ph.D., he quit academia to join the police force. Duncan eventually became an Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics undercover agent, head of an elite firearms program, and a street-lethal combatives instructor.
In 2007, Duncan retired from law enforcement and became a full-time professor at the University of Oklahoma.
Herbert Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
John Duncan: (I was) born in Pampa, Texas, and ended up at the West Texas Permian Basin because my father owned an oil well...
By MAIA Division Manager Melissa Torres
Not quite sure what you’re going to teach tonight? Tomorrow night? Next week? I don’t blame you. Teaching as much as you and your other instructors do, plus running a full-time school, training, and trying to balance a home life, can leave you mentally drained and lacking in the creative area.
Are you afraid your students are getting bored or losing interest in the day-to-day drills and techniques? Retention is a huge pain point for so many schools. We hear it all the time. Schools can get students in the door, but the main struggle is keeping them for a week, a month, a year and many years beyond that.
It’s time to break out of some of your routine teaching habits and make keeping your classes fun and interesting a top priority. If students are having fun, they will come back. If they are learning new techniques and see themselves improving, they will come back.
Bring back that first-day excitement to your mat, every...
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