by Sarah Lobban
For the 2,000-plus who attended, the 2019 Martial Arts SuperShow will go down as one for the record books. Held at the stylish Bellagio Las Vegas, the event attracted martial artists from around the world for three days of learning, networking and even some partying.
Let’s start with the obvious: One of the things that made the 2019 SuperShow a hit was a guest appearance by Chuck Norris. On the first night of the convention, the martial-arts-master-turned-movie-star took the General Session by storm. He ended his speech by telling the assembly, and the martial arts community as a whole, “I consider you all my friends.”
Without knowing it, he uttered words that set the tone for the rest of the SuperShow. The organizers and presenters have always emphasized camaraderie between martial arts school owners, but this year, it was more apparent than ever. The prevailing attitude was obvious: When one of us wins, we all do. And when that happens, everyone works harder to spread the beauty and benefits of the martial arts.
As amazing as it was for many attendees to see Norris, he wasn’t the only talented martial artist to grace the stage. Black Belt Hall of Famers Leo T. Gaje Jr., master of pekiti tirsia, and Dan Inosanto, master of jeet kune do and the Filipino martial arts, were honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards. MMA fighter and Fight for the Forgotten founder Justin Wren delivered a touching — and, in places, heartbreaking — keynote. The General Session also included a tribute to John Corcoran, the late editor of MASuccess, without whom this magazine would not exist in its current form.
And that was just the first night!
As usual, the SuperShow rolled full-steam-ahead into the first full day of training and classes. Although the convention has always boasted a wealth of learning opportunities — many school owners opt to bring one or more instructors with them to “divide and conquer” because there are so many sessions that one person cannot attend all of them — the 2019 event took it to the next level.
Throughout the show, more than 50 training opportunities were offered to attendees. They included on-the-mat classes and workouts, as well as business seminars. Martial artists were treated to tips for expanding their social media following, adding new classes to their schools, improving their management methods and numerous other topics. And if that wasn’t enough, the 2019 SuperShow also introduced noon-hour training sessions.
Of course, no trip to the Martial Arts SuperShow is complete without a visit to the trade-show floor. This year, people entering the hall immediately noticed the two-story Martial Arts Industry Association booth. MAIA Elite members could get a bird’s-eye view from the second-story lounge while enjoying the refreshments. Below, dozens of school owners took advantage of the free 25-minute advisory sessions with MAIA consultants.
More than 70 exhibitors presented their wares and services at the SuperShow. Many of them had multiple shows under their belts and were looking forward to the chance to connect in person with their clients. Others were first-timers showing off never-before-seen innovations.
Speaking of never-before-seen: Some exciting news was dropped about the 2020 Martial Arts SuperShow. The location is changing. It will take place at a venue that’s so new that it does not even exist!
Dubbed Caesars Forum, the new venue will open in 2020 in plenty of time for the next show. Several factors contributed to the decision to move: Caesars Forum is larger than the Bellagio, which will make it easier to accommodate the growing number of attendees. In fact, Caesars Forum features the two largest pillarless ballrooms in the world — one of which will to host the 2020 SuperShow.
The Forum’s location within the city of Las Vegas also makes it unique. Since the SuperShow closes early in the evening on most days, attendees often head out to the Vegas Strip in search of things to do. Next year, however, everything anyone could want will be only a short walk away. Caesars Forum will be located next to the LINQ Promenade, a shopping and dining area that boasts year-round nightlife and entertainment. For the adventurous, the centerpiece of the Promenade is the High Roller, a 550-foot-high observation wheel.
Attendees at the 2020 SuperShow also will have their choice of hotels. Caesars Forum offers direct access to thousands of rooms in a variety of locations. SuperShow attendees have the option to stay at The LINQ Hotel & Casino, Harrah’s Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino or Caesars Palace. There is no “wrong” choice — each establishment is at the top of what Vegas has to offer.
Although winter is about to begin, MAIA is already looking forward to summer and the 2020 SuperShow. The staff is excited to share this new venue with you, as well as everything else the show has to offer. In the coming months, more details will be released. So stay tuned, keep your eyes and ears open, and start making plans to visit Las Vegas next year.
For more information, visit masupershow.com.
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