Juggling life as a part-time school owner while also working a full-time day job is no easy matter, if you intend to keep your doors open for any length of time. In today’s world, part-time martial arts schools can no longer be considered a hobby. You have to treat them like a real business and draw enough students to pay the bills. Meet two enthusiastic part-timers from our own Century family who explain their motives.
When most people wake up in the morning, they mentally prepare themselves for an eight-hour workday. They arrive at their job and watch the clock until quitting time, then head home, eat dinner and enjoy their time off.
But for part-time martial arts school owners, there’s no such thing as quitting time or time off. School owners head from one full-time day job to their side business, putting in way more than the conventional eight-hour workday and 40-hour work week.
This kind of dual career requires high energy, strict self-discipline, dedication and regimentation. You have to show up and do each job. Also, there’s a sizeable degree of sacrifice. Due to the time commitments, there are a lot of things you’re unable to do or pursue.
The fact is part-time school owners still represent a significant percentage of the North American martial arts industry today. Some claim the number is as high as 50% of the market. But that’s fine. Whether you’re teaching for profit or for passion, we’re all a key part of the community.
Two such part-time school owners work right here at Century Martial Arts headquarters in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Century is the world’s largest martial arts equipment supplier and parent company of this magazine.
From eight to five o-clock, you’ll find Michael Kramp and Rob Campbell working in separate capacities. Kramp is the Vice President of Sporting Goods and E-Retail. Campbell is the custom shipping agent. Both work full eight-hour shifts five days a week. When five o’clock hits, they switch gears. Instead of heading home like most folks, they commute directly to their second jobs as school owners.
We sat down with them to see how they make it all work.
Meet Michael Kramp, Who Works Three Jobs!
Michael Kramp is very well-established with his school. He has owned and operated CORE Martial Arts and Fitness in Yukon, Oklahoma, since 2013. Over the last five years, his school has tripled in both physical size and student count.
With this growth, Kramp will be the first to tell you it’s not easy juggling a full-time job and being a part-time school owner. Instead of a typical eight-hour day, he easily puts in a good 12 to 14 hours.
“I wake up about 6:00 a.m.,” says Kramp. “I generally have a sizeable breakfast that keeps me going. I eat about five or six times a day. I always try to get in a minimum of a 30-minute workout by myself. I don’t normally train here at Century [which has a workout/training room for its employees]. I have to put on some headphones and just go lift weights. I try to do that at lunch.
“I’m out of here at 4:30 p.m. I call it changing into my super-suit, which means get my gi on. I teach until about 8:00 p.m. I get home at 8:30 or 8:40. I make my dinner and I eat standing up in my kitchen. I’m in bed by 9:45. Wash, rinse, repeat every day until the weekend!”
On top of working full-time at Century Martial Arts and running his school in the evenings, Kramp is a reserve deputy for his local sheriff’s department.
“This year, I might have bit off more than I can chew, because I went to work for the sheriff’s office as a reserve deputy,” Kramp explains. “It took six months to complete the academy [requirements]. It was every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6:00 to 10 p.m. and all day Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For six months, I had to do that and I’m still working patrols.”
Kramp admits his schedule is hectic. But, instead of getting bogged down with the enormous workload, he uses each job as motivation for the other.
“In my case, I think one helps the other infinitely,” he says. “You’ve got Century, which is a martial arts equipment company. Then, CORE helps me innovate new ideas both in training and how I run my business — and even new product ideas, which feeds back to Century. Since I teach police officers and military personnel in krav maga, that helped me get into the sheriff’s office. Being in the sheriff’s office, I serve in those capacities. This allows me to get new ideas for training and new ideas for products, which feed both Core and Century. So, it’s a happy little triad of things that are in my life where one feeds the other.”
Working three jobs can take a toll on anybody, but Kramp focuses on the positives and his passion keeps him going.
“The reason why I do it is because I need to do it,” Kramp explains. “I have a brotherhood both in martial arts and the law enforcement community. They are my best friends. I look forward to seeing them, to training with them, and I look forward to serving with them.
Meet Rob Campbell, Who Teaches to Preserve His Art
Rob Campbell is new to the ownership side of the martial arts industry. He opened his school, Kung Fu San Soo in Oklahoma City, within the last six months. It took a lot of time and hard work just to get the doors open. But now that they are, he couldn’t be happier.
“It’s been great!” Campbell gushes. “It’s been really great to see all the people come together and see them enthusiastic about it, to see a few more students come in and everybody progressing. It’s really a dream come true!”
But that dream comes with a lot of sacrifice. Campbell works all day at Century Martial Arts, then heads out to his school, where he easily puts in an additional six hours.
Asked when he sleeps, Campbell laughs and says, “Never! I try to when I can — the few hours I can. Once I get home, there’s stuff I have to do there. I have to keep the house clean and make sure I eat good and everything. It’s a lot. It can be very tiring at times, but there’s no moment I don’t enjoy.”
Still being new to the game, Campbell is trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Being so new to this lifestyle, he admits learning to juggle it all is difficult. But he thoroughly understands that’s what it takes to be successful.
“It’s just something that’s got to be done and I’m willing to step up and make sure it gets done,” Campbell says.
His strong passion for kung fu is what made him want to be a school owner.
“The purpose of the school is to carry on the ancient art of kung fu san soo,” he says. “You don’t see a lot of traditional kung fu around nowadays. So, at our school, we’re an old-school-type of place. That means the school is not about me or any of the other instructors. It’s about the art of kung fu and making sure the art lives on. Our main goal is to pass the art on, even if we had to open our own school to do so.”
It’s that same passion that keeps him going after those 14-hour days and sleepless nights.
“To see what kung fu has done for my life and really how it’s helped me out and changed my life, that’s something I want to pass forward to the next guy.”
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