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The Martial Arts Industry Association's MASuccess Magazine exists to help grow martial arts participation by helping school owners succeed.

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Much of the Martial Arts Community Has Transitioned to Online Instruction — Here’s What You Need to Do to Keep Your Local Students From Going Virtual

by Cris Rodriguez


“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”

— Charles Darwin


Change. Adapt. Pivot. Adjust. Modify. Revise. Develop. INNOVATE.

These are words often used to describe what we martial arts school owners were forced to do last year as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdowns that ensued.

While many of our peers now regard 2020 as their worst year ever, I prefer to view it as a great opportunity for growth. For me, it was the year I realized how tough I truly am. It was the year I watched my team step up. It was the year I discovered how strong the martial arts community really is.

It was also the year I learned that teaching punches and kicks and armbars and chokes isn’t enough. It’s about...

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Back to School, Back to the Dojo

maia Oct 11, 2021

by Frank Silverman


Summer’s reaching an end. The Virtual SuperShow is behind us. COVID, as I said in my previous column, is in the rearview mirror. What’s next? Back-to-school season! This is the best of the best of times for most martial arts schools.

As you know, columns are written prior to, sometimes months before, the release of each issue of a print magazine. It can be difficult to make sure all the information is exact and accurate when covering topics that are out of our control. As of the date this article is being written, not all schools have confirmed that they’ll resume fully in-person instruction. We don’t know yet how “normal” things will be through the winter months. What we do know — regardless of COVID and regardless of whether learning resumes in-person — is that the back-to-school season this year will be a great time for martial arts schools across the country.

It’s critical that you plan ahead for...

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4 Quadrants of Business

by Dave Kovar


In my 40-plus years of running a martial arts school, I have seen many people come and go. I’ve also seen a handful of organizations that have continued to grow and thrive, decade after decade. In my effort to find out what has kept those schools in the game for so long, I’ve stumbled across what I refer to as the “four quadrants.” Although they might not use this terminology, the schools that excel have these in common.

The four quadrants consist of the individual and the team when viewed from an internal and an external perspective. They’re loosely based on my studies of Ken Wilber’s program on Integral Business.


1 — Individual Internal                                          2 — Team Internal

Meaning and...

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Just Fall Down

motivation Oct 07, 2021

by Karen Eden

As a high school wrestler, my son was asked to help referee at a junior wrestling league tournament. At those events, kids as young as 3 get in the ring to show their ability to control and conquer. (My son was also a junior wrestler in elementary school, though not at that young age.)

Funny things can happen when you’re dealing with 3-year-olds who have to do something they don’t particularly want to do. It was here that I was reminded of an important life lesson given by a toddler just barely out of diapers.

When the whistle blew, the little guy immediately fell to the ground and spread his arms open, just waiting for his opponent to pin him. It was as if he was saying, “Let’s get this over with.” It was very obvious that even at the age of 3, this boy had decided that he did not like conflict and was not going to engage in it. The crowd laughed, the parents gave him a talking to, and the toddler simply got up and went over to get his...

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Simple Steps to Sparring Success

by Christopher Rappold


I have often said that I could learn the most advanced form of math provided I had access to a teacher who possessed the ability to meet me where my clear understanding of math comes to an end and build my knowledge from that point. In fact, I’m quite sure that most people, given a strong desire and a great teacher, would experience similar success.

If you follow this line of thinking, you know that your success as a martial arts instructor lies in your ability to break down concepts into small incremental-learning modules that build on each other.

When I was introduced to martial arts, the start of the journey was a rite of passage to see if I was tough enough to stick out the training. I learned how to spar by sparring. I remember my instructor telling us to find some boxing gloves in the closet, then grab a partner and start sparring. Simple as that. While there’s no denying that this can work, the percentage of people who are able to...

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Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

lesson learned mentor Oct 05, 2021

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs



Have you ever found yourself stuck in the negative feedback loop of perfection? It’s an odd mind trap in which no matter what you do, your efforts never seem perfect. You look back and think, I could’ve done X, Y or Z just a little better.

Most of us have been there — unfortunately. While it’s true there are times when you have to push yourself to do better, there are also times when good is good enough.

Yes, hard work matters. However, it’s useful to consider something my late father used to say: “Work hard but work smart, too.” Sometimes your efforts and the results you achieve are simply good enough. Period.

A popular saying, often attributed to architect William McDonough, is “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” If you know anything about architects, you know that the pursuit of perfection is often a struggle for them. My wife Kimberly Phipps-Nichol frequently uses...

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Life During Wartime: How 7 Martial Arts Schools Overcame the Odds and Triumphed While COVID Attacked!

motivation Oct 04, 2021

The struggle against COVID-19 has rightly been described as a war. Some martial arts school owners did nothing as the coronavirus attacked, and their businesses perished. Most school owners took defensive action, and they survived. A few, however, went on the offensive. Even as they defended themselves against the hit brought on by the lockdowns, they explored new territory where they saw good chances for growth. These are the success stories of seven of them.



School: Black Tiger Martial Arts

Style: Taekwondo

Headquarters: Houston, Texas

Co-Owner: Robin McLeod Ingram (with husband Bill Ingram)

When COVID-19 started to affect businesses in March 2020, our first plan was to have separate class times throughout the day with brothers and sisters training together — and maybe a few other kids for a maximum of four per class. We would make sure they were more socially distanced than was suggested. Furthermore, we would require everyone to wear a mask.

When local businesses...

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Genesis - The Century Backstory!

mentor Oct 04, 2021

Boy Is Kidnapped — Learns Martial Arts for Self-Defense — Becomes Tournament Powerhouse — Founds Century Martial Arts — Vows to Pay It Forward by Creating Martial Arts Industry Association!

by Robert W. Young


I can’t say for sure how an incident in which my home was invaded, my mother was tied up and I was abducted would affect me, but I like to think it wouldn’t reduce my childhood to a kittenhood. I hope I’d be able to recover from the emotional trauma and at least live out my life with a semblance of normalcy.

Spend any time with Mike Dillard, and you’ll begin to see how, for some people, such adversity can breed success. Instead of being ruined for life, he channeled his anxiety into a drive to learn self-defense, then into a string of victories on the karate circuit and finally into a startup that exploded into a business empire, all using the principles and concepts he acquired from the martial arts.

After the crafting of...

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How a Journey of Suffering Brought Out the Greatness in ONE Championship’s Chatri Sityodtong

by Perry William Kelly


“I always say that the path to greatness for all of us, for every single person on this planet, is suffering — suffering through failure, through adversity, through tragedy, through setbacks, obstacles, mistakes. It is that journey of suffering that brings out our greatness.”

— Chatri Sityodtong


You, the readers of MASuccess, probably are better acquainted with suffering than almost anyone else these days. You suffered through however many years it took you to become an instructor in your art. You struggled through the growing pains of building your school from the ground up. And over the past two years, you persevered through the worst health and business crisis in 100 years. Even though you’re bruised and battered, you’ve remained in the fight because you possess the warrior spirit — much like the hero of our story.

Chatri Sityodtong is the CEO of ONE Championship, a Singapore-based martial arts...

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How Do You Let Your Students Go?

lesson learned mentor Oct 04, 2021

by Kathy Olevsky

I’ve written this column for 10 years now, telling the world how I’ve survived 45 years in the martial arts business despite having made many mistakes. In fact, I have not even begun to cover them all. I share my stories to help you learn from them — and because it’s important to know that you, too, may blunder along the way but that your school can survive.

During the pandemic and the period that followed its darkest days, most martial arts schools had to contend with students who wanted to terminate their programs. Because of the unique circumstances, martial arts academies around the world had to relax their cancellation policies. I’ve talked with school owners who struggled with the new normal of letting students leave because of COVID-related issues.

This is the one time in our history when most of us have had to make concessions. I know that our schools drastically modified their cancellation policies. In speaking with other...

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