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MASuccess Magazine

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

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Cousin Zeke

by Karen Eden


My very first broadcasting job was at age 15 in Roanoke, Virginia. It was for a powerhouse AM country-music station called WKBA. I hate to say this, but my official air name was “Karen, Your Country Honey.” (Evidently, there was a time in my life when someone thought I was “sweet.”)

I was known only by my voice, and it was a pretty good one for a young girl. Because of the nature of the job, no one had a clue what I looked like, and I didn’t have to worry about it. I fell in love with radio and to this day love being a “voice behind a mike.”

At WKBA, the coveted afternoon-drive slot was hosted by a man who was character both on and off the mike. His name was “Cousin Zeke.” After a couple of years, Cousin Zeke became very dear to my heart. There was just something about the way he embraced people from all walks of life. He encouraged me and treated me with respect — something I rarely saw teenage girls...

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Are You Still Training?

by Dave Kovar


I believe that one of the X factors that enable people to operate a successful martial arts school is maintaining a passion for the arts. Looking at it from the outside, most people think that because we run martial arts schools, we get to work out all the time. For many people, this is not the case. As a matter of fact, it can be challenging to find time to train when you’re running a business, raising a family and balancing other commitments.

With that said, we’ve tried to create a culture in our schools where personal training is not only encouraged but also expected. This has dramatically helped my team and me maintain our love of martial arts and our desire to improve, regardless of age or athletic potential.

As for me, I’m proud to say (at the risk of sounding arrogant) that it’s been 50 years since my first wrestling match in 1971, and I’m still training. I’ve certainly had my share of injuries along the way, but...

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Pause, Breathe, Give

mentor Nov 01, 2021

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs



I once watched my instructor Torey Overstreet work with a youth on a particular problem. Like many schools, TNT Jujitsu focuses on young people and their behavior and grades as a part of rank progression and overall development. One of our academic-based requirements is for kids to constantly improve their grades, especially in their tougher subjects.

One day, as our youth class was concluding, Overstreet reminded the students about grades and report cards/progress reports. As often happens, some of them were struggling. I recall one who was about 11 years old holding his head down because he hated math. I certainly wasn’t a math scholar and can recall spending many nights as a kid crying my eyes out in frustration and angst while trying to make sense of arithmetic. Seeing this student express his frustration through the defeated look on his face wasn’t anything new to me.

The student brought his report card to the next...

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3 Pillars of Leadership

A Successful Business Requires a Talented Person at the Helm!

by Kelly Murray-Grys


I started training in the martial arts in 1986 when I was just 4 years old. I was the only girl in my class and, even more notable, one of very few girls I knew who did karate. The dojo didn’t have air conditioning to deal with the summer heat, and we all did our pushups on our knuckles on the hardwood floor. On more than a few occasions, I was hit in the abdomen to the point of having the wind knocked out of me while being told that if I’d kept my guard up, I wouldn’t have gotten hit. Needless to say, it was a different time to be a martial artist.

A couple of other observations from that time: Our instructors didn’t give much thought to our feelings, nobody cared if we were under the weather on a given day, chest protectors hadn’t become the norm, and it was considered a privilege to mop the dojo floor at the end of the day. The staff of the school was composed...

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Fourth-Quarter Festivities

maia marketing mentor Oct 29, 2021

Use the Upcoming Holidays to Boost Your Business’ Bottom Line!

by Kurt Klingenmeyer


Welcome to the fourth quarter of 2021. These are some of the most exciting months of the calendar year. With so many holidays during the upcoming 90 days, you’ll have numerous opportunities to make your martial arts school the place to be for your students.

These three months also bring numerous opportunities to positively impact your community, grow your student base and provide a tremendous student experience — all at the same time. So buckle up and get ready to finish the year strong.


Mark Your Calendar — October

For kids and families, Halloween is the holiday highlight of the month both in and out of your martial arts school. It’s also a great opportunity to create an atmosphere in your school that keeps students coming back week after week. Listed below are five suggestions for giving your student body a fantastic experience during this spooky season:

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The World Needs More Heroes

covid-19 maia mentor Oct 29, 2021

How HERO Martial Arts Academy Found a Winning Formula for Success!

by Terry L. Wilson


We live in challenging times. Last year, COVID-19 put a stranglehold on the economy, and it’s not over yet. Sadly, the pandemic has forced some martial arts schools to tap out. Those that were able to survive the lockdowns and subsequent restrictions on business were left scrambling for ways to get students back in the door.

“Last year was tough,” said Josh Arcemont, owner and head instructor of HERO Martial Arts Academy in Spring, Texas. “It was our worst year ever coming into the new year. January/February/March was a struggle, and I knew I had to find a solution.”

While commiserating with friends and fellow school owners, Arcemont started hearing positive things about the success that schools were having with the Martial Arts Industry Association and its MAIA Elite program. Anxious to end the slump, the sixth-degree black belt decided to take the leap.


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Humanize Your Brand!

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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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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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 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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