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 Herb Borkland
In this inspiring monthly column, we examine the pivotal point in a prominent black belt’s career that took him or her on to major success in martial arts business, sports or films.
Five-foot-six, seveth-dan Troy “The Destroyer” Dorsey was the first American black belt to become a world champion in both kickboxing and pro boxing. He earned two world boxing crowns, four world kickboxing titles and a world karate championship.
In full-contact kickboxing, he was a three-time WAKO Amateur World Champion, as well as a gold medalist in 1985 London and 1987 Munich events.
Turning to boxing in 1989, Dorsey’s all-out high-energy fighting style captured the IBF World Featherweight and IBO World Super Featherweight Championships. He retired from the ring in 1998.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Troy Dorsey: Mansfield, Texas, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area. My father,...
By Karen Eden
When I walked out onstage as an 18-year-old contestant in a “Miss Virginia” preliminary pageant, I already knew things weren’t going to swing in my favor. I had watched the way the judges seemed to light up every time a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl strode out. Bottom line, I was an ethnic girl competing in a beauty pageant at a time when it wasn’t popular to be ethnic.
That was also the time that my grandmother from Japan was staying with us. I so appreciated her altering my gown and being so excited to see me compete in the “Miss Vinton Dogwood Festival” pageant.
There I was, standing out like a sore thumb. I was a dark-haired girl in a sea of white skin and yellow hair. I felt out of place and awkward, and I wanted to walk off the stage as soon as I got on. Within minutes, I would have that...
By Dave Kovar
I have the extreme pleasure of working with martial arts instructors and school owners from all over the world. On any given week, I might speak over the phone to as many as 25 different school owners about their successes and their challenges.
During these calls, I believe that I’m usually able to help them out a bit. Typically, it will have something to do with their business procedures, staff-training strategies or classroom formats. I know beyond a doubt that I learn equally as much from them as they ever will from me. Most of the time, I learn from the good ideas they have implemented in their schools and, occasionally, I learn from the things they are doing wrong.
This month, I’d like to discuss with you what I am calling “The Four Minds,” and how I see them being effectively utilized (or not) by the school owners that I work with.
To my understanding, the Four Minds were practiced widely by the samurai. Although they...
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
In this column, I continue using an acronym that spells out BLACK BELT, using words that relate to teams and leadership. This month I’ll address “K,” which stands for knowledge.
Let’s frame knowledge as it relates to 1) yourself; 2) your team; and 3) your environment.
Knowledge of yourself: The temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece, is famous for numerous inscriptions. One of the more famous aphorisms which emanated from this temple was “Know Thyself.” This saying is very profound in its depth and simplicity.
We are all familiar with our personalities and intellects, but we forget the importance of understanding our limits. When discussing limits, we also need to remember this applies to our physical abilities, too.
Recently, I did not run in the Houston half-marathon, even though I had participated in it the previous year. I allowed professional and personal issues to interfere with properly training....
By Terry L. Wilson
The Ultimate Challenge
Veteran ninja Hakim Isler had very little interest in becoming a celebrity when he submitted an application to the producers of the hit reality television series Naked and Afraid.
What started as a good-natured verbal sparring contest between a ninja and his Special Forces buddy evolved into one of the most exciting episodes in the history of the show. It also launched Isler onto a new career path as a TV celebrity, survival instructor, public speaker and survival-course creator.
“I contacted the show as a joke because a Special Forces friend of mine dared me to do it,” explains Isler. It was one Alpha male daring another Alpha male. So that night I went online and filled out an application form for the show.”
Predictably, the producers of Naked and Afraid jumped at the chance to have a real-life ninja who was also a Psychological Operations soldier and survival specialist on their survival series.
By Karen Eden
We were having lunch with our good friend Tommy several years ago. Tommy, a plumber by trade, is a good-hearted guy with a simple life. We began discussing how quickly technology is changing, and how we are almost forced to keep up with all the changes that take place.
“I had a really hard time learning computers, but I eventually figured it out,” he told me.
“Figured it out?” I responded, quizzically.
I wondered how someone with no prior experience could just “figure out” how to initially operate a computer.
Tommy explained: after much frustration, one weekend he simply went out and bought a used computer. He then shut the door to his workroom and tore the entire thing apart.
“If I can see how it works from the inside,” he told me, “then I can figure out how to operate it from the outside.”
I looked at Tommy and smiled from ear to ear....
By Herb Borkland
Born in Japan, Kazuo “Sonny” Onoo trained in karate and judo in school clubs before immigrating to Fairbanks, Alaska, at age 11, where he practiced goju-ryu karate. After moving to southern Minnesota, Onoo trained under full-contact Professional Karate Association (PKA) Champion Gordon Franks and goju-ryu legend Chuck Merriman. Onoo competed in Europe as a member of Merriman’s Trans-World Oil team between 1975 and 1987, and the PKA named him the best bantamweight in the world.
In the 1990s, Onoo became a professional wrestling “character.” Acting as liaison between World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), the “villain agent” Onoo negotiated the talent exchange programs which allowed numerous Japanese performers to appear with WCW.
Herb Borkland: How did you first hear about martial arts?
Sonny Onoo: As an immigrant from Japan, I was asked from day one, “Do you know...
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 “C,” which stands for community.
Originally, I considered using words like “courage” or “compassion.” But after our recent rank promotion ceremony at my school, TNT Jujitsu in Houston, I realized that community is what truly matters.
Community is essential because it is one of the key components of loyalty and retention. You can have a great facility and teach a dynamite curriculum. But if members don't feel that they are part of a community, it’s easy for them to leave. This is especially true of your instructors and staff.
However, a wonderful community can help ensure that people will stay and even follow your organization and leaders.
Here’s an example that illustrates this point. My dad’s side of the family was mostly black...
By Joshua Page
Being a Black Belt Inside and Outside the School
As instructors, we spend a great deal of time trying to develop our students into black belts. We equip them to deal with all types of dangerous situations and attacks. We arm them with kicks, punches, throws and submissions.
Even the mental side of self-defense is addressed, like how to keep calm under pressure and dealing with overwhelming odds. All this takes place while developing humility and learning the importance of constant improvement. These lessons are powerful and life-changing, and prepare our students for adversity on the practice mat and in the arena of sport.
We spend thousands of hours redefining techniques, perfecting form, and forging the absolute best martial artists we can. The results can be truly amazing. The transformation from a day-one student to a black belt is, at times, awe-inspiring.
When you see those students on the mats training and teaching, they seem to have a certain air about...
By Keith D. Yates
Can you have a successful mixed martial arts (MMA) school geared towards children? Can you come back from looking insolvency square in the face? Can you overcome years of weight gain, even having reached the point where you’re considered morbidly obese?
The answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes, if you are the resilient David and Suzana Chacon, owners of Dominion Martial Arts Institute of Mentorship in Oswego, Illinois!
David began his martial arts training at Gen-Ki Karate in Chicago as a child. He also spent a few years in a taekwondo school, earning only a red belt because his parents divorced and he had to stop training. In his early 20s, he developed an interest in ground fighting because, like many stand-up fighters, he felt insecure about what to do if he ever found himself on the ground in a real-life street situation. So, when he was 23, he looked around for a solution and found an MMA coach.
But David says it...
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