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 Karen Eden
Deep in the Black Forest of Colorado stand the relatively unknown Ute (pronounced, yute) prayer trees. The Ute tribe of Colorado is documented as the oldest known Native American tribe in the U.S. They once dominated the Rocky Mountains.
It seems there are certain parts of the mountains that the Ute chose to become their natural record-keeping area. these areas include “directional trees” which were manipulated to point to the most sacred parts of the forest.
Several others of these culturally modified trees are the grave markers of great warriors and the native royalty that once ruled and sacrificed for the tribe. Others are “agreement trees,” manipulated to twist together, possibly marking a treaty between two tribes, or a ceremonious wedding.
You have to understand that these trees are hundreds of years old, and they took several generations to manipulate. The medicine man/woman would teach their offspring how to...
By Dr. Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
In this column, I will continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address “A” for attitude.
Your attitude, of course, is essential to successful leadership and building great teams. Attitude’s two very important components are acumen and adaptability.
First, a quick story. My 5th-grade teacher was named Mr. George Pope. He was a passionate, gregarious and caring person who always pushed us to excel. One day, we were being unruly and he decided to teach us a lesson about attitude.
The lesson was simple but exceedingly difficult. Our participation in recess was dependent upon class behavior. I remember that Mr. Pope’s discussion/lesson on attitude was on a Tuesday. Sadly, we were such a bunch of miscreants that we kept messing up each day and didn’t have recess for the remainder of the week.
By Herb Borkland
Facing 1970’s tournaments ruined by a lack of standard rules or consistent refereeing, then - Inside Kung-Fu magazine’s editor Paul Maslak introduced statistical analysis to sport karate and pushed for safety gear and mandatory seeding of top competitors. In 1979, prominent tournament-karate and kickboxing referee Tom Schlesinger and Maslak co-authored the Schlesinger Rules System of Martial Arts Competition, one of the decade’s most valuable contributions to sport karate and professional kickboxing. In 1982, Schlesinger also published his period-classic book “Fighting Strategy: Winning Combinations.”
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Tom Schlesinger: I was born in Detroit, where my father managed the state for Four Roses and other major liquor companies. We moved to California in 1960.
After graduating from high school sports, I wasn’t good enough for semi-pro ball. Now...
By Terry L. Wilson
Rocket Scientists do Exist! You Just Don’t Meet Them Often
Wassim Khechen’s (pronounced, wa-sim’ catch’en) exceptional aptitude for science and his keen mind, among other great scientists, helped launch America’s probe of outer space in the 1990s. However, much to his parents’ chagrin, Khechen’s passion for martial arts would eventually take him down a path less traveled by his academic peers, leaving him to explore a world of his own creation.
Originally from Venezuela, Khechen moved to the United States in 1981, landing in Buffalo, New York under protest. A top-rated fighter in his own country, Khechen was poised to test his skills against the best fighters in world. That was, until his father threw in the towel and took him out of the dojang and into a university far away from his taekwondo school in Venezuela.
“I was supposed to be fighting on the Venezuelan Olympic Team, but my father insisted that I...
By Herb Borkland
Multi-talented soke Scot Conway is also an attorney-at-law and real estate broker, pastor, prolific science-fantasy author, keynote speaker and organizational trainer, and producer of audio-training programs. Conway’s multi-arts background includes judo, Chinese kempo chuan shu, Grandmaster Sam Kuoha’s kara ho system, and kajukenbo. All of these led to Conway synthesizing his own kempo-based Guardian Martial Arts.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Scot Conway: I was born in Hawaii and grew up in California. My Coast Guard dad retired and went on to become a Jaguar dealer.
HB: How did you first hear about martial arts?
SC: I started training in 1971 as a first grader, when I walked into a YMCA judo class holding my mother’s hand. Lots of bloody noses! I went on to snake and crane kung-fu, tai chi and many others. You see, I had ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] and dyslexia. But martial...
By Herb Borkland
Andre Tippett’s immaculate professional football career is the stuff of sports legends.
A former University of Iowa All-American and 2008 NFL Pro Football Hall-of-Famer, Tippett got drafted in 1982 and went on to play 11 sea-sons — his entire pro career — for the New England Patriots. He was paid more than $1 million a year to create havoc for quarterbacks.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker appeared in five Pro Bowls (1984–88) and, from 1984–85, achieved 35 sacks, the highest two-season quarterback sack total by a linebacker in NFL history.
In 1984, he established a new team record for quarterback sacks with 18.5. In 1985, the Patriots, for the first time in the team’s history, advanced to the Super Bowl. Tippett’s outstanding defensive playing was a major contributing factor to the team’s success.
When Tippett retired after the 1993 season, his 100 career tackles, 18.5 sacks in a single season and 17...
By Keith D. Yates
Coming to America
Adam Spicar (pronounced, spy’car) first came to the United States as a foreign exchange student in 1996 and went to high school in Arizona, where he graduated in 1997. He returned two years later to visit his host family and was able to travel and visit several other states in America.
Lucie Stolkova and Adam were what she calls “middle-school sweethearts.” She says she first fell in love with Adam when she was just 12 years old and they met on the school bus.
When Adam came back to America in 1999, she got permission from her parents to come with him. She was only 16 at the time.
“My parents were suspicious of America, but they trusted Adam,” she remembers.
She spent a couple of months attending high school in Arizona, but she admits she barely understood English.
Back in the Czech Republic, students often studied English, but she says it was mainly vocabulary.
“I knew what...
This time of year I always think of my late friend, Ron Lyle. If you know boxing, then you know of Ron Lyle. But I don’t know him from that perspective. I know him from a different perspective that perhaps no one else would have even paid attention to.
World Heavyweight Champion contender Ron Lyle just happened to grow up in the neighborhood where I teach my inner- city martial arts program in Denver, CO. I always wondered who the older black guy was in the back of the room watching me teach classes. He didn’t say anything. He just watched and would emulate my moves as if he was trying to remember them.
When I found out that it was Ron Lyle, who was also teaching the boxing program downstairs, it became a running joke of “who could beat up who” if we both got in the ring. He always smiled and said I would win.
Over the next few years, we would spend many hours during the center’s down time talking about a lot of life, past and...
In 1974, Patrick Wrenn was invited by Elvis Presley, Elvis sidekick/bodyguard Red West and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace to help establish what has since been called “the greatest martial arts school of all time.” It’s the 4,300-square-foot, Memphis-based Tennessee Karate Institute (TKI). The original TKI only lasted four years, but, 39 years later, Wrenn has reopened it at its original location as part museum/part school.
Recipient of the Martial Arts Lifetime Achievement Award and Joe Lewis Eternal Warrior, the indomitable 10th-dan Wrenn has continued over the years to teach his Combative Arts despite continuous injuries and ill-health.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did yourdad do?
Patrick Wrenn: I was born in Massachusetts and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. My father was a self-made, multimillionaire real-estate developer.
After college, I went into business for myself importing birds of prey, reptiles and saltwater...
This month, let’s discuss levity and its role in leadership and teams.
“Levity” is “cheerfulness” or “enjoyment.” As we work and try to manage successful businesses, it’s easy to lose sight of just having fun. Honestly, there are some days when we fight just to get out of bed.
However, there are always moments when some joyfulness and laughter can be found. Even when things seem hard or crazy, you have to be intentional in finding levity. Allow me to share a wild but true story.
In my previous column series, “Pop’s Pearls of Wisdom,” I stated that my parents owned liquor stores and then motels. One day, my dad and I were working the front desk at the motel when he received a call from a customer. The client complained that there was a rat in his room.
We were quite thorough about pest control and cleanliness. My dad was tired from several days of rowdy customers and the previous...
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