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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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Your Epic Comeback: The Right Questions Lead to the Right Answers

by Christopher Rappold

 

If you’re reading this column while this issue of MASuccess is current, chances are you’re a martial arts school owner who’s still dealing with COVID. Never has this industry taken such a hit!

So what are you going to do about it? The answer is you must rebuild, but you need to do so in a way that makes your school stronger and better because of COVID, not in spite of COVID. In this column, I’ll focus on two key areas you should explore to help your school have an epic comeback and sustained retention rate.

To get a clear perspective on this challenge, imagine that an outside expert has been hired to evaluate the scope of the damage that has been done. (Unless you take this step, you’ll be too close to your school to make an accurate evaluation.) Naturally, that third-party inspector would want to talk with you about your staff. The person might start by asking the following:

  • How did your staff behave when the pandemic...
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Roadblocks

by Kathy Olevsky

 

I recently read a post in a Facebook group about how an instructor wanted to ban phones in the lobby. The idea, I believe, was to get parents to engage more with their children — with fewer distractions from their phones. Many experts in the martial arts business have said that we need to take giant steps in 2021 to get our businesses back to normal after a year of difficulties due to the COVID pandemic. However, there are ways to encourage parent participation and ways to alienate parents.

We instructors need to take into account that many parents and adult students have moved on to working remotely. In our school, there are parents who bring their children to class but are still on the clock for their jobs. They continue their work hours in our lobby or in their cars while their child trains. Some come in with their phones on because they’re on call. For this reason, we’ve decided to do whatever we can to help them improve their lives. Our...

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Checklist for Success: 5 Things You Should Do Every Day

by Kurt Klingenmeyer

 

As all school owners know, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of running a martial arts academy. The hours pass quickly when they revolve around teaching great classes and helping students reach their potential. Unfortunately, while that’s happening, some things can slide to the side and get forgotten.

Listed below are five things that you, as a martial arts instructor, should incorporate into your daily routine.

 

“Great Job” Calls

Make it a point to speak with five families every day to tell them what a great job their children are doing in class. Giving families individualized attention and letting them know about their children’s progress are key to the development of martial arts students. In addition to talking about a child’s martial arts progress, ask how the whole family is doing. Oftentimes, parents come to the martial arts for support — maybe the child needs more focus or...

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The Best-Kept Secret

by Frank Silverman

 

Every now and then, we all can use a reminder of how special our profession really is. Of course, there’s the daily regimen of training, teaching, coaching, etc., but as you all know, those things add up to so much more. I received that reminder again just last week and thought now was as good a time as any to share it with you.

I was at karate class watching my 6-year-old. She had just moved up to the beginner’s class, having graduated from the Lil’ Dragons program. Since we’re still social distancing and this school’s waiting area accommodates only eight to 10 parents, I was standing outside to watch so all our members and clients could squeeze in.

As I stood there, I noticed another family watching from inside their car. They had parked where they had an unobstructed view of the class. In the car was a mom, her daughter and an aunt, and inside the school was the 6-year-old son and father. They told me they were heading off...

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3 Pillars of Growth: How a New MAIA Program Can Help You Succeed!

by Cris Rodriguez, Mike Metzger and Shane Tassoul

 

At the macro level, you have to implement just three systems to achieve success in your martial arts academy. If you’re thinking that sounds too easy to be true, know that Tony Robbins teaches something similar in his business-coaching programs. He says a business must do these three things to grow:

1 Get customers.

2 Get those customers to pay more.

3 Get those customers to pay more, more often.

At the Martial Arts Industry Association, our recipe for success focuses on the three R’s: recruitment, retention and revenue. In this article, three of the industry’s leading consultants — Cris Rodriguez, Mike Metzger and Shane Tassoul — will explain how this simple strategy can help you take your school to the next level in 2021.

 

Recruitment • Cris Rodriguez, MAIA Consultant

One year on vacation in Hawaii, I was relaxing at the beach when a fisherman, obviously a local, drove up in his...

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Old-School Hazing vs. Modern-Day Communication

by Christopher Rappold

 

Not long ago, I was visiting with Don Rodrigues, one of my dearest martial arts friends for nearly 40 years. Although we speak on the phone often because of our roles with Team Paul Mitchell Karate, this was the first time in nearly eight months that I got to see him in person because of COVID concerns. We had lots to discuss, but for a good chunk of the time, we took a walk down memory lane.

This led to a discussion of how each of us had come to find the martial arts. Coach Rodrigues is my senior by 14 years, and he has deep roots and an almost computer-like memory of old-school karate from the 1960s and ’70s. We laughed the way most martial artists do when they look back in time and talk about things that would not be accepted today.

One of the topics we reminisced about was the sacrilege of asking your instructor when you would be ready for your next rank. If you did, your time was automatically doubled. Back then, we also witnessed instructors...

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Relationships: Your School’s Most Important Asset

by Christopher Rappold

 

Think for a moment about your martial arts school and its current positioning. For better or worse, COVID-19 exposed a weakness in most martial arts programs across the country: We struggle to know what to do when we can’t teach lessons in person. I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but together, we need to learn as much as possible from this experience.

To spark the learning, I would pose a question: How do you compete against the thousands of free martial arts videos on YouTube? How do you take on the popular mainstream fitness videos and the free live training offered by their brands? How do you compete against Peloton Bike and dozens of other trendy home-workout items? Answer: You don’t!

Now, before anyone concludes that I’m saying you should just throw in the towel, I ask you to think a bit more strategically. Instead of, “How can I compete?” ask yourself, “What can I offer that others...

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Our Industry Will Never Give Up!

by Kathy Olevsky

 

In the martial arts industry, we constantly have to reinvent ourselves to stay relevant. For example, many years ago, my husband and I ran a very traditional karate school. In the mid-1980s, the two of us moved into cross-training in other styles, but we kept it a secret from most students. We didn’t want to muddy our message, which was that we were a regular karate school.

What we learned is that offering multiple styles in one dojo can be a game-changer. That happened when we transitioned from teaching karate exclusively to offering instruction in karate, kendo, iaido, judo, jujitsu and a variety of weapons. Instead of it becoming confusing to the general public, it became enticing. Students liked the fact that we offered them more choices.

Similarly, we never could have predicted what happened to our world with the COVID-19 pandemic. All of a sudden, we had to transition from physical entities to online businesses. Not surprisingly, the martial arts...

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Retention in the Age of COVID-19

by Christopher Rappold

 

If you had been told in January of this year that our world was about to shut down, would you have believed it? For most of us, the onset of COVID-19 was surreal, almost like watching a far-fetched movie plot unfolding in real time. And as with all unwelcome surprises, no one wants to go through it again. That said, I do want to make sure that our (literal) 20/20 hindsight results in the correct insights that will leave us better prepared for whatever else the future brings.

Because this column focuses on retention, my observations will target four key takeaways. The lessons to be learned — or relearned — from this pandemic are critical to sustained martial arts student retention and success.

 

1          Building strong relationships is a high-value activity.

To get through any kind of crisis requires more than just your efforts. It takes the collective support of friends, family, team...

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5 Ways to Stay in Touch With Your Students

by Jason Flame, MAIA Elite Consultant

Communication is the key to success in any relationship. It’s important that we go above and beyond when it comes to communicating with our students and parents. Having systems in place to maintain frequency and consistency of contact will prevent students from “falling through the cracks.”

Keep in mind that our families are often inundated with information from other activities, work and their personal lives. Face-to-face interaction is always best, but when we need to communicate and are unable to see them in person, we have several options for staying in touch. When relaying information to our students, we should keep these simple yet valuable communication methods in mind.

 

Phone

Nothing beats letting someone hear our voice when we really need to communicate something urgent or significant. Progress checks, enrollment notifications, renewal reminders and upgrade decisions all require discussion. Every quarter, we...

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