by Herb Borkland
Texas tournament legend Al Francis ranks among the top 10 fighters of the Lone Star State’s golden era of karate. A man of principles and character, Francis has put in decades as a recreation specialist in San Antonio, proving the social value of karate training for at-risk youth. His local educational TV program, which showcased the varieties of martial arts available in the city, ran for a decade. Today, he remains one of the best spokesmen for the power and discipline that the martial arts can bring to children.
MASuccess: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Al Francis: I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. Dad was the master chef at the Galveston Hills Restaurant, but I took off in a totally different direction. In high school, I wanted to be an artist.
I was about 130 pounds and couldn’t play every sport there was. I got jumped when I was younger. My mother taught me how to block. (laughs) I knew I needed to learn how to...
by Kathy Olevsky
I’ve operated a martial arts school full time for 45 years. I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I’m still in business, I believe, is I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this column, I’ll point out key mistakes I made in my career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. And I’ll share the solutions I used to overcome them.
Your “separation point” is the feature that sets training at your dojo apart from other activities for children, teens and adults in your community: Why martial arts and not soccer, lacrosse, ballet, etc.? Within the arts, your separation point is what differentiates yours from other martial arts schools. Why would someone want to train in taekwondo with you, for example, rather than at the academy down the road?
You should be able to answer these...
With 2020 less than a week away, it's time to announce our top 3 predictions for digital marketing in the next year. See how you can use them to improve in 2020 and sign up for the next session of MAIA Foundations.
By: Cris Rodriguez, MAIA Digital Marketing Expert
A New Year is upon us which ultimately means change.
Are you ready for the ever changing world of digital marketing in the new year?
Many Martial Arts School Owners are strategizing and planning their upcoming year. And with it also being the start of a brand new decade, aspirations and goals are being set high.
After being in the digital marketing game for the past 8 years, I’ve seen my fair share of trends and wanted to share my 2020 predictions for the online world.
1) Facebook Ad Costs Continue To Raise
While I think this is no-brainer, it’s important to mention this and more importantly to explain why Ad Costs continue to rise and how you can combat this.
In the 1st quarter...
by Michelle Hodnett
Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is an article of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences on holding Dojo Christmas Parties.
‘Tis the season to be jolly! Be sure to let your community know during on-the-mat announcements that you will be holding a Christmas Dojo Party. Utilize your existing community by having an instructor and volunteer parents run the pot luck, crafting stations, face painting, and selling merchandise. Another black belt or volunteer should be taking pictures of the event for Facebook. (Note: make it clear to attendees that pictures from the event will be posted online. Most people will not have any objection, but it’s something you need to...
by Melissa Torres, MAIA Division Manager
Eighteen months ago, MAIA launched a done-for-you curriculum created by child-development expert Melody Johnson. This program, called PreSKILLZ, was designed to give any instructor the know-how needed to teach children ages 3-6. PreSKILLZ leads you through the eight essential skills children should develop and provides warm-ups, mat chats, games and skill-building drills to be used in class.
PreSKILLZ was the first curriculum MAIA launched after I became the division manager, and I have tremendously enjoyed being a part of it. (It’s also not a bad gig to get to visit Johnson in St. Petersburg, Florida, twice a year to film new content — right on the beach!)
Over the course of the past year and a half, we have heard dozens and dozens of success stories and seen the excitement from our schools that have implemented PreSKILLZ. When Johnson takes the stage at the Martial Arts SuperShow and speaks, it’s clear how...
by Karen Eden
I recently returned to my hometown for a visit. In between chatting with old friends, I allowed myself time to wander and explore the “memory lanes” of my childhood. Many of the places and experiences there were pleasant — others, not so much. After some internal debate, I decided to visit a place that’s been the source of nightmares since sixth grade: my old middle school.
You see, before I was a black belt six times over, before I knew how to hold my head up, before I realized that, belt or not, we all have so much inherent worth as humans, I was a victim of bullying. I was an easy target: poor, ethnic and undeniably geeky. Nowhere in my life would I ever again face such horrific experiences as I did middle school!
I realize that I’m not alone in that regard. No one, I’ve come to learn, escapes middle school unscathed. But combined with the brokenness of my home life, the ostracism and bullying from my peers those three...
by Dave Kovar
In the November/December 2019 issue of MASuccess, I presented the first six of my 12 rules for training: Empty your cup, focus on the present, don’t compare, warm up thoroughly, focus on one detail at a time, and visualize the application. Here, I’ll discuss the remaining six rules.
7. Embrace Fatigue
As legendary pro-football coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Rarely do we perform as well when we become fatigued.
From a fitness standpoint, however, fatigue is valuable. Training to the point of fatigue helps us become better-conditioned martial artists.
Learning how to handle fatigue is also important from a self-defense standpoint. If you’re targeted by a mugger, it won’t be because you look alert and energized. Criminals are more likely to strike when you seem vulnerable, when you’re worn out from a long day at work or after a long run. The stress and the “adrenaline dump”...
by Frank Silverman
Success has many forms, and everyone defines what it looks like for himself or herself. But no matter how different their views of success, there is one time of year when nearly everyone turns to contemplate their goals: January 1.
If you jump into the new year like I do, you find that your thought process begins to revolve around goals. The start of the year is a springboard for introspective evaluation and, often, change. We do this in our personal lives, as well as in our work and business lives.
Focusing on business success is what I do as Executive Director of MAIA. That said, I cannot determine what success looks like for your school. My definition may not be the same as yours. But what I do know is everyone should be driving toward a picture of success as they see it. And you must first define success in order to achieve it.
Think about it: No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I’d like to fail today.” But without a clear,...
Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is the story of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences in her martial arts journey.
When you work with children, parents want to know you care about safety. Specifically with children in martial arts, there are three things parents look for when they first walk in:
Hirokazu Kanazawa Soke passed away in December, 2019. Andries Pruim, MAIA guest blogger and MASuccess featured writer, was one of those fortunate enough to train with the Soke, and remembers him in this post.
I first met Kanazawa Soke in 1991. It was the first time I had ever travelled to Japan. Being extremely self-conscious about my lack of “traditional” training, I had some trepidation attending the International Budo Culture seminar, held at the Internation Budo University in Katsuura, Japan.
The author (center) and Kanazawa Soke (left).
Fortunately, at the beginning of the seminar all the Budo instructors put on demonstrations of their talents. After watching some incredible judo, kendo and naginata displays, it was the karate sensei’s turn to take the stage.
I was at the IBU by invitation, having already studied...
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