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".
Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, legendary fighter Jeff Smith pulled off a dual goal unprecedented back then and extremely rare even today. He became a world kickboxing champion while simultaneously mastering the martial arts school business! Furthermore, he pioneered savvy business techniques still practiced by current school owners. Read Smith’s extraordinary story and prepare to come away inspired!
By Herb Borkland
In the early 1960s, when Americans were first meeting the Beatles, Jhoon Rhee, the “Father of American Taekwondo,” owned four schools in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. He also regularly traveled around the country to a dozen taekwondo clubs, where he tested students trained by some of his black belts. One such club was located in Kingsville at Texas A&M University, where teenaged Jeff Smith’s mother worked and Jeff delivered daily newspapers.
“One day on my route, I noticed a sign for a karate...
By Melissa Torres
Think about your greatest successes in 2018. Now think about how you achieved them. Was it a goal you met? Perhaps it was a resolution you kept. No matter what it was, take a moment to ponder each step you took to accomplish it.
There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I was successful.” It’s not a false statement. You were successful. But, you didn’t do it all on your own. You had a person, a couple of people, or perhaps an entire team helping you achieve your goal.
Sometimes it’s hard to admit, but we weren’t meant to do life alone. I know that I tend to want to get things done by myself. It’s faster. It’s easier. I don’t have to explain it to anyone. I don’t have to follow up and make sure it gets done.
But the truth is that we need people on our team to support us: Someone to cheer us on, help us solve problems, encourage us to be better, and remind us of our own goals. We...
I‘ve been operating a martial arts school full time for 40 years. I think I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I’m still in business, I believe, is because I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this reality-based column, I’ll point out key mistakes I made in my business career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. Then I’ll share the solutions I applied to overcome them.
When I first started in the martial arts back in the late 1970's, it was common to hear an instructor say to a student, “Only one in 1,000 will make it to black belt.” That statement was a source of pride. It meant that a black belt was to be truly honored. It meant that a black belt wasn’t a common man (or woman); they were elite.
The statement was made with good intentions, but it did irreparable harm!
By Christopher Rappold
With 2018 behind us, it’s a good time to take a pause and assess how the year went.
I have always enjoyed taking half a day away from the office and looking at the cumulative results from that particular year. Though I look every day, week and month at how our schools are doing, there is something about looking at the total of 12 months of results that gives a different picture and perspective.
I start with my team. I take a look at their martial arts, fitness, personal and professional development from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.
Did they make the kind of progress that both of us were working toward? Are their goals and the goals of the school intersecting in a way that creates a win-win, long-term relationship? Are there any tweaks that need to be made? What are things we did together that had the most impact, and what are the things that missed the target and need improvement?
Having excellent student...
By Frank Silverman
When the calendar rolls over to the month of January, various groups of people ask me the same question every year: “What does the future look like for the martial arts industry, and what’s in store for martial art schools?”
This is a fair question any time of year, but I hear it more frequently in January. If I had a crystal ball, I’d gladly give a definitive answer. But, without that, here is my best "guestimate:"
This question really has two components. First is how I believe the schools will do relative to the economy and overall health of our industry. The second part addresses the trends and changes that we may see in the future.
As for the economy and the business health of the industry, I have strong sense that 2019 will continue on a positive path. Overall, I expect my own personal schools to enjoy a repeat of 2018.
On occasion, some of the schools had...
By Dave Kovar
There are a lot of things that go into running a successful martial arts school. And there are a lot of different ways to be successful in this industry. For you, success might be having a chain of schools. Or, it might be running one supercenter or having a small but very efficient single school.
In the United Kingdom, there are a lot of people that have great success running once a week programs out of churches and school halls. With that said, there are some commonalities between all schools that are universal for success, regardless of your business model.
I believe that the level of success in virtually any school is directly related to the level of consistency that operators practice in “The 5 Mindsets.” That’s why, in our schools in California and New Jersey, we really try to focus on making these mindsets a priority in our daily actions. They are simple to articulate, but it takes time and effort to get in the habit of...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
I believe we can all agree that pre-employment background checks are a good thing. They’re good for knowing if the prospective employee has any dark clouds that could affect her ability to perform the job in that she’s hired to perform. These checks are exceptionally good for determining if that person has any disqualifying events that could cause your school harm, things like any sex based adverse history or a criminal record.
It’s absolutely vital to prove that you took proactive steps to weed out someone who could commit any crimes against your student population, (again there’s that nasty issue of sex-based harassment or assaults). Background checks will not act to dismiss a case against your school, but they will act as an affirmative defense when faced with a negligent hiring or negligent retention lawsuit.
As with many things, conducting pre- or post-employment background checks is not the easy thing it...
By Dr. Nguyen "Tom" Griggs
Happy 2019, my friends. For this new year, I’m launching a series of columns using the acronym BLACK BELT, as it relates to teams and leadership. Let’s begin.
B Stands for Boundaries
One of the biggest issues clients and loved ones constantly grapple with is conflict resulting from violated boundaries. We all have had an experience where someone violated a boundary.
Boundaries are exceedingly important to your happiness and maintaining healthy relationships with other people. I remember a moment from 5th-grade recess that illustrates the value of respecting boundaries.
As we were playing in the schoolyard, one of the boys was teasing another kid and made a “your momma” joke. The kid on the receiving end warned the mouthy kid to not talk about his mother. The mouthy kid had this smirk on his face, which indicated he was going to test this boundary. A few minutes later, the mouthy kid made another joke...
By Karen Eden
Huey Lewis and the News was a very popular Top 40 band for more than a couple of decades. Back in my radio days, I was backstage when Huey Lewis was coming off from a “standing-room-only” performance. I could tell he was more than pleased with his show; he was literally wiping the sweat off of his face.
Just then, I heard someone make a comment to him.
“I remember seeing you at the Aqua Knot nightclub when you were a start-up band,” said the man.
“Oh, wow!” replied Huey, with almost a look of pain on his face.
Huey wasn’t rude or impolite. But I could never understand why he had such a deflated look on his face when that guy told him that. Until now.
A lot of years have gone by since then. I’ve come into my own as an author of four books and a journalist with over 20 years of writing for martial arts magazines and newscasts.
I’m always honored when someone conjures up...
By Dr. Jason Han
As a physical therapist for a professional soccer team, I’m often asked how I help our players get ready, day in and day out. Running long distances each week — jogging, cutting, sprinting and shooting — will take its toll. The same thing happens in your martial arts program, only with kicks, punches, throws and blows to the body.
Most people focus on the training aspect of athletics, but not enough on recovery. Whether you’re a professional athlete, a weekend warrior or a youth competitor, recovery is critical to success and longevity.
I was recently working with a star multi-sport high school athlete who was complaining of aches and pains. His football team was wrapping up the regular season and heading into the playoffs. He had neck stiffness, shoulder pain from a football tackle and a sore hip from an older injury sustained a few months back. His coach was a little more “old school,” in the sense that he...
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