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".
Taekwondo Masters Rondy McKee and Teri Lee are two of the most accomplished school owners in the U.S., with some 2,700 active students between them. But success didn’t come easily to either woman. For years, they fought their male counterparts, who sought to suppress, or take credit for, their every achievement. Overcoming this attitude took a combination of smarts, patience and guts. In the process of creating their individual martial arts empires, McKee and Lee also became role models for women and men alike.
Both Lee and McKee can site a list of incidents illustrating the struggles they endured while trying to find equality among their male peers.
McKee was a successful artist. She began her training in college, and eventually moved to Korea where she was able to train alongside the Korean Tigers, a world-famous taekwondo demo team. She was the only female non-Asian on the team at that time, earning her the nickname “White Tiger.”
When McKee returned to the...
At first glance, the recent resurgence in the popularity of martial arts-based fitness classes, like cardio kickboxing, might seem irrelevant to martial arts school owners. However, it actually represents a huge opportunity.
In 1998, one on the biggest trends in our industry, Tae Bo, began to take hold on the general public. This combination of taekwondo and boxing, created by retired national semi-contact karate champion Billy Blanks, rose to prominence as a genuine fitness phenomenon in North America. Because of its success, both Billy Blanks and Tae Bo became household names.
Tae Bo was the first martial arts-oriented fitness program to capture the interest of the mass market, in particular adult women. Within our industry, it soon spawned a number of “Cardio-Karate” or “Fitness Kickboxing” (among other names) programs that were adopted by martial arts school owners across the U.S. These spinoffs drew an unprecedented number of new fitness clients to those...
Building A Big Business From Scratch
Lynchburg, Virginia’s Lawrence Arthur, a scrappy 1970s fighter, grew his business from a small single location to an association with 20 storefront schools and 20 more satellite operations. A low-profile, behind-the-scenes powerhouse, Arthur promulgates an Americanized style of his own creation that leans toward training instructors and building champions. Some of his competition-oriented students have won world titles. Here, he shares his wisdom about what it takes to succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
In 1980, Lawrence Arthur won a “Chuck Norris Free for a Day” contest by enrolling the most new students in a single month. Arthur did this by being creative in his attempts to get new students. At one point, he held a zombie-themed event for recruitment, sent out VIP invitations to his school and took out an ad in the newspaper offering three years of training for a $159 maintenance fee. His efforts prevailed. He signed up 108...
Every student you teach is a unique individual. However, veterans who are returning home from combat or other deployment are unique from the rest of society.
There are many things that we as civilians cannot understand about veterans due to their different experiences. When vets return from combat, fitting in and interacting in a nonmilitary society can present a very real challenge.
Martial arts is structured in a way that is familiar to veterans, making it a good starting point from which they can work back into the civilian world. As martial arts school owners, we can show respect to the brave men and women who have served by turning our schools into veteran-friendly environments.
Being a veteran-friendly school means more than just offering a discount, although this can be a good tool to help them recognize your school as a welcoming oasis. Your primary focus should be identifying common problems veterans have, and finding ways your school can help counter them.
One of the...
Picture this. Your instructor’s selling his school for $50,000 and has cash-ready buyers.
You’re his black belt student and manager and you want to buy it but you’re a 19-year-old women, you have no money and eight banks turned you down for a loan. None of that stopped Aurora, Colorado’s courageous Victoria Wagner, the proud new owner of Kicks Martial Arts.
Kicks Martial Arts is similar to many martial arts schools in Aurora, Colorado except for one thing– its owner, Victoria Wagner.
Victoria is a young woman still in her late teens who brazenly found a way to buy the martial arts school where she had been training for the past several years.
Wagner began training at the school when she was just 7 years old. She soon started teaching and when the owner put the school for sale, she knew she wanted it.
There were many challenges along the way. The owner had several cash buyers lined up. Wagner was not one of them. She applied for small-business loans...
Many school owners struggle with the idea of tournaments and competition. Exposing students to tournaments comes with risks, but also many benefits. If done well, a tournament team can provide financial gain, improve student growth and develop a retention-based esprit de corps around your brand.
It is important to remember there are pros and cons with tournaments in the areas of finances, student growth and retention, professional development, working with parents, and staying true to your art when developing a tournament team that will work for your school.
Many schools choose to create a tournament team for the sole purpose of increased camaraderie, training and competition experience, which is fine, but keep in mind there is an opportunity to gain financially. Of course, you’ll have to invest money in travel but if your develop your team correctly the profit will outweigh those expenditures in the end.
Tournament teams are a tool for student growth and retention....
Founded in 2005, Rock Steady Boxing is a unique program giving Parkinson’s patients a chance to fight back against their invisible adversary. By emphasizing gross motor movement, balance and core strength, the combination of “sweet science” and sweat gives hope to those combating the disease.
At the age of 40, while in the peak of his career serving as an Indiana State Prosecutor for Marion County, Scott Newman was diagnosed with Parkinson ’s disease. His world came crashing down when he was blindsided by what many consider the most frightening disease that could ever befall an individual.
Newman did his best to hide the disease but two years after his diagnosis he began showing symptoms.
“I couldn’t hide it any longer,” says Newman. “Trying to conceal my condition from the public was adding to my stress, and that exacerbated my condition.”
One of Newman’s friends realized he needed a way to release his stress....
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