by Frank Silverman
As I write this column, I reflect on the past year: where we started, where we came from and where we are now. For most of us, the year began second to none. Business was booming, and the future looked bright. Then the world stopped turning. In March, we witnessed the fragility of the world’s economy, not to mention life itself, as the pandemic took hold and forced a shutdown the likes of which we have never seen.
Today, we’re looking better than we did at the onset of COVID-19 — at least, things are looking that way as I write this column. (Who knows what tomorrow will bring?) However, we are by no means out of the woods. Many schools are still struggling, and business is nowhere close to where it was at the beginning of the year. And then there are the casualties: the schools that closed their doors for a final time.
I don’t want this column to be a message of doom and gloom. I’ve said it before and it’s worth...
by Dave Kovar
I am an outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, biking, climbing, training — it doesn’t matter. If it takes place outside, I love it. Some time ago, I went on an intense mountain-bike ride with two friends. We picked a challenging course near Forest Hill, California. I do a decent bit of cycling on the road, but it had been years since I pushed myself on a mountain bike on a hard trail.
Both my friends had better bikes and a lot more trail experience than I, but I did my best to keep up, and we had a great time. The ride illustrated to me one of the wonderful things about martial arts training: The attributes of balance, timing, strength, flexibility and focus carry over to other activities. (Another bonus became evident that day: I had only one crash but managed to avoid injury.)
The highlight of the day was swimming in the American River after the ride. We picked the perfect spot for it. The water was deep, calm and cool. One of my friends mentioned that when...
by Herb Borkland
Although he’s acknowledged by his peers to be a ninth-degree grandmaster, Kelly Cox prefers not to use the title. Even more rare among notable American martial artists is that online searches for either Cox or his Rendokan Dojo return nothing. This lifelong student of karate and sword fighting inherited one of the first martial arts schools in the United States and has formed his life around its tradition of severe humility and a ceaseless work ethic. He is currently writing a book that explores the boundless wisdom of original scrolls from the 1800s that he inherited from Christine and Ken Carson, who founded Rendokan in 1946.
MASuccess: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Kelly Cox: I grew up on a farm in East Texas. Dad was a farmer. We toiled in the dirt. I grew up picking vegetables, riding horses and herding cattle.
MAS: How did you first hear about karate?
Cox: I was 9 years old, and I heard about it on Steve...
Productivity is one of the most underrated skill sets to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Learn these 5 productivity hacks today and start improving your daily habits.
By: Cris Rodriguez, MAIA Digital Marketing Consultant
Productivity is a skill set that you have to develop and it truly goes hand in hand with organization.
I get asked almost on a daily basis how I am able to juggle running 4 companies on top of being MAIA’s Digital Marketing Consultant.
My answer is pretty simple: I have adapted daily habits that allow me to be organized and productive.
Let’s dive into my Top 5 Productivity Hacks.
1 - Plan Your Day the Night Before
Going to bed each night having a clear vision of what the next day is going to look like not only helps you become more productivity, it actually helps you sleep better. Create your “To-Do List” before you settle in for the night and when you wake up you will have all of your priorities for the day ready to crush....
by Perry William Kelly
The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place, and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
Those well-known words come from the mouth of a fictional boxer named Rocky Balboa. The character, played by Sylvester Stallone, is telling his son what he needs to do to make it in life. I say that truer words have never being spoken, especially in our current times, when things are fine one day and the next, the world as we know it changes forever. Repeatedly.
Cris Rodriguez is like Balboa in that she won’t let setbacks define her future. Instead, she applies a counter to every submission attempt that life throws at her as she travels the path to success — even when one of those submission attempts involves running a...
by Adam Parman
As American states begin allowing businesses to reopen, many martial arts school owners are finding themselves in a strange new world filled with challenges, financial pressures, fears and, in many cases, far fewer students than they once had. This has made their lives anything but easy. Their minds are filled with self-doubt and apprehension.
As a martial artist, you know what it’s like to be pummeled in a fight — and what it takes to come back and win. But do you have the fortitude and the know-how to do the same with your business? No doubt you’ve heard about martial art schools across the country closing their doors for the last time, and you’ve vowed that even though it’s apparent that not every business will survive, you won’t be one of the victims. But that may not be enough. Chances are you also can benefit from a few pointers.
I’m based in Atlanta, Georgia, which means I live in one of the first states to...
By Terry L. Wilson
According to the dictionary, the definition of racism includes the belief that certain ethnic groups are inferior to others, which supposedly justifies discriminatory behavior. In 1985 Tommy Gilbert, an African-American police officer in Oakland, California, and a part-time kajukenbo instructor, ran up against just such an attitude as he searched for a location for a new school. He found the perfect building in an ideal spot — which is when the trouble began.
Tommy Gilbert inquired about renting the facility and came face to face with a woman whose photo could have accompanied any dictionary’s definition of the word “racism.”
“Back in 1985 and ’86, my dad was teaching in the backyard of our home,” said Damon Gilbert, Tommy Gilbert’s son. “As the classes grew, Dad started looking for a storefront to open a school. The area he was looking in was San Leandro, California. It was a very nice, diverse area.
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...
By Herb Borkland
Ninth-dan Tom Thompson holds the record for the fastest brown-belt promotion in Skipper Mullen’s system. In 1971, at age 21, Thompson partnered with Allen Steen to become the fourth importer of martial arts supplies in America. An active lecturer, researcher and author, Thompson is also the founder and former director of the Fellowship of Christian Martial Artists. On November 14, 2009, he became both the oldest football player in NCAA history and, at age 59, the oldest to score a point during a game. He and his wife own AFC Management, Inc., which operates the Alpha Fitness Centers in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.
MASuccess: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Tom Thompson: I grew up in Dallas, Texas. By age 15, I lived alone with my father because of a dysfunctional family. He did a number of things before passing.
MAS: How did you first hear about martial arts?
Thompson: I was in 10th grade and knew of a...
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