The MAIA Blog

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".

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Billy Blanks’ Boom Boxing! Is it The Next Big Martial Arts Trend?

motivation Aug 01, 2018

Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks has launched a new fitness program that can boost revenues for martial arts schools during off-peak hours. “Billy’s Boom Boxing” fuses aerobics with many martial arts customs, including katas, self-defense applications, bagwork, and even a rank system using colored hand wraps and gloves. School owners in the program could draw a new wave of fitness clients from the general public that normally won’t take martial arts lessons.

 From 1998 to 2001, the first martial arts-oriented fitness program ever to capture the mass-market participation of the general public took hold. In fact, it became a worldwide fitness phenomenon. Called Tae Bo, a name based on the “tae” in taekwondo and the “bo” in boxing, it was created by retired semi-contact karate world champion and master-level black belt Billy Blanks. 

 Blanks launched the program at his karate school in Sherman Oaks, CA. It was a high-intensity...

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Elementary School Program Produces Mass Enrollments

motivation Aug 01, 2018

James Lee of Eagle, Colorado, has developed a unique way to funnel 30-40 public elementary-school kids right into his commercial school. So effective is his program that public-schools come to him year after year to do it again! Check out what he does differently and why it works.

Even though James Lee took his first karate lesson at the age of seven, he didn’t get past yellow belt until he was 13. No, it wasn’t because he was a slow learner. It was because he was moved from city to city as a child due to his parents’ work schedule. In spite of the moving around, he begged his parents to find a new martial arts school in each new city. According to him, he was so enthusiastic that he’d start his new classes before they even unpacked their boxed possessions!

At the age of 19, Lee was a brown belt and, in between enjoying the ski slopes, he continued to practice with the goal of going back to Louisiana to earn his black belt. Then, his plan was to return to the...

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Turning Point - July 2018

motivation Jun 22, 2018

by Herb Borkland

As a 16-year-old Kansas City Golden Gloves fighter, Bob Thurman ran up an 86–3 record. In 1977, Thurman joined legendary karate pioneer Jim Harrison’s bushidokan style. Thurman entered pro kickboxing in 1979, posting a 19-1 record before his stunning 1982 defeat of world Middleweight Champion Alvin Prouder.

Thurman defended his World title 10 times. But, in 1989, after a mugger’s murderous assault on his wife, Betsy, he retired from the ring to create and teach worldwide his “CounterAttactics” system. It’s designed to stress mental awareness, psychological strategies, and tactics and techniques for surviving and escaping from street violence.

Bob Thurman: I grew up in Kansas City. My step-father ran a hotel-management company.
My real father was a Marine Corps colonel — a Marine’s Marine. I get my ass-kicking from him,
but my step-dad was an amazing human being.

Herb Borkland:...

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Inspiration Ovation - July 2018

motivation Jun 22, 2018

by Karen Eden

Years ago, while working as a TV reporter in Pittsburgh, PA, I was sent out to cover a story about a wildlife refuge not too far off from the city.

The former wildlife specialist I interviewed seemed to have a heart for the unruly animals who wouldn’t conform to zoo and circus life. He also adopted the animals that people from around the country had mistakenly taken in as pets at one time or another.

I’ll never forget his words to me.

“I don’t care how tamed you think an animal from the wild may now be. They are always going to be wired to be wild and you must always keep that in mind,” he told me.

With that, he brought out one of his latest orphaned, unwanted animals. It was a bobcat … with a sinus issue. I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This poor bobcat was consistently blowing his nose. Yet, he of course didn’t have the...

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Black Belt Leadership - July 2018

motivation Jun 22, 2018

by Dr. Nguyen "Tom" Griggs

When I was around 15 years old, my dad (a.k.a., “Pop”) and I were working on his old ‘79 Dodge Ram Charger. It was banged up, had no air conditioning and the radio could barely stay in place in its holding brackets. As we worked, my dad had a life talk with me. He shared five rules for living that he abided by and made him successful.

I was honored to retell these points during his eulogy in June 2016. Seeing friends and relatives laughing and nodding in agreement told me that these are true pearls of wisdom. Allow me to share these points with you. I’ll frame them in the context of being successful in the areas of teams, leadership and conflict management.

1. Work hard and work smart. My dad was a very hard-working person. He advocated common sense, but knew that determination could only take you so far. Armed with only...

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The MAIA Report - July 2018

by Melissa Torres

Get ready! Next month is the official time to pack your bags and make your way to Las Vegas for the 2018 Martial Arts Super Show! There are so many incredible speakers, instructors, trainers, martial artists and fellow school owners you are about to meet. And there’s so much to see and do during the Show and at the chic Bellagio Hotel venue.

If you’re already signed up for the Show, you are no doubt looking for advice for growing your school. Or increasing retention. Or learning new ways of instructing. Or, you’rechecking out the latest products and services.

In this column, I wanted to point out a few highlights of in the Martial Arts Industry Association’s (MAIA) booth.

First of all, you must stop by to meet our incredible MAIA coaches. The entire team will be there, and will be excited to talk to you and answer any and all of your questions....

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From the Director's Desk - July 2018

motivation Jun 22, 2018

by Frank Silverman

I just came across an old ad from 20 years ago that I ran in the local newspaper (yes, advertising in the newspaper). One of the bullet points on it was the cost: trial special, $19.95. We still apply this special in various advertising mediums today.

But what caught my eye was a bunch of the other beneficial bullet points that were part of that old ad:

• self-defense
• goal-setting
• better grades
• self-confidence
• great exercise

It took me back to when I opened my first school and why I got into the business of martial arts. What I found amazing is that some of — well, actually, most of — those reasons are the same and hold true today.

I wanted to earn a good living doing what I loved to do — and I loved to do martial arts more than anything else in the world. I liked helping others reach their goals. This was a triple win for me: make money, help...

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Turning Point - June 2018

motivation Jun 18, 2018

by Herb Borkland

Illinois’ John Sharkey is in charge of overseeing all departments within the American Karate Association (AKA). He began studying martial arts in 1965, opened his first school in 1973, when he was a brown belt junior in high school, and a second location in 1976. He was elected president of the AKA in 1977 with the enthusiastic support of AKAfounder Ken Knudson.

John Sharkey: I grew up south of Chicago in Momence, Illinois. My father was an industrial parts
buyer who trained in karate and knew [controversial 1960s martial arts pioneer] John
Keehan, a.k.a., “Count Dante.”

I had a falling out with my instructor because I’d opened my own school. So, I contacted AKA
Founder and President Ken Knudson, who tried me out running a school and then asked me to
replace him.

At 21, I didn’t feel ready. I struggled because of my age, looking to coordinate men 20 years my
senior. The workload was endless. So, I...

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Inspiration Ovation - June 2018

motivation Jun 18, 2018

by Karen Eden

My dog is from the local dog pound. He is a very expensive breed-combination of American Eskimo and cattle dog. Somebody bred him with the intention of showing him in competition. But there was just one problem: he came out blemished.

It’s as if somebody spilled coffee on his nose. The poor dog is a throwback,and it’s something he had no control over. But there’s a beautiful side to this story. My dog couldn’t care less. He thinks he’s great, and evidently that’s all that matters. It seems that all of my dogs have taught me a lesson or two at one time or another.

There was the time that I was asked to serve my country through the department of Homeland Security. It was shortly after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and there was a need for females to teach anti-terrorist tactical maneuvers. I was truly honored and excited. But I also...

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The MAIA Report - June 2018

motivation Jun 18, 2018

by Melissa Torres

It was February in Oklahoma City when I was listening to news reports of an ice storm heading my way. I had a flight scheduled to take me to my first MAIA Elite event in sunny Orlando, Florida. And, fortunately, I was able to escape the city just before the storm hit.

It was perfect weather in Florida. But I wasn’t there for vacation, I was there to work. I had the opportunity to hear the MAIA consultants speak and I realized why I’m so thankful I took this job. Each day, I left the sessions inspired and motivated, along with a number of school owners in  attendance to focus on their growth and financial future. One thing that really hit home for me was the importance of setting goals for myself.

I got home and decided to dig deeper into goal-setting and the concept of positive thinking to achieve those goals. I started reading a book by success coach and...

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