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".
By: Glenn Moses
Editor’s Note: Our industry is replete with instructors and school owners who teach bully-prevention techniques and programs, especially to their young students. They do so because they sincerely care about their students’ welfare. Others, particularly those instructors who were victims of bullies themselves earlier in their lives, place even more emphasis on such training at their schools.
But few in our field go as far as Arizona’s Johnny Williamson. For him it’s a serious passion. So powerful is his commitment he’s more akin to an anti-bullying crusader or deeply engaged activist.
Consider this: When we made first contact with him about doing this major feature article you’re now reading, he was somewhere over on the East Coast attending an anti-bullying event. We told him half the article would focus on his bully-prevention activities, in association with October being National Bully Prevention Month. The other half would be...
Dwight Trower has dedicated his time and skill to teaching kids and adults with Down Syndrome at his Family Martial Art Academy in St. Louis, MO. These special-needs martial artists never pay for a lesson. It's a labor of love for Trower that comes back tenfold with every kick and punch thrown by his students in this unique class.
By: Terry Wilson
Dwight Trower was in a trade school learning how to be an auto mechanic and, at the time, saw it as his clear-cut future. That is, until he took his first karate class. From that moment forward, he was propelled on a path that would eventually forever change his life and the lives of untold numbers of special-needs students.
“Even as a blue belt, I was an assistant teacher,” Trower says today. “My instructor told me that I had a gift for teaching, especially working with kids.
“With a class full of students, there were usually one or two of them that were on the autism spectrum or had Down syndrome. So,...
Bobby and Charlene Lawrence operate Utah's largest chain of karate schools — 19 locations teaching more than 2,200 active students. Their four children and 20 grandchildren have grown up in the martial arts business. Read how their fascinating, family-oriented approach has built a martial arts empire and influenced tens of thousands of students in the Beehive State.
By: Keith D. Yates
Once, Bobby Lawrence was a public school teacher, athletic coach and attorney. While he was busy working in the corporate world, his wife, Charlene, turned their martial arts hobby into a one-school business. Today, they run the largest chain of karate schools in the entire state of Utah, encompassing 19 different locations. They are all Bobby Lawrence Karate Schools, some of them licensed. But the husband-and-wife team, who’ve been in the martial arts business since the 1980s, oversee the chain’s operations.
And it isn’t just the two of them. Their sons and even...
I don’t like sporks — those odd cutlery combinations of not-quite-a-spoon and not-quite-a-fork.
These flimsy plastic utensils will neither hold liquid food or stab solid food. Evidently, sporks are an easy way to cut corners and save money. I’m convinced it was someone’s brainchild who certainly didn’t have the customer’s best interest in mind!
Believe it or not, the spork has been around since 1874. Originally, the spork was metal and larger, giving it better capabilities for both holding liquid and stabbing solids. But as the years went by, the entire spork idea just got worse and worse. Today, sporks are comprised of cheapgrade plastic, and some of them are so small they could be used to feed babies.
And I know I‘m not the only “spork-hater” out there. We martial artists fight like warriors and we expect to be able to eat like one, too. Let me just...
It is holiday time! That means it is time to focus on retail sales. That said, retail sales shouldn’t be isolated to the holidays and specifically the month of December.
I spoke at a seminar in Las Vegas recently, and one of the topics was how to sell more product. I wanted to make the point that not only is selling product very important for making a profit, but it also provides opportunities to sign up new members and upgrade current students. The point of the seminar was that selling retail product in our schools happens in a variety of ways and can often help other aspects of your school. In the Las Vegas presentation, this portion of the seminar took more than two hours but I will try to lay it out in this 650-or-fewer-words column format.
The most obvious way to sell retail product is through a pro shop. Even though this often produces the least results, it is still very important...
Since the beginning of time, there has been prejudice. It seems every race, creed, color, nationality, age and gender has known the feeling of being treated as second class or no class at all. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories of the past or, worse, see in real time the injustice that some still have to endure.
One can only hope that as we continue to evolve, people who have committed these injustices will see them for what they are, and those who have felt the pain of the mistreatment don’t spend their precious energies in retaliation.
The prejudice I would like to focus on here, though, is the one that occurs in most martial arts schools. I call it the “Prejudice of the Unseen.”
By explanation, allow me to use an example. Imagine one of your students breaking his hand and coming into class wearing a cast. Can you imagine an instructor asking the students to...
I‘ve been operating a martial arts school full-time for 39 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.
November was once a time of year when we used to take a deep breath and feel relieved that it had finally come. The thought was that we had been so busy with all our new back-to-school business, we deserved slower months in November and December. There was a huge mistake in this line of thinking. Those two slow months in a row at the end of the year...
The kids are back in school. The air is cooler. The trees are no longer green. We aren’t breaking a sweat trying to check the mail. That must mean it’s holiday time! Well… almost. But it is time to start planning your holiday sale.
What’s the best way to cash in on retail sales this season? Host a holiday sale! If you don’t host a sale every single year in October or November, you are missing out on huge revenue potential.
Parents are shopping earlier and earlier for their kids, and you are in competition with the large retail stores that have huge Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This is even more of a reason to plan now for your sale. Get parents through your doors before they have a chance to go Black Friday shopping.
By now, you should have received your Century Holiday Gift Guide. The Century team has been hard at work all year to provide you with a huge...
Chances are, you have had your share of students quit after they received their black belt. I know that we have. If you are looking for ways to minimize this from happening in the future, here are some ideas that you can put to work.
1) Emphasize to them that a black belt is NOT the finish line.
If you ask brand-new martial artists how long they want to train, the most common answer you’ll hear is, “Until I earn my black belt.” While this is an admiral goal for a novice, you need to gradually dispel the myth that a black belt is the finish line. Earning one’s first black belt is a huge milestone. It is a rite of passage and an achievement to celebrate. But it isn’t the end of the journey. You and your staff would be wise to adopt the attitude that martial arts is a lifelong activity for all your students. Clearly, students who are working their way toward their...
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