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".
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...
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,...
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...
This is the fifth and final pearl of wisdom I learned from my amazing and truly unique dad, Robert L. Griggs (RIP): “Always be a person of your word.”
One of the oldest and time-tested lessons that we learned was to keep our word. As a business owner and a parent, my dad often had to balance out work- and family-related needs and obligations. A classic example was when I was in junior high. My school would hold Friday-night dances. As awkward as those times were for me (and perhaps most of you), I truly appreciated my dad for taking me to them.
My dad was often exhausted from running his business and it wasn’t fun for him to have to take me to school twice in one day. (We lived in and operated hourly rate motels.) But he promised me that, despite our unconventional and odd life, I would have a normal existence.
As leaders and team members, I want to explore...
When you require the services of an attorney, there are two primary things you should take into consideration, and one thing that you absolutely should not. Unfortunately, the latter oftentimes overrides the former.
When you hire a lawyer, no matter the issue, I suggest that you look for an attorney who has, in no particular order of importance, experience and a reputation of success in handling legal matters. However, in many situations, clients choose legal talent based upon who charges the lowest hourly rate. Limiting your hiring decision solely to financial considerations can be a very costly decision. Allow me to explain.
Attorneys are market-driven professionals. The fees they charge are in direct correlation to what expenses they have and what the specific market will bear. There exists a balance, or tipping point, between the fees charged and the business generated. This...
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...
I recently got a call from a member who needed help with their school. Specifically, they wanted to get some different ideas on how they could help their school grow. After one suggestion from me, the first words out of their mouth were, “That didn’t work for me the last time I tried it.”
This response reminded me of the theme of the book “The Science of Getting Rich:” you must do things in a “Certain Way.” To explain what this means, I’ll use the analogy of baking a cake.
Suppose I’m known for making the best cakes. If you ask me to teach you how to make them, I will show you my method that I use. If you bake a cake in the “Certain Way” that I showed you, you will be successful. Remember, success leaves clues.
But, let’s say you have a different idea for your cake and want to change the method. If you change the...
Three-time senior international gold medalist and Martial Arts Success Canadian Correspondent Perry Kelly is a can-ryu jiu-jitsu 5th-dan. He’s also a certified instructor in karate, muay thai, Inosanto kali and Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do and jun fan gung-fu. Kelly is also a fully trained Correctional SWAT operator and a graduate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre’s Defensive Tactics Instructor-Trainer program.
At the 50th Battle of Atlanta in June 2018, he took silver in the Over 60+ sparring division and received the Joe Lewis Eternal Warrior Award from Joe Corley, Jeff Smith and Bill Wallace.
Perry Kelly: I was born in Ottawa, Ontario, which is the capital of Canada. Canada’s the only country where the national sport allows fighting without being ejected. They simply give you five minutes to catch your breath before you can “drop the gloves”...
Martial artists have the best questions in the world. Studio owners and senseis take those questions to a whole different level. The latest question some posed to me was about volunteers.
Volunteers are a big part of our programs. For many of us, the success of our programs hinges on volunteers stepping in and assisting in everything from teaching junior students to scrubbing bathrooms. As I started researching it, I found some information that I believe is a serious concern for our community.
If you use a volunteer model, the U.S. Department of Labor and State Revenue Departments have made it law that for-profit businesses cannot use volunteers. If you do that, you can be audited and charged back payroll tax, interest and penalties. While we’re racking the tally up, you could also be held accountable for the unpaid wages to the volunteer.
So, I started thinking, “Are...
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...
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