By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
For this column, I continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address “C,” which stands for community.
Originally, I considered using words like “courage” or “compassion.” But after our recent rank promotion ceremony at my school, TNT Jujitsu in Houston, I realized that community is what truly matters.
Community is essential because it is one of the key components of loyalty and retention. You can have a great facility and teach a dynamite curriculum. But if members don't feel that they are part of a community, it’s easy for them to leave. This is especially true of your instructors and staff.
However, a wonderful community can help ensure that people will stay and even follow your organization and leaders.
Here’s an example that illustrates this point. My dad’s side of the family was mostly black...
By Joshua Page
Being a Black Belt Inside and Outside the School
As instructors, we spend a great deal of time trying to develop our students into black belts. We equip them to deal with all types of dangerous situations and attacks. We arm them with kicks, punches, throws and submissions.
Even the mental side of self-defense is addressed, like how to keep calm under pressure and dealing with overwhelming odds. All this takes place while developing humility and learning the importance of constant improvement. These lessons are powerful and life-changing, and prepare our students for adversity on the practice mat and in the arena of sport.
We spend thousands of hours redefining techniques, perfecting form, and forging the absolute best martial artists we can. The results can be truly amazing. The transformation from a day-one student to a black belt is, at times, awe-inspiring.
When you see those students on the mats training and teaching, they seem to have a certain air about...
By Herb Borkland
Richardson was born in Charlotte and took his first martial arts training there at age 13. But, as is true of every aspect of his highly successful school, he says he opened LMA only after a great deal of study, planning and research.
Location Is Everything!
Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina, boasting around 860,000 diverse citizens — 45.1% white, 35.0% black, 13.1% Hispanic and 5.0% Asian. It’s the third-fastest-growing major city in the United States and the nation’s second-largest banking center, housing the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo. The NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA, and a strong NASCAR All-Star Racing presence are among the local major sports attractions.
Why is all of this so important to a martial arts school owner? Because location is everything.
“I began with demographic research on 64 markets in the...
By Keith D. Yates
Can you have a successful mixed martial arts (MMA) school geared towards children? Can you come back from looking insolvency square in the face? Can you overcome years of weight gain, even having reached the point where you’re considered morbidly obese?
The answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes, if you are the resilient David and Suzana Chacon, owners of Dominion Martial Arts Institute of Mentorship in Oswego, Illinois!
David began his martial arts training at Gen-Ki Karate in Chicago as a child. He also spent a few years in a taekwondo school, earning only a red belt because his parents divorced and he had to stop training. In his early 20s, he developed an interest in ground fighting because, like many stand-up fighters, he felt insecure about what to do if he ever found himself on the ground in a real-life street situation. So, when he was 23, he looked around for a solution and found an MMA coach.
But David says it...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
In a follow-up to last month’s What Your Attorney Doesn’t Want You to Know, here’s part 2:
6. Your Attorney Likely Bills You for Travel Time
Many attorneys will bill you their full hourly rate for travel time to and from events related to your case. I do understand the argument that every minute spent toward your case is appropriately billed. However, I don’t agree that all circumstances support that theory.
Every time I attend court in downtown Miami, I leave my home office two hours before the appointed time. I drive to public transportation and then ride the Metrorail to the court’s doorstep. If my client chose to retain a lawyer with a downtown office, her travel time could be as little as five minutes.
What is fair in this situation? For this reason, I do not charge for my travel time.
This is not to say someone who charges for travel is unethical or necessarily wrong. I’m...
By Kathy Olevsky
In every small business, lessons come to us when we least expect them. I have been one of the many schools who have carried a burden for too long. As a matter of fact, I have a list of situations that I prolonged.
For example, I have had employees who were not the best, but they were what I had at hand and I was afraid to be without them. I also have had family working for me. And because they were family, I hung onto them when I should have let them go, to save my business. I have had students who were toxic to the atmosphere in the dojo, too.
If you haven’t heard it before, let me say it now: Let them go and you will grow. If they have said they are going to leave, then they most likely will do that in the near future. Kudos to you for trying to save them. But there is so much energy spent on trying to save one employee who is unhappy. Or, for that matter, one student who complains about something different every day.
If you have...
By MAIA Division Manager Melissa Torres
It may feel like the new year has just started, but we are already driving full speed ahead at Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) Headquarters! Lately, I’ve been writing inspirational messages in my column, trying to get you motivated in 2019 (which I hope worked for you, by the way!).
But this month, I just want to get you caught up on one of the many exciting things happening at MAIA. I’m thrilled to announce an addition to the Flow System from world champion, Team Paul Mitchell member, and sport karate star Mackensi Emory! You first saw Jackson Rudolph’s incredible bo staff program launch this time last year. Now, we have expanded it to include kamas.
You can teach your students the weapons’ fundamentals all the way up to advanced-performance levels of the bo and kamas. This is an awesome opportunity to expand your class schedule to add these done-for-you curricula. When you add a class...
By Dave Kovar
In 1958, Vince Lombardi took over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers pro football team. The Packers had not done well since 1944. In a press conference, Mr. Lombardi was asked what he was going to do to turn around this bunch of mediocre players.
He responded by saying, “I’m not going to change anything. I’m just going to make them brilliant in the basics.”
From there the legend grew and, by 1967, the Packers had won five NFL championships and two Super Bowls.
The concept of being “brilliant in the basics“ is pretty universal and certainly applies to running a martial arts school and teaching great classes. I recently had a conversation with one of my clients who was contemplating closing his second location because his attendance was dwindling and he was losing money. We discussed a few strategies that he could implement to help him get turned around, and then he got to work.
A couple of months...
By Karen Eden
Deep in the Black Forest of Colorado stand the relatively unknown Ute (pronounced, yute) prayer trees. The Ute tribe of Colorado is documented as the oldest known Native American tribe in the U.S. They once dominated the Rocky Mountains.
It seems there are certain parts of the mountains that the Ute chose to become their natural record-keeping area. these areas include “directional trees” which were manipulated to point to the most sacred parts of the forest.
Several others of these culturally modified trees are the grave markers of great warriors and the native royalty that once ruled and sacrificed for the tribe. Others are “agreement trees,” manipulated to twist together, possibly marking a treaty between two tribes, or a ceremonious wedding.
You have to understand that these trees are hundreds of years old, and they took several generations to manipulate. The medicine man/woman would teach their offspring how to...
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