By Kathy Olevsky
I've been operating a martial arts school full time for 45 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.
If you’re looking back on last summer and remembering that it was not a good business season, there is still time to make changes what will allow you to generate income during this upcoming summer season.
As school owners, we often look for new students and opportunities to find leads to those new students. In many schools, those leads dry up a bit over the course of the summer months. If this is the case for your school,...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
In the law, there is something referred to as a “rebuttable presumption.” A rebuttable presumption is an assumption or inference that is accepted as true, unless rebutted by adverse evidence. Two common examples of rebuttable presumptions are that, in a criminal trial, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty, or that a child born during a marriage is actually the progeny of the husband.
Each can be proven false, but the starting point is that each is true.
My mother wasn’t an attorney, but she taught me my first rebuttable presumption. As children are wont to do, I would frequently come home with some wild story told to me by another kid. Of course, these stories were usually false or greatly exaggerated.
My mother told me some 50-plus years ago to never believe what another kid told me until I could verify that it was true. This is a lesson adults need to remember, but with a twist:
Never believe anything said by...
By Dave Kovar
The first 10 years that I was in business, the concept of staff development was foreign to me. I did pretty much everything by myself, or got one of my advanced students to help out when necessary. That all changed in the late 80s when my older brother, Tim, came on as my business partner.
Out of the gate, the first thing he wanted us to do was to start grooming a team that could help us grow. To me, it seemed like a waste of time. But I was excited to have a partner and wanted to stay open-minded and receptive to his input.
I quickly found out what a valuable use of time this was. By the early ‘90s, we had a core group of team members that were committed to our vision and to growing our schools. As a matter of fact, I am proud to say that many of those same people are still a part of our organization today.
Although we don’t have everything figured out, when it comes to the area of developing a rock-solid team, we have made amazing progress over the...
By Herb Borkland
Born in Japan, Kazuo “Sonny” Onoo trained in karate and judo in school clubs before immigrating to Fairbanks, Alaska, at age 11, where he practiced goju-ryu karate. After moving to southern Minnesota, Onoo trained under full-contact Professional Karate Association (PKA) Champion Gordon Franks and goju-ryu legend Chuck Merriman. Onoo competed in Europe as a member of Merriman’s Trans-World Oil team between 1975 and 1987, and the PKA named him the best bantamweight in the world.
In the 1990s, Onoo became a professional wrestling “character.” Acting as liaison between World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), the “villain agent” Onoo negotiated the talent exchange programs which allowed numerous Japanese performers to appear with WCW.
Herb Borkland: How did you first hear about martial arts?
Sonny Onoo: As an immigrant from Japan, I was asked from day one, “Do you know...
By MAIA Executive Director Frank Silverman
As we approach April, it’s hard to believe that the year is nearly 25% over! A quarter of 2019 is done and in the history books! But despite the jarring reminder that we cannot stop time, and that it does indeed fly, this is a great time of year. We are getting closer to summer and to the annual Martial Arts SuperShow, scheduled in late June and early July in Las Vegas. Now is a good time to look back and see if your business plan is on track for 2019.
Goals come in different shapes and sizes. Maybe you set a goal for your school’s student count. Maybe you identified an income level to attain.
Perhaps your goals are less about the business of martial arts and more about training. For example, did you want to train more, compete in an event or earn a specific rank?
Maybe you set goals related to your business and passion, the martial arts, but are geared towards your personal life: for instance, being able to be at work...
By MAIA Consultant Jason Flame
As school owners and professional martial artists, we often lose sight of why we got into this business and industry in the first place. It’s not the number of students we can enroll each month. It’s not how big our billing check is or how much we gross each month. And it’s not how big our school is.
We got involved in this business because teaching martial arts is our passion, and changing people’s lives is our goal. Now, of course, running a successful business may be about the numbers. But operating a successful martial arts school is about much more than that.
We know that if our students are getting great results, they’re going to talk about us to everyone they know, which may lead to more referrals. If the parents of our students truly value what we have to offer, they will stay longer. The bottom line is, we need to think much more about giving than receiving. If everything you do is about getting something...
By Christopher Rappold
The successful retention of students in a martial arts school is of paramount importance. It saves the school money by cutting down on monthly advertising budgets and replacing them with free referrals. It increases the cash flow by creating happier students who stay and train for longer. And it enables staff members and owners to earn a higher pay for the great services they provide.
All around, everyone wins when retention is high and the quit rate is low. But if this makes so much sense, then why, for some, does it seem to be so hard to do?
One answer to this that I would like to explore is the quality of the teacher. As you may well know, if you replace a bad teacher with a good one, all of a sudden, a school that was limping along will start to grow.
Conversely, I have seen a great teacher replaced by a teacher who was only “good” and the exact opposite happened. Perhaps you have seen the same. So, what is it that makes the difference...
By Beth Block
Recently, I watched a 32-year-old martial arts instructor teaching a full-rotation, head-level roundhouse kick. He was teaching this kick in the first class of the day. He had not yet worked out because he had been driving, picking up students at school and bringing them to the studio for the after-school program.
At 56, I know I need to warm up my muscles before straining them. When I don’t, I pay for it with pulls, strains and pain. Sometimes, I’ve paid for it with rips.
I also know it’s a good idea for students of any age to warm up their muscles before challenging them. My chiropractor has explained the long-term effect of abusing my muscles. Even if I don’t feel the strain, my muscle gets a micro-tear. Over the years, those micro-tears result in knotty, scarred muscles. Owww!
At 32, the instructor was young enough to think he could still do the full-rotation kick cold. At 32, he was old enough that his hamstring tore. A hamstring...
By MAIA Division Manager Melissa Torres
At the Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA), we are truly committed to helping you, the martial arts school owner. We brainstorm different ways we can help you get where you want to go, whether that’s with consultations, programs, Facebook Live content, our four-week Launch webinar class, or in-person workshops.
We want to make it convenient for you to take the leap. We understand that watching webinars or talking to someone on the phone may not be everyone’s best learning technique. Some need to talk face-to-face. No matter how you learn, we want you to be able to make a commitment to yourself, your family, and your staff that you will be successful.
Last year, we held the very first MAIA Mastermind in Orlando at the Championship Martial Arts headquarters. It was extremely successful and we got amazing feedback. The participants had the chance to see a holiday event held live, walk through the behind-the-scenes setup...
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...
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