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...
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...
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