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".
After years of perfecting his physical martial arts skills, 6-time karate world champion Mike Guido of Clovis, CA attended his first Martial Arts SuperShow convention in 2011. For Guido, it was love at first sight. The energy of the event, the contacts and, most importantly, the insights he gained on how to become his own boss were life-changing.
Learning to teach the martial arts masterfully requires decades of practice and training. The mark of an expert instructor is the ability to pass those lessons on to their students.
The same applies to the business end of martial arts training. Somewhere, somehow, the prospective school owner needs to learn how to become a black belt in business. For Mike Guido, as for so many other school owners across the U.S., his business training came at the annual Martial Arts SuperShow in Las Vegas. It was the MASuperShow, the industry’s foremost trade show and business convention, that offered him the opportunity to learn the...
Steve Butts, owner of three Martial Arts America schools in the general Pensacola, FL, area, has found a niche in what is often an oversaturated marketplace. By combining gymnastics and a mix of martial arts styles, Butts has kids flipping, tumbling, punching and kicking by the hundreds into his Ninja Nation program.
With more than 30 year’s experience under his 6th-degree black belt in moo duk kwon taekwondo, Steve Butts was quick to recognize an opportunity. He integrated a gymnastics program into his already successful martial arts curriculum.
“I noticed a lot of kids doing gymnastics in their forms, but they were mostly self-taught,” Butts says. “Their mechanics were not sound, which wasn’t safe for the student. Being safe and teaching gymnastics properly was very important to me. So, we built out our school to include trampolines and spring floors. We started teaching gymnastics in our school under the supervision of professional gymnastics...
Hosting a local tournament can be profitable and be a publicity boost for your school. To maximize your event, you’ll need to exploit modern methods. Fresh technologies like Cloud-based enterprises, social media and smartphones have put a high-tech spin on staging competitions nowadays. Applying the knowledge in this article, shared by a veteran promoter, can ensure that your local tournaments run smoother, attract more participants and increase revenues.
After two generations of family experience, Bill Viola Jr. knows the ins and outs of hosting a tournament. His father opened one of Pittsburgh’s first martial arts schools, Allegheny Shotokan, in 1969. As a tournament promoter, the Heinz History Center — in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute — credits Bill Viola, Sr. with also being the co-creator of mixed martial arts fighting a decade before the UFC arrived.
Viola feels he started “ahead of the game” because his father built a...
Michigan’s Dan Shackmann reluctantly agreed to take over a children’s self-defense class at the eleventh hour when the instructor was moving out of state. That planned “temporary” position was 20 years ago! The program for what was then 12 enthusiastic kids, held in a tiny school gym, grew into a nonprofit school with its own beautiful building and 200 students! Now, Shackmann is hoping history will repeat itself and a new leader will step up to carry the school forward.
Dan Shackmann’s Thunder Bay Martial Arts is located in a small rural area as far north as you can get in the United States. The city of Alpena stands on the shore of Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay and is county seat of Northern Michigan’s Alpena County, home to the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary. Although its population of roughly 10,500 is considered small, it is by far the largest city in the sparsely populated Northeast Michigan area.
“It was a chance meeting 20 years ago...
California’s multi-talented Herb Perez is the very definition of a Renaissance man. He’s an extremely successful school owner, an attorney, a city councilman and former mayor, and an academic! Oh yes, he’s also a retired Olympic taekwondo gold medalist. Meet this uniquely-gifted martial arts master who applies a winner’s mentality to conquer every endeavor he takes on!
Before Herb Perez was a successful school owner, he was a natural competitor. By the time he was in his 20s, it was obvious to everyone Perez had a one-in-a-million talent for fighting, having won the National Collegiate Championships two years running. He went on to win gold at the Olympic Sports Festival in 1986, at the Pan American Games in 1987 and at the World Cup that same year. Perez went on to win the gold medal in the -83 kilos taekwondo division in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. He was the only American to win a gold in taekwondo at that year’s Olympics. In...
Taekwondo Masters Rondy McKee and Teri Lee are two of the most accomplished school owners in the U.S., with some 2,700 active students between them. But success didn’t come easily to either woman. For years, they fought their male counterparts, who sought to suppress, or take credit for, their every achievement. Overcoming this attitude took a combination of smarts, patience and guts. In the process of creating their individual martial arts empires, McKee and Lee also became role models for women and men alike.
Both Lee and McKee can site a list of incidents illustrating the struggles they endured while trying to find equality among their male peers.
McKee was a successful artist. She began her training in college, and eventually moved to Korea where she was able to train alongside the Korean Tigers, a world-famous taekwondo demo team. She was the only female non-Asian on the team at that time, earning her the nickname “White Tiger.”
When McKee returned to the...
At first glance, the recent resurgence in the popularity of martial arts-based fitness classes, like cardio kickboxing, might seem irrelevant to martial arts school owners. However, it actually represents a huge opportunity.
In 1998, one on the biggest trends in our industry, Tae Bo, began to take hold on the general public. This combination of taekwondo and boxing, created by retired national semi-contact karate champion Billy Blanks, rose to prominence as a genuine fitness phenomenon in North America. Because of its success, both Billy Blanks and Tae Bo became household names.
Tae Bo was the first martial arts-oriented fitness program to capture the interest of the mass market, in particular adult women. Within our industry, it soon spawned a number of “Cardio-Karate” or “Fitness Kickboxing” (among other names) programs that were adopted by martial arts school owners across the U.S. These spinoffs drew an unprecedented number of new fitness clients to those...
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