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...
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...
Picture this scenario: It’s a Wednesday. You have woken up late. The kids are running through the house gathering what they need for the school day. You’re yelling that they’re going to miss the bus. The kids finally make the bus, after you run after your son to give him the lunch he forgot. While you’re running after your son, the dog gets loose and rolls in something. You have to stop everything to give her a bath. Your significant other leaves for work angry, because she has hardly seen you all week because of the hours you spend running your business.
As you drive to your school, you can’t help but worry about the bills you have to pay this month. You aren’t sure how you’re going to pay them all on time. Will it be through renewals? Retail sales? Referrals of new students?
You get to your desk and put your head in your hands, wondering how you can cope with yet another day of teaching classes, speaking with parents and...
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...
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...
Building A Big Business From Scratch
Lynchburg, Virginia’s Lawrence Arthur, a scrappy 1970s fighter, grew his business from a small single location to an association with 20 storefront schools and 20 more satellite operations. A low-profile, behind-the-scenes powerhouse, Arthur promulgates an Americanized style of his own creation that leans toward training instructors and building champions. Some of his competition-oriented students have won world titles. Here, he shares his wisdom about what it takes to succeed beyond your wildest dreams.
In 1980, Lawrence Arthur won a “Chuck Norris Free for a Day” contest by enrolling the most new students in a single month. Arthur did this by being creative in his attempts to get new students. At one point, he held a zombie-themed event for recruitment, sent out VIP invitations to his school and took out an ad in the newspaper offering three years of training for a $159 maintenance fee. His efforts prevailed. He signed up 108...
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