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...
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...
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...
Every student you teach is a unique individual. However, veterans who are returning home from combat or other deployment are unique from the rest of society.
There are many things that we as civilians cannot understand about veterans due to their different experiences. When vets return from combat, fitting in and interacting in a nonmilitary society can present a very real challenge.
Martial arts is structured in a way that is familiar to veterans, making it a good starting point from which they can work back into the civilian world. As martial arts school owners, we can show respect to the brave men and women who have served by turning our schools into veteran-friendly environments.
Being a veteran-friendly school means more than just offering a discount, although this can be a good tool to help them recognize your school as a welcoming oasis. Your primary focus should be identifying common problems veterans have, and finding ways your school can help counter them.
One of the...
Many school owners struggle with the idea of tournaments and competition. Exposing students to tournaments comes with risks, but also many benefits. If done well, a tournament team can provide financial gain, improve student growth and develop a retention-based esprit de corps around your brand.
It is important to remember there are pros and cons with tournaments in the areas of finances, student growth and retention, professional development, working with parents, and staying true to your art when developing a tournament team that will work for your school.
Many schools choose to create a tournament team for the sole purpose of increased camaraderie, training and competition experience, which is fine, but keep in mind there is an opportunity to gain financially. Of course, you’ll have to invest money in travel but if your develop your team correctly the profit will outweigh those expenditures in the end.
Tournament teams are a tool for student growth and retention....
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