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The Martial Arts Industry Association's MASuccess Magazine exists to help grow martial arts participation by helping school owners succeed.

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Mastery of the Mat: 5 Ways to Improve Your Teaching!

“Who’s the Master?” No, that isn’t just a callback to the famous line in The Last Dragon. That’s the question new students and their families have when they walk into your dojo. Our job as teachers and school owners is to show them a professional level of service in teaching the martial arts. Here are the three tips to do exactly that.

 

By Justin L. Ford

 

Your school’s revenue comes from. . .

What? I’m waiting.

Meditate on this.

You could trace your school’s revenue to the tuition payments that get made, and the activities and events you host, the merchandisesales and testing fees, etc. But while there are plenty of different streams your money can flow in from, it all boils down to one source:

students.

It’s important to remember that your school is driven by your students. And while big classes don’t automatically equate to big bucks for your school, having lots of students is definitely a step in the right...

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The 5 Mindsets of Martial Arts School Success, Part 2

Last month, we discussed the first three mindsets of a successful martial arts school.

 

They were:

 

  1. We are the friendliest place in town.

 

  1. We are the cleanest place in town.

 

  1. We only teach great classes, never just good ones.

 

This month, we’ll address mindsets four and five.

 

  1. We are excellent at student/parent communication. It has been great to see how the level of professionalism has improved in our industry over the last 40 years. Clearly, we have learned a lot about running a friendly, clean school with great classes.

 

With that said, if there’s one area that we are still weak in as an industry, it is student/parent communication.

What I’m referring to here is the importance of giving consistent, quality feedback to all of our students and their parents on their progress. We do this by sharing with them what they are doing well and how they can become better. As simple as this may sound, it’s extremely...

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Help Students See the Path to Black Belt

I've been operating a martial arts school full-time for 40 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.

 

In our early years in running a dojo as black belt instructors, we came to work, taught classes and tried hard to manage a business that was our sole source of income. As instructors and owners, we made student progress the priority in the school. While that’s a respectable and sensible idea, it left out a very important pillar of our growth.

 

I think, in those early years, we were missing a huge opportunity. We basically never showed...

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How to Be Crystal-Clear on Your Goal to Get More Students

Every year, many school owners ask, “How do I get more students?” To properly answer this question, you have to keep in mind this maxim: “To be terrific, we must be more specific.” So, let’s do a couple of things in this column to be more specific with the student base that you want. As your consultant and someone who teaches the Law of Attraction, I would ask you, among other key questions:

 

“Do you want students who pay late or more students who don’t pay at all? Do you want more children, teens or adults? Younger or older children? Children with learning challenges? Students who are always late for classes? Parents who leave their children at your school well after their class is over? Students with bad hygiene?”

 

With these answers, you are building a Clarity List, using contrast (people, places, events you don’t like) to get a clear vision of the students you want to manifest. Remember, contrast creates clarity,...

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Show Them Who You Are!

I‘ve been operating a martial arts school full time for 40 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.

 

When I first started in the martial arts back in the late 1970's, it was common to hear an instructor say to a student, “Only one in 1,000 will make it to black belt.” That statement was a source of pride. It meant that a black belt was to be truly honored. It meant that a black belt wasn’t a common man (or woman); they were elite.

 

The statement was made with good intentions, but it did irreparable harm!

 

Anyone...

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Recovery is Just as Important as Working Out

retention Dec 01, 2018

By Dr. Jason Han

 

As a physical therapist for a professional soccer team, I’m often asked how I help our players get ready, day in and day out. Running long distances each week — jogging, cutting, sprinting and shooting — will take its toll. The same thing happens in your martial arts program, only with kicks, punches, throws and blows to the body.

 

Most people focus on the training aspect of athletics, but not enough on recovery. Whether you’re a professional athlete, a weekend warrior or a youth competitor, recovery is critical to success and longevity.

 

I was recently working with a star multi-sport high school athlete who was complaining of aches and pains. His football team was wrapping up the regular season and heading into the playoffs. He had neck stiffness, shoulder pain from a football tackle and a sore hip from an older injury sustained a few months back. His coach was a little more “old school,” in the sense that he...

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Want to Improve Your Retention? Do This in the Next 30 Days!

By Christopher Rappold

 

With 2018 behind us, it’s a good time to take a pause and assess how the year went.

I have always enjoyed taking half a day away from the office and looking at the cumulative results from that particular year. Though I look every day, week and month at how our schools are doing, there is something about looking at the total of 12 months of results that gives a different picture and perspective.

 

I start with my team. I take a look at their martial arts, fitness, personal and professional development from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.

 

Did they make the kind of progress that both of us were working toward? Are their goals and the goals of the school intersecting in a way that creates a win-win, long-term relationship? Are there any tweaks that need to be made? What are things we did together that had the most impact, and what are the things that missed the target and need improvement?

 

Having excellent student...

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Consultant's Corner - July 2018

curriculum retention Jun 22, 2018

by Antonio Fournier

I had a message from a Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) member asking if it is was still beneficial to conduct a Mat Chat in her situation. She had transitioned from a one-hour to a 45-minute children’s-class format, and she was having a hard time fitting it in.

My response was, “It’s not only beneficial, it is a must.”

Her thoughts were that taking five minutes to do it shortened the amount of punching and kicking time.

I used the analogy of a river that is one mile wide and a foot deep, or one that’s one foot wide and a mile deep. It isn’t the width of the message that’s important, it’s the depth of the message that is.

So, why is the Mat Chat so important? It’s a start — and only a start — at connecting life skills to your martial arts program.

First, you’ve made lots of promises in your ads and...

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In The Classroom - July 2018

by Dave Kovar

Forty years ago this November, I opened up my first school in North Highlands, CA, a suburb of Sacramento. It was a tiny school in a mediocre area, and I had no idea what I was doing. What I did have was cheap rent and a lot of enthusiasm.

The school grew relatively quickly in the first year. But I couldn’t tell you how many students I had because I didn’t keep any stats. Based on my memory, I’d say I had between 80 and 100. At the time, very few children were training in the program. As a matter fact, I only offered kid’s classes Monday and Wednesday nights at 5 o’clock. I think I had the largest youth program in the area and I only had about 12 kids enrolled!

Over time, I successfully identified lots of things that didn’t work and I struggled a lot up into the mid-1980s. Then, something interesting happened.

There was this movie, let me...

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Masterful Retention - July 2018

retention Jun 22, 2018

by Christopher Rappold

Though many school owners love to talk about how many students they enrolled, the language that has always resonated with me is how many students a school is keeping. Getting students is about making promises; retaining students is a sign of delivering on the promises made. And while we would all love to claim great retention, to do so requires you know your numbers.

To make it simple, imagine you have 100 students and, in a single month, you had four students discontinue their training. For that month, you could say your quit rate was 4%.

For schools that keep accurate statistics, when you average all 12 months the number tends to be in the 5–7% range. The schools that I think do a tremendous job average somewhere between 2-3%.

I’m sharing these numbers so you have a basis of comparison when you look at your school’s numbers to determine how...

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