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".
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
Well, friends, we've come to the end of our series on B.L.A.C.K. B.E.L.T. leadership! The last letter, “T,” stands for trust. This is arguably one of the most important concepts for effective leaders and teams.
The number of relationships that have been solidified or ruined by the degree of trust within is innumerable. We all have stories of being on the giving and receiving ends of both good and bad trust-related stories. But leaders and teams grow or fail based on how well trust is nurtured or withheld. Here’s a quick lesson on trust that I know you’ll find helpful.
I have an older cousin who worked for a big chemical plant in a rural town in southeast Texas. The workers there didn't have a union, so they were largely dependent on their supervisors to represent them and their...
By Dave Kovar
Every now and then, you meet someone who immediately grabs your attention. Joe Hammel was one of those people. I’ll never forget the day in the early 1990s when he walked into my school. He was 53 at the time, and I remember thinking how old he was. He told me that he had wanted to do martial arts since he was a teenager but never had the courage to get started.
I told him that it was never too late to start! Now was just as good a time as any! I didn’t really believe it, but I didn’t tell him that part.
Joe was no dummy. He was an English professor by day and a concert pianist by night. Smart he certainly was, but coordinated he certainly was not. During his first lesson, I remember thinking that he was the most ungraceful person I’d ever worked with. I asked him about prior athletic endeavors. He said he’d never done anything remotely like a sport in his whole life. It showed.
At first glance, the lack of previous physical...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
I have a question for you: What do you call a person you have brought into your business to provide a service that relates to your core product (teaching martial arts)? The answer might seem obvious — clearly, that person is an employee.
Issues arise when businesses choose to turn a blind eye and categorize an employee as an independent contractor. This must end now! New laws require that you err on the side of caution in how you classify your personnel.
A Seismic Shift in the Law
As is frequently the case, California is a trendsetter with respect to this employment law. I won’t bore you with legal details, but the short of the matter is that California, along with a growing number of other states, now uses a greatly truncated test to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee. There are three determining criteria: First, do you control the worker or direct that person’s activities? Second,...
By Andries Pruim
When you begin your martial arts training at a young age, it is nearly impossible not to incorporate their traditional philosophies into your daily life.
For the most part, this is a good thing! The life lessons taken from martial arts have created many upstanding, well-respected members of society. However, some of the philosophies can restrict a modern martial artist from becoming financially independent – and, ultimately, even curtail the number of people they are able to help.
There is a common misconception that teaching martial arts is a worthy cause, and, therefore, is its own reward – with or without adequate financial compensation. This has resulted in many talented martial arts instructors having to maintain a separate career outside of teaching in order to pay bills, raise a family, and (hopefully) own a home.
This practice of asking for less than...
By Terry L. Wilson
A Low Kick
People often say of a martial artist, “He was training as soon as he could walk.” In Joao Gabriel Rocha’s case, this was almost literally true. His introduction to Brazilian jiu-jitsu came from a summer camp for toddlers. At a mere two years, eight months, Joao had embarked on the journey of a lifetime. But this path would not be without struggle.
Joao worked hard and saw payoffs, in the form of a series of impressive victories as a junior (not yet black) belt. In 2013, Joao was promoted to black belt, earning him a spot to compete in the elite Submission Wrestling World Championships.
This grappling competition involves professional athletes of the highest level, from a variety of grappling styles, including jiu-jitsu. Joao worked his way to the finals in the 99 kg division but lost to Marcus “Buchecha” Almelda in the finals.
Despite the loss, Joao was skyrocketing to the top of his profession....
In May, 2019, longtime MASuccess Editor John Corcoran passed away after a series of health complications. The martial arts writing and publications industry lost a preeminent champion, and many of us lost a good friend. He leaves behind shoes that will never be filled, and a legacy that will always be honored.
By Karen Eden
“Writing is a talent. You can either write, or you can’t.”
Those are the words of the late John Corcoran, who passed away on May 17, 2019. I have to laugh, because if you could write, he’d be the first to let you know. And if you couldn’t write, he’d also be the first to let you know.
To the best of my knowledge, John Corcoran only went public about his life one time. It was in a two-part write-up in the now defunct “Inside Tae Kwon Do” magazine from 1995 (CFW Enterprises, “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword,” Oct/Nov 1995, by Andre Alex Lima).
The biographical story “The Pen is Mightier...
By Kathy Olevsky
Most martial arts school owners have humble starting places. There are a few who were given the opportunity to take over an existing, thriving program. But, for the most part, we all start in a small, single-instructor setting. The struggles of that type of program are universal from one style to the next, and we all face obstacles.
It is certainly not uncommon to find yourself in a conundrum because you are not feeling well, but you know that, because you are charging your students money for classes, someone still has to teach. I’ve talked to many school owners who don’t know how to resolve this issue. In our early days, we had one instructor and one person who answered the phone. Sometimes it was the same person. When one of us got sick or had a family emergency, it was hard to know what to do.
You have to begin somewhere. One method we found to develop assistants was to start using people in leadership roles during class. This...
By Beth A. Block
Do you have Sensei for a Day classes? How about Mother’s Day classes? Father’s Day classes? These classes give your students a chance to share their sport with their friends and family. They have the added benefit of giving you potential new students.
Waivers for friends are usually procured and signed before the child comes on your floor. Sometimes, the waivers aren’t signed by the friend’s parent. That can be a problem. Your student’s parent might sign the friend’s waiver. Just so you know, those waivers are useless. I recommend you have the child’s parent sign it.
During a Mother’s Day work out, one Mom was holding a floppy bag for her seven-year-old daughter. The martial arts students were doing round kicks to the bag. Mom was kneeling with the bag in front of her face.
The girl didn’t have great control over her round kick. She had only been taking classes for the last six months. On this day, she...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
As I have stated many times, I get the best subjects for this column from the issues each of you face daily. I represent a medium-size school operating in a mid-sized town in the South. The owners are a conscientious husband and wife team. Operating their school is a second career for each of them. While their previous business lives allowed them to gain a great deal of knowledge that ties nicely into school ownership, there are still issues they face that are foreign to them. When that happens, they contact me for an opinion.
Typically, we end our discussion with them telling me that they have, once again, given me fodder for a future column. My conversation with them last week was no exception.
These school owners do everything they can to follow all rules and regulations. Shortcuts do not exist in their school. The laws of the state where they are located permit pre-employment drug screening, and detailed background checks...
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