by MAIA Division Manager Melissa Torres
It was difficult to sit down to write this column because I knew that no matter what topic I chose to cover, I would have to mention COVID-19 in some capacity. Unfortunately, the pandemic is still part of our daily lives, and it continues to affect martial arts schools in countless ways. Our curriculums, instructor training, marketing and best retention practices all hinge on what happens with regard to the pandemic.
Since no one can predict when we finally will be out of the COVID woods, it’s essential to continue to adjust and “roll with the punches.” Recall Bruce Lee’s well-known quote: “Be like water, my friend.” We must be adaptable in these uncertain times in order to get to the other side. We’ve got to keep pressing forward!
No doubt you all have had time to take a step back to reevaluate your businesses and plan your next move. Well, MAIA has done the same. After the SuperShow Virtual...
by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
Hello, my friends. I hope you all are doing well and finding ways to successfully navigate these difficult times. In this column, I want to talk about three crucial decisions that leaders need to make to survive our current chaos.
I ask that you bear with me. The stories I will use involve airline crashes, and the details are not pleasant. However, all are relevant to the situation that now faces the martial arts community.
In 2015, Maria Murillo, 18, and her 1-year-old survived the crash of a small Cessna airplane in the Colombian jungles. They spent five days on the banks of a river, surviving on coconuts and collected rainwater. When they were found, rescuers were astounded to learn that despite having sustained burns and broken bones, the woman had been able to run from the burning plane while carrying her child.
Bahia Bakari, 14, was the sole survivor of a 2009 crash of an airliner that claimed the lives of 151 people. She spent...
by Perry William Kelly
The pandemic has hit the world’s economy like a side kick that knocks the wind out of a white belt in his first tournament. It would have been simple enough if our industry had could have followed the example of other small businesses that shifted gears to stay afloat — for example, distilleries that started making hand sanitizer and clothing companies that began fabricating facemasks. This option, however, was not available to us. Our end product — martial arts instruction — simply cannot morph into something else.
To help school owners cope with the fallout of the pandemic and the shutdowns, MASuccess organized a virtual roundtable with professionals from across the country who agreed to speak about how they weathered the crisis. All are small-business owners not unlike you, and they were able to not only navigate the COVID chaos but also beat the odds that the pandemic had stacked against them.
Our Experts: the COVID...
by Dave Kovar
I am an outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, biking, climbing, training — it doesn’t matter. If it takes place outside, I love it. Some time ago, I went on an intense mountain-bike ride with two friends. We picked a challenging course near Forest Hill, California. I do a decent bit of cycling on the road, but it had been years since I pushed myself on a mountain bike on a hard trail.
Both my friends had better bikes and a lot more trail experience than I, but I did my best to keep up, and we had a great time. The ride illustrated to me one of the wonderful things about martial arts training: The attributes of balance, timing, strength, flexibility and focus carry over to other activities. (Another bonus became evident that day: I had only one crash but managed to avoid injury.)
The highlight of the day was swimming in the American River after the ride. We picked the perfect spot for it. The water was deep, calm and cool. One of my friends mentioned that when...
by Michael A. Perri Jr.
This year has been one for the ages, with the wildfires, hurricanes, riots, a polarized country and, of course, the global pandemic. Many businesses have been so severely impacted that they’ve been forced to shut their doors for good. This includes some of our fellow martial arts professionals, people who were making a career out of sharing their passion. Although we’ve suffered setbacks, our industry still boasts people who are not only surviving but thriving. Schools that had the systems in place have managed to pull out record months financially regardless of the trials and tribulations they faced.
I’m talking about schools like Caleb and Heidi Collier’s Championship Martial Arts in Kaysville, Utah, where they took the systems and strategies of CMA’s Holiday Event and applied it to their “Christmas in July Sale.” It transformed what was regarded as a slow time of year into one of their most profitable months...
by Frank Silverman
As I write this column, I reflect on the past year: where we started, where we came from and where we are now. For most of us, the year began second to none. Business was booming, and the future looked bright. Then the world stopped turning. In March, we witnessed the fragility of the world’s economy, not to mention life itself, as the pandemic took hold and forced a shutdown the likes of which we have never seen.
Today, we’re looking better than we did at the onset of COVID-19 — at least, things are looking that way as I write this column. (Who knows what tomorrow will bring?) However, we are by no means out of the woods. Many schools are still struggling, and business is nowhere close to where it was at the beginning of the year. And then there are the casualties: the schools that closed their doors for a final time.
I don’t want this column to be a message of doom and gloom. I’ve said it before and it’s worth...
by Herb Borkland
Although he’s acknowledged by his peers to be a ninth-degree grandmaster, Kelly Cox prefers not to use the title. Even more rare among notable American martial artists is that online searches for either Cox or his Rendokan Dojo return nothing. This lifelong student of karate and sword fighting inherited one of the first martial arts schools in the United States and has formed his life around its tradition of severe humility and a ceaseless work ethic. He is currently writing a book that explores the boundless wisdom of original scrolls from the 1800s that he inherited from Christine and Ken Carson, who founded Rendokan in 1946.
MASuccess: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Kelly Cox: I grew up on a farm in East Texas. Dad was a farmer. We toiled in the dirt. I grew up picking vegetables, riding horses and herding cattle.
MAS: How did you first hear about karate?
Cox: I was 9 years old, and I heard about it on Steve...
by Karen Eden
This is a true story about too much of a good thing. When Hurricane Katrina hit with such devastation, the entire nation would have to come to New Orleans’ rescue. I was just coming out of a TV contract and teaching martial arts through The Salvation Army. I was asked if I could help TSA by acting as the division’s Public Information Officer. No problem, since I knew most of the media members on a first-name basis anyway.
When the now-homeless victims of the hurricane were bused into Denver, they literally had no possessions to bring with them. They needed everything — from basics such as shampoo and toothpaste to food and especially clothes. I made the executive decision, along with the Corps Officer of the thrift-stores division, to put out a public plea for donated clothing items.
The city of Denver generously responded, like it so often does. Seventy-two hours later, I got a call from the officer: “Karen, you got to stop with the...
by Kathy Olevsky
I’ve operated a martial arts school full time for 45 years. I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I’m still in business, I believe, is I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this column, I’ll point out key mistakes I made in my career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. And I’ll share the solutions I used to overcome them.
First, the good news: Many of us are back to teaching in our schools.
Now, the bad news: Some of us are dealing with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, and our states are taking action to address it. I know a few martial arts school owners who could not sustain their businesses. As a result, they had to close their doors.
Basically, we all are operating on the same premise: We will open our schools if we can, and if not, we will operate virtually until in-person training is...
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