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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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A High Teaching Standard or an Ego Trip?

by Christopher Rappold

 

Recently, a friend shared with me an experience about going to see a chiropractor. The person was highly recommended and had a mystique about him. Over the years, he’d worked with many pro athletes, and he wasn’t shy about showing it on his website and in his lobby.

When my friend met with the doctor, he was treated more like the next number in a factory line of patients rather than a person seeking healing. The chiropractor poked and prodded my friend in all his injured and inflamed areas, creating enough pain to cause him to nearly fall off the treatment table.

As I listened to his story, I was thinking about many similar experiences I’ve witnessed in the martial arts. Here’s one example: A student takes a seminar conducted by someone he admires. He’s picked to go to the front of the class for a demonstration and surrenders his arm to the instructor. The subsequent application of force is so painful that the student has a...

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2021 Was a Learning Experience for Everyone!

by Kathy Olevsky

 

I’ve been writing this column for 10 years now, telling the world how I’ve survived 45 years in the martial arts business despite many mistakes. In fact, I have not even begun to cover close to all of them. I share my stories to help you learn from them, and because it is important for you to know that you, too, may blunder along the way, but that your school can survive all the same.

For five years, my martial arts business experienced slow-but-steady growth while meeting the needs of a solid foundation of students. The staff became skilled at keeping our students happy and excited about training as they rose through the ranks. Our retention rate was good.

Then everything changed when COVID struck. I’m guessing it’s the same for many dojo around the world.

We lost more than 100 students because of the pandemic. Then we grew by 150 students between February 2021 and August 2021. All of a sudden, we had to increase our support for...

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Halloween Frights

by Beth A. Block

 

As I was considering the impending wave of fall festivities, I decided to do some online research. (Many of you know that I’m a bit of a research nerd.) One of the first cases that jumped out at me involved a studio that had put together a Halloween festival in conjunction with several other local businesses.

This type of joint venture is an excellent way to find new prospects for your studio. Each of the businesses invited its own clients, and the event was promoted throughout the community. Talk about an opportunity to crank up your sales funnel! It’s important that we all continue the momentum of increased enrollments. For most of us, 2020 took a harsh toll on our student body, and we need to be creative in our approach to recruiting new people.

The festival I found during my research went off without a hitch — but I’ll play a bit of “what if” with you. After all, you know that I have true stories about bad situations in...

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Cousin Zeke

by Karen Eden

 

My very first broadcasting job was at age 15 in Roanoke, Virginia. It was for a powerhouse AM country-music station called WKBA. I hate to say this, but my official air name was “Karen, Your Country Honey.” (Evidently, there was a time in my life when someone thought I was “sweet.”)

I was known only by my voice, and it was a pretty good one for a young girl. Because of the nature of the job, no one had a clue what I looked like, and I didn’t have to worry about it. I fell in love with radio and to this day love being a “voice behind a mike.”

At WKBA, the coveted afternoon-drive slot was hosted by a man who was character both on and off the mike. His name was “Cousin Zeke.” After a couple of years, Cousin Zeke became very dear to my heart. There was just something about the way he embraced people from all walks of life. He encouraged me and treated me with respect — something I rarely saw teenage girls...

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Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

lesson learned mentor Oct 05, 2021

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

 

 

Have you ever found yourself stuck in the negative feedback loop of perfection? It’s an odd mind trap in which no matter what you do, your efforts never seem perfect. You look back and think, I could’ve done X, Y or Z just a little better.

Most of us have been there — unfortunately. While it’s true there are times when you have to push yourself to do better, there are also times when good is good enough.

Yes, hard work matters. However, it’s useful to consider something my late father used to say: “Work hard but work smart, too.” Sometimes your efforts and the results you achieve are simply good enough. Period.

A popular saying, often attributed to architect William McDonough, is “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” If you know anything about architects, you know that the pursuit of perfection is often a struggle for them. My wife Kimberly Phipps-Nichol frequently uses...

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How Do You Let Your Students Go?

lesson learned mentor Oct 04, 2021

by Kathy Olevsky

I’ve written this column for 10 years now, telling the world how I’ve survived 45 years in the martial arts business despite having made many mistakes. In fact, I have not even begun to cover them all. I share my stories to help you learn from them — and because it’s important to know that you, too, may blunder along the way but that your school can survive.

During the pandemic and the period that followed its darkest days, most martial arts schools had to contend with students who wanted to terminate their programs. Because of the unique circumstances, martial arts academies around the world had to relax their cancellation policies. I’ve talked with school owners who struggled with the new normal of letting students leave because of COVID-related issues.

This is the one time in our history when most of us have had to make concessions. I know that our schools drastically modified their cancellation policies. In speaking with other...

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So Many Mistakes

lesson learned motivation Jun 20, 2021

by Kathy Olevsky

 

I’ve written this column for 10 years now, telling the world how I’ve survived 45 years in the martial arts business despite having made many mistakes. In fact, I have not even begun to cover them all. I share my stories to help you learn from them — and because it’s important to know that you, too, may blunder along the way but that your school can survive.

 

 

After the major changes and constant unpredictability of 2020, the martial arts industry started to come back strong in 2021. During this time, we had to get experimental — sometimes successfully and sometimes not. At this time, I would like to share some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my years of running a school (not just 2020) in the hope that the solutions I found can help you as our industry continues to revive.

 

Pay and Charge Your Black Belts. In our early years, we followed the tradition that holds that when students reach black belt,...

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Roadblocks

by Kathy Olevsky

 

I recently read a post in a Facebook group about how an instructor wanted to ban phones in the lobby. The idea, I believe, was to get parents to engage more with their children — with fewer distractions from their phones. Many experts in the martial arts business have said that we need to take giant steps in 2021 to get our businesses back to normal after a year of difficulties due to the COVID pandemic. However, there are ways to encourage parent participation and ways to alienate parents.

We instructors need to take into account that many parents and adult students have moved on to working remotely. In our school, there are parents who bring their children to class but are still on the clock for their jobs. They continue their work hours in our lobby or in their cars while their child trains. Some come in with their phones on because they’re on call. For this reason, we’ve decided to do whatever we can to help them improve their lives. Our...

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Helping Ourselves Through Helping Others

lesson learned mentor Feb 23, 2021

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.

Near the end of 2020, one of our locations was contacted by a fellow martial arts school owner looking to rent some space. He’d been forced to close his school because of COVID and was trying to restart his program while keeping costs as low as possible.

This is just one of many ways that we martial arts instructors can consider helping each other. Those of us who have managed to stay afloat and continue to teach in our commercial space might benefit from some extra...

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Beyond Social Distance

business lesson learned Feb 21, 2021

by Beth A. Block

 

  

Mats, bags, video gear, audio systems, oh my! Many of us transport our equipment to other locations. We might be traveling for a test or a graduation, or maybe we’re moving to a new studio space. Some of us might even be using a trailer as a permanent storage unit. Surely, there are more reasons for moving our things than those, but you get the point.

What none of us thinks about while we’re doing this is insurance for all our “stuff,” whether we plan to store it or move it. Be honest — does insurance ever come to mind unless you have a claim? I’ve got a quarter that says it doesn’t. (I’m smiling as I type. Please don’t contact me with serious quarter claims.)

A few months ago, I received a call from a studio owner. She said that during the summer of 2020, she would work out in the park and take her equipment with her every day. In the evening, she would clean the equipment and drive the...

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