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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".

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Never Stop Learning

lesson learned mentor Mar 25, 2020

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.

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday life of running a martial arts school that we often forget the key components of our success in the arts. When running a business, certain issues rise to the top and get our attention. It’s easy to assume that these are the important issues. In reality, the things we let sink to the bottom are often the ones that make or break us.

In the early days of owning my first dojo, my instructor used to say, “You...

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The Power of “No”

mentor Mar 24, 2020

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

 

In this installment of Black Belt Leadership, we’ll discuss the power and versatility of the word “no.” Being on the giving end and the receiving end of a “no” can be difficult. Leaders know all too well the hardships of having to give someone a negative answer when the person really wants you to help. On the other side, being told “no” when you’re wishing for a definitive “yes” can sting.

However, it’s essential to understand that “no” can be helpful in a variety of ways. In Start with NO ... The Negotiating Tools That the Pros Don’t Want You to Know, by Jim Camp, we’re reminded that “no” is a powerful tool for setting boundaries and creating opportunities for learning and growth.

Many people have learned how to elicit several small “yes” responses from someone and then turn those into the big “yes” they were seeking...

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Let Them Go

by Kathy Olevsky

 

We all know someone who seems to stir up drama like it’s their job. There’s one in every dojo. Sometimes this person is your most talented student, so you try to overlook the attitude you get on or off the floor. Sometimes this person is the family member paying for several of your students, so you grin and bear it for the sake of income. Sometimes this person is the parent of a student who excels in class and who personally does not give you any problems. Whoever he or she is, such a person is the cause of “dojo drama.”

You can ignore the person or make excuses, but sooner or later you have to make a decision. In the second scenario, you might decide that the monthly tuition for multiple students is worth putting up with the drama-causer who’s footing the bill.

However, the decision is more difficult when it involves a student who has talent you want to keep but an attitude you want to lose. When a student belittles others in...

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Plan Your Summer Now!

maia mentor Feb 24, 2020

by Mike Metzger, MAIA Consultant

 

When I speak with school owners about the challenges they face, one of the most consistent themes is the struggle to keep business thriving during the summer months. One way, of course, is to run daylong camps. These camps can last for one week or several and are a great way to generate revenue. However, not every school owner wants to or can spend all day at his or her dojo. It’s for these martial artists that I offer the following four ways to create value, excitement and revenue during the summer while working normal afterschool hours.

 

Private-Lesson Packages

Regardless of when summer break starts in your area, you can offer a private-lesson package based for eight weeks. Bundle those private lessons as once-a-week hourlong sessions and offer as many or as few as you have time to teach. An eight-week, eight-lesson private training package can sell for $480.

To make this package even more appealing, offer different themes. For...

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Do You Think You’re Doing Great?

maia mentor supershow Feb 19, 2020

by Frank Silverman

 

Over the past few months, I’ve done quite a bit of shopping and buying: holiday gifts, upgrades and repairs to the house, a new car, kids’ birthday gifts and more. I was in an in-store and online buying frenzy — my own perpetual Black Friday.

My overall experience with all this shopping was great. Ultimately, I was able to purchase every item I wanted or needed. I paid what I consider fair prices, and I’m enjoying my purchases. That said, when I put on my consultant’s hat afterward, I couldn’t help but evaluate my transactions. How is the quality of the items I bought? How was the service leading up to the purchases? Do I have any buyer’s remorse? Was my shopping experience as good as it could have been? Was it better than expected? Were the salespeople friendly and the online retailers straightforward?

Evaluating everything in detail made me think of my schools in Orlando, Florida. I think I offer a great product....

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Showing Versus Helping

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

 

I want to share some insights regarding the distinctions between two concepts that are often confused: helping and showing. Both relate to leadership and teamwork.

As martial arts professionals, we are often asked by our students for assistance with techniques, combinations, kata and so on. But when we assist them, what’s the difference between helping and showing? It’s more than just a matter of semantics.

“Helping” means giving tips and critiques. “Showing” requires giving a demonstration of the task. The reason I’m pointing out the difference is that too often, conflict and frustration result from confusing the terms.

For example, suppose you needed people to help you move. However, when you asked for help, you probably expected that people would give you some amount of their time and show up ready to pack boxes and carry things.

Now imagine if the people arrived, and instead of packing and...

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How to Use Your Speed Bag for Kids' Classes

mentor retention Feb 04, 2020

By Michelle Hodnett

Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is the story of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences in her martial arts journey.

  

The Century Foldaway Speed Bag Platform & Leather Speed Bag is an excellent tool to build hand-eye coordination as well as speed and endurance. Speed bag training beneficial to all ages and all levels of martial artists, for several reasons:

  • It increases hand speed, which helps eliminate wasted motion
  • The repetitive striking action trains the user to keep their hands up – a habit that is essential if you’re even going to think about sparring
  • It builds the trapezius muscle, which improves the overall snap of your punch

All of these things will benefit...

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What Martial Art Do You Teach?

“What martial art do you teach?”

 

That’s right up there among the most common questions asked by a prospective new student or their parents. If they’ve done some research, they may already know a few things about the martial arts, but as beginners, there are so many unanswered questions and preconceived ideas. Cutting through all of that can sometimes be a challenge.

 

As a practicing martial artist for my entire adult life I’ve had the opportunity to study a variety of martial art disciplines, some more extensively than others. I like to tell people, “They’re the same thing, only different.” I have always believed that it’s not the specific style or the system that makes one art better for one student and not another. I think it’s more important to find an instructor and a school with a philosophy and style of teaching that is appropriate for the needs of the individual student.

       ...

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Success Through Community Involvement

mentor Jan 28, 2020

By Keith D. Yates

 

 

Kevin Nevels began his martial arts training as a child in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1993, but he stopped training a couple years later when his family moved to the small North Texas community of Coppell. It wasn’t until his college years at the University of North Texas that a friend got him re-interested in the martial arts. He found a school that taught the same traditional taekwondo that he had learned as a kid and, soon after, he had earned his black belt.

Nevels majored in radio, TV and film and always thought he would go into that industry after graduation. Instead, he took a job working with his father in the oil industry (it is Texas, after all). However, he continued to train and do some part-time teaching of the martial arts. He readily admits he wasn’t really happy in his oil job and, apparently, his dad noticed that fact as well.

In January 2010, Kevin was running a taekwondo demonstration with his team and his father was a...

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Agility Ring Drills Kids Will Love!

mentor student retention Jan 27, 2020

By Michelle Hodnett

 

Project Dojo is a nonprofit community outreach program in Pueblo, Colorado, that works with at-risk children. Through the power of martial arts, Project Dojo seeks to inspire and motivate kids within a safe environment, while continuing to teach the traditions of martial arts. This is the story of Project Dojo co-founder Michelle Hodnett’s experiences in her martial arts journey.

 

Agility Rings from Century are durable and will last for years, and their use is only limited by your imagination. We use the rings to focus the students, to provide visual markers, and as a tool in multiple drills. No matter how you use them, their bright colors always draw kids’ attention and help them focus on the task at hand.

 

 

Ring on Ground Drills

Quick Feet: Place your rings in a line and have students go in and out of the rings as fast as they can. This is footwork and cardio. Several other agility drills, like hopping on one foot, two feet...

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