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 Eric P. Fleishman
Owning and operating your own dojo — a customized, picture-perfect hall of enlightenment, if you will — can be a dream come true for some. Having the opportunity to share the warrior’s way with the next generation is the ultimate honor for any black belt. Passing along the knowledge is a tradition as old as the martial arts themselves. But for this process to succeed, would-be teachers must first secure a building, purchase insurance and market themselves.
To create a thriving martial arts business, the next step is just as crucial: Assemble a staff. You might start out working solo, but to grow, you’ll need more people. These men and women are paramount to delivering knowledge and techniques to your students, as well as nurturing them through the struggles that always accompany personal growth. Finding the best instructors is essential, and keeping them happy and motivated will set you on the road to long-term success. The...
by Karen Eden
Among Native Americans, honoring your ancestors is a long-standing practice. Every powwow, every sacred ceremony and every tribute to the creator — they all begin and end with remembering those who have come before. There’s a sharing of the knowledge and comfort that they’re up there in the great beyond, pulling for you and finding ways to guide you when you need help.
Native or not, at the very least, we all owe our ancestors a certain amount of respect. After all, it was their love and great determination to thrive that got us where we are today. I, for one, will go out of my way to make sure I remain grateful in remembering these sacrifices — all of them — from 14 different nationalities. Understanding their hardships helps me realize who I am today and what my blood has recorded within my veins.
We all must answer the question of who we are meant to be. And like in a tapestry that gets woven over the years of our...
Lately, I have been watching as many of the MAIA webinars (and Facebook videos) as I can. I am amazed at the effort Mr. Silverman and his team have put into supporting the huge number of martial arts schools, even as our collective industry worries that we are teetering on the edge of financial collapse.
I normally consider myself a business technocrat: I am always in favor of new opportunities which would allow small business owners a better chance of success, whether this be via traditional banks, credit unions, trust companies or even the new FinTech industry.
I recently wrote a MAIA blog on FinTechs, in which I suggested them as alternate sources of financing for martial arts school owners. Then COVID-19 happened and the world of business suddenly changed. The businesses who counted on walk-by traffic and locals stopping by daily were suddenly gone. Group settings were now banned. All competitive sports were put on hold. The class setting of...
by Dave Kovar
As we all know, nothing in life, including the success of your school, is guaranteed. However, with the right mindset and the right habits, you can stack the odds in favor of your long-term success.
In my experience, there are five habits that are essential for long-term success. Although I have seen some people fail despite adhering to a few of these behaviors, I have never known anyone to succeed without them. They are: They are: Keep Your Center, Value Your Relationships Above All, Know Where You Are Going, Know How You Are Going to Get There and Keep Getting Up/Moving Forward. Let’s take a look at each one of these in more detail:
1 Keep Your Center
It has been said that the mightiest person is the one who has control over their emotions. That is essentially what it means to keep your center. I named my school Satori Academy of Martial Arts. Our definition of satori is “in the moment, at your best.” This refers to a...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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....
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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