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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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Learning from the Inside Out

motivation Mar 20, 2019

By Karen Eden

 

We were having lunch with our good friend Tommy several years ago. Tommy, a plumber by trade, is a good-hearted guy with a simple life. We began discussing how quickly technology is changing, and how we are almost forced to keep up with all the changes that take place.

“I had a really hard time learning computers, but I eventually figured it out,” he told me.

“Figured it out?” I responded, quizzically.

I wondered how someone with no prior experience could just “figure out” how to initially operate a computer.

            Tommy explained: after much frustration, one weekend he simply went out and bought a used computer. He then shut the door to his workroom and tore the entire thing apart.

“If I can see how it works from the inside,” he told me, “then I can figure out how to operate it from the outside.”

I looked at Tommy and smiled from ear to ear....

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Sonny Onoo: Being Born in Japan

motivation Mar 15, 2019

By Herb Borkland

 

Born in Japan, Kazuo “Sonny” Onoo trained in karate and judo in school clubs before immigrating to Fairbanks, Alaska, at age 11, where he practiced goju-ryu karate. After moving to southern Minnesota, Onoo trained under full-contact Professional Karate Association (PKA) Champion Gordon Franks and goju-ryu legend Chuck Merriman. Onoo competed in Europe as a member of Merriman’s Trans-World Oil team between 1975 and 1987, and the PKA named him the best bantamweight in the world.

In the 1990s, Onoo became a professional wrestling “character.” Acting as liaison between World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), the “villain agent” Onoo negotiated the talent exchange programs which allowed numerous Japanese performers to appear with WCW.

 

Herb Borkland: How did you first hear about martial arts?

 

Sonny Onoo: As an immigrant from Japan, I was asked from day one, “Do you know...

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“C” is for Community

By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

 

For this column, I continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address “C,” which stands for community.

Originally, I considered using words like “courage” or “compassion.” But after our recent rank promotion ceremony at my school, TNT Jujitsu in Houston, I realized that community is what truly matters. 

Community is essential because it is one of the key components of loyalty and retention. You can have a great facility and teach a dynamite curriculum. But if members don't feel that they are part of a community, it’s easy for them to leave. This is especially true of your instructors and staff.

However, a wonderful community can help ensure that people will stay and even follow your organization and leaders.

Here’s an example that illustrates this point. My dad’s side of the family was mostly black...

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Building Black Belts in Life!

mentor motivation Mar 06, 2019

By Joshua Page

 

Being a Black Belt Inside and Outside the School

As instructors, we spend a great deal of time trying to develop our students into black belts. We equip them to deal with all types of dangerous situations and attacks. We arm them with kicks, punches, throws and submissions.

Even the mental side of self-defense is addressed, like how to keep calm under pressure and dealing with overwhelming odds. All this takes place while developing humility and learning the importance of constant improvement. These lessons are powerful and life-changing, and prepare our students for adversity on the practice mat and in the arena of sport.

We spend thousands of hours redefining techniques, perfecting form, and forging the absolute best martial artists we can. The results can be truly amazing. The transformation from a day-one student to a black belt is, at times, awe-inspiring.

When you see those students on the mats training and teaching, they seem to have a certain air about...

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The Roller Coaster Life and Times of School Owners David and Suzana Chacon

By Keith D. Yates

       

Can you have a successful mixed martial arts (MMA) school geared towards children? Can you come back from looking insolvency square in the face? Can you overcome years of weight gain, even having reached the point where you’re considered morbidly obese?

The answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes, if you are the resilient David and Suzana Chacon, owners of Dominion Martial Arts Institute of Mentorship in Oswego, Illinois!

David began his martial arts training at Gen-Ki Karate in Chicago as a child. He also spent a few years in a taekwondo school, earning only a red belt because his parents divorced and he had to stop training. In his early 20s, he developed an interest in ground fighting because, like many stand-up fighters, he felt insecure about what to do if he ever found himself on the ground in a real-life street situation. So, when he was 23, he looked around for a solution and found an MMA coach.

But David says it...

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Lessons from the Ute Prayer Trees

motivation Feb 12, 2019

By Karen Eden

 

Deep in the Black Forest of Colorado stand the relatively unknown Ute (pronounced, yute) prayer trees. The Ute tribe of Colorado is documented as the oldest known Native American tribe in the U.S. They once dominated the Rocky Mountains.

 

It seems there are certain parts of the mountains that the Ute chose to become their natural record-keeping area. these areas include “directional trees” which were manipulated to point to the most sacred parts of the forest.

 

Several others of these culturally modified trees are the grave markers of great warriors and the native royalty that once ruled and sacrificed for the tribe. Others are “agreement trees,” manipulated to twist together, possibly marking a treaty between two tribes, or a ceremonious wedding.

 

You have to understand that these trees are hundreds of years old, and they took several generations to manipulate. The medicine man/woman would teach their offspring how to...

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“A” Is for Attitude

mentor motivation Feb 09, 2019

By Dr. Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

 

In this column, I will continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address “A” for attitude.

 

Your attitude, of course, is essential to successful leadership and building great teams. Attitude’s two very important components are acumen and adaptability

 

First, a quick story. My 5th-grade teacher was named Mr. George Pope. He was a passionate, gregarious and caring person who always pushed us to excel. One day, we were being unruly and he decided to teach us a lesson about attitude.

 

The lesson was simple but exceedingly difficult. Our participation in recess was dependent upon class behavior. I remember that Mr. Pope’s discussion/lesson on attitude was on a Tuesday. Sadly, we were such a bunch of miscreants that we kept messing up each day and didn’t have recess for the remainder of the week.

 

...

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Tom Schlesinger: A Public Compliment from a Martial Arts Editor

motivation Feb 08, 2019

By Herb Borkland

 

Facing 1970’s tournaments ruined by a lack of standard rules or consistent refereeing, then - Inside Kung-Fu magazine’s editor Paul Maslak introduced statistical analysis to sport karate and pushed for safety gear and mandatory seeding of top competitors. In 1979, prominent tournament-karate and kickboxing referee Tom Schlesinger and Maslak co-authored the Schlesinger Rules System of Martial Arts Competition, one of the decade’s most valuable contributions to sport karate and professional kickboxing. In 1982, Schlesinger also published his period-classic book “Fighting Strategy: Winning Combinations.”

 

Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?

 

Tom Schlesinger:  I was born in Detroit, where my father managed the state for Four Roses and other major liquor companies. We moved to California in 1960.

After graduating from high school sports, I wasn’t good enough for semi-pro ball. Now...

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The Sky’s the Limit!

By Terry L. Wilson

 

Rocket Scientists do Exist! You Just Don’t Meet Them Often

Wassim Khechen’s (pronounced, wa-sim’ catch’en) exceptional aptitude for science and his keen mind, among other great scientists, helped launch America’s probe of outer space in the 1990s. However, much to his parents’ chagrin, Khechen’s passion for martial arts would eventually take him down a path less traveled by his academic peers, leaving him to explore a world of his own creation.

Originally from Venezuela, Khechen moved to the United States in 1981, landing in Buffalo, New York under protest. A top-rated fighter in his own country, Khechen was poised to test his skills against the best fighters in world. That was, until his father threw in the towel and took him out of the dojang and into a university far away from his taekwondo school in Venezuela.

“I was supposed to be fighting on the Venezuelan Olympic Team, but my father insisted that I...

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Scot Conway: Using Martial Arts to Overcome Attention Deficit Disorder

motivation Jan 07, 2019

By Herb Borkland

 

Multi-talented soke Scot Conway is also an attorney-at-law and real estate broker, pastor, prolific science-fantasy author, keynote speaker and organizational trainer, and producer of audio-training programs. Conway’s multi-arts background includes judo, Chinese kempo chuan shu, Grandmaster Sam Kuoha’s kara ho system, and kajukenbo. All of these led to Conway synthesizing his own kempo-based Guardian Martial Arts.

 

Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?

 

Scot Conway: I was born in Hawaii and grew up in California. My Coast Guard dad retired and went on to become a Jaguar dealer.

 

HB: How did you first hear about martial arts?

 

SC: I started training in 1971 as a first grader, when I walked into a YMCA judo class holding my mother’s hand. Lots of bloody noses! I went on to snake and crane kung-fu, tai chi and many others. You see, I had ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder] and dyslexia. But martial...

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