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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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3 Crucial Decisions You Need to Make

mentor motivation Oct 01, 2020

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...

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Have You Ever Given Up Too Soon?

masuccess motivation Oct 01, 2020

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...

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The Mountain of Clothes

mentor motivation Oct 01, 2020

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...

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Kelly Cox: Following Keith Yate’s Example

mentor motivation Oct 01, 2020

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...

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It Starts With Irritation

mentor motivation Sep 01, 2020

by Karen Eden

  

I never thought that anything good could come out of being irritated — until I read up on one of my favorite gems: the pearl. I didn’t know that pearls usually aren’t perfectly round, and I didn’t know that it takes so long to create one. But what was most surprising was how something so beautiful could come out of something so irritating.

Take, for instance, the pearl of the rare and fragile Tahitian Black-Lipped Oyster. Each pearl takes up to two years to cultivate, and then only three in 100 are deemed to be of high quality. If you are fortunate enough to get a string of “high-quality” pearls, it will cost you the price of a luxury car.

Perhaps my favorite part of the pearl success story is knowing that every single pearl starts with a tiny grain of sand. The piece of sand is placed inside the mollusk. Because it’s irritating to the mollusk’s delicate insides, the animal secretes a natural liquid that...

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Lessons From a 17th-Century Samurai

mentor motivation Sep 01, 2020

 

by Dave Kovar

 

Hagakure is a book written in the 17th century by a samurai named Tsunetomo Yamamoto. It’s claimed to be one of the first books to document the samurai lifestyle. Mikio Nishiuchi, my iaido teacher, required us to read it before a belt test a few years back. It was interesting, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

There was one thing Yamamoto wrote that really stuck with me. I didn’t fully understand it at first, but it felt profound. I’m now starting to grasp it, at least a little. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially Yamamoto says that a samurai is always aware, and in every situation, every encounter, there is a chance for growth and improvement if the person is paying attention.

I think about this often and try to find ways to apply the concept to my life. I travel frequently, and with travel comes inconvenience and unpredictability, so I try to think of my trips as chances to practice growth and improvement. Here are some of the ways I do...

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Adapt to Changes and Move Forward!

mentor motivation Sep 01, 2020

by Kathy Olevsky 

 

Over time, I’ve found that change is uncomfortable for me. I’m sure that many of you have experienced the same. When you become good at something and therefore successful, it’s hard to watch it all slip backward to the point where you have to start over.

Case in point: As a result of the stay-at-home orders, most martial arts instructors transitioned to online learning and teaching. I was in shock when I first realized that our once-thriving business would not be operating at a capacity even close to what it was pre-pandemic.

After the shock came the fear. How was my business of nearly 45 years going to survive this?

Finally came the research, the brainstorming and the planning. We vowed to do what it took to survive. We always had, and we always will. We are martial artists, and we know how to rise above. Everything is hard, but that doesn’t mean we quit. It means we work harder.

Now, months later, we still offer online...

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Keep a Good Head

mentor motivation Sep 01, 2020

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

  

By the time you read this, we all will have been through pandemic-related frustrations, as well as protests and possibly even riots. Although it is important to be aware of what’s going on so we can react to it, it’s crucial that we remain focused on our schools. That focus is the topic of this column. I’d like to start with a parable my dad shared with me:

Once there was a worm who decided to make the trek to a lush and densely vegetated area. Now, this worm was quite smart. It knew that perils and threats lurked everywhere. The worm knew it was slow, so it mapped out the various paths and different areas that would provide the most safety.

The worm knew that there were all manner of birds, lizards and other predators, plus random stray dogs and cats that could easily hurt it. The heat of the sun also posed a danger. But the worm was clever enough to know that moving carefully and quickly was the key to success.

...

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Emmet (Tom) Thompson: Training with Texas-Legend Allen Steen

motivation Sep 01, 2020

 

By Herb Borkland

 

Ninth-dan Tom Thompson holds the record for the fastest brown-belt promotion in Skipper Mullen’s system. In 1971, at age 21, Thompson partnered with Allen Steen to become the fourth importer of martial arts supplies in America. An active lecturer, researcher and author, Thompson is also the founder and former director of the Fellowship of Christian Martial Artists. On November 14, 2009, he became both the oldest football player in NCAA history and, at age 59, the oldest to score a point during a game. He and his wife own AFC Management, Inc., which operates the Alpha Fitness Centers in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex.

 

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

Tom Thompson: I grew up in Dallas, Texas. By age 15, I lived alone with my father because of a dysfunctional family. He did a number of things before passing.

 

MAS: How did you first hear about martial arts?

Thompson: I was in 10th grade and knew of a...

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Loren W. Christensen: Feeling the Beauty of Karate

motivation Jul 31, 2020

by Herb Borkland

 

Loren W. Christensen, 10th-degree black belt and founder of American Freestyle, served 27 years in law enforcement, first as an Army MP and then as an LEO in Portland, Oregon. For a quarter of a century, he has been a defensive-tactics instructor. He’s had a parallel career as a martial arts journalist and “book doctor,” which started when he wrote a 1968 piece for Reader’s Digest. Among his works are Policing Saigon, Knife Fighter, Self-Defense for Women, Fighting the Pain-Resistant Attacker and Meditation for Warriors.

 

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

Loren Christensen: I was born in Vancouver, Washington. Dad was a truck driver.

 

MAS: How did you first get involved with martial arts?

Christensen: I was a teenage body builder. I broke my back in a weight-lifting contest, so after that, no more lifting. I had heard about karate in 1965, and I found a school in Portland, Oregon, run by Wu Ying...

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