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 Karen Eden
I recently returned to my hometown for a visit. In between chatting with old friends, I allowed myself time to wander and explore the “memory lanes” of my childhood. Many of the places and experiences there were pleasant — others, not so much. After some internal debate, I decided to visit a place that’s been the source of nightmares since sixth grade: my old middle school.
You see, before I was a black belt six times over, before I knew how to hold my head up, before I realized that, belt or not, we all have so much inherent worth as humans, I was a victim of bullying. I was an easy target: poor, ethnic and undeniably geeky. Nowhere in my life would I ever again face such horrific experiences as I did middle school!
I realize that I’m not alone in that regard. No one, I’ve come to learn, escapes middle school unscathed. But combined with the brokenness of my home life, the ostracism and bullying from my peers those three...
George Alexander, a shorin-ryu karate pioneer and the president/founder of the International Shorin Ryu Karate Kobudo Federation, began training in judo and karate in the Marine Corps. He currently holds the rank of 10th dan hanshi, or “teacher of teachers.” Alexander has been inducted into six halls of fame, produced more than 200 instructional DVDs and published 10 books. He is a professor emeritus of East Asian history at the State University of New York and a distinguished research fellow and member of the faculty of the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences in the United Kingdom. He teaches at the Budokan Martial Arts Honbu Dojo in Palm Coast, Florida.
MASuccess: Where did you grow up and what did your dad do?
George Alexander: I was born on Long Island and grew up in New York. Dad was in real estate there. We moved to Florida when I was 14.
MAS: When did you discover the martial arts?
Alexander: Dad was an officer in the Army Air Corps...
By Dwight Trower
I’ve been training as a martial artist for 38 years. The last 28 of those I’ve also been a school owner. Over that time, I have had the opportunity to visit and network with countless other martial arts professionals. As an industry, we’re all aware that many of our students have learning disabilities or physical limitations, and that we have to be able to adapt our programs to allow them to benefit, while maintaining the integrity of the martial arts and our chosen way of teaching.
One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that every student is unique. Each and every one of them has their own needs and goals. I’ve seen many schools, just like my own, train and develop elite martial athletes, successful adult students, children with learning disabilities, and those with special needs all within the same program.
October is Down syndrome Awareness Month, so this is a great time for me to get to share how...
By Dwight Trower
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month! To shine the spotlight on the amazing members of our martial arts community with Down syndrome, and those who know them training partners, students, family and friends, MAIA is proud to feature this guest article by Dwight Trower, Director of Instruction at St. Louis Family Martial Arts Academy.
In my many years as a martial artist and school owner, I have had the fortune of being able to instruct many students with Down Syndrome, as well as others on the autism spectrum and with various mental and physical disabilities. Given the inclusive nature of martial arts (no one sits on the bench!) I know that many of my fellow school owners have also had this experience. However, in 2010, thanks to Deidre Pujols and the Pujols Family Foundation, I was given the opportunity to do even more.
With help from the Foundation, I was able to create a stand-alone program and...
by Karen Eden
One of the hardest things for me to master during my time as a TV news reporter was learning to “hurry up and wait.” You have to hurry up and get to the scene so you don’t miss anything. But once you get there, you just stand around — sometimes for hours. You try to figure out what’s really going on, which information is relevant and which is superfluous, whom you can interview and how you can get them to talk.
That’s usually the way it is when it comes to covering any kind of breaking news. As I’m sure my directors would attest, it was never my favorite thing to do.
Seasoned reporters are the best at this. They can show up and wait from high noon until sunset — and still present the story with smiles on their faces. Why? Because they’ve done it a million times, and they don’t even entertain the thought of going back empty-handed. They’ll find a way to get people to talk and to get that story on...
Guest Blog 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 art journey.
I stared down at my coffee, knowing I was going to be on another sixteen-hour shift. I worked as a corrections officer in the local jail, in the segregation unit. Here, the inmates who had been deemed too dangerous or violent for the general population lived while they served out their sentences.
Suddenly, the radio clicked in: “Code 82, Seg 4!” Setting my coffee down, I rushed out with the sergeant and three other officers. As we ran down the hall, the blood rushed to my ears. I could smell fried baloney, leftover from lunch,...
By Dave Kovar
I do not know if other martial arts instructors have experienced this, but in my world, there seems to be an assumption that because I teach martial arts for a living, I must have all the time in the world to train. It has been my experience the reverse is often true. We are so busy working to grow our businesses that we hardly have time for ourselves, let alone the extra time we might need to keep ourselves as healthy and fit as we would like. With that said, if we’re not careful, we can use this as an excuse to let ourselves go.
I’m often amazed at the disconnect many smart and talented school owners have with regard to how their personal health affects their level of success. It might be possible to achieve or maintain a high level of success temporarily without taking care of yourself. However, in the long run, that abuse will catch up to you. There is an ancient proverb that says, “Those who have their health have 1,000 goals. Those...
By Karen Eden
This column originally ran in the November 2015 issue of MASuccess and is being reprinted here because of its popularity.
Those who know me have learned to accept me with all my eccentricities. So I know that, as many years have gone by, surely they must be true friends. But for those who desire to know me better, I always air a disclaimer.
I’m a different breed of person. It used to bother me early in life, but now I am comfortable with that fact, and it doesn’t bother me one bit.
I often think about how much time it would save if I could just hand out a resume to everyone who wants to know me better. That way, if I wasn’t their “cup of tea,” they could just never call me. I wouldn’t be offended!
I am a deeply religious person. I’m also a diehard traditional martial arts woman with a master’s rank in a Korean, military-based, hand-to-hand combat art.
If that isn’t scary enough to the average person,...
Peter Grootenhuis possesses one of the most brilliant scientific minds in the world, but his body is fighting a losing battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Teaching from his wheelchair, Grootenhuis is an inspiration to everyone at Pacific Martial Arts in San Diego. His message — “Quitting is not an option!” — is one of many legacies he will leave in his wake.
By Terry L. Wilson
“My World Is the Dojo”
Before moving to America, Grootenhuis began his lifelong journey in the martial arts in his native Netherlands, training in shotokan karate. The intricacies woven into those kata proved to be a perfect fit for a man who excels in unraveling the secrets of the universe.
“Strange as it may sound, martial arts gives me complete relaxation,” Grootenhuis says. “When I’m in the dojo, I think of nothing else. My world is the dojo. I am totally focused on what I...
By Herb Borkland
Tenth-dan Texas “Blood-and-Guts” era phenomenon Phil Wilemon started training in 1964. He won Allen Steen’s United States Karate Championships as a blue belt. As a brown belt, he either won or was disqualified in every tournament he entered, causing his longtime instructor Larry Caster to say, “Two out of three aren’t bad.”
Wilemon won 13 consecutive tournaments as a middleweight black belt and fought on national championship teams. A founding officer for the Texas Amateur Contact Karate Association, he also served as a representative for the Professional Karate Association in the Southwest. Wilemon refereed or coordinated more than 100 full-contact karate matches and is still in demand as an instructor and seminar leader.
Herb Borkland: Where did you grow up, and what did your dad do?
Phil Wilemon: I was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and moved to Arlington in third grade. My father came from a long line of bankers but ended...
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