by Karen Eden
My very first broadcasting job was at age 15 in Roanoke, Virginia. It was for a powerhouse AM country-music station called WKBA. I hate to say this, but my official air name was “Karen, Your Country Honey.” (Evidently, there was a time in my life when someone thought I was “sweet.”)
I was known only by my voice, and it was a pretty good one for a young girl. Because of the nature of the job, no one had a clue what I looked like, and I didn’t have to worry about it. I fell in love with radio and to this day love being a “voice behind a mike.”
At WKBA, the coveted afternoon-drive slot was hosted by a man who was character both on and off the mike. His name was “Cousin Zeke.” After a couple of years, Cousin Zeke became very dear to my heart. There was just something about the way he embraced people from all walks of life. He encouraged me and treated me with respect — something I rarely saw teenage girls...
by Dave Kovar
I believe that one of the X factors that enable people to operate a successful martial arts school is maintaining a passion for the arts. Looking at it from the outside, most people think that because we run martial arts schools, we get to work out all the time. For many people, this is not the case. As a matter of fact, it can be challenging to find time to train when you’re running a business, raising a family and balancing other commitments.
With that said, we’ve tried to create a culture in our schools where personal training is not only encouraged but also expected. This has dramatically helped my team and me maintain our love of martial arts and our desire to improve, regardless of age or athletic potential.
As for me, I’m proud to say (at the risk of sounding arrogant) that it’s been 50 years since my first wrestling match in 1971, and I’m still training. I’ve certainly had my share of injuries along the way, but...
by Karen Eden
As a high school wrestler, my son was asked to help referee at a junior wrestling league tournament. At those events, kids as young as 3 get in the ring to show their ability to control and conquer. (My son was also a junior wrestler in elementary school, though not at that young age.)
Funny things can happen when you’re dealing with 3-year-olds who have to do something they don’t particularly want to do. It was here that I was reminded of an important life lesson given by a toddler just barely out of diapers.
When the whistle blew, the little guy immediately fell to the ground and spread his arms open, just waiting for his opponent to pin him. It was as if he was saying, “Let’s get this over with.” It was very obvious that even at the age of 3, this boy had decided that he did not like conflict and was not going to engage in it. The crowd laughed, the parents gave him a talking to, and the toddler simply got up and went over to get his...
The struggle against COVID-19 has rightly been described as a war. Some martial arts school owners did nothing as the coronavirus attacked, and their businesses perished. Most school owners took defensive action, and they survived. A few, however, went on the offensive. Even as they defended themselves against the hit brought on by the lockdowns, they explored new territory where they saw good chances for growth. These are the success stories of seven of them.
School: Black Tiger Martial Arts
Headquarters: Houston, Texas
Co-Owner: Robin McLeod Ingram (with husband Bill Ingram)
When COVID-19 started to affect businesses in March 2020, our first plan was to have separate class times throughout the day with brothers and sisters training together — and maybe a few other kids for a maximum of four per class. We would make sure they were more socially distanced than was suggested. Furthermore, we would require everyone to wear a mask.
When local businesses...
by Perry William Kelly
“I always say that the path to greatness for all of us, for every single person on this planet, is suffering — suffering through failure, through adversity, through tragedy, through setbacks, obstacles, mistakes. It is that journey of suffering that brings out our greatness.”
— Chatri Sityodtong
You, the readers of MASuccess, probably are better acquainted with suffering than almost anyone else these days. You suffered through however many years it took you to become an instructor in your art. You struggled through the growing pains of building your school from the ground up. And over the past two years, you persevered through the worst health and business crisis in 100 years. Even though you’re bruised and battered, you’ve remained in the fight because you possess the warrior spirit — much like the hero of our story.
Chatri Sityodtong is the CEO of ONE Championship, a Singapore-based martial arts...
by Kathy Olevsky
I’ve written this column for 10 years now, telling the world how I’ve survived 45 years in the martial arts business despite having made many mistakes. In fact, I have not even begun to cover them all. I share my stories to help you learn from them — and because it’s important to know that you, too, may blunder along the way but that your school can survive.
After the major changes and constant unpredictability of 2020, the martial arts industry started to come back strong in 2021. During this time, we had to get experimental — sometimes successfully and sometimes not. At this time, I would like to share some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my years of running a school (not just 2020) in the hope that the solutions I found can help you as our industry continues to revive.
Pay and Charge Your Black Belts. In our early years, we followed the tradition that holds that when students reach black belt,...
by Karen Eden
My favorite Chinese eatery in the world happens to be located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It’s a very unassuming place, the kind of restaurant you would refer to as a “hole in the wall.” I’ve frequented this location for decades now and go there every time I’m in town. The flavor of the sauce, the texture of the rice — everything you would be extra picky about is accommodated. And I, my friends, am very picky about my Asian food!
During one visit, I noticed that somebody had opened a Chinese buffet next door to my favorite spot. The buffet was cheaper and, of course, featured an all-you-can-eat style of dining. There were bright balloons and banners placed across the entrance. But nope — no buffet for me. I know what’s good, and I stick with what I know.
As my family and I walked in to be seated, we noticed that the restaurant was emptier than normal. No doubt locals were giving the ballooned and bannered...
by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
Something that many leaders — and people in general — deal with regularly is the urge to overdo certain aspects of their jobs. We all know someone who was given a chance to run things and let it go to his or her head, or the person simply did too much to try to impress the boss. Here’s an example.
When I was in fourth grade, we had a substitute teacher. She was a regular substitute at our school and was known for being tough. Many students saw her as someone who tried too hard and was out to prove something. Those personality traits made her stubborn and unwilling to understand other perspectives.
One day when she was subbing in our class, she was her usual overcompensating self. In the class was a student who stuttered. She called on him to answer a question, and he was silent. She became irate and then berated him.
When he remained silent, she took things to another level and demanded that he go to the chalkboard to...
Navy SEAL and Air Force Fighter Pilot Team Up to Inspire and Educate at the 2021 Virtual SuperShow
by Perry William Kelly
What happens when you put a master motivational speaker who used to be a Navy SEAL and a master business consultant who used to be an Air Force fighter pilot together and task them with inspiring and educating martial arts business owners? Well, no one knows because the 2021 Virtual SuperShow hasn’t happened yet. (At the event, which is scheduled for July 7-9, they will be the keynote speakers.)
One thing we do know now is that you won’t get “reel life” versions of a SEAL and a top gun — sorry, Mark Wahlberg and Tom Cruise. You will get “real life” versions of American heroes, specifically Brent Gleeson and Robert “Cujo” Teschner, both of whom have put their lives on the line for your freedom. These warriors went on to become successful businessmen and consultants, and when you sign up for the...
by Karen Eden
I had just landed my first TV anchor job at age 22 when I found what I thought was the perfect hairstyle. This was back when hair was bigger and hairspray was an absolute necessity. I couldn’t believe that I had to go all the way to Toronto, Canada, to find a hairstyle I actually liked. The giant poster was hanging there like an oversized invitation for me to come on in and get the latest fashion trend in haircuts.
At first, I was happy to sit in the chair and listen to the stylist talking in French, but after about 10 minutes, I started to panic. I’ve always had long hair, and he was taking off pieces all the way up to my ears. Then I thought, Surely, he knows what he’s doing. Besides, if I was to maintain a professional look for my new job, I could no longer don a long, free-flowing style.
Finally, the stylist was done. He spun me around to get a look in the mirror. “Oh, my God!” I exclaimed.
“You wanted the haircut on the...
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