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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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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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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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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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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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Bloom Where You’re Planted

motivation Jul 09, 2020

by Dave Kovar

 

There is a samurai maxim that states, “Do what a weed does and bloom where planted.” Have you ever seen a dandelion sprouting from a crack in the sidewalk? It’s not complaining about not having enough sun or whining about the lack of soil or not getting enough rain. It just does the best it can to bloom and grow tall. We often dismiss the dandelion as a weed, but in this case, we can learn from its example. One thing I know for certain is that our lives will improve the moment we decide to change our perspective and look at things differently.

I witnessed an excellent example of “blooming where planted” a few years back. My wife and I were crossing the Bay Bridge on our way into San Francisco for the day. The Bay Bridge probably has 18 toll booths, and it’s not uncommon to wait in line for half an hour before reaching one of them. It was a beautiful morning, and we were eager to get into the city. We weren’t quite...

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Hold to Your Standards

business coach motivation Jul 07, 2020

by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs

 

As I write this, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Every day, we’re being tested and stretched in new ways — as leaders, martial artists, school owners, instructors and role models.

Despite all the chaos and the unprecedented levels of change, there is one simple point I’d like to make: No matter how things go, we must hold to our standards. The reason is very simple.

How we act, speak and behave during the crisis says more about our character than any platitudes, student creeds or tenets ever will. In other words, the pandemic is showing who we really are through how we behave during difficult times.

I want to share a personal experience that pertains to holding to one’s standards. During my time as a martial artist, I’ve had the honor of training under several instructors in various styles. As a result, I hold several black belts. The lesson I’m about to share comes from one of my promotion...

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Cream

motivation Jul 02, 2020

by Karen Eden

 

Truth be told, there have been times throughout my life when I thought for sure that my career as I knew it was over — as if the “magic” I possessed was suddenly going to disappear and leave me high and dry.

I often talk about the years when I would leave early in the morning before my newscast with FOX News to teach martial arts in the middle of the ghetto. I had made a promise to myself to give back when I knew that I had been blessed. A few years later, the community called out to me with even greater needs. It was a calling I knew I needed to answer. I found myself going from a major market TV anchor job to feeding homeless people in the inner city. “That’s not who you are, Karen. You’re better than that!” I was told.

That was a time in my life when I wondered if I would simply disappear. Maybe this was it for me. But you know me. If I know I have to do something, then I’ll do it simply because it’s the...

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It’s Time to Show the World What We’re Made Of!

maia mentor motivation Jun 22, 2020

by Frank Silverman, MAIA Executive Director

 

In February 2020, the stock market hit an all-time high of 29,348. Unemployment was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. And the martial arts school business seemed to be riding an infinite wave of new student signups.

Then BAM! We were knocked on our collective butts by an invisible foe that has gone on to kill thousands of people, shut down the economy around the world, drive up the U.S. unemployment rate to an estimated 20 percent and, literally, terrorize people in ways not seen in modern times.

And that wave of student signups? It disappeared. Nearly every martial arts school in America was shuttered as cities and states implemented the recommended quarantine procedures.

It served as a stark reminder that life can — and sometimes does — change on a dime.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, I received countless email messages and voicemails from school owners:

“I don’t know what to do!”

...

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