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 Christopher Rappold
What is it that separates a good competitor from a great competitor? I have asked that question many times, and I have heard many answers. To be great, someone must be fast. Or must be strong. Or must have a long reach. Or must have superior strategy. The list of answers goes on.
While all these are valid, I believe that the biggest deciding factor between good and great is whether a person can control distance.
This answer is what I would call “the elusive obvious.” It is self-evident, but sometimes we are so close to it that we don’t appreciate its value. If distance is controlled, then offense, defense, blocks, punches and kicks all work. If distance is off, they all are rendered useless.
If distance is such a critical element of success in martial arts, why is it that most schools place a premium on punching and kicking and only teach distance as a necessary evil? As I reflected on the answer and spoke with others, two answers...
Motivate Your Masses: Part 2
In my last column, Motivate Your Masses: Part 1, I went over some ways that you can inspire your “masses:” your students, their parents and your staff. However, much as you won’t have the energy to work out if you haven’t eaten, you won’t have the mental energy to motivate others if you’re not keeping up with your own welfare.
Part of being a great motivator is promoting a balanced lifestyle to those you care about. Home life, work commitments, online distractions and hobbies can pull you in a million directions. Internally, things can quickly become unbalanced, causing stress and unease.
Many will come to you for answers about how to create a successful, balanced life. Your words hold weight because of your position, so hand out wisdom with care. The answers you provide will be implemented, and those outcomes are a direct reflection of your ability to lead effectively. Realize that some will...
By Christopher Rappold
As martial arts instructors continue to get better and better at teaching large populations in efficient ways, the temptation is to move towards total classroom systemization. And while systems do enable us to do certain things more efficiently than we have in the past, there are some decisions you need to make about what to systemize and what should be personalized.
Let’s break this down and look at it in two separate pieces.
First, let’s explore systems. Think about a favorite restaurant you frequent. Behind the scenes, there are probably a myriad of systems that help to ensure the experience is first-class: a setup of warming lights to ensure food arrives at the table hot, a dishwasher that ensures the silverware, glasses and plates sparkle, and an extensive food-preparation effort that probably started late morning or early afternoon that ensures there’s enough of the right kinds of food. Desserts are all premade and ready to be...
By Eric the Trainer
Running a martial arts school can be a challenge. Forking out money for marketing to attract new students, keeping the students that you do have enrolled, and staying current with billing can be time-consuming and grueling tasks.
Under these conditions, it can be difficult to find time to stay in shape, let alone maintain a positive outlook on life. Caught up in the daily grind, too many people lose sight of the fact that positivity is the ultimate key to success. For, like a bad case of the flu, a truly positive attitude can be wildly infectious, spreading like wildfire throughout your school and even beyond.
But how do you spark this process, and where does the magic begin? It all starts with you! The easiest way to initiate positivity in your life is to make the conscious decision to see the proverbial glass as half full. There are other steps you can take to supercharge this process, such as:
1. Go to bed earlier and cherish sleep....
By Christopher Rappold
There’s an old business adage that reads, “It costs seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing customer.” And when it comes to operating a martial arts school, it has never been more true.
Think about it – what does it cost you in actual dollars to get a new student? Even if your school has great systems in place, and you only spend time, effort and energy doing low- or no-cost activities, you have to admit that it is still labor intensive.
Now, contrast that with taking steps to ensure that your students are making progress and moving towards their goals – something you should be doing anyway. When you compare actual time and money spent keeping students on track to their goals versus the efforts and money it takes to add a student, it may make you take a second look at how you prioritize your time.
Try some quick math. Review all the memberships you have in your school. How many...
By Kathy Olevsky
I've been operating a martial arts school full time for 35 years. I think I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I'm still in business, I believe, is because I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this reality-based column, I'll point out key mistakes I made in my business career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. Then I’ll share the solutions I applied to overcome them.
How many times has something negative been said about you by another martial arts school owner or by the student of another school in your area? I’ve heard this complaint from various martial arts school owners. Some degree of rivalry is inevitable, but it can lead some people to aggressively criticize others. In reality, this is a form of adult bullying.
I have had this happen multiple times over the years. Most often, the...
By MAIA Executive Director Frank Silverman
In a recent column, I discussed the need for focusing on enrollments during the summer month. Even though summer enrollments are often less than stellar, it's important that we work towards getting new students.
I suggested ways to capture the low-hanging fruit: siblings and parents. Assuming you’re focused on new-member enrollment, a focus equal in importance during the summer is retention. It does no good to open the front door to a new student only to lose one through the back door.
There are quite a few reasons that summer retention is difficult. First, you are competing with the swimming pool and the season’s extended daylight hours. As much fun as it is to train in martial arts, in the summer months, staying out late and playing with friends is big competition.
There’s no getting around heat and nice weather being an issue for many students. Just as important is the fact that families break their normal...
By Christopher Rappold
When I walk into a school and see two or three high-level students training at the prime time (4:00 pm to 8:00 pm), with no other members in site, my eyebrows raise. When I see a class full of students who are not performing the technical skills correctly, I get restless. Each of these extremes are different, but, in both cases, the school owners or instructors are probably making one of the 5 Mistakes that can sabotage a sparring program. So what are the 5 Mistakes? Well let’s take a look at each one so you can make certain you aren’t making them.
Mistake Number 1 – Teaching offense first.
Sparring is learning how to move with another partner. To do it well, a student needs to be able to relax. They can only relax if they feel safe. Instructors have to remember to perceive safety though the eyes and feelings of a beginner. Help everyone feel safe by teaching defense first.
Mistake Number 2 – Developing speed...
By Deb Cupples
Repetition is critical to the improvement of technique. But finding ways to disguise the same old thing can diminish enthusiasm from both students and instructors. Injecting new life into old techniques, however, is not as difficult as you might think. Try this approach.
Inspiration sometimes comes from the most unassuming places. It may be hard to believe, but the inspiration I had for putting a new face on old teaching techniques came from a story that I was told, many years ago, in my teens. It’s a simple story about innovation to motivate out of desperation.
Here’s the story that crept back into my mind some 30-plus years later, and how it helped me keep the fire burning during classes when I’m not teaching anything new, but sewing down the seams of basic training.
I was told the following story when I was in my teens and it has stuck with me since then. It’s a simple story about a small town and how one man’s creativity...
By MAIA Division Manager Melissa Torres
Recently, a poll ran on Century’s Facebook page asking how many schools have a children’s program and, if not, the reasoning behind choosing not to offer one. Children are a huge part of the martial arts industry, and teaching them is an opportunity to instill the life skills they need early on.
One person who has dedicated her life to teaching kids is SKILLZ and PreSKILLZ creator Melody Johnson (née Shuman). I asked her a few questions that pertain to teaching children, for those of you who have been curious about the topic!
If you have specific questions I didn’t cover, please feel free to ask on Century Preschool Network’s Facebook group page and tag Master Johnson. She’ll be happy to respond!
Melissa Torres: What made you choose a career working with children?
Melody Johnson: My story starts off like that of many people in the martial arts. I was bullied a lot...
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