by Philip E. Goss Jr., Esq.
In this new COVID-19 world, many of you are using videoconferencing in lieu of in-person classes. Is teaching virtually in this manner without potential liability? The short answer is no.
As you know, classes conducted on your school premises have many built-in liability protections. For example, no student will be injured by a rambunctious pet or younger sibling running across the studio floor. No misplaced pieces of furniture will get in the way of full-power kicks.
Furthermore, should a student be injured at your school, you’ll have immediate knowledge of the incident, as well as the ability to take remedial action and then create an incident report that records all the facts while they’re fresh in the minds of witnesses.
Clearly, these protections do not apply when instruction takes place via videoconferencing. Nevertheless, many instructors are using video. Assuming you’re one of them, I offer the following cautionary advice.
by Kathy Olevsky
We all know someone who seems to stir up drama like it’s their job. There’s one in every dojo. Sometimes this person is your most talented student, so you try to overlook the attitude you get on or off the floor. Sometimes this person is the family member paying for several of your students, so you grin and bear it for the sake of income. Sometimes this person is the parent of a student who excels in class and who personally does not give you any problems. Whoever he or she is, such a person is the cause of “dojo drama.”
You can ignore the person or make excuses, but sooner or later you have to make a decision. In the second scenario, you might decide that the monthly tuition for multiple students is worth putting up with the drama-causer who’s footing the bill.
However, the decision is more difficult when it involves a student who has talent you want to keep but an attitude you want to lose. When a student belittles others in...
by Beth A. Block and Andrew J. Horner
Many people involved with youth sports programs don’t know what the Youth Safe Sports Act (YSSA) is, despite the fact that it’s almost two years old. This legislation is important for two reasons: First, it’s designed to keep our students safe from sexual predators, which is something we all want. Second, failure to comply with the law can result in severe consequences for martial arts school owners — even if the failure was merely one of ignorance and no actual assault occurred.
We’ll start with a brief review. Congress passed the YSSA in February 2018. The legislation was written in response to the abuse scandals that surrounded Jerry Sandusky (Penn State), Larry Nassar (USA Gymnastics) and Kristofer Bland (Pop Warner). The bill passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Donald Trump. With the enactment of this law, all businesses that teach, train or work with youth, as well as all...
by Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
I want to share some insights regarding the distinctions between two concepts that are often confused: helping and showing. Both relate to leadership and teamwork.
As martial arts professionals, we are often asked by our students for assistance with techniques, combinations, kata and so on. But when we assist them, what’s the difference between helping and showing? It’s more than just a matter of semantics.
“Helping” means giving tips and critiques. “Showing” requires giving a demonstration of the task. The reason I’m pointing out the difference is that too often, conflict and frustration result from confusing the terms.
For example, suppose you needed people to help you move. However, when you asked for help, you probably expected that people would give you some amount of their time and show up ready to pack boxes and carry things.
Now imagine if the people arrived, and instead of packing and...
by Philip E. Goss Jr., Esq.
As a regular contributor to MASuccess, I derive great satisfaction from two things. One is receiving positive feedback in regard to my coverage of certain issues. The second is when someone lets me know that a problem I covered, which had previously flown under the radar, has become a hot-button issue.
On that note, I will bring up two topics that I’ve touched on and that are generating controversy in various jurisdictions: wage theft and salary inquiries. The second topic spans two issues: the ever-increasing prohibition against asking prospective employees about their previous salaries and the practice of paying similarly situated male employees more than females.
In the past, local government entities were hesitant to become involved in employment-related issues. When it came to wage and hour issues, protection of private-sector employees was minimal at best. Previously, an employee who suffered harm because an employer...
by Beth A. Block
Trick or treat; give me something good to eat! Many fall celebrations revolve around food. That’s not surprising because food has brought human beings together since the beginning of our history. Many studies have shown that food fosters relationships between people and helps build communities.
Halloween, in particular, is all about sweets. In our martial arts studios, we offer parents a safe alternative to taking their children from house to house trick-or-treating. Our celebrations usually include games, prizes and candy — which means they’re guaranteed to keep young students happy.
Thanksgiving follows on the heels of Halloween. What do you visualize when you think of Thanksgiving? Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and other favorite foods, most likely. Of course, the other thing that comes to mind is family.
Celebrations offer you a chance to strengthen the family and community bonds that are present in your martial arts studio. It...
By Philip E. Goss, Jr., Esq.
I have a question for you: What do you call a person you have brought into your business to provide a service that relates to your core product (teaching martial arts)? The answer might seem obvious — clearly, that person is an employee.
Issues arise when businesses choose to turn a blind eye and categorize an employee as an independent contractor. This must end now! New laws require that you err on the side of caution in how you classify your personnel.
A Seismic Shift in the Law
As is frequently the case, California is a trendsetter with respect to this employment law. I won’t bore you with legal details, but the short of the matter is that California, along with a growing number of other states, now uses a greatly truncated test to determine whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee. There are three determining criteria: First, do you control the worker or direct that person’s activities? Second,...
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...
By Dave Kovar
The first 10 years that I was in business, the concept of staff development was foreign to me. I did pretty much everything by myself, or got one of my advanced students to help out when necessary. That all changed in the late 80s when my older brother, Tim, came on as my business partner.
Out of the gate, the first thing he wanted us to do was to start grooming a team that could help us grow. To me, it seemed like a waste of time. But I was excited to have a partner and wanted to stay open-minded and receptive to his input.
I quickly found out what a valuable use of time this was. By the early ‘90s, we had a core group of team members that were committed to our vision and to growing our schools. As a matter of fact, I am proud to say that many of those same people are still a part of our organization today.
Although we don’t have everything figured out, when it comes to the area of developing a rock-solid team, we have made amazing progress over the...
By Nguyen “Tom” Griggs
For this column, I continue using acronyms to spell out the words BLACK BELT, as they relate to teams and leadership. This month, I’ll address “C,” which stands for community.
Originally, I considered using words like “courage” or “compassion.” But after our recent rank promotion ceremony at my school, TNT Jujitsu in Houston, I realized that community is what truly matters.
Community is essential because it is one of the key components of loyalty and retention. You can have a great facility and teach a dynamite curriculum. But if members don't feel that they are part of a community, it’s easy for them to leave. This is especially true of your instructors and staff.
However, a wonderful community can help ensure that people will stay and even follow your organization and leaders.
Here’s an example that illustrates this point. My dad’s side of the family was mostly black...
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