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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".

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An Interview with Children’s Program Expert Melody Johnson

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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Retrain, Relocate, Replace: The Three R’s of Dealing with an Underperforming Team Member

staff training Mar 16, 2019

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...

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“C” is for Community

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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It’s Okay to Let an Employee Go

By Kathy Olevsky

 

In every small business, lessons come to us when we least expect them. I have been one of the many schools who have carried a burden for too long. As a matter of fact, I have a list of situations that I prolonged.

 

For example, I have had employees who were not the best, but they were what I had at hand and I was afraid to be without them. I also have had family working for me. And because they were family, I hung onto them when I should have let them go, to save my business. I have had students who were toxic to the atmosphere in the dojo, too.

 

If you haven’t heard it before, let me say it now: Let them go and you will grow. If they have said they are going to leave, then they most likely will do that in the near future. Kudos to you for trying to save them. But there is so much energy spent on trying to save one employee who is unhappy. Or, for that matter, one student who complains about something different every day.

 

If you have...

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The Martial Arts SuperShow — Something for Everyone

By MAIA Executive Director Frank Silverman

 

As we begin to approach the 2019 Martial Arts SuperShow, the world’s biggest martial arts business convention, this summer, I want to address the six groups of schools we market to that attend the show. They are:

  • schools not yet open
  • small schools
  • medium schools (I call them potential “break-outs”)
  • large schools
  • super-large schools
  • multi-school operations

 

Of the group, we tend to get the highest participation among the middle three: small, medium and large. That said, in any given year there can to be more of one than another, with no rhyme or reason as to why.

 

First, let me address the idea among some school owners about attending the event. They believe their school is too small, or that it’s too big, or that they are not a success, or that they are too successful to benefit from the Show. This last statement is not true and, in fact, is exactly the opposite.

 

Whether you are ready to...

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The Top 5 Social Media Liabilities

By Beth A. Block

 

Have you surrendered to the Dark Side? Or are you committed to the Light? In other words, do you wield your social media saber for the light or the dark? Surrendering to the dark can get you sued, just like these studio owners below.

 

Liability #1

Our studio depends on social media to market our program and to keep our relationships with our enrolled families. Our current families use social media for everything.

 

The first thing a family will do after hearing about your studio is check you out on social media. They will check out your website, your social media pages, and look at your reviews before deciding whether to come to your studio.

 

Your instructors are also, generally, part of the generation that uses instant messaging, Twitter, Instagram, and texting. This is just as natural as breathing for them.

 

In one studio, this resulted in a 19-year-old instructor texting a naked picture of himself to a 16-year-old student. The...

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The 5 Mindsets of Martial Arts School Success, Part 2

Last month, we discussed the first three mindsets of a successful martial arts school.

 

They were:

 

  1. We are the friendliest place in town.

 

  1. We are the cleanest place in town.

 

  1. We only teach great classes, never just good ones.

 

This month, we’ll address mindsets four and five.

 

  1. We are excellent at student/parent communication. It has been great to see how the level of professionalism has improved in our industry over the last 40 years. Clearly, we have learned a lot about running a friendly, clean school with great classes.

 

With that said, if there’s one area that we are still weak in as an industry, it is student/parent communication.

What I’m referring to here is the importance of giving consistent, quality feedback to all of our students and their parents on their progress. We do this by sharing with them what they are doing well and how they can become better. As simple as this may sound, it’s extremely...

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Mastery of the Mat: 5 Ways to Improve Your Teaching!

“Who’s the Master?” No, that isn’t just a callback to the famous line in The Last Dragon. That’s the question new students and their families have when they walk into your dojo. Our job as teachers and school owners is to show them a professional level of service in teaching the martial arts. Here are the three tips to do exactly that.

 

By Justin L. Ford

 

Your school’s revenue comes from. . .

What? I’m waiting.

Meditate on this.

You could trace your school’s revenue to the tuition payments that get made, and the activities and events you host, the merchandisesales and testing fees, etc. But while there are plenty of different streams your money can flow in from, it all boils down to one source:

students.

It’s important to remember that your school is driven by your students. And while big classes don’t automatically equate to big bucks for your school, having lots of students is definitely a step in the right...

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Volunteer Misstep

staff training Sep 28, 2018

Martial artists have the best questions in the world. Studio owners and senseis take those questions to a whole different level. The latest question some posed to me was about volunteers.

Volunteers are a big part of our programs. For many of us, the success of our  programs hinges on volunteers stepping in and assisting in everything from teaching junior students to scrubbing bathrooms. As I started researching it, I found some information that I believe is a serious concern for our community.

If you use a volunteer model, the U.S. Department of Labor and State Revenue Departments have made it law that for-profit businesses cannot use volunteers. If you do that, you can be audited and charged back payroll tax, interest and penalties. While we’re racking the tally up, you could also be held accountable for the unpaid wages to the volunteer.

So, I started thinking, “Are...

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In The Classroom - July 2018

by Dave Kovar

Forty years ago this November, I opened up my first school in North Highlands, CA, a suburb of Sacramento. It was a tiny school in a mediocre area, and I had no idea what I was doing. What I did have was cheap rent and a lot of enthusiasm.

The school grew relatively quickly in the first year. But I couldn’t tell you how many students I had because I didn’t keep any stats. Based on my memory, I’d say I had between 80 and 100. At the time, very few children were training in the program. As a matter fact, I only offered kid’s classes Monday and Wednesday nights at 5 o’clock. I think I had the largest youth program in the area and I only had about 12 kids enrolled!

Over time, I successfully identified lots of things that didn’t work and I struggled a lot up into the mid-1980s. Then, something interesting happened.

There was this movie, let me...

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