How to Teach Kids the Martial Arts, That is, How to Teach them to USE It All

When you teach the martial arts, whether it be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo, Aikido, or what have you —you stand a very good chance of teaching young people.


And when you teach young people, when you “put on the uniform” of the teacher, the leader, the “one who knows,” the one who gives directions, the one, for what ever period of time you’re given, is asked and/or expected to “teach the lessons,” I think it’s one big whopping whale of an opportunity to do some of the best work our particular, odd, left-of-center, often goofy, all too self-serious profession sets in front of us. 

And while teaching little Johnny and Sally how to punch people in the face, choke them, and or defend themselves from the same —might seem like the mission of the “martial arts” teacher — from my point of view it is not the most important work, not the work that really matters at that age, that might really bring about the change we have the potential to play a role in, or that might actually make these little people more powerful, participative, engaged, compassionate —and thus happier and more connected to that which it is best to be connected to. 

I treasure, however, the teacher, the smart, connected, awake teacher, who uses the martial arts, no, who uses the time they are gifted with to be an influencer, as a tool to provide experiences and viewpoints that speak of a better, more compassionate, less violent world. So Dan Rominski's canned food drive work —and the work so many of you do where you're creating these experiences of doing for others —I'd just like to point out the obvious: 

This is one of the jobs of the martial arts teacher/citizen. I’d like to suggest you get the (expletive deleted) into it. Embrace it. Take it to level 10. Do it better or as good as anyone in your town, in your sphere of friends and peers, maybe as good as anyone in the nation or the world. Why not? You have something better or more important to do?

The environment. We’re really doing a terrible job of teaching people how their actions, our actions, and consuming without thought, brings about chains of suffering. 

Food. My god, we’re letting food that isn’t really food at all, kill millions —and contribute a dead-fish string of consequences that’s like a disease in and of itself. 

Hyper-masculine fear inspired posturing and violence and the way the media constantly distorts, for gain, the female persona and image and what that’s doing to the values and actions of so many women —and men too, and the conflicts, and the disconnection we have, from their suffering, from the sense of our responsibility to others and the power of community engagement…

The worship of things. The buy-in that those advertised things, with their perfectly crafted pitches to our fears and lusts and selfishness and sense of entitlement —and what that means for the world. 

These things are at the core of the core of the core of what “self-defense” is, today, for real, on a global scale. So, to think globally and act locally —to use our period-of-influence to engage young people in acts of kindness, in the importance of little actions of good, compassion, care, connection —and what doing for others does for ourselves; this is our work. It is in my opinion.

Three (or so) Pieces of no Bullshit Advice for Martial Arts School Owners, Whether They Want it or Not, from Tom Callos of www.the100.us.

Sensible, no Bullshit Advice for School Owners, Whether They Want it or Not, from Tom Callos of www.the100.us. No. 1

NO:
Do not send students to collection for unpaid tuition for untaught lessons. This is something the evolved master teacher never does, ever, period. Be smart enough to create programs that allow the school to collect the income it needs to thrive, but without chasing people, harassing them, because you weren’t resourceful enough to keep them coming, despite the well known obstacles (there are always obstacles). 

YES:
Create pricing programs that serve the diverse economic range of parents and other people in your community. Keep students and make them happy and able to pay with individual and high quality service. Offer one class a week free to all children, use it to train your up and coming teachers and to activate volunteers who’d be into helping kids who are quite possibly in an economic situation where they might never get to take lessons under a high quality teacher. Create a one-day-per-week pricing program, so that you may appeal to students / parents who are on a tight budget and/or who are pressed for time. You’re a teacher, so teach and serve. Create short term courses that allow students to see if you are smart and capable enough to assist them in breaking thru all the reasons people don’t stay the course of their training. If you keep them, they will pay (to support your school).

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Sensible, no Bullshit Advice for School Owners, Whether They Want it or Not, from Tom Callos of www.the100.us. No. 2

NO:
Do not engage in manipulative, hidden, or dishonest / questionable pricing practices. Do not hold back curriculum to entice people to up-grade their program. Do not host events that are a ruse for membership sales and up-grade efforts. Do not hide your prices on the phone or in your school’s information. Do not build a model for business that requires you to get and spend tomorrow’s income for today’s expenses. 

YES:
Be completely and absolutely transparent in all of your pricing and financial issues at your school. The burden isn’t to try and hide your pricing until you can justify the value of your lessons, it’s to price your programs so that people get a chance to see what you’re worth, for real, and then to charge enough to each student that it makes perfect sense for the school’s budget. DO build a school that is known for it’s up-front, nothing hidden, completely honest and transparent business practices. DO speak out, as an activist in your community, about pricing policies in the MA community that create win-lose situations with students, practices that put the burden of obligation on the student, not the school’s teaching staff. Do adjust your pricing so that everyone in your community with an interest can have access to lessons they can afford. Do learn to live on the money you make this month, versus spending tomorrow’s money for today’s expenses.

———

Sensible, no Bullshit Advice for School Owners, Whether They Want it or Not, from Tom Callos of www.the100.us. No. 3

NO:
Do not build your school’s identity and sales approach based on the words, images, and concepts that everyone else uses. Do NOT sell your services with slogans borrowed or bought or stolen or modeled from the work of others —or that are “standard” in the industry. Do not offer or advertise “benefits” of membership at your school that are unjustified, un-researched, and that you actually know little or nothing about. Do not put staff members on the floor with the inference they are teaching some benefit, without having spent adequate time training them and/or exploring how they’re to “teach” any particular benefit —and what the language and practices of these benefits are. In other words, don’t advertise you teach bully prevention, for example, when you or your team of instructors have not invested even a single term paper’s worth of thought and energy into actual study of the subject; when you and/or your team haven’t read a single book on the subject, have published no opinions on it, have not attended a single conference or seminar or viable course of instruction, don’t know who the experts are, or what research has been done. Don’t sell what you don’t know, don’t research, and don’t actually train your staff in. Don’t teach things that you don’t have even a single teaching aid to teach —or teach things that under the scrutiny of a real expert, would embarrass you for your lack of research and actual knowledge.

YES: 
Take every benefit you claim to teach and adopt a self-imposed immersion into the subject of at least 60 hours of research and training; in that 60 hours (10 min a day for a year = 60 hours), carefully document and post the what, why, who, when, and where of the training on your school’s website or blog. Curate content you’re studying and/or using to train your team. And most importantly, create a PROJECT-BASED PORTFOLIO of how you’re taking the concepts you claim to teach and DOING something with them. Show how these ideas manifest themselves in hands-on experiences with you, your team, and your students. Build an EVIDENCE-BASED sales program that doesn’t simply talk-the-talk of your benefits, but shows, documents, and records how what you teach becomes a practice, logged and noted. Take the benefits you claim to impart and show more rock-solid evidence that you know exactly how to create the benefit in a tangible, hard-evidence based way. Show more actual proof that you OWN these concepts than anyone within 100 miles of you and your school. 

If you teach “Respect” then show us, show your community, exactly what that means, what it becomes. If you claim to teach bully prevention or self-defense, show what that means, what it becomes, and how it’s translating into actions, behaviors, community outreach programs, and education that comes from you and travels thru your teaching team, into your students, and outward from there into tangible, measurable off-the-mat evidence. 

Reject 90 to 100% of the kinds of sales rhetoric and marketing tools that anyone with absolutely NO experience, someone who simply buys a program or box from someone else, could do. It may take you some time to turn from a school of talk to a school or rock-solid evidence-based benefits, but it’s something that a lesser school, someone or a group with less commitment and intellect would/could never do. 

Distinguish your school and services with real stories, with actual evidence, and not just marketing hyperbole or inferred benefits.

Martial Arts Teachers, Stop Using and Selling Disposable Plastic Bottles. A Call from Tom Callos and Julia Butterfly Hill

About 10 years ago I was leading a class at The Supershow; I had about 300 people in my classroom, as I recall. At some point I was talking about self-defense, “future thinking” really, and I said, “I heard Julia Hill call this (I was holding up a plastic water bottle) a weapon of mass destruction. To me, THIS is a self-defense issue that’s relevant to today.”

Someone came to be after the talk and said something to the affect that I’d finally gone too far, that I’d lost the audience, and that I was getting so radical in my environmental / teaching views that I was endangering my career.”However, the following year everything went “green.” Even Esquire, Vogue, and Vanity Fair had “green” issues —and going green had finally become the buzz. 

In the martial arts world however, we still don’t talk much about environmental issues, but to me, taking care of the planet, of our fast diminishing natural resources, and being vigilant and observant of what we consume and discard —what it means to animals and humans alike, are still self-defense issues. 

Shortly after that talk I reached out to Julia asking if there might be a way to engage her in some dialogue about “environmental self-defense,” as I knew she had/has dedicated her life to environmental consciousness. 

And now, XX years later, I finally sat down in April with Ms. Hill and we talked about the issues. What I asked her for was the kind of advice she might give if she were sitting in front of a group of kids —and they had asked her, “Is there anything I can do to make a difference?”

I’m presently reviewing my notes of that meeting, with the intent (and with Julia’s assistance) of coming up with 10 things we (martial arts teachers) can talk about —and task our students with, if they’re so inclined, that represent the smartest, simplest, and best ideas for making a difference, environmentally, in todays world. 

Plastic bottle use is one thing we are all fast becoming aware of; my friend Joel Paschal worked with The Algalita Ocean Research Project, which brought the world’s attention to the pollution of the oceans with plastic refuse. Deeply troubling stuff. 

One step we can take now, is to stop carrying and selling disposable plastic water / soda / juice bottles in our schools. The money made from beverage sales doesn’t offset the real cost of disposable plastic bottles

More to come soon —and thank you again, Julia Hill, for taking the time to help me, help all of us, in this worthwhile dialogue about how self-defense is something connected to all living things, to the resources we use, and to that which we discard.

Keshia Thomas. When Courage Calls Your Name. A Reminder to the Martial Arts Teacher

Here’s to courage. 

Courage isn’t answering an insult with a punch in the face. 
Courage isn’t posturing like an “alpha male,” puffing up your feathers, squawking, and threatening abrupt violence. 
Courage isn’t wishing you had said or done something when the opportunity presented itself.
Courage isn’t standing by and watching. 

Courage is seeing the need for action and understanding that it’s your time, your place, and your job to take it, even if it seems to go counter to what everyone around you is doing. 
Courage is listening to your inner voice —even when the voices around you are saying the opposite. 
Courage is compassion and kindness and love and treating others as you yourself would like to be treated, even when it seems damn near impossible.

Courage is the thing we are, ultimately, trying to lead our students to —and exemplify in our own work. You can teach someone 1000 techniques, but if your work leads them to having courage, the courage to hear the call to action, the courage to stand up for others, for what’s right, then you have done all that we can ever hope to do. 

Mastery is courage; courage is the kind of mastery we must remember to cherish, hold dear, and cultivate in ourselves and the people we are blessed with having in our sphere of influence. 

That’s why I love this photograph —and why Keshia Thomas is on my list of people to know. When I show this photo to my young students, I can show a real life example of someone doing with courage what courage is for; to fight oppression, to stand up for others, to go against the crowd when called for. Keshia’s act of courage, captured at that precise moment, illustrates the power of one person, even a young person, even someone who by all accounts appears to be the wrong person, in the wrong place, at the wrong time —-it shows how none of that matters when courage calls your name. 

We should all be so lucky to have at our command a story like this, an image that so perfectly illustrates something so intangible, but so bloody important, so valuable, so sacred.

Martial Artists and Teaching Leadership, with Community Involvement

I have many remarkable student / teachers and friends —and of my many relationships, Gary Engels is one of my student / teachers that deserves an extra spotlight —as he has engaged his work in ways that exemplify some of the things I most respect and honor.

Gary’s treatment of “Project Based Leadership Training” is a far-more-than-I-expected manifestation of an idea he and I cooked up to battle what we saw as marginal “leadership” courses in the martial arts “industry.” We conspired to do better; I made the suggestions, outlined what I thought we could do to authentically teach “leadership” to young people, and Gary took the idea to the laboratory. 

His work has, currently, resulted in almost 600 documented community projects, done by martial arts students, to the benefit of others. 600. Someday it will be 6000, but 600 projects described, is enough to start a movement —-and that’s what we set out to do, show people a better way to use their teaching that was non-violent, not technique based, but as powerful and important as any technique in our fight arsenals. 

Now my work is better due to Gary’s efforts —and his work is part of what has now pushed me into a new position, a new “job.” My job is, presently, to use the work we’re doing, to leverage it, like investment money, into something that yields a greater return. 

My job is to help instructors, around the world, to enter the laboratory, to find problems, big ones, small ones, and seek solutions by applying courtesy, perseverance, courage, honor, and effort to them, just like we do in training.

I’m out, with much help of course, to see martial arts teachers transcend the sales pitch —and the ring —and their dojos, and play a far more important role on the world’s stage. Gary’s work (which could quite easily be your work too) is work against apathy, against disconnection, against the idea that what we, any one of us does, is of little consequence. My work is to bring more substance to your work —to help you, as my friend Julia Hill says (she’ll be at Gary’s school May 1), find “your tree.” 

I support Gary’s work, as he supports mine. It is beyond style, beyond money, beyond competition; and we, together, seek to support your work. Gary joins a list of student / teachers who I’ve had the privilege to teach and work with who are creating portfolios worth taking note of; Bj PennDan RominskiDanny SikkensPaul ReyesPaul CastagnoKeenan Cornelius,Brian WilliamsGary J. XavierMike ValentineMike OliverKaren Valentine,Heidi Wilmott, and a list of others I’m honored to say is too many to give credit to here.

I’ve been lucky to cultivate the careers of some top-notch martial arts athletes —but those 600 projects done, mostly, by young people —those are the accomplishments that most reflect the spirit of what I care about. Those 600 projects and all the things they’ve brought to the work, all the people they’ve affected, that’s what tells me I’m doing something of real value. Thank you Gary —thank you to all of my friends, students, and teachers for giving me this work to do.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the Black Belt as Something of Hard Earned Value, and Being Re-Grounded

My training partner from the other night just received his BJJ black belt, at age 51, after 22 years of training. That’s what I like about BJJ —the black belt is not an incentive to sign up on a course, it’s a thing hard-earned and treasured. When you get a BB in BJJ, you’ve done something, where as in so many other schools, where the dance school mentality has become a core operating principle (with it’s plethora of justifications and reasoning), 7 year old black belts and black belts who can’t really perform, are the norm.

I like BJJ as a tool for all martial artists as you can’t hide in BJJ. You can’t hide in a fistfight or kickboxing match either, but you can’t go at 100% and not sustain injuries when striking and getting hit yourself; in BJJ you can go off —98 to 100%, and walk away unharmed. The gentle art. Perfect for an older but enthusiastic athlete / practitioner like me, perfect for anyone who cares about the brain.

Kata and gymnastics and performance-martial-arts and weaponry, contemporary or historical, and all the many aspects of martial arts all have value, practiced for the right reasons, with feet perfectly planted in reality. I’m not implying one is “better” than another, but BJJ is, in my experience, special, different.

While I have participated in the martial arts community for many years, promoting children to the rank of black belt and selling “black belt club courses,” —today, separated from those practices for 2 decades, BJJ has re-grounded me, reminded me of what hard earned skill is, reminded me to slow down and seek a level of pragmatic, useful skill, over the mythical skills of the practitioner who, under pressure, can’t really make it work.

That’s not saying that a knife fighter who never slices someone or wounds or kills an opponent isn’t one dangerous and deadly foe, but as a form of test-your-metal engagement, BJJ is hands down the most honest and safest of methods. I recommend all serious and capable martial artists engage the art with a competent teacher. 

In short order, BJJ quickly distinguishes the martial artist who implies he/she can, from those who really can.

Is Jiu Jitsu (or any martial art) for EVERYONE?

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Is Jiu Jitsu (or any martial art) for EVERYONE? 

I say yes, of course it is. 

Is BJJ only for the tough person, the one who can take the pain, weather the storms? Should the hobbyist, the less-than-talented players go find another place to waste their time, another coach to aggravate or impose upon? 

Well, should anyone less than an Indy Car Racer throw their keys into a lake? Should everyone who’s not intent on riding in The Tour de France slash their own tires? Should all those who won’t be going for the gold with their breast stroke hang up their Speedos? Should everyone not aiming on writing War and Peace hand their pencils or keyboards to someone with some guts?

BJJ, like all martial arts, like all movement, belongs to everyone —and is to be used, for the most part, the way the user wants to use it, be it instead of yoga, as a way to connect with others, as a means to gain self-defense skills, as a tool for the competitive arena, and/or even for a stick-my-toe-in-the-water exploration of something interesting. 

Hard-core competitive BJJ, like the kind where you want to be a world-class player, yes —you’d better to be hard-core. But the martial arts belongs to people, to be used by people, to keep them safe, to keep them supple, to create community, to share laughter, to offer help and support to a community and the people in it. 

The young shouldn’t be left on a mountainside because they can’t yet carry the load of a full wheel barrel, they need to be nurtured. The Elderly shouldn’t be thrown away because their bodies no longer do what they did in their 20’s and 30’s, they may still have the wisdom of experience to share with us. 

BJJ, like all martial arts, are a tool for and of the people. You don’t fit the foot to the shoe, you fit the shoe to the foot. BJJ isn’t about cutting out those who can’t tough it out —it’s about finding ways to make BJJ fit —and work for —the person.

Teaching Literacy, My Favorite Tumblr Blog. The Martial Arts and Books

From my favorite Tumblr Blog, “Teaching Literacy” —from this morning. Someday, sooner than later, I will (intend to) turn my attention to the connection between books, reading, literacy, and the martial arts school in today’s world. 

Imagine the photographic documentation of the personal libraries of 1000 martial arts students and teachers. Imagine 1000 + schools, all over the world, adding reading as a curriculum component in their youth curriculum. 

Imagine teachers, school teachers, having all of these gung-ho martial arts kids in their classes that are building their own libraries, reading, thinking and talking about what they’re reading and learning —and all because their highly influential martial arts teachers have hammered home the value of a good book, the value of turning off the media and focusing, and the appreciation for what books do for —mean to —the world. 

Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee’s widow, once told me that she and Bruce were very poor when they were living in Oakland —but she said that no matter what, Bruce Lee always found some money for books. He scoured the used book stores in the Bay Area, looking for new works to add to his reading library. How can you not dig that? (Here’s a link to Shannon Lee showing her father’s book collection: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFWeLM5h7Dg)

I imagine martial arts schools so inextricably connected to reading and literature and books, that parents automatically and without blinking link our training to the enjoyment of the written word —and education in general. After all, isn’t knowledge / literacy, really, the ultimate form of self-defense?

Heart Disease? Diabetes? Today’s Bad Guys. Self-Defense Instruction in Today’s World

Fact: Heart Disease is the # 1 Killer of Women in America

If I were “in charge” of, oh say, one of the major martial arts associations, magazines, or whatever entities see themselves as the purveyors of “martial arts teacher education” in today’s world (If such a thing yet exists), I would have to stop, look, and listen to the world —as it is today.

In the instruction of all things self-defense, in the prevalent and dominant paradigm of what self-defense instruction is —and/or isn’t, within the majority of martial arts schools that claim —or seek —to teach self-defense for women, men, and/or children, I do not believe we, as an “industry” have kept up with what is actually “self-defense” today —-as in what is bringing harm, suffering, and death to our population. 

We don’t NOT do this, I think, due to indifference —and we certainly don’t avoid it because it’s not within our power to do something about it. We don’t do this, we haven’t adequately woven health education into our teachings, into our lessons, into our marketing, into the very fabric of who we are and what we represent to the world, due to a tiresome, neurotic, and unhealthy emphasis in the martial arts business world on sales, upgrades, profits, marketing for immediate return, gimmick, implied expertise, and superficiality. 

The Ninja Bounce House, franchises in Wal-Mart, programs to build “elite wealth,” sales training, birthday party instructionals, strategies for “funneling” mass amounts of leads thru formulaic websites and social media marketing, and tutoring in how to dramatically increase “paid in fulls” is repetitively abundant. 

Plans to invigorate the industry through genuine, useful, relevant, socially applicable education, is missing, absent, and not on the agenda —or on the lips of our leadership. 

To change this, I propose that we take things into our own hands. The “leadership” in the “industry” will catch on once they see a market —and package the movement for sale, but the movement itself, the movement for learning about the top 10 killers of adults and children in today’s world —starting with heart disease (Feb. is Heart Month) —is the duty and responsibility of every conscientious teacher and assistant teacher in the international martial arts community. 

Once you/we know the facts —and think through how we can play not just a passive role, but an aggressive and intelligent role in the preventive educational process of our citizenry, we can then begin to talk the talk of self-defense as prevention, involving food, exercise and all the things relevant to protecting people from the real bad guys, the real killers among us. 

If we don’t do this, we relegate ourselves, I think, to a kind of self-defense instruction that is only a MICRO-slice of what self-defense and personal protection really are, today, for 100% of our population. Don’t wait for “the industry” to package it so you can sell it —by then the whole world will have passed us up (if it hasn’t already) and we will, due to a lack of education and leadership and vision, find ourselves left out of the very discussions where we most belong.

And we will not have advanced self-defense in the world, at all, but only perpetuated an out-dated, 1920’s version of self-defense, a parody of the martial arts and its modern use —and its relevance in today’s world.

A Martial Arts Business Magazine, about School Management and More, With Just 1 Columnist

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Could a Facebook Page simply be today’s form of trade magazine column? Could I be a writer, a columnist, in a publication of my own making? Without printing costs? Without having to fund the publication by selling ads? Would that free me, the editor and writer from having to cater, editorially, to the people buying ads in my publication? Could I then use my column, as always, to inform, question, promote, highlight smart or interesting (to me) people and things? Would I then be limited by page space? Would I have to write 1000 words to “fill” my column, when I really only have something to say that could be said in 200 words? 

I’m a writer, thinker, contributor, participant, student, lunk-head, teacher, and big mouth in the field I have, for God know what reasons, chosen to dedicate my life to. For me, a Facebook page is just another mouthpiece for reaching out, sharing, and analyzing /learning. It’s me, furthering my agenda, no matter how many times my agenda changes and or swings this way or that. 

The ultimate freedom, methinks, about this kind of writing/communicating, is that I’m free from having to kiss the arse of the big billing service or franchise seller, chain school “consultant” who is buying 4 full pages in “the publication,” which, out of fear of losing their $$, I can’t speak about honestly and/or reveal just how much damage they are doing to the industry with their sell-out ideas. 

Ah, freedom. For this, I thank Facebook. No wasted paper either, but lots of typos.

The Green Guide for Martial Arts School Teachers. How to Incorporate an Environmental Self-Defense Program into Your Curriculum

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I am re-posting, here, a link to THE GREEN GUIDE FOR MARTIAL ARTS TEACHERS AND SCHOOL OWNERS, written several years ago by Karen Valentine and Mike Valentine of Practical Martial Arts in Corte Madera, CA. 

http://ubbt.squarespace.com/our-blog-read-it/2009/7/18/mike-and-karen-valentine-offer-the-green-guide-upload-it-for.html

The couple wrote it as a part of their participation in a project called “The Ultimate Black Belt Test,” —which is/was an experiment in how we, martial arts teachers, might make the process of preparing for and taking a black belt test something deeper, more rewarding, and more compelling than what it is or has been in the past. 

My goal, as designer of the project, was to get participants to think very differently about their journey, to create their own projects, and to make part of their tests about creating and leaving behind tools other teachers might use to enhance their teaching.

In the case of environmental issues, I feel very strongly that self-defense and what we consume, discard, and how we think about this and other aspects of our impact upon air, water, earth, life, resources, etc…are closely linked and relevant. This year at the Alabama Martial Arts Build-Vention 2014, environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill will be joining us to revisit this topic —and I would like to inspire martial artists to continue to embrace environmental self-defense issues as an aspect of personal / community protection. 

Thank you to Karen and Mike for their participation and contribution.

Membership Contracts: Some Plain and Simple Analysis

A member of The 100. sent me a contract to review, he’d found it on-line, as he’s only had verbal contracts up to this point —and is considering something more detailed. The contract was totally unsuitable and probably came from a school that practices heavy-handed collection policies on students unaware of what awaits them should they decide to break the “agreement.”

Let’s not beat around the bush, shall we; there has been —and still is —a contract mentality in parts of the martial arts community that dictates, more or less, that students won’t be sticking around —and that schools, to join the ranks of the rich and famous, need to get their money fast, as in NOW, PIF (Paid in Full) and in a large enough sum that the astute instructor or school owner won’t have to beg in the gutter for gas money for his/her Mercedes Benz. 

We’re talking contracts, signed at the peak of enthusiasm, and with verbiage that puts the student in the weakest, least negotiable, and most collectable situation —and that, once signed, puts the school in a position where they have every legal right to collect, harass, chase down, and sue their students for whatever money is owing, contractually, for untaught lessons —-even if the school owner is a full blown slippery, con-person (not sexist here!) of a schmuck. 

As you may (or may not) know, my colleagues and I lead the movement towards full, honest, ethical, and integrity based transparency with regards to pricing, and equatable, honest, and perfectly fair tuition arrangements between schools and their students. Many in the industry are honest and ethical to a fault; however, I must confess, there are some really, REALLY crazy, dishonest, guys/gals out there who feel perfectly justified in giving the martial arts world a giant black eye when it comes to contractual tom-foolery. 

What used to fly in the dance club industry (remember hearing about how con-men would fleece these old folk into signing up for or paying cash towards these XX thousand dollar contracts for lessons), doesn’t fly any more. And what was once accepted as “how things are done” in the MA industry, is fast being left behind for smarter, more suitable tactics and policies. 

Thank you to California attorney, martial arts teacher, and friend, Frank Bloksberg, for coming on to discuss the details of contracts and liability release forms. This is taking place at www.the100.me —and is indicative of the kind of school owner / teacher dialog going on 24/7, 365 days a year there.

Martial Arts Business and Consulting for School Owners, But Not for Everyone

I work with martial arts teachers who do not reside, only, in the place they reside. 

I work with teachers who recognize their connection to people and things far, far beyond the walls of their own schools, beyond their immediate contacts, beyond the range of their “target markets,” the range of their “paying customers,” beyond the borders of their town, their State, or their style or system. 

I work with martial arts teachers who recognize that they might not only deeply impact the life of a 6 year old on their own mat, a 16 year old, a 26 year old, a 66 year old, but through a direct connection to other teachers, through a purposeful exchange of information and ideas, they stand the chance of affecting 6 year olds on a hundred —or a thousand —other mats. 

I work with martial arts teachers who do not reside in Beaverton, Oregon, Reno, Nevada, Corte Madera or San Francisco or Los Angeles, California, Fort Worth, Texas, Birmingham, Alabama, Rutherford, New Jersey, Annapolis, Maryland, Wilmington, Delaware, or London, England —-but who recognize their sphere of influence and connection is national, global. 

What saves a life in Beaverton might save a life in London. What inspires a young martial artist to take on a worthwhile project-of-the-spirit in Fort Worth, might inspire a like minded project in Los Angeles. What act or actions speak most profoundly about the benefits of the martial arts in Rutherford, might inspire similar actions in Reno. 

The martial arts teachers I work with are not 1, but 1 of 100’s of 1000’s —and together we make up something, we are something, that not one of us, as individuals, might ever be alone. Through this kind of thinking, we deepen our practice and enrich our own work, times 100. 

That’s what www.the100.us is about.

Martial Arts Business. The Power of 10,000 Efforts. What I Do at The 100. Method

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Nearly every day of the year —and for the last decade +, I have sat down (or stood up) and spoke out, talked to, and/or coached the international martial arts community about business; that is, the “business” of being a master teacher and owning and operating a martial arts school. 

I do the bulk of my work at www.the100.us and www.the100.me.

The message, below, is one example of what I coach my members with, 365 days a year —and to the tune of 10,000 efforts.

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I would like to suggest that you place a number on your definition of martial arts mastery —and that number is 10,000. 

If you intend to OWN and LIVE some concept, be it self-defense, self-confidence, leadership, meditation, non-violence, or anything pertaining to your career, your value to your community, or your actual path to what we might call genuine “mastery,” I’d like to suggest that you embrace the idea of 10,000 steps. 

If you’re going to COACH your students to 10 steps, 100 steps, or 1000 steps, perhaps you should consider making your own marker 10,000 steps? You could drive home the point more clearly by your own example.

I am, myself, engaged in a practice of 10,000 steps. I am taking 10,000 steps in offering help and assistance to the martial arts community. In the time you have known me —known of me —or will know me, you have seen or will see me take at least 10,000 steps. 

I offer help; then I offer again; then I offer again and again and again. It is my practice. 

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In the “community” I live and work in, I work on peace education, environmental awareness, voluntary simplicity, sustainable business practices, and food, food production, and health, in general, and a number of other topics that you will see / hear me write and talk about, over the course of my career, as much or more than anyone else you know (most likely). I have already done it for YEARS —and as long as I am able, I doubt that you will see me stop. 

I —am you. My business is your business. My persistence is your persistence. My consistency is your consistency. I am you —and you are what you are teaching your own students. You are the example, like I am the example, that you hope your students pay attention to and emulate in ways that empower them in their lives —where ever the journey takes them. 

Want to OWN a subject? Start writing, talking, and filming about it. Curate content relevant to it. Study it. And for each effort, physically or mentally mark it with a number, as in “This is # 1 of 10,000 efforts.”

Now if you wonder how you can benefit from your investment here at the 100., how you can benefit from my advice, start on achieving 10,000 efforts on behalf of your school’s marketing, on the refinement of your thinking, of your career, of the polishing of your school’s approach to teaching things of value. 

This one concept is heavy with value, but only if you put it to work. 

Help with Your Martial Arts School and / or Your Martial Arts Teaching Career

What’s ailing your school or causing you to struggle in business is often the result of being so close to the work, so engaged in it, and/or on such new ground that you get a bit lost in the long, long list of things you need to, should, want, or have to do. 

I can help you with that —with your business, your school, your work, but to do that you have to be one heck of an eager and willing student, as reluctance to change, engage, or try new things can make it really tough to change the results you’re getting from your current work. 

I’m interested in helping you with your marketing, methods for proactive (over “reactive”) student retention, curriculum design, money management, staff training and development, and any and all things that pertain to your career.

But I can only genuinely help you if:

1. You ask for help. 
2. You show up for class —and then practice what you need to do to change the results you’re getting. 
3. As we’re so far apart from each other, you must engage —and endeavor to engage consistently. If you don’t hold yourself accountable to progress and evaluation, making real change is tough.

This is offer to help you, # 300, of 10,000. 
You’ll find an “audit” at www.the100.us. Taking that audit is step #1 to helping me to figure out how best to help you.