Archives for February 2018

57 – Zulfi Ahmed – The Real Secret To Success With Your Martial Arts Business

After 45 years, Grandmaster Zulfi Ahmed from Bushi Ban International has discovered the real secret to martial arts business success, and it's not what you might think.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The ‘real secret’ behind Master Zulfi’s success and longevity in the martial arts industry
  • The ‘ONE’ thing that he would have done differently at the start of his career in the USA
  • What keeps his passion in martial arts thriving
  • The importance of attending martial arts events to meet like-minded people
  • More details about Bushi Ban International, a comprehensive martial arts system that Master Zulfi founded
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media Business podcast. I have a fantastic guest with me today, all the way on the other side of the world in Texas, Master Zulfi Ahmed. How are you today Zulfi?

ZULFI: Wonderful George, thank you. Appreciate you contacting me and pleasure to be on your show.

GEORGE: Alright, awesome. So we've got, just to give this conversation a bit of context: Zulfi is the Grandmaster from Bushi Ban International, 10th degree black belt, 45 years’ experience in martial arts. There's a lot that we can obviously gain from this call. So I guess we've got to start just from the beginning, to give a bit of context: how would you, if someone has to ask you who is Zulfi Ahmed, what would be your answer?

ZULFI: Well, Zulfi Ahmed is a short little man, who was born and raised in Pakistan, a third world country and I migrated to the USA in 1985 and I've been studying martial arts since I was 9 years old, so 45-46 years in the martial arts. And I studied all over the world, I've competed, fought, trained in almost every part of the world, except Australia.

So that's where I need to be heading soon! And I have my organization, which is an international organization called Bushi Ban International. Our headquarters is in Houston Texas, Pasadena Texas to be precise. We have 9 locations in the Pasadena Greater Houston area and we have 2 more in Connecticut and few affiliates in the US and several schools, affiliates in Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, in that part of the world.

The system which I teach is called Bushi Ban, it’s my system of development. I've studied many styles throughout my years and I'm still a student of the martial arts, I consider myself an ever-going, ongoing student, everlasting student of the martial arts. In the beginning, I studied the system called Bando. Burmese Bando, it’s a system from Myanmar and it has different branches, it’s called Lethwei, which is the bare knuckle kickboxing, Banshay, which is the self-defense and weapons art, Thaing which is the animal style and classical art, Naban which is the grappling art of Burmese martial arts and then I studied wrestling, Pakistani Indian wrestling when I was young, I studied Muay Thai, Shotokan karate… many, many styles.

And after studying for about 20+ years, I developed my own system and it’s an ever evolving system and that's the brief background. I've competed all over the United States in many different circuits from point type tournaments to full contact to MMA, to grappling, to Jiu Jitsu, to kickboxing, boxing, you know. So I've had a very well rounded learning experience. I've had people from all different disciplines took turns beating me up, so I've learned a lot.

GEORGE: Alright, fantastic. So Zulfi, did all this start… because I mean, you've got your own system and you've got nine locations in the United States: how did that all start? Because you came from Pakistan: was that the goal of the immigration, or were you already that far in your career when you were based in Pakistan?

ZULFI: Great question. I've already had many thousands of students in Pakistan. I came to the USA for higher education, so I was enrolled in college and university here. I was enrolled in Bernard M. Baruch College of Business in New York City, Lexington Avenue. I had a little, mini international scholarship.

Plus, I had an immigrant status. My sister, she's a pediatric on colleges, a specialist for children and my brother in law were citizens of the United States. They sponsored me for a green card. When I came to the USA, I was already a green card holder as an immigrant, but I came here to go to school and I really didn't have much intention on staying for any longer than I needed to and going back.

But I fell in love with the country, with the people and the opportunity presented itself, because I still had thousands of students in Pakistan and the opportunity presented itself for me because martial arts is my love – it’s my passion, it’s my fire, it’s my fuel. So, of course, I wanted to be in the USA to compete with the top of the line martial artists at the time in the whole wide world. So I jumped on the competition circuit. At that time, we had sports karate more prevalent, about 34 years ago. Very few other disciplines, but very scattered.

So whatever I could find, I jumped into that arena and then I opened my own little club teaching in daycares, with little children. And then, one thing led to another and I started with a small school, went to a bigger school, bigger school, bigger school and finally, built and bought my own building of 24,000 square feet, which is the headquarters now. And as time went by, we had more schools.

At one time, we had up to 17 schools and some of those schools are still active, but we don’t license them anymore. So they chose their own path. And to make a long story short, I came with the intent of finishing education and then see where my destiny leads me and my destiny kept me here and never looked back. Don't regret it for a single day. Love it, love the people, and love the country. I love my students and I love the martial arts. I’m a blessed, blessed human being.

GEORGE: Fantastic. I always love hearing an expat success story, as I'm from South Africa and I'm living in Perth. It’s always good to hear people who succeed. I call it the expat advantage because expats normally go and go with a different mission, because they've just got to make it work.

ZULFI: We have to make it work.

GEORGE: Yeah. So I want to learn from you: how did you go from… we always talk on the show about schools, and then marketing and so forth: but I think the topic we don’t explore that much is, how do you take that next jump? You've created this school and you've got a business: how do you scale to the next level that you can open the next locations and I guess in a way start removing, taking a step back and letting other people lead?

ZULFI: So, you know, if a person has a deep belief, deep conviction, deep faith, deep passion, deep fire, you know, of what you do, you love, and then you keep doing that, things happen organically and things happen with planning. So you must let your destiny lead you and don't question it. You must be led by your passion to a point where you are willing and ready to sacrifice and I'm a big believer in fate and destiny and karma and you know, recreate your own luck.

So what happens if one is passionate about and they believe strong enough and they're resilient and they don't give up and they are not greedy in the process. Then automatically, the universe opens doors. Sometimes, people come into your life because you attracted them and sometimes you go into people’s lives who you attracted. And they attract you.

And as long as you are aware of where your endpoint needs to be, things will manifest themselves as long as you are true, honest, hardworking and you are committed to your goals and dreams – you've got to have a dream. Then, things will happen. Don't doubt, things will happen.

When I came here, I was passionate about my martial arts. Schooling was my parents’ directive to me more than my own, even though schooling is very important and I did schooling and I recommend everybody does get their schooling and degree, because that's your plan A.

But fortunately, my plan B became my plan A, because I'm born to be a martial artist, my calling in life is martial arts. And I've known that since I was an orange belt since I was 9 years old. That this was what I wanted to do throughout the rest of my life. And that comes through my mentors, my teachers who inspired me to live a lifestyle of martial arts.

And then, being at the right time, right place with the right people, with the right mission, right purpose, opens doors. So I wish I could give you a more strategic, tactical answer: do this, do this, do this, do this, but to me, the best answer is just to follow your dreams and don't give up and don't quit and keep believing. And the right things will happen if you have the right intent. If your intent is good, if your intent is sincere, the doors will open yourself, just don't give up. That’s the answer.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's the better answer, because it’s always, you know, there's tactical change and it could be different for everyone and I think everyone has different strengths in what tactical things they need to do and not do. So yes, that's the better answer, thanks, Zulfi. So, at which point – I’ll get to this question in a minute, but when you feel martial arts school owners are going wrong in their path?

I mean, we've spoken about following their dreams and setting that intention and goals, but with the martial arts industry just being at a big booming stage. Where do you feel the school owners are missing the boat on their journey, with their schools?

ZULFI: I can't answer for the martial arts individual industry, I speak a lot in many different forums with the Martial Arts Industry Association, Educational Funding Company, MA1st. BTW, I’ll be speaking to our mutual friends, Fred DePalma’s event in April. I think it’s 26th-27th-28th if I'm not mistaken.

GEORGE: That's correct.

ZULFI: Fred is a great friend of mine and you know, I have the utmost respect for him and I’ll be speaking at his event. I’ll be speaking at many other events, EFC event in England also in April, the week before that I’ll be in the UK, speaking at the EFC, European Convention. So, basically, what I want to say, the answer is, you know the phases of learning and maturity is… the four phases of learning are unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and unconscious competence.

So, you don't know what you don't know and that's where a lot of martial arts school owners, there’s so much out there, they just don't know what they don't know, you know? I still don't know what a lot of things are about. Then there are martial artists who know that they don't know, which is a great stage to be at. And then there are martial artists who know that they don't know and they want to pursue that, which is wonderful, and that comes to a point where you know what you know, and then you don't know what you know because it becomes second nature.

So I believe our industry is going through that second and third phase. We have a lot of martial artists, they don’t know that there's information, knowledge of business development, personal development, martial arts entrepreneurship exists, you know? I’ll give you an example: tomorrow I have a mastermind here in Texas, I've got Ken Pankiewicz, and he’s travelled all the way from the UK. He's got five schools there, I've got people coming from all over and I've got local martial arts schools owners coming in, who have never been to a martial arts business development event.

They just didn't know that something like this existed. So I think once you figure out that there is information there that could prove us and we take steps to go out and learn and implementation is the key. Everybody learns it, everybody knows it, everybody sits and takes notes, but can you go and implement?

So I think one thing which martial artists in this time and age, there's one school, one group, they don't know that we even exist, martial arts business educators. The second group is that they re information junkies: they love information, but they don't do anything with that. The third group is, they go and they take what fits in the model and they implement it right away, like my friend Ken, Ken is sitting here. He is soaking up and implementing. Then there are guys who already have implemented, they just need reassurance. They need to know they're doing it right; you know?

I go to these events to learn and I go to these events, let me give you a very honest answer: I go to these events to be humbled. When I see people who are doing much better than I am, it brings me back down to earth, because we are all kings in our own little kingdom, but when we go outside and we see, wow! These guys are kicking butts and taking names and they are way beyond my aptitude and it humbles me. And that humbleness makes me come back and say, hey, I thought I was this, you know, bad ass – excuse my French. But I've got a lot of work to do.

So to me, it humbles me, because you know, I believe most of us, me included, we are driven by ego. Martial artists have big egos. So once we let go of egos, we will come back to earth and we will do what we need to do to prove ourselves. So I don't know if that answers your question, but that's my feeling for it.

GEORGE: I love it, I love it, that’s fantastic. So, Zulfi, there’s a lot of unconscious competence that I think I can't tap into and it’s hard for me to actually get those questions, because I think you’ve got so much knowledge over 45 years, that things are common knowledge to you, it might be hard to extract all that information from you. So let’s put it this way: if you had to start this journey from the beginning, what do you think you would do different, or which paths would you go on? What would you change?

ZULFI: Great question. I would get myself a mentor ASAP. A mentor, or a group of mentors, or I would, these times and days are not times and days of lone rangers. Those days are gone. You have to be part of a bigger mission, bigger vision, bigger purpose, bigger group, bigger entity than yourself. Because the student is more aware of what the martial art is and it represents and represents and can benefit now than 30 years ago.

30 years ago, as a lone ranger, I could have hundreds of students, but now as a lone ranger, I can not compete with a stronger group of people who are united and they have more strength than you. So I would utilize, see, a lot of this, where I’m at today, I did a lot on my own trial and error and failures, more failures than victories. And then, when I found some mentors, one of my great mentors is the great grandmaster Dr. Maung Gyi. He is 87 years old and he is the father of American Bando Association. He mentored me, guided me and that was a blessing to me. Plus, other mentors in other fields.

So you've got to get yourself somebody who you respect and you feel can share with you through experience. Anybody can read a book and say what's in the book, but the years of knowledge, the experience, cannot be replaced by what you read in a book, or what you buy in a $2.99 program. It has to be lived and they have to live through trial and error, through victory and failure and that's the mentor I would get immediately if I could find one. If I could have someone who… that's the first thing I would do.

Because when I came to America, my teacher was 10000 miles away. I learned through trial and error and I learned to get beaten up. I would go to these tournaments, which I had totally different, I came from a different background and I went to do Texas style point karate with groin kicks who I love and I got beaten up every weekend.

But I didn't give up, I kept going back and going back and going back, so I learned through real failure and then, you know, if I would have had a coach, mentor, teacher in the business, I would have been maybe ten steps ahead. You know? So that's what I would recommend everybody: to get yourself a group of great people, a mentor. Build a little sphere of influence, build your own inner circle of friends and mentors, of like-minded pursuit, or get somebody who you believe can guide you. That's what I would do.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Zulfi, I'm just looking at the time and we’re running close, I know you've got another appointment to get to. One question just behind this: at what point did you decide to start your own style and to start your own program?

ZULFI: The decision to start my style was when I was living in Pakistan and I saw a rich cultural heritage of martial arts in Pakistan, which comes from India, Pakistan and that region. And I was training in a foreign style Burmese style. And I trained in Japanese style, I trained in Korean style, I trained in Thai style. And as a young person, I loved it.

I still love training in every style, Brazilian, Thai, and Mongolian – every style. But I saw that there was really nothing which was representing the rich cultural martial arts of the region where I came from, on an international level. Plus, I saw a gap of modern approach in those martial arts.

So you know, some people are creative by nature, some people are practical by nature, so I feel that my personal creative invocation, creative longing made me realize that I needed something. Number one, to fulfil my needs in what I was getting through that system was great, still great, I still train with it.

But there was something I wanted to improve and enhance. And when I saw the other system, it was like pieces of a puzzle. So I was making my own puzzle with different pieces and putting my puzzle together. And one of the key reasons for putting the puzzle together was at that time, the national pride that I wanted, a system which could be internationally recognized, which hails from that region of the world.

And then, I wanted to give back to that part of the world a more modern approach to what was going on in the other parts of the world where I was traveling, to Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, when I was living in Pakistan and I was accumulating this information and putting my pieces together and that was done on a selfish basis and it grew into a wonderful system called Bushi Ban. And my students loved it and it became a, we call it a supra, multi-dimensional system.

It was not a linear system, like Taekwondo might be linear, just kicks, but Bushi ban, in those days, before MMA, we were – and I'm not taking any credit, but we were incorporating wrestling with Muay Thai. We were incorporating karate with point karate, with kickboxing and we were incorporating Pakistani wrestling with point karate, takedowns. We were incorporating Naban, Burmese Naban with Taekwondo.

So it was evolving into what is MMA now, it was kind of evolving in that manner and it was becoming a multidimensional system and what I used to call it, I used to say, this is the tradition of the future. Traditional martial arts are the future, one day, people will adapt this martial art because it has the past and the future combined together in a multidimensional way and we used to say, you know, modern practices, traditional wisdom, and ancient wisdom, compiled together.

Of course, inspired by the late great Bruce Lee's thinking, as a child, as a young person I was reading that, and my own personal longing. So Bushi Ban became born, was born. And it keeps evolving because I'm still evolving. I’m the founder, I'm the creator and I’m still evolving and my goal is to keep bringing that evolution and innovation and creation into my students’ lives, wherever they are.

GEORGE: I love that, awesome. Master Zulfi, it’s been awesome speaking to you and I'm looking forward to meeting you in San Diego this year, so depending on when you're watching this video. So that's 26th to 28th I believe in San Diego at The Main Event. And Master Zulfi, where else can people find out more about you and your networking and everything that you have going on?

ZULFI: I would love to connect with people, I love people and I'm honoured when somebody calls me, I like to share. So if anybody who's hearing this, give me a shout out. You can email me at masterzulfi@gmail.com, or bushiban-hq@juno.com.

And if you don't mind, if I can plug in, put a plugin for an event we’re doing in Thailand, I've been hosting what we call the World Martial Arts Summit for the past two years and it’s in conjunction with the Thai martial arts games and Thai festival, which starts on the 12th of March this year and goes to the 18th of March. So in the World Martial Arts Summit, which I run that aspect, we have a sports karate tournament, we have a grappling tournament, No Gi grappling tournament.

We have a mastermind, where people like Fred DePalma, you know, Ken Pankiewicz, Hakan Manav, myself, Master Kazi Qais, Master Jeff Barley… many, many prominent martial artists from all over the world, from the USA, from India, from Australia, from the UK, from Thailand, from Malaysia, from Pakistan, from Bangladesh – many, many countries, they'll be there and we’ll be brainstorming and different martial arts business development, that's a mastermind.

We also have the Asia-Pacific Martial Arts Hall of Fame. It’s an organization to which we want to recognize top performers from Asia-Pacific region. So I would love to hear from anybody who would like to go to the event and you can log onto www.worldmartialartssummit.com and I’ll be in Bangkok Thailand on the 7th of March, till the 19th of March.

Then, there's another event I will be teaching, I'm the keynote speaker at the EFC, UK EFC event, which is, I think 20th and the 21st of April, that's in UK England. And then I’ll be at the MA1st Kyoshi Fred DePalma’s event in San Diego right after that. So, love to shake hands with all of you, love to see you there and looking forward to sharing our information with you all.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Master Zulfi, I’ll have all those links in the transcript of this interview as well. It’s been great to connect with you, all the way to the other side of the world and looking forward to meeting you in person.

ZULFI: Yes sir, my pleasure. Thank you, George, pleasure meeting you and I look forward to meeting you in person as well.

GEORGE: Thank you, speak soon.

ZULFI: Bye.

GEORGE: Cheers.

 

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

56 – If Your Martial Arts Website Developer Can’t Answer This Question… Run!

The term ‘high-converting martial arts website’ is often spouted amongst web developers without the expertise to back it up. If your gut check spells doubt, this question will reveal if they're worth their salt.

.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The one ‘traffic test’ question that every martial arts website developer should pass
  • Why a high converting martial arts website can make or break your marketing
  • Your real problem beyond marketing
  • How to get the BONUS PDF – 20 Questions To Ask Your Web Developer Before Investing In A New Martial Arts Website

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, this is George Fourie, I’m doing a quick Facebook live experiment. I want to talk about the one question you should ask your web developer and if they can’t answer it, I reckon you should run.

And I’ve put together 20 other questions, a bit of a report – I’ll explain how you can get a hold of that, but I just want to talk about this one thing, because one thing I noticed, especially talking to a lot of web developers, and I guess just paying attention to things happening in the martial arts industry is, there's a lot of advice that just gets thrown around.

Thrown around like it’s knowledge, like it’s something that people actually know and they know what to do, but then, when it actually comes to the crocs of doing it, it’s just being heard from somewhere, or it’s just been read in a book, so it can't actually be applied.

And it costs you money at the end of the day. And it comes down to conversions and look, if you've listened to a lot of my podcasts or videos, I'm always going on about conversions, because the truth of the matter is, most school owners that I speak to don't have as much as a marketing problem, they’ve just got a conversion problem.

They're doing a lot of things: they're putting stuff out on Facebook, they're putting stuff out on YouTube, on their websites, but they're not getting the results. So it’s not really the marketing as much – look, obviously yes, marketing can be fine tuned and strategy and all that, but it really comes down to the actual conversion.

And the reason I carry on about conversions is the numbers make such a big difference. If you think of – and I always refer to this: if you get a 100 people going to your website, and you get 2 students from that, that's a 2% conversion. And depending on what the students are worth for you, let’s say your lifetime student value is $1500, or $2000 – let’s say it’s $1500: that's $3000 from a 100 website visits.

So if you had to double those conversions to 4% – it seems like 2%, but it’s 4%, that means an actual $3000 for every 100 visits you get on your website. And that's from a 100 visits to your website, or to one page.
So think if you start optimizing all your pages and everything that you do and you just make these little conversion improvements on your website. So that's… let’s say you push it from 2% to 4% – that's an extra $3000 this month, that's times 12, that's $36,000 over the year, times 5, that's another $150,000. So you can see where I'm getting at: it’s all about the conversions, right?

So the question you should be asking your web developer is: have they spent their own hard earned cash to drive traffic to their own martial arts website?

Because if they haven't done that, then how the hell are they building you a high converting website? Right?

Because if you haven't felt that pain, that pain of putting together your website and going to a place like Google, which is probably the biggest reveal of them all, and start spending money and sending people to your website and watching your dollars, your wallet get bruised and watching zero results – so watching no results and no results and you don't know what's going on. And if you haven't done that, then there's no way in hell that you can be building somebody a high converting website.

So getting back to the conversions side: if you haven't actually spent money and driven traffic to a website, then how can you actually optimize it and things that we are seeing right now, it’s not normally the first take.

And I think this is where people get it wrong is, I mean, when we build a website, we go to the point of interviewing the client, talking to the school owner, what's their strengths, what's their values, what's the market like – and then we go and we write out the copy. We do that first, before we do any design. Because it’s about the sales message, it’s not about the design.

So the problem is that you get web developers and they focus on the technical aspect and the pictures. And they don’t understand the sales proposition and they don't understand the fact that there's got to be a conversion element.

So that's what it really comes down. If somebody is not doing that themselves, then they can't be giving you the advice, or be copying other people and other designs, which people do and giving that off as their own expertise and think that you're going to get a result. Because chances are – and we do this all the time, we build a website to the best of our ability and then as soon as we start sending traffic to it, we realize that we've got to make adjustments. So that's when the real work starts, the real work is not actually developing a website that converts off the bat; the real work is, now that it’s built, now that traffic is going to it, all right: now do the numbers talk and do we need to optimize it?

I hope that helps in any way. Like I said, this is a bit of a Facebook live experiment.

I am walking off an injury in the middle of the bush. I've got another 20 questions. If you are looking at getting a new website, or you've got questions for a web developer, I've got a PDF with 20 questions that you can ask a web developer before you go ahead. It will give you a good idea of where their mind is at, OK? Are they somebody that studied programming, that I did initially and did not actually go to the lengths of understanding the conversions afterwards, or are they coming from a marketing perspective, thinking about strategy and then doing all the tech side.

martial arts websites

VIEWER QUESTION: Greg, what if you do it yourself?

Greg, I guess that really depends on the level of skill you have with web development. If that's what you've got to do, if it’s because of cash flow, then by all means. But you will have to put in some time to learn about conversions, to learn about what makes a website convert and be prepared to spend a lot of money on the testing.

That's where you could probably save in the long run, is it’s probably the one thing where people try and take a big shortcut right off the bat, because it’s a lot easier to pay $300 a month for a website, then it is to pay 3,4 5 grand. But then, I'm not saying that the 3,4,5 grand is always the best route, because I see people charging that and then again, what we just spoke about is they're not considering the conversion; they're considering the flash. The flash stuff that makes them as web developers feel good, but sucks for the client, because the client can't get results from that.

I hope that helps. If you want the PDF, wherever you're watching this, just drop the number 20 in the comments and I’ll send the PDF to you, it’s just a bit of a write up. 20 questions that you can ask any web developer, it will give you a bit of an insight. Also, perhaps if you're doing it yourself, it will give you some feedback on what you need to be looking at for yourself in your own development.

Awesome – cool, thanks for watching, speak soon – cheers.

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

55 – Bogdan Rosu – Personal Development Through Martial Arts

When you combine personal development through martial arts, the goals achieved become tangible. Bogdan Rosu's vehicle for this is Wing Chun.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • What led Bogdan Rosu to use martial arts in reaching out people.
  • The potential of martial arts for personal development combined with hand-to-hand combat.
  • Using concepts of Wing Chun to improve your life.
  • Being selective about the students you can and cannot help.  
  • BONUS PDF DOWNLOAD: 11 Goal Setting Questions to ask your students to reveal their real emotional reasons for starting martial arts.

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

TRANSCRIPTION

The problem with just doing personal development, for example, is that you just don’t get keeping it in your head. Imagine just reading books, or doing courses or attending seminars – that's great, that information eventually trickles down into your body. However, if you do a concept with your body and you're not just repeating it over and over again. You do it and you integrate it into every cell of your body, that’s totally different.

GEORGE: This podcast episode is the audio version of a video interview that took place on martialartsmedia.com. For the full video interview and to access the questions that we discussed: we discussed questions with Bogdan Rosu, we discussed questions that you can ask your prospect in regards to personal development, but what this does for you? It really helps you get a clear idea of what your prospects’ goals are. And if you know what their goals are, you can tailor make your presentation about your martial arts program based on what their needs are and not just about what your program delivers – big distinction. It will make more sense in the interview.

So to download those questions and the transcript, please go to martilartsmedia.com/55. Here's the interview – enjoy!

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. Today, I have with me – and I’m 100% confident I’m going to say this 100% right: Bogdan Rosu.

BOGDAN: That was actually pretty good.

GEORGE: Bogdan Rosu – did I get the “R” right?

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, actually the -su was like, it’s a bit unusual. Hi everyone, thanks for the invite.

GEORGE: Awesome. So quick introduction – and while I’m going to let Bogdan do most of the introduction, but Bogdan invited me to his podcast a couple of weeks back, Personal Development Through Martial Arts. And you can find that on addicted2wingchun.com. And it’s addicted with the number 2. So we’re going to touch a bit of that, on the personal development side within martial arts, within martial arts training as well, and just going to really have a chat, have some fun and learn more about Bogdan and what happens in the wonderful world of Romania? So officially – welcome!

BOGDAN: Thanks for the invite and like I mentioned earlier, it’s very nice to see you again. I’m excited to sit down and talk martial arts, personal development and marketing. Yeah.

GEORGE: Sounds good, all right. So first and foremost – who is Bogdan Rosu?

BOGDAN: I’m just a guy, you know, I’ve been doing martial arts since I was like 13 and the primary reason was because I just wanted to be a bit more self-confident and learn a bit more about people, I was horrible with people. Because for example, in the 5th grade, I was voted as being the most annoying, obnoxious kid in class and that was a bit weird for me because I love people so much and I just didn't understand why this stuff was happening.

But somehow I felt that it was because of me feeling really insecure. So I started my martial arts journey when I was 13 and in my 2nd year of college, I discovered personal development and I noticed that there was a really interesting connection between the two, in the sense that, what one was missing, the other can provide. So that's how this thing got started.

GEORGE: So – on personal development, right? So what actually led you to personal development? I mean, you're saying that you were feeling labelled most annoying kid in the class, although you're thinking you were probably just trying to reach out and connect. And then you said you discovered personal development, so, is that what sort of was the path to get you to say, well, there are some things I need to improve myself.

BOGDAN: Somehow, I mean, when I discover personal development, I had been doing martial arts for seven years. I started with this acrobatic style of martial arts and it was funny because the flyer said, “Learn karate, ninjutsu, judo, aikido…” and three or four other styles of martial arts and they were all taught by the same guy. And you can imagine the level of expertise. But he was good, he was a really good fighter. We ended up doing a lot of ground fighting, which was fun and a lot of flex, you know, a lot of acrobatic stuff. But I still don't know how to defend myself and I was so scared of the idea of confrontation, of physical confrontation, especially in the street.

And three years later, I switched to Shotokan karate and that's where I learned the values of working really, really hard. And reaching that point where you say, OK, I can’t do it anymore, I just need to go beyond that. And after three years of doing that, I felt a lot stronger. My posture changed, but I still felt very insecure. I still felt that my self-worth was close to nothing, I was still comparing myself to other people. And personal development came in the form of network marketing. A friend said, dude, you need to do this, you need to start doing this and I did it more for just having a side income, just to make a bit more money. Which did not happen of course. But I really got passionate about personal development when I started reading these books and these concepts, these ideas, really shaped me in the following years.

GEORGE: Interesting that you say that because network marketing was my stepping stone into the online business world.

BOGDAN: Really?

GEORGE: Yeah, that's what got me started. I know there are many perceptions about it: it’s a scam and it’s this and this, and there’s definitely a lot of that, and especially now that the bitcoin phase is happening and cryptocurrency, it really sticks out and it’s annoying. But I was part of the network marketing industry for a long time and what I find is – and this is what happens with a lot of people that get into that is, it is their first stepping stone into business. They normally try it, achieve a little success, or nothing, but it opens the mind to, Hang on – I can provide for myself, I can create this business. So it does leave a good groundwork for business skills, the start of business, being in business.

BOGDAN: Absolutely.

GEORGE: And then, of course, the personal development that goes with it.

BOGDAN: Absolutely, absolutely. And this whole idea of sitting down with someone and making an offer is hugely intimidating for a lot of people and yeah, you know, the problem was back then that I wasn't really aware of the fact that when you're making an offer, you shouldn't really be pushy. I was super pushy with people. But now we know better.

GEORGE: Cool, so let’s define, OK? I get to the personal development with martial arts. But let’s fill that gap in between that first. So you got into personal development – what exactly did you start doing that had the biggest impact on your life?

BOGDAN: From personal development or from martial arts?

GEORGE: Personal development, yeah. Because you were already in martial arts, right? So martial arts was there and your next thing was to start developing yourself, so how did that sort of transition I guess and then what did you actually do?

BOGDAN: To be honest, it actually started making more sense years later, because you're getting all these books, you're getting the information, but until you have also the experiences to use that information and consolidate them, it’s really not worth much. So I didn't see any kind of change in terms of my self-confidence, until I started teaching it, to be honest. And that's… it may sound weird to a lot of people, why do you teach stuff that you don't 100% own? Well, that was exactly the reason why, because I wanted to learn these concepts and own them, so I felt that by teaching them, it would really help me do that and it did. And that's when all of these concepts made sense. I’m still teaching stuff that I want to learn and master, or at least get better at it.

GEORGE: Yeah, for sure. Because that's the progression of life, right? I think it’s always important to pay credit where credit is due, there's nothing more frustrating or me when intellectual property just gets passed around like… you learn something and then you pass it on as your own, but I think for the most, people can see through that. But I mean, content creation like what we’re doing here with podcasts, a lot of that is actually educating yourself on the go. Sometimes it’s from experience, but as you say, the other part of it is, it’s something you want to be better at. So the minute you start articulating it into words, you actually start getting the better understanding of what it is that you do.

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I absolutely agree. And a huge turning point in my life was actually learning… I started teaching, I started teaching Wing Chun. That was actually my third martial arts style, I discovered Wing Chun when I moved to Greece to study. And I got my instructor certificate and started teaching. And you probably know, like, working with your clients, the challenges of opening a school when you know nothing about marketing and you're handing out flyers and you're just dealing with all this frustration.

And I sat down with the person who would become my marketing mentor and he asked me about what I was doing. And I told him, look, we do teach martial arts, but we focus a lot on the mindset and on the tools that you can use to better your relationships, to actually have a better relationship with yourself. And he's like, yeah, but you're not just teaching martial arts, are you? You're also teaching personal development. And that was like, that actually makes so much sense. So he was like, why don't you just be open with that in your marketing efforts? And yeah, that made a huge difference. I just put myself out there the way I was and the way that I wanted to help people out.

GEORGE: So can you give an example? I mean, if you're doing a personal development within your martial arts teaching, how do you go about that?

BOGDAN: Mhm. Well, usually we have 5-10 minute discussions every training session. And what I've learned to do now is to allow everyone to speak and I speak at the end. I offer my opinion at the end. And then I ask them, what concepts did you use, or did you find in the Wing Chun training today? What idea is it that you feel you can apply in your life directly? Wing Chun is interesting, because it’s not a technique based on martial art, in the sense of, OK, you do step one, you do step two and you do step three. It’s based on ideas; it’s based on concepts.

So in Wing Chun, we say that you can do an idea with your hand, you can do the same idea with a stick, you can do it with your car, you can apply it in your life, in terms of your relationships, in terms of your work, in terms of business development. One example would be, we use the straight punch, right? When we do the first film, we do a straight punch. For us, it’s not just a straight punch, it’s a way of thinking. Instead of going around, right, to get to my target, I choose the fastest way, all right?

Sometimes the straight line is not always the best solution, sometimes you do need to go around, right? But if you can go straight to the point, just do that, right? So you're learning to be a bit more direct, you're learning to be more assertive with your way of thinking and with who you are as a person. So we normally do that, I get my students thinking of how they can apply these ideas, these concepts to better, not just their lives, but also to share them with other people.

So that's how we basically include the whole personal development. And then in the end, I share some of the stuff that I've learned, some of the books that I've read, the videos that I post on my YouTube channel, there's, the Wing Chun, the specific way we focused on the martial arts and there is the mindset and personal development aspect of the channel.

GEORGE: So if you say you're sharing the same stuff on your social media channels and so forth, is that sort of your leading theme as everything… you tie it in with your marketing, you tie it in with the whole concept of how you deliver everything. Would you promote yourself as a martial arts school or a martial arts school focused on personal development, or vice versa?

BOGDAN: Personal Development Through Martial Arts school.

GEORGE: Right, of course – as you wrote it. So now, bringing it back to… in the class, you say you get people really involved: do you find that it creates some discomfort, or that it presents some confidence issues, I've really got to step this up, that type of thing?

BOGDAN: Are you asking for the students or for the instructors?

GEORGE: The student.

BOGDAN: For the student? Mhm, mhm, that's a great question. Well, they kind of expect it in the sense when they walk in because it’s a whole new concept. So they would expect something a bit different from a traditional martial arts training program, so the people that usually come to the school, actually, they do feel a bit uncomfortable at the beginning, sharing their experiences and talking with the group. But slowly, slowly… the school is very welcoming to new people. So slowly but surely, they get out of a state of a, What should I say, or What if I say something silly. And we just start having a conversation. Usually everyone in the group contributes, says something.

GEORGE: Cool, something silly like swapping martial arts for personal development, instead of personal development for martial arts.

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, that's it.

GEORGE: Alright, awesome. Ok, cool, so anything else that you can add with the personal development side and how it’s sort of working for you and I guess results that the students are getting that they might have not expected. You know, the whole thing of, sell them what they want and give them what they need.

BOGDAN: Indeed, mhm.

GEORGE: There we go.

BOGDAN: Well, I personally think that all martial arts schools should include a personal development curriculum in their teachings, in their training. And if you love martial arts and you don't know where to start, a great aspect would be just to have a personal development specialist come once in a while in your school and holds an event, holds a workshop. Maybe somebody who specializes in communication skills, somebody who specializes in performance and productivity. Somebody who specializes in psychology, or something like that right? Or motivation.

I feel that martial arts are like when you're doing martial arts, you're really building a very, very powerful engine, upgrading your engine from, I don't know, an old car with a very powerful Ferrari. And I'm referring to your willpower, you’re really tapping into that, you know, I'm actually stronger than I thought and I can actually take on more than I thought. You're learning hard work.

However, you're not really learning what to do with that engine once you've got it. So by learning about personal development and what are the actual techniques, or how to communicate a lot better or more efficiently with people, you're getting the best of both. The problem with just doing personal development, for example, is that you're just doing it, or you're keeping it in your head. Imagine just reading books or doing courses or attending seminars – that's great, that information eventually trickles down into your body. However, if you do a concept with your body and you're not just repeating it over and over again; you do it and you integrate it into every cell of your body, that's totally different.

For example, confidence: you might learn about confidence, you might hear a very inspirational YouTube video about believing in yourself, but unless you do something with your body and change the way you use it, change the way you use your hands, change the way you use your spine, and the way you use your face, right? He's not really going to understand it.

So, in my crazy opinion, I think all personal development programs should include a physical aspect, more of a physical aspect, be it martial arts, be it fitness, be it, Tai Chi, be it, you know I'm saying that as if Tai Chi were not a martial art – sorry all the Tai Chi instructors listening in. Yeah, so, at the same time, all martial arts programs I think would benefit very much from including a personal development program. And yeah.

GEORGE: I think you hit it there in a huge way because that's really what it is, right? And I mean, you've got your different learning styles, you've got someone might be visual, someone might be auditory and then kinesthetic. So the movements, when you tie it into martial arts, then you're tapping into all the senses. So by turning your, and it could be really subtle, but I guess you've got to have, as an instructor, you've got to have that personal development goal in mind, or a syllabus or something that you follow with that in mind. And then you can apply it in a way that it sinks in and it really becomes part of your body. Body really, as in, yeah.

BOGDAN: Yes, yes.

GEORGE: And I think that's probably, that's the biggest failure in most personal development things, because as you talk about, I think it’s Tony Robbins that actually drew out the statistic, that if – and this is why they've got it, I mean, he's really the guru of gurus when it comes to personal development and they've also got the process down to knowing, obviously when people fall off in their behaviors and when they don't follow through. There's a statistic, and don't quote me on this because I might get it wrong, but I think it’s 21 days, if someone doesn't take action, enforce the habit in 21 days, it’s pretty much gone. And then I think it takes 21 days to actually enforce a habit of day to day before it’s an actual habit. But that's the biggest danger, if it’s not physically applied, then the habit is just easy to let go.

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's actually the biggest job of any personal development seminar, workshop or whatever you say. You do it once – if you just do it once, you're never going to integrate all the lessons that you got, right? You might have a notebook full of facts and ideas, but if you just put it somewhere and forget about it in your drawer, it’s not going to work. And I'm saying that to remind myself as well because I attend UBW two years ago, I still have the notebook. But if you don't have the environment, if you don't have a group of people who are all together striving for the same goal, or reinforcing those specific habits, it’s going to be very difficult for you to do so.

GEORGE: So for me when I started martial arts – and this was really like, if I dig down to the deeper things of why I started, this was a big thing, because I've always been striving for that self-improvement thing, doing personal development and then, for me it was really backwards. When I started martial arts training, I immediately made the link, which is what hooked me, because I've been studying, doing all this personal development stuff and now I'm applying things in a physical manner, and now it’s like aaa! This is great, this is coming together for me.

BOGDAN: Yes, yes.

GEORGE: But what happens when the mind is not ready? Because a lot of people aren't open to personal development. Do you just not hammer it in, but you just subtly actually apply it in the way you go about your teaching?

BOGDAN: You know, usually, the people who say that they don't need personal development are the people who need it the most. So I tend not to work with people who don't see the value of personal development. I did that in the past and it just felt weird for me, because I felt I couldn't give my all in the interactions with my students and I actually chose to say, you know, maybe this is not a good fit and let’s find a different solution.

So yeah, not everybody will need or want what you have and that's great, but the people who do see the value, you tend to see like a very, very interesting evolution. Not just in terms of their self-confidence, you see it in your lives, yeah. Yeah, some people became… Since they started training with us, they became their team leaders, they got promoted at their jobs, people are making more money. People who were not in relationships actually, they're happily married now. People who were in miserable relationships have cleaned that out of their lives, so these are some of the results that people are getting through the program.

GEORGE: So would you, you were mentioning that you don’t work with people that aren't on that mindset, that don't want to go down that route, which is obviously a good thing, saves you a lot of time down the line – how do you go about filtering people out before they get started?

BOGDAN: So people usually fill in a form. It’s a pretty long form, it’s like a 12 question form. And they're very personal, very deep questions, like, what do you need and why do you need that? What's holding you back? What would your life look like if you keep doing the same things that you’re doing and that's a filtering process in itself? And people go through this form and then we call them up for a phone interview. If we feel that they're a good fit and we do and we can help them out, we schedule them for a trial period for a week, where they can see the whole training sessions, we can get to meet them. And then, at the end of the trial period, we decide if we want to take that person on and work together.

GEORGE: So I'm going to put you on the spot.

BOGDAN: Mhm?

GEORGE: Which means I might have to end this podcast. If you're still listening, then… Bogdan said yes.  So are we able to take your questions and actually include them in this podcast? As part of a download, with the transcription?

BOGDAN: You could, but I would have to translate them into English. It’s not a secret or anything, you can find this process anywhere. You can use this process for selling very high tech procedures as well or programs as well, it’s the same thing. Yeah, yeah, sure, you can include it as a PDF.

GEORGE: Awesome. And if you are listening to this and you are not focused on personal development, the reason I want you to have something like this is because, whether personal development or not, if you tap into your persons’ real – let’s take the martial arts out of it, we've talked about this. Martial arts is the vehicle to get them where they want.

BOGDAN: Yes.

GEORGE: You're not selling the martial arts training; you're selling the result that martial arts deliver.

BOGDAN: Yes.

GEORGE: So if your questions are provoking their thoughts of understanding what people really want, even if personal development is not your focus at all, but understanding what the real motives are for what this person wants to achieve, could be something that you could use in your own school and really benefit from the way you go about customizing your presentation, or your introduction. Because if you talk about a person's’ needs, then they're going to be more likely to respond than the logistics of, “We have a class Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – 20 pushups, 30 push ups, fitness…

BOGDAN: Yeah. Most people go about this the wrong way, in the sense, they start talking about themselves. Oh boy, you know, our school is the only one that teaches breaking bricks and my teacher was the world champion in China – nobody cares. If you start focusing on your potential clients, or just the people who are interested in what you're doing and you're talking about what they need and really being honest whether you can help them or not in that sense. And if you cannot help them, to recommend something else, or someone else.

For example, I remember someone filling in the form and saying, I need help with my money, with my financials, because I can't find a job. I got on the phone with that person and recommended someone who teaches personal finance. I recommended finding a mentor because I can’t help them. It wasn't the right time, and this is also important: if somebody can't really afford your program, don't give it to them. All right? Give them the tools that they need to be better off, but don't push to sell if it’s not the right time.

GEORGE: For sure. But I guess there's a flipside to that as well, right? Because sometimes – and obviously, what I'm about to say depends on the context of when this happens, if you’ve gone out of your way and you presented something to them and they can't afford it – by all means, at that level, yeah. Don't push the sale.

BOGDAN: Mhm, mhm.

GEORGE: But I think it’s important to not confuse that with the smokescreen of, “I can't afford this.”

BOGDAN: Ah, yes.

GEORGE: Because it’s very surprising what people could afford when you tell them that this is going to deliver the result that they want.

BOGDAN: Yes.

GEORGE: People make changes. People cancel stuff, they'll cancel their satellite networks or whatever they need, and if something is going to give them the result and the confidence and change everything about them, they will afford it.

BOGDAN: They'll find a way.

GEORGE: They find a way, yes.

BOGDAN: Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. I feel that people tend to say that, “I can't afford it,” when you're talking too much about your school and about Wing Chun and you're like, you're being pushy again. But if they fill in the form and they're looking for you and you're taking them through this filtering process, just like you would for a job interview, they're already qualified, right? So they kind of expect to invest in themselves in that way.

GEORGE: Good point. And it takes me back to olden days’ sales training. I can see now how hard it might be for a martial arts school if you started a martial arts school and you haven't been in that type of training of sales training. When people say, when people tell you they can't afford stuff, it’s easy to just accept that as true. But what we’re always taught in sales is that it’s more than likely just a smokescreen.

BOGDAN: Yeah.

GEORGE: I mean, if they're engaging, if they're actually in your school, talking about martial arts and they tell you they can't afford it, then what were they doing there in the first place? I mean, they knew it was going to cost them money, they knew it was not going to be free. So I think it’s the hardest part of communication is, I guess looking in the mirror, and I know I'm going a bit off topic, but I think it adds context to what we're talking about.

If you're having that conversation – and that's something that everybody tells you, then maybe, unfortunately, you've got to be able to look in the mirror. And it’s the hardest thing to do, you've got to look at, what is it that you're saying that is causing that? Because you're missing a point here maybe, like what you were saying, you're talking too much about yourself and you're not focused on what their actual needs are.

BOGDAN: Yes, yes, absolutely agree on that. I think we’re very conflicted as martial arts teachers in this aspect of charging what we’re worth and what most people teaching martial arts don't realize are that the same person that says, ‘I can't afford you, pays a therapist more than they will ever pay you for therapy. But you need to realize that you're not just teaching martial arts; you're giving people a chance to live healthier and happier. Why should somebody who is helping them cure the problem be paid more than you who are helping them prevent the problem, right?

So I'm not saying, OK, raise your glasses so that nobody will come to your school anymore, but just be aware of the value that you're really giving. You're not teaching people to punch other people in the face, like less than 1% of the people that you teach will get into an actual fight. You're teaching people to know themselves. By knowing themselves, they learn to say yes to more of what makes them happy and say no to what doesn’t make them happy and doesn't bring more of that satisfaction in their lives. So you're cancelling their medical bills, you're cancelling their psychotherapy pills and you know, you're just helping them thrive.

GEORGE: Definitely so. Hey Bogdan, this has been a very insightful conversation. I want to ask you, if you're new to this personal development thing, I mean, I probably have a few preferences myself, but for you as a martial arts instructor and you run a school and you do this: if I want to get into personal development, what do you think is the best place to start?

BOGDAN: Well the internet! The internet, it’s full of personal development quotes…

GEORGE: Facebook?

BOGDAN: Videos… Facebook, yeah, as well. The problem that internet, the advantage of the internet is the huge quantity of information. The disadvantage is the huge quantity of information. So whatever we recommend, if you're teaching martial arts and you want to tap into personal development, it’s actually to start listening to the Personal Development Through Martial Arts podcast. There you go. There's a plug for you.

GEORGE: Yeah!

BOGDAN: And absolutely, go ahead and check the interview with George. We talked a lot about marketing and growing your school, that was a lot of fun. Yeah, yeah, I basically recommend the podcast, because we’re having very, very powerful inspiration from people who are experts in this field of fitness, personal development, communication. I’m interviewing Florin who is a personal finance expert who teaches that. And also, of course, martial arts masters that you can learn and get insights from. Yeah.

GEORGE: Fantastic. And so, your podcast is for direct access, that's addicted2wingchun.com.

BOGDAN: I think the best would be just to Google Personal Development through Martial Arts podcast. You can find it on iTunes for now, Google play is not available in Romania yet, but I'm still looking into that and making it available on Google play as well. But yeah, the fastest way would be just to Google the title.

GEORGE: Sounds good. Bogdan – it’s been great speaking to you, and I'm going to round this up with one last question.

BOGDAN: Sure.

GEORGE: And that is, what is the one biggest reason that I would want to come and visit Romania?

BOGDAN: Uh, well, to come to our school. That would be the number one! Romania is awesome. You know, we’re very welcoming people. I think that if you came to Romania you would immediately feel like you're at home. And the people, the people, 100%. And you know, you can check out the mountains as well, the sea, there's a lot of stuff to do and a lot of fun, but 100% the people.

GEORGE: And your school, of course.

BOGDAN: And my school.

GEORGE: That's a given!

BOGDAN: Awesome.

GEORGE: Awesome. Bogdan, thanks, thanks again. Great chatting with you and it was great being featured on your Personal Development podcast as well. Personal Development for Martial Arts and I look forward to catching up again soon.

BOGDAN: Awesome, thank you so much for the invitation guys, thanks so much for listening in.

GEORGE: Awesome – cheers!

 

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

54 – Damien Martin – Risk Management Planning in Martial Arts

George Fourie speaks with Damien Martin about Risk Management planning in martial arts, training in Japan and instructing children with special needs.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How risk management applies to martial arts marketing.
  • The risk factors in martial arts schools that some school owners overlook.
  • The necessary steps in identifying, assessing and controlling threats in your school.
  • How Damien changes a prospect’s perception about his school.
  • Working with students with special needs and autism.
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

TRANSCRIPTION

Well, I learnt very early on that you don't have one advertising method that tries to bring you 20 students a month. You have 20 that try and bring you one. That way if one fails or one changes, you've still got the other 19 acting as a redundancy. Again, it comes back to risk management.

GEORGE: This podcast is the audio version of a video interview that was done on martialartsmedia.com. For the full interview with video and to download the transcript, please go to martialartsmedia.com/54. That's the number five, four.

Good day. George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com, and welcome to the Martial Arts Media business podcast. I have an awesome guest with me today. Damien Martin, all the way from Brisbane. How are you doing, Damien?

DAMIEN: Gold Coast, actually. But…

GEORGE: All right. Well, got that. It's close.

DAMIEN: Yeah, yeah. It's close enough.

GEORGE: It's close enough. All right. Well, that's a good way to start the podcast interview. So let's adjust from here on. Awesome. So we've got Damien on today and Damien is a wealth of knowledge in the industry. We're going to touch on perhaps some sensitive topics in regards to risk management and a few things.

And I met Damien quite a while back, officially face-to-face, at The Main Event in Sydney. That was last year. And we'd just finished building his website as well, which looks pretty cool, southerncrossmartialarts.com. So you can check that out.

So we're going to get started. So welcome to the call, Damien.

DAMIEN: Thank you and thanks for having me.

GEORGE: Cool. So to start right at the beginning, who is Damien Martin?

DAMIEN: Well, that depends on who you ask. But I've been training since 1982 when I started judo as a 12-year-old. Have been continuously training ever since. Been running teaching since 1987 and currently running the Southern Cross Martial Arts Association on the Gold Coast with my wife, Hannah. So we're a full-time center in Helensvale.

Primary focus these days is Okinawan Goju-Ryu and Okinawan Kobudo. So weaponry. As well as just the practical self-defense applications and things that spring from that and the other training that I've done over the years.

GEORGE: And when did you get started with Southern Cross Martial Arts?

DAMIEN: We started that in 2008. In 2008 I left the organization I'd been with since 1984, which was Zen Do Kai. We left there after some disagreements on future direction and not wishing to take advice on how to run a full-time school from people that don't run a full-time school.

At that point we were also running an RTO, delivering training to a bunch of government departments on risk management, self-defense and those sorts of things.

GEORGE: Alright, cool. So risk management, that's a topic that we've discussed in brief. What do you see, how do you see risk management and what do you see the effects of, I guess, the dangers of running a martial arts school?

DAMIEN: Well, just to back up where I'm coming from, I'm an OH&S consultant and have an advanced diploma in security and risk management. I worked in that particular space for well over 20 years. So most people tend to look at risk management from a physical point of view and think of risk as, you know, someone falls over and you get sued or one student beats another student up and you get sued.

And that's certainly an element of that but other risk factors that people don't tend to take into account in our industry is a risk to reputation. And I'm not just talking about social media and how many reviews you get and all those sorts of things. But, for example, if there's an accusation made of inappropriate behavior within your school that goes to the media, your school is destroyed.

Whether that allegation is baseless or based in fact. There are several instances in the recent past where similar things have happened to people in the entertainment industry who were later exonerated but they've lost their job, they've lost their marriage, they've lost their reputation. Now can't work in the industry based on, you know, false accusations.

And to be sure, there have been instances in the past where the accusations have not been baseless. And schools have been found and reported to be lacking in the recent Royal Commission into Child Abuse in Institutions where abuse happened within organizations and yet there was no child protection policy, there was no policy of checking when working with children or any of those sorts of things.

So those are some of the other issues. Then you've got your risks related to untruthful advertising and prosecution from the ACCC or Fair Trading in individual states. Like, for example, I've seen schools claim that they can cure autism. That's a pretty big claim and that is one that is likely to result in negative media attention. That negative media attention can destroy your own school but it can also negatively impact all of the other schools in the industry.

GEORGE: Okay. So, I mean, because I haven't really seen anything big in the media. Is this something that's sort of it's covered up before it sort of blows up type of thing? Or are there things going on in the underground that are just it's going to cause some obstacles and problems down the line?

DAMIEN: Sometimes things don't come to public light because there's out of court settlements with gag orders attached. So things like defamation or if someone sues for something. If there's a pre-trial settlement, the details are not made public.

Whereas if it goes to trial, the details can be found, for example, on the AustLII website, which is the Australian Law Library Index which catalogs all of the various cases that have gone to trial and come to a conclusion.

What insurance companies will often do is settle out of court. So if they settle out of court, that's usually based on there's a confidentiality agreement that you, you know, can't say what happened or what the accusation was or those sorts of things. You just take your money and shut up.

If you look at the AustLII library for things in relation to martial arts, there's a lot of disputes over contracts, there's a lot of disputes over trademarks. But a lot of stuff doesn't make public light that way. The other way that it can become public is if it goes to criminal trial. So like an instructor has perhaps, as has happened in a number of cases over the years, sexually assaulted students.

Other ways it happens is if it ends up on A Current Affair, and I can think of a couple of big instances over the last few years. One, in fact, in Melbourne actually led to a change in legislation relating to knives and martial arts weapons. A Current Affair ran a big story. It was a beat-up about a particular school and the particular instructor who focused particularly on knife fighting. And the next thing you know, the Victorian Government has changed the legislation based on that particular story.

The White Paper that was released on that, rather than a regulatory impact statement, gave the specifics of why the legislation came into being and how that was influenced by certain members of the industry who perhaps overstepped their authority to represent.

GEORGE: So where does the problem really start? You know, 'cause I guess the first thing I always … Like when I stepped into helping martial arts school owners with the marketing and so forth, I guess a big attraction to me was the ethical side of it. You know, like if this is what you practice as in an art, then I'd assume that's the way you live your life as well. Which I'm kind of shocked to see sometimes is completely not the case. But-

DAMIEN: Yeah. And I found that there's a direct relationship between the number of times an instructor mentions ethics and the amount of ethics they actually demonstrate themselves. Particularly some of the instructors I've met and worked with over the last sort of 35 years. There's been a lot of them go on and on and on about concepts like Bushido and loyalty and honor and justice and courage and these sorts of things, and yet that's lacking in their own lives in every way, shape or form.

They use the martial arts to feed their own egos. Now, there's a lot of those but it's a huge industry. I mean, the martial arts industry in Australia, nobody can really put a finger on how big it is. The Australia Bureau of Statistics varies, depending on which question is asked. And the Australian Sports Commission only looks at sporting bodies. It doesn't cover all of those martial arts organizations, some of which are quite large, that don't participate in Australian Sports Commission approved sporting activities.

So, you know, if you're not doing sport taekwondo or sport karate or sport jujitsu or sport judo, if you're doing recreational karate in a school hall somewhere, you're not in the figures. So, you know, no one really knows how big the industry is.

So it's broken up. Some people are really, really good. Some people are really, really bad and they tend to color it for the good people. But most people are just pretty much happy amateurs stumbling along, not deliberately meaning to injure anybody or cause anybody any grief. But they do so out of ignorance.

Martial artists tend to be quite credulous so they believe what their teacher told them without fact-checking and those sorts of things as a general rule. So if someone's teacher told them that a particular technique is invincible, then they've got no reason to check. That is the way a lot of people think.

Likewise, you know, I had a person who ran in the 1970s a large martial arts organization in Australia, probably the largest for about 20 years in this country, tell me that direct debit would never work because nobody would give you their bank account details. He was talking from a position of ignorance rather than being a professional business owner in the 21st century. That level of credulity, it just is a problem.

GEORGE: All right. So even if your instructor does these, what is it, these, what's it, yellow bamboo? I think it's called yellow bamboo. You must have seen that video. I think it's yellow bamboo, yeah.

DAMIEN: Yeah. Look, there's an awful lot of martial arts schools out there where the instructor's built up this reputation for being awesome at what they do because they only ever do it against non-resisting students. The real world is a different thing altogether.

So if they're not constantly testing the techniques against a resisting opponent, which is not the same thing as sparring. Sparring is, generally speaking, quite well-mannered and predictable. If they're not constantly pressure testing through scenarios and those sorts of things, or even combat sports application, then any claim that a technique is invincible is probably not true.

There are no absolutes. You know, martial arts instructors often tell their students, you know, if someone pulls a knife you run away. But you can't always run away and what if you can't run as good as the other guy? Again, the absolute of just run away is not true in all of that. You know, you can't always run away.

GEORGE: Yeah. So, I mean, what's the solution here? Because, I mean, if we look at the sort of evolution of this path, right? So let's say I'm an instructor and I'm training martial arts and I get this urge that I've got to create a school. You know, maybe it starts in my backyard and I get a few students, and then that sort of, you know, builds on itself. And then I'm like, “All right, I've got to get into premises.”

So where's the big gap and how do you fix the gap of where all these problems occur with risk management?

DAMIEN: Well, the same thing happens in a lot of other industries. You know, you get a lot of people, like they might be a very good craftsman at what they do. They might be a very good carpenter. They make wonderful chairs and tables and their things are well sought after. So they go out and they start and they set up a little shop, a little factory, to try and sell their wares.

That shop might not be zoned correctly. So they might set it up, you know, in an area where it's too noisy and finds themselves in trouble with the council. So martial arts schools, same sort of thing. They might not be insured for manufacturing things. Somebody sits on one of the chairs or does something with one of the chairs that they've built and it causes an injury, they might suddenly find that they needed insurance.

You know, it's no different really with the martial arts sector except that the martial arts sector is selling services based on, in a lot of cases, fantasy from what people have seen on TV. So there is no central body. Various countries and organizations have tried over the years, from the Dai Nippon Butokukai back in Japan pre-war and post war trying to coordinate all Japanese martial arts. That didn't work.

The Japan Karate Federation, the World Karate Federation. There have been so many organizations over the years try and bring all martial artists together, but martial artists are as diverse as language groups and cultures. You know, it's like saying that everybody's the same. And they're not. The martial arts themselves are not homogenous. They're very diverse.

People practice martial arts for different reasons. Some people want self-defense, or they think they do. Some want to get fit. Some for cultural reasons. Some do it because their friends do it. There's no one reason why people do martial arts.

So, you know, we're not all covered by the sporting bodies, for example. We're not all covered by international organizations and bodies because of the politics that are associated with those. It's a hugely diverse industry. And that's one of its strengths but it's also its biggest weakness.

GEORGE: So let's say I was a school owner and I'm not covered in any way. What do you think are the first steps that need to happen?

DAMIEN: Usually Google to start with, and do a basic business plan. You know, most small businesses fail in the first five years. They fail 'cause they fail to plan. You need to do a basic business plan. That basic business plan will ask the questions that you need to look at and address in relation to planning, zoning, insurance, accounting.

Like, you know, what's the best business structure for you? Are you going to be a sole trader, are you going to be part of a club or an incorporated not-for-profit association? Are you going to be a company? Is a family trust required? You know, you need advice from experts in the martial arts and the martial arts business sector, like you do in any business sector.

So I'd start with Google and a business plan. The business plan will set you on the right track for asking those questions.

GEORGE: Sounds good. So let's just touch on advertising. And I actually want to, you mentioned Japan and I know you've done some extensive traveling there the last couple of months. But let's talk about advertising because, you know, you mentioned that there's misleading advertising. And right now, at the time of recording this, there's a big shuffle on Facebook. A big change in structure in valuing more one-to-one interaction, valuing more local news.

So there's a lot of changes happening. And the first thing that marketers always do is they shut. Do they? This is the end? And marketers destroy everything. It's normally marketing becoming easier and people pushing boundaries, doing advertising and just it's becoming too easy. And because it becomes too easy there's not enough control.

And, I mean, I've seen this over the years in different platforms. Google being number one, known as the Big Google Slap where everybody lost all their AdWords accounts. Search engines being slapped. I mean, it's just a trend. It's a trend of the platform gets popular, there are eyeballs. Too many advertisers come onto the platform, make silly errors, it devalues the actual platform. And because the platform gets devalued, peoples' eyeballs go elsewhere and they've got to protect what they obviously own. Like with Facebook and such.

So, I mean, that's the things I'm seeing like in what's relevant right now with advertising, is there's a big cleanup happening. And I would suspect that if a lot of school owners had to lose their Facebook accounts, which happens, ad accounts get suspended on a day-to-day basis, their business will go with it. Because that's their one lead generation source. So your take on advertising and being within the boundaries?

DAMIEN: Well, I learnt very early on that you don't have one advertising method that tries to bring you 20 students a month. You have 20 that try and bring you one. That way if one fails or one changes, you've still got the other 19 acting as a redundancy. Again, it comes back to risk management.

To have all of your eggs in the Facebook market or the Facebook basket, so to speak, is a bit short sighted. You need to have those other methods out there. You've still got things like referrals, signage, people just knowing where you are. You know, there's a lot of other methods.

Some things don't work anymore. Yellow Pages, for example, doesn't work for us at all. Because we test and measure just about everything. Flyers in the letterbox don't work anymore. Again, we know that because we test and measure. We used to do the first four weeks of every year we'd do 10,000 flyers a week around our local area and then watch the associated web hits go up as people type in the web address and looked at our website and everything. That just stopped. It's not like it dwindled. It's one year it worked, the next year it did not. Or the year after.

So if we were putting all of our eggs in that particular basket, that would have been disastrous for us as an organization. You've just got to be somewhat diversified while staying on trend for the more current ways that people shop and think. You know, maybe Instagram will work for you in your area. Maybe it won't. Maybe Facebook is good in your area. Maybe it's not. Maybe Google AdWords works better.

Maybe you're in a country town and the newspaper advertising still works. You know, there's a lot of variables. You've got to know your own marketplace, your own client base and who comes to your school and who buys your services. A lot of people don't. They try and take a cookie-cutter approach. And, you know, for years everyone was buying their ads from organizations in America. MASuccess, those sorts of things.

And one thing I found early on in the '90s was that if there's an American flag on a uniform in an ad, that ad doesn't work in Australia. It might work in America but it doesn't work here. So you learn what your individual market requirements are and you've always got to be testing and measuring.

GEORGE: Yeah, so true. I mean, we've seen that with the same franchise, same marketing, same everything. Two different locations, two different results. Everything the same. And, you know, we always talk about, in my presentation I talk about five levels of awareness. I call it The Five Stages of the Student’s Signup Cycle. You know, there's your marketing but there's always the message that was received before and leading up to actually seeing your marketing. And that's going to also affect the actual response at the end of the day.

So, Damien, tell me about Japan. Tell me about your trip. Just to change gears here. Tell me about your trip to Japan and what did you get out of that experience?

DAMIEN: Well, we go to Okinawa, which obviously is part of Japan, every year to train with our Goju Sensei and with our Kobudo Sensei. Two different organizations but closely related. We just love the place, we love the people, we love the training. And we like, or I particularly like, those lightbulb moments that you get where practices within the martial arts that are remnants of where it came from, suddenly their purpose becomes apparent.

So, for example, a lot of the stories and things that are passed down, in martial arts schools in Australia at least, come from publications from the 1960s that were written by people that actually had very limited exposure to what they were writing about.

So these stories took on a life of their own. So there was, you know, the old Okinawan practice, for example, of practicing their training or their martial arts at the tombs of their family. So family tombs are a big thing in Okinawa and it was an even bigger thing pre-World War II.

And the theory was that they were, you know, spiritually connecting with their ancestors and all those sorts of things. And when we spoke to the Okinawans about it, apart from the sort of raised eyebrows to work out whether we were taking the piss, it was, “Well, the grass is cut short there. There are no snakes.” Everywhere else you could get bitten by a snake. And it's like, “Oh, that's very pragmatic.”

There's a lot of those sorts of things and, being a bit of a karate nerd and amateur historian, I really appreciate those moments. But the people are the main thing.

GEORGE: The people. So what are the sort of key things that you learn that you come back and you take a different approach in your school?

DAMIEN: Well, our journey with the Okinawan karate deal, like I was doing Zen Do Kai up until 2008. But in 1999 I started with Okinawan Goju as well. And my idea was to refine the Kata. Make them better, make them more practical, make them more understandable. Because if we've been doing this particular template of movements for the last 100, 150 years, it must have had a purpose.

So trying to find the purpose, trying to find the applications, was what sort of drove me down that path. So this year, on the way to Okinawa, we also went to China. To Fuzhou, which is where Kanryo Higashionna, who was Chōjun Miyagi, the founder of Goju's teacher, trained. And we found the or had found through a couple of years of research, the school where he trained.

And we wanted to go there and see what they were doing and why they were doing it, and how closely related it was to what we were doing. And I was pleasantly surprised that what they were doing was not that far removed from what we were doing. Some of it looked different but the applications were the same. The hip movement, the arm movement, the actual applications in different forms was the same.

Which for me, as a martial arts teacher, was good. I quite enjoyed that connection. So we're still fact-checking some of the things that they told us and we'll hopefully be publishing some information. It's a little bit of a historical addition, if you will, to the current sort of communal knowledge on origins of karate in Okinawa and the origins of Goju-Ryu in particular.

GEORGE: It sounds like you have a book coming out.

DAMIEN: I wouldn't say a book. Maybe a couple of articles but, I don't know, I don't think it's exciting enough for most people to justify the costs of publishing.

GEORGE: I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

DAMIEN: Well, based on the reaction I've had from some quarters on the Blitz article that was done about this for the December/January issue, what I found is by saying certain things it challenges people's beliefs to the core. And people's beliefs about their martial arts is very akin to people's beliefs about their religion. So we need to make sure that all our ducks are in a row.

GEORGE: Yeah. Yeah, I could see it opening a big can of worms. Yeah, especially if you touch on things, like you mentioned, with the tombstones and just things that people base their entire martial arts career upon, and now it sort of gets challenged. Yeah.

DAMIEN: Yeah, I think the Kung Fu TV series in the 1970s and then, you know, the later, the Ninja phase and all of those things that have been trends through the martial arts over the years have all left their little remnants in popular culture and the way people perceive martial arts and what they can be.

You know, like there's this common perception that karate is an antique and is not street effective. And if you're not doing Krav Maga then, you know, you're not doing the right thing. Or even in the MMA circles. But the core of a lot of Krav Maga technique came from karate. Krav Maga is a mixed martial art or a hybrid martial art. It forgets where some of its core techniques come from.

The MMA people that talk about, you know, the dominance of MMA fighters or this, that and the other forget that guys like Georges St-Pierre or Lyoto Machida and those guys were karate practitioners primarily. You know, everything has its place. So it's just another trend.

GEORGE: Yeah, so how do you … I mean, let's say I'm a prospect and I walk into Southern Cross Martial Arts and that's my thinking. My thinking is I've come from, you know, I'm looking at UFC and I've got this certain perception and that's sort of what I see as what I want. Or maybe what I don't want. How do you have that conversation?

DAMIEN: As much as possible, we put them on the floor and they start to train. And it's more about feeling and moving than it is about talking. The only way to change people's perceptions is to show them. You can tell them till you're blue in the face but people are so used to marketers lying to them now that they don't believe you.

So we get 'em on the floor and show them why we do what we do. We don't beat anybody up or anything like that, don't get me wrong. But get them on the floor to train, to feel their body moving and take it from there. And, look, what we do is not for everybody. Some people, some younger people want to spar more, for example. I did when I was in my 20s.

Now we're fully cognizant of the fact that people have jobs to go to and an income to make. They don't all want to live like, you know, karate hobos like we did with broken bits and pieces all the time. It's a different world. And we know more as well.

GEORGE: Awesome. Damien, I'm going to ask you one more question and now that I think of it, this could actually probably spur on a whole different episode, as such. But you mentioned that you work with kids with autism.

DAMIEN: Yep.

GEORGE: Now, this could probably be a much longer conversation but I just wanted to touch on it. What advice would you have for people that work with kids with autism or special needs?

DAMIEN: Well, we have a saying in the world of those that work with kids with autism. Basically, once you've met one autistic kid you've met one autistic kid. Meaning basically that they're all different. While there are stereotypical behaviors, each child is different, is motivated differently, works differently, mentally, physically, and so on.

But don't make assumptions and don't jump into conclusions. And the first thing that people need to do is get educated. There's plenty of programs out there on what autism actually is. Don't rely on memes that you read on Facebook. And actually, to be blunt, get a clue.

There's a lot of people now claiming that they specialize in teaching autistic kids. And we pick up the pieces. Yelling at them, screaming at them. You know, it's ridiculous what some people are doing. And it's, “Oh, this is the tradition.” Really? You know, it's not.

GEORGE: You mean, I can't believe all the memes I see on Facebook?

DAMIEN: No. Facebook is a wonderful way of connecting the world and so on, but it can also do so much harm. And some of these memes that are floating around. You know, like there's a correlation being found between gut flora and autism. Now, correlation does not indicate causation. All right, it's just something that they need to investigate further.

But you've got people out there that are advocating parents with autistic children get them to drink bleach, for example, because it'll kill the bad microbes and so. And it's horrendously harmful. But if you've worked with some of the parents that are so desperate to help their child, some of them try it. Based on some crap they see on the internet. It just…

So, yeah, I've seen martial arts schools advertise that they can cure autism. If that's not a potential A Current Affair episode, I don't know what is. You know, martial arts is good for children on the spectrum if they're working with caring and educated instructors. Because it has its consistency. Things are done pretty much the same way each class, as in your warm ups and those sorts of things. There's a predictability about it that makes them feel comfortable.

And we've had some amazing successes with some of our autistic kids. With one of our junior black belts now, he's 12, he's been with us for eight years. You know, his whole persona has changed based on the lessons that he's learned for dealing with other people. Just out of counting out loud in class and things like that.

GEORGE: Fascinating.

DAMIEN: Yeah, so I'd say that my main advice would be to get educated and get a clue rather than getting your education by getting on, say, Facebook. And I see this on a daily basis, and I've started deleting these groups. But they'll get on a martial arts business group, for example, and say I've got an autistic kid who's just joined my class. What do I do? And you'll get all of this stuff. It will be regurgitated by people.

And it all tends to be very stereotypical. It doesn't take into account that every autistic child is just as much an individual or unique as every other child that we teach. So, you know, we need to get to know them. A lot of kids with the autism spectrum have sensory processing disorders. So the idea of kiai, or kiai-ing in class, if that child is sensitive to noise, is going to be a major barrier.

Or they might have sensory processing issues with things touching their head. So if you wear helmets in class for sparring, that might be the issue and you need to work a way around that. There are so many different things.

GEORGE: Well, yeah, it seems like really putting aside everything, your practice and your tradition of what you do, and really customizing it to what's going to be the obstacles with this child and really playing a real close ear on the ground.

DAMIEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: I mean, a close ear on the ground to really understand what their needs and what their obstacles are in how this tradition is going to affect them.

DAMIEN: Yeah. And it's not a matter of lowering your standards. It's a matter of lowering your time expectations and having more patience. But just because somebody processes information in a different way doesn't mean that they can't do a front kick the same way as everybody else. It just might take them a slightly different way to get to that point.

There's just so many variables. And we've built up somewhat of an unexpected expertise with autism. It wasn't our goal. And we've spoken to our parents on a number of occasions. Do they want separate classes for the kids on the spectrum? And the overwhelming answer is no because they need to learn to deal with regular people.

GEORGE: Definitely.

DAMIEN: So by segregating all the autistic kids into the one class, all they get to deal with is other autistic people. And to be quite honest, most autistic people don't want that.

GEORGE: Yeah. That's awesome. Damien, that can probably spark a whole new episode. And I'm happy to have you on again if anyone's got questions about that. I know, you know, for I always mention this in our Martial Arts Media Academy program. You've just got to be so careful where you get advice from. It's easier, you know, Facebook has made it easier for everybody to connect but some people should not have an opinion verbally.

It's just a fact. You know, I mean, and Joe Rogan actually says it the best. You know, if you get a million people, there's going to be a hundred thousand assholes that don't know what's going on. Out of every hundred thousand or thousand? And those are mostly the most vocal ones. So it's very easy to just take advice because every comment looks equal. But you don't know the background of that person, what they've done, their ethics, their education. So, yeah, you've got to be so careful.

DAMIEN: One of the ones that comes up regularly is the link between … No, actually I'm going to rephrase that because there is no link. But the purported link between autism and vaccinations. Now, the doctor, who's no longer a doctor because he lost his medical license, who did that study had a financial interest in another vaccination. He fabricated a report and a link to no evidence whatsoever so that he could sell his vaccination.

Now, he got caught and it was all redacted and the Lancet redacted the report and so on. But that myth, since then, since Wakefield's report, has perpetuated itself and the internet is making it worse and worse and worse and worse to the point where diseases like a polio and whooping cough and so on are making a comeback. They were all but eradicated. Because people don't want their children to catch autism. It's not something that you catch.

But there are some good organizations out there that are doing training. I'm doing a presentation, or my wife and I are doing a presentation, for the Titan's event in May on working with kids on the spectrum and would just like to get more information out there so that people are not traumatizing these kids with something that should be profoundly helpful.

GEORGE: Fascinating. Awesome stuff. For anybody, there's a … And, you know, just we'll close, probably close it off here, but there's a book, Trust Me, I'm Lying, by Ryan Holiday. If you ever want a true perspective of how media can get manipulated, he was a self-confessed media manipulator. His job was to plant rumors, spread them, create the media behind it. There would be rallies.

Until they saw the consequences of people dying because of fake news spreading in such a way that the consequences kick in. It's a brilliant read, just to get a perspective of don't get all your information from a Facebook post. Because that article was probably written with intent or paid by someone to write. And they did their own research with whatever they could find, and they wrote it and put it together. And it creates a perception where the intent was really just to disrupt. So, yeah, probably a good way to end that off.

DAMIEN: No problem.

GEORGE: Awesome. And Damien, thanks again for coming on. If anybody wants to get in touch with you and learn more about you, where should they go?

DAMIEN: The best point of contact would either be via our website, which you mentioned earlier, www.southerncrossmartialarts.com, or Facebook is probably the easiest way. I'm not good with telephones.

GEORGE: Skype video, it works.

DAMIEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: All right. Awesome. Thanks, Damien.

DAMIEN: No worries.

GEORGE: Thanks for being on. I'll speak to you soon. Cheers.

DAMIEN: Cheers. Bye.

 

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

53 – [Case Study] Mike Fooks – Doubling Your Part-Time BJJ School With One Successful Campaign

Martial Arts Media Academy member Mike Fooks from Auckland is on a marketing roll! And if his new student signups stay, he's doubled his BJJ school.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How Mike Fooks has managed to balance his martial arts and corporate life
  • The benefits of online advertising services such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords
  • How a single Facebook campaign doubled Mike’s student number
  • How the Martial Arts Media Academy program has helped Mike implement his campaign correctly
  • The one thing that Mike could have done differently before he launched his Facebook campaign
  • And more

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

 

TRANSCRIPTION

So already from one two-week campaign. I'm going to, if not hit my goal, I'm going to be at least halfway towards it. In effect, the only reason I've pulled back on the campaign a little bit now is because we ran out of the free uniforms, or close to it. So I've got more on order. When they head, we'll be back into it. Their goal, which I thought was, these people are audacious to try and double. I have a suspicion we're going to hit that fairly quickly.

GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast! Today I'm with Mike Fooks and we're going to do a bit of a combination here. I got to know Mike through one of the online communities that I'm part of and we've built a new website for him; which you can check out at groundcontrol.net.nz.

Mike's based in Auckland and we got started with helping him with the Martial Arts Media Academy Program where we help martial arts school owners with lead generation and so forth. Besides that, Mike's got a very interesting story with things that he does in the corporate world and how that overlaps with the martial arts school. This is going to be a fun conversation! So welcome to the podcast, Mike!

MIKE: Thanks, George! Thanks for having me on!

GEORGE: Awesome! So, based in Auckland. Probably going to come and visit you September this year. So, I guess just to start things off. Who is Mike Fooks?

MIKE: Okay, so I spend my time doing a number of different things. Obviously, I'm a martial arts school owner. We run an academy called “GroundControl” where we focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts. That's been going for about 11 years now under that name. Been training for a little bit longer than that before we named the school, but that's not my full-time gig. During the day I spend most of my time doing corporate training.

So, working with sales teams and leaders and various people. Primarily on face-to-face persuasive communication whether it's sales or influence in negotiation or even internal communication and conflict management. Those sorts of things and also a lot on mindset and resilience. I'm trained at university in Psychology and then went on and got qualified in neurolinguistics or NLP over a number of years. Then, based on that, my partner and I have a private practice where we do individual work with people one-on-one sort of coaching, counselling, therapeutic type stuff.

Obviously whether it is therapy or coaching just depends on how messed up they are when they walk in the door but hopefully, it's all the same by the time they walk out. And so that's another thing I spend my time doing.

Sometimes people say to me, wow, Mike, well that's a lot you've got going on but to me, it's actually really simple. When people ask me, “What do you do?” I'm a coach. You know? My job is to bring out the potential in others. And I just do that in various formats. Sometimes I do that in the boardroom, in the training room. Sometimes I do that in my coaching room. And of course, sometimes I do that on the martial arts mat.

GEORGE: That's an interesting philosophy. Yeah. It sounds like many things happening but as you mentioned, you're kind of trying to achieve the same result with the people that you work with, just through a different medium.

MIKE: Yeah, that's right. There's often a little bit of leakage between the two things. I get frustrated when I'm teaching corporates, for example, because I'm going, “Look, there are so many great examples of what I'm talking about if you just knew jiu-jitsu.” And certainly, on the jiu-jitsu mat, you know, there are concepts that I will teach corporates about communication or how to problem solve, which make it into our coaching sessions at GroundControl. There's a little bit of leakage involved.

GEORGE: So have you ever then cross-promoted if you feel. Do you cross promote between the corporate training that you do and jiu-jitsu?

MIKE: I have to be a little careful on that because the sponsors that get me involved too, you know, I’m with the sales team would probably take a dim view if they thought I was using that as a platform to cross-promote jiu-jitsu. Having said that, inevitably I tell a couple of jiu-jitsu stories or metaphors and it's not unusual for somebody to tap me on the shoulder afterwards and say, “Hey, have you got more information on that? I'd be keen to have a look.” So that certainly happens.

GEORGE: Alright, alright. Interesting. Now, how did you get started in jiu-jitsu, first and foremost?

MIKE: If we go all the way back, as a kid I did the standard dabbling in martial arts, I think a couple of lessons in judo when I was about six. And two lessons of karate when I was 13. But I got started, seriously in my martial arts career in another style, Aikido. Which I started in 1993. Had always been interested in martial arts, watched all the movies. But got intrigued by this idea of Aikido, based on a conversation I had with a friend of my brothers who was into judo and karate. And showed me a basic kind of immobilization arm lock. And then talked about how Aikido guys, that's what you do in anything like that, just immobilize, wow that sounds cool.

So I did some research and got involved in Aikido. Now, of course, 1993 was an interesting year to start in the martial arts because it was the same year of the first UFC. So I started in April and towards the end of that year, the first UFC came out and, of course, that just rocked the entire martial arts community as most of your listeners will be aware.

At the time, I was at university. And I was working in a video games parlor to earn some cash, part-time. So I would sit on the desk and just load myself up with five martial arts magazines every shift and just devour as much information as I could. And so I was kind of got a front-row seat. We didn't have access to any of the footage or anything like that in New Zealand but I started to read all of the stuff coming out about the UFC and what does it mean that it seems like the stand-up fighters aren't doing so well. Got curious about that.

And then I got onto Usenet. Onto the old newsgroups. You know, before we had online forums or anything like that let alone Facebook. And there were all of these debates that sprung up about my style is better than yours. And I started out 100 percent in the traditional martial artist camp. You know, “Well, a true Aikido master would never debase themselves by entering such a competition.” You know, that kind of thing.

Over time I noticed something really interesting. When people were having these debates about what works, what doesn't what I consistently noticed was the BJJ guys that were saying, well, where are you? Let's get together, let's find out.

And not necessarily in an overly aggressive way although there's always a little bit of that sometimes but for a lot of them it was just a “we can show you.” I'm completely confident that I know how this will go. And over time as I sat there, by now about I think a second degree black belt in Aikido I was thinking I'm not sure I've got that same level of, “I definitely know how this is going to go confidence that these people seem to have.” So I got really curious about that.

And then in 2001, after the first time, New Zealand showed MMA on TV. Sky TV over here ran a weekend where they played back-to-back Pride and King of the Cage events. Old ones. I was on a honeymoon that weekend. Overseas. So I had my new brother-in-law set up in my living room with a VCR player swapping tapes over. And so when I got back I just devoured it and found a BJJ school within a month or two after that. Which, at the time, was not easy in New Zealand. Because there really wasn't a lot going on. Certainly no black belts around. It was early days for sure.

GEORGE: What an awesome and interesting journey. So now you've got the school, and I guess, let's backtrack a bit. Before I met you and sort of what is the school up to at this point in time?

MIKE: Yeah. So we gave ourselves a name in 2006. Up until then, it had been, you know, the standard thing. A bunch of people train in my garage. Most of those, my Aikido students who I'd said, hey have a look at this. And then, hey, let's do more of this and come to the garage. Because I was training them consecutively at the time. That was something that we knew as my club. What we called it because we weren't supposed to talk about it outside of my club. And then over time that grew and grew and grew. We started to get more and more professional. My coach, John Will runs a competition every September called, “The Gathering.”

The first time I went to that, one of the things he had done for the school owners got a bunch of Australian school owners together, I think it was about five of them, to give us some tips. I remember, you know, Fari Salievski was there. And a few other people. Frank was there. And so I come over with like, 48 action items about how do we make this thing more professional. And then over time, we got more and more so by the time we hit kind of the end of 2017, I'm running a school which is muddling along alright. You know? It's a part-time school. I'd got to the point where I had realized that look, I'm only part-time in this, it is never going to be a huge money spinner for me. If I can, you know, break even and get a little bit of pocket money but keep the thing going, that's pretty cool.

So 30 students on contract, and then with the various people coming through, beginners trials and various sorts that we had. I was probably content to leave it sitting there. Except for a conversation that I had with a guy, Trent Rice. Who some people know as Bear in the jiu-jitsu community. He was over from Australia to do some work for his day job. And he said, yeah, I want to come train, can I come along? I said, sure.

So we met each other on the ferry from town back to where I live. And we had a chat and he was just in the process of looking at going full time into martial arts and he mentioned, you know, one of the online communities that he was involved with which is, you know, where we hooked up. And it started to occur to me that, hey look, I don't have a full-time brain to put on this.

But if I can start to connect with people that are thinking about this full time and have figured out what works and what doesn't, and just do what they say, maybe I can actually start to make some gains I'd kind of put away on the shelf. In terms of ambition, for a little while. So I started to get quite excited at that idea and over the last, even just last month or so since we've really started firing, it's really starting to get quite exciting.

GEORGE: Fantastic. And full credit to the community that's Paul Veldman's Martial Arts Business Community.

MIKE: Yeah, absolutely, yeah I've seen various things like that throughout my Facebook feed from time to time and I was always a bit suspicious about, you know, there's a lot of people out there making money off telling people how to make money. But don't usually make money any other way.

So the fact that Trent knew Paul personally and he logged in and he showed me some of the stuff that was going on gave me a lot of comfort that, hey this is going to be worthwhile. And, you know, the investments I've made around things like that community, the website, the Martial Arts Media Academy are paying themselves back very, very quickly and very, very easily.  

GEORGE: Cool. So let's have a look. We made some changes with, first and foremost, got you set up with a new website. I mean, I'm a fan, obviously, of all the websites that we create but I'm really a fan of the GroundControl website, just how it came out in the end. I mean, it took a while for us to really fine tune and get through the obstacles, but it really, for a jiu-jitsu website it really, it brings out a lot of color and I'm using it as an example within the BJJ community, for websites that we are developing.

So we got you set up with the right tools. And then you got started in the Martial Arts Media Academy. Before you got started, what type of lead generation were you doing on the internet?

MIKE: Yeah, not a lot to be honest. Most of our stuff came through word of mouth or, you know, maybe they'll find us in a Google search. I had dabbled in Facebook so I had done the odd promotion here and there. Start of the year, come at half price or come in and your friend trains for free or something like that. And they would bring in maybe four or five people two of which might hang around and we thought that was a pretty good job.

When I did those sort of promotions I wasn't throwing too much spend at it. Very conservative. Because I wasn't quite sure how much they'd pay off. So I dabbled but it hadn't really amounted to too much.

GEORGE: Alright. So you got started in the training. So what part has helped the most? And then we'll talk about what you're doing right now that's really working as well.

MIKE: I think, in terms of what part has helped the most, I mean it's all helping but I think just starting to feel like I can never get in my way through things. So when I had dabble before, you know you go into the ad manager on Facebook and there are all these different options, you know, what's the objective of your campaign, this that or the other, and so I was kind of like, click, click, click, click. That'll do.

So to be able to kind of sit down and have you kind of work me through some stuff live and go, oh, okay, so I want interaction and I know the reasons why I want interaction now. And actually being able to figure out how those consoles work and why I would make certain decisions when we have those sorts of choices that was a huge help. Because the ability to be walked through your first time is where you get your understanding from. People can throw theory at you all day, but when you actually start you know, I literally had you on one screen while I had the thing on the other screen going, “and now what? I'll click on that? Okay, now I'll click on that.”

And so and with the content creation as well in terms of, here's how you design your ad and this is what your copy should look like, all of that stuff made me much more focused, I think, in what I was doing.

GEORGE: I guess this is the biggest pain point for me or frustration. It makes me want to rant, and I don't really rant. But it makes me want to rant, is a theory without substance.

MIKE: Yup.

GEORGE: There's a lot of, this is, you should do this, but there's not “here's how to do it.” And a lot of the times, the people who are talking the ‘what’ are not actually doing the how. So you can buy into a concept of coaching where you kind of can be shown how to do it, you should get another guy to do it. Us.

MIKE: That's right. You know, when I think about it, as you talked just now, that's exactly how we teach martial arts. I don't show a bunch of beginners a move and then say, good luck, go and try it out, right? I show them the move and then I talk them through each individual step to make sure they're on the same path. So it kind of felt like that. That I was being given, hey here's what you should do and why, but now here's the bit where I'm going to talk you through each step and then I can play along. And before I know it I've got an ad campaign running.

GEORGE: Of course, it's one thing to be walked through, but then that's where, and the same as in martial arts, now you know how to do it, but now you apply it, and it doesn't work the way you were … actually experienced it. And then, that's I guess where the key part comes in. You know, what we really try and focus on in the academy is, alright, you've implemented, now let's correct. Let's see if we can fine-tune, let's see if we can fix things and get them working in the end.

MIKE: Yeah, that's right and that's where I think the value of those. We've got a lot of content about here's how to set up Facebook and here's how to develop content and AdWords and all these sorts of things but the coaching calls are really, really valuable as well. Because you know, you come along and go, well this is what I'm doing right now, that's what's relevant for me, and ask you questions and there's always really good content generated either it's from my own questions or other people's. So I think that's why coaching calls are really valuable. And really valuable to get on live. Rather than just watching the recording sometimes as because you come up with questions that you wouldn't have asked, you know, other people don't necessarily ask so that's really cool.

GEORGE: Awesome. You were having some good results with your campaigns in the beginning of the year, where are you at with your campaign?

MIKE: When I first signed up to Paul Veldman's group, you know, the first thing I saw him say is, you set some goals. I thought, well, yeah, I know about setting goals. I teach people about that so I better do one and so it's been, what on paper sounds fairly ambitious, even though we're starting from a small base is to double membership and it's been done relatively quickly.

So I have 30 people on contract, this takes that to 60. That would be good. So once the website was up and I started the Facebook campaign, I ran that campaign for about two weeks. No more than that. And at last count, I think we've got close to 35 paid trials. So over the next two to three weeks, we'll start to see how many of those paid trials tip over into full membership. But certainly the feedback I'm getting from the people on the trial is that they're loving it. So we should convert a reasonable amount of those.

Already from one, two-week campaign, I'm going to if not hit my goal, I'm going to be, you know, at least halfway towards it. And, in fact, the only reason I've pulled back on the campaign a little bit now is that we ran out of the free uniforms or got close to it so I've got more on order when they head we'll be back into it. That goal which I thought was, you know, these people are audacious to try and double, I have a suspicion we're going to hit that pretty quickly.

GEORGE: That's awesome. So you've gone from, so you started up with 30 students although you've got them in the trial so you've kind of doubled but not, obviously, proved down the line where things are at. Yeah.

MIKE: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, I'm fairly confident because our retention rate from trial into full membership tends to be pretty good. Having said that, I have redesigned how that whole thing works based on the advice I've got from you and Paul and various people like this is the first we've used paid trials. Which I think there's a lot of hesitation about for people that are used to going, hey, a free week. To go to paid trial, certainly in New Zealand, I don't see a lot of that going on. But it's worked really, really well for us.

So the fact that they've got that skin in the game and I know we can give them a really good experience over four weeks. It's going to be really interesting to kind of look back in four weeks’ time or so and go, okay, what was our conversion rate? But I'm expecting it to be pretty solid.

GEORGE: That's awesome. That's really good going. Well done. That's awesome. So, and I'm thinking, though, that the fact that you've run out of uniforms, I'm like, alright, those create perfect conversations for your marketing campaigns as well. You know.

MIKE: Yeah.

GEORGE: You've sold out, here's a waiting list. We'll let you know when the next batch comes in. And then that creates a whole new urgency campaign for your next follow-up because, yeah. People missed out, now they've got to jump on board and they've only got, you know. They missed out the last time. They better jump on.

MIKE: That's a really good point. Literally, just before we came on this call, I got a message pop-up from, because we had, like, over 200 people message us with an expression of interest so I've got all those leads that I started to go back to and say, hey, are you still interested?

But one of them popped up and said, hey, is this thing still on? So I was about to go back and say yes and just, I really hope you're not a size 5. But yeah, that's a really good point. We can go, “Well, actually we've sold out but you know, over the next two weeks we might launch it again so just look out.”

GEORGE: Yeah. Waitlist. Awesome. I like that.

MIKE: Nice.

GEORGE: Good stuff. Okay. Just a couple of things. And just for, you know, as part of the case study of course, of the Martial Arts Media Academy program, who would you recommend it to? And why?

MIKE: Pretty broad. Martial arts school owners that want to grow. Because I think there's a lot of people. So my school, for example, we've tried this on adults, I notice a lot of the schools around have got real kids focus. But that hasn't made any difference to me in terms of the quality of the content, it's all completely applicable.

By the standards of some schools, we are relatively small so I know a lot of people look at the initial outlay and go, oh, that must for really big professional schools. But that's not us. In some ways, I think it's even more useful for people our size because, you know, I don't have time to really think about this stuff and figure it out so I was kind of groping in the dark a little bit. And in terms of, you know, what it costs to get on the program, you know, you make that back with a couple students pretty quickly.

So I'm really interested, as I look around the New Zealand scene, there's not a lot of people taking a sophisticated approach to this. When I look at the results that I've had, part of that may be that my competitors just aren't doing it this way. So I think anyone that really wants to grow and stay up with the game or enter the game, it's really worthwhile. You do have to put some time commitment into it. You know, the financial investment is probably the easier thing. The time investment is the really important thing. There's so much great content in there that you're going to have to go through it a few times you know, I've got notes scrawled everywhere and then go back to the recording as I'm doing a particular campaign.

So as long as people are free to put the time investment in, I struggle to think of a school that wouldn't benefit from it unless the person themselves is already pretty sophisticated in not just marketing, but specifically online marketing. But I don't see a lot of that it martial arts.

GEORGE: Yeah, thanks, Mike. And you bring up a good point on time because there's time spent and then there's time well spent. I mean, either way, you're going to have to spend the time. You're going to have to spend the time to do the marketing and I mean, you can take an hour to do an okay or really mediocre job at your marketing, get frustrated, not a way to ask for help. The biggest danger of that is reaching a level of frustration where you just, this online stuff is crap or, you know, just, I don't have time to deal with this. I'm not going to do it. And you abandon the whole thing. And your business suffers.

Or, what's worse is, you know, people get a call from a company that says, hey, we can get you on the first page of Google and they have no sense of an actual overall strategy that you need for your school and again, it could be the easy way out, because you can just pay money, but if they don't know their overall strategy, they're just catering for one touch point. Which is search? The search engines. When you've got to cover for all six to eight interactions that are going to happen before conversion.

So you've got to be covering all the steps. If you get educated, get a bit of a strategy, it's easy to spend money on getting the hands to get people to do stuff, as long as you actually know what to do and what to look out for at the end of the day.

MIKE: I think that's really right. I think, if I had decided, look, I really want to put some focus into growing the school, I'm going really spend some time over generally to do that but I want to do it myself. What probably would have happened if I would have sat down with my partner Carleen and we would have spent, maybe even as much time, maybe even more time. But we would have spent it on completely the wrong stuff.

You know, there's design, there are ads, and you have to get really finicky over how the image looks and really kind of tweak that to the nth degree. Within actual fact it was much better just to go, let's just blast out five images, three for BJJ, two for MMA, split test them, see what works. And after a couple of days, we know what the winner is. And as you had indicated, it's always the one that surprises you. You know? It's not the one I would have picked. So a lot of those sorts of things but sort of sacked a lot of our time trying to finesse stuff that could have been done a lot more simply and then that time spent put back to more things.

What I like about the academy is, as you just kind of alluded to, is the comprehensiveness of it. What I'm excited about is, we've got these results already just from one Facebook campaign. Now, we've got some professional videos that have been done which are going to land sometime this week so I'm already excited about how we're going to introduce them, let alone through email campaigns and content strategy and AdWords working properly. We've got this much growth but we've really just scratched the tip of the iceberg.

GEORGE: That's exciting. Yeah, I look forward to seeing the videos and really looking at a few things that we're trialling right now with all the new changes within Facebook and how to really get that message out. Hey, Mike, it's been great having you on, is there anything I should have asked you? That I haven't covered?

MIKE: Is there anything that you shouldn't have asked me?

GEORGE: I know, it's sort of that question that people ask when they think they haven't asked enough questions.

MIKE: The only thing I guess I would add, thinking about the most recent campaign that we've done, it comes back a little bit to the commitment thing, is it's one thing to throw up an ad, and I kind of came into both Paul's group and your group hoping for, look, you can tell me how to automate everything so I can just press go and walk away and the club will just go boom. And of course it doesn't work that way so you know, we aim for interaction which means that I was, every day, once or twice a day, sometimes three times a day, having to log in and go, oh look, there are another 30 responses here, I've got to go back and respond to each one.

Now the response was pretty easy, ones I cut and paste into a PM but just be really disciplined about that. Because it's one thing to put up a shop front and say, this is a really great shop, come and look in the window but if you're not providing something quality in terms of experience when they get there, then it's all for nought.

So, the Machado brothers had an expression in jiu-jitsu, “Swim, swim, swim, die on the beach.” You know, you don't want to have to do all that work and then just follow over the last hurdle through, not doing you're follow through and your responsiveness and those sorts of things really well.

Probably the one thing that I would have done differently if I went back, and even though I had heard warnings about this from yourself and Paul, I don't think I had got my admin geared up well enough to handle the sudden influx of people. So we've given them a pretty good experience signing in but there are just a couple little things I've seen fall through the cracks. Only one's got their membership card or they haven't all been given the beginner's manual for some reason. So, looking forward, next time my site's running campaigns I'm really going to make sure that all that stuff's locked in and ready to go. Because it kind of caught me by surprise how many people signed up so quickly.

GEORGE: Very good point on a few things. The messaging, I see a lot of people want to automate too quickly and I hear, I see in communities, people get frustrated about the mundane responses that they've got to give but there's a big lesson in those mundane responses and yeah, look, sometimes people are just ignorant but you always got to look at your marketing and your message and say, alright, why's this coming up all the time? If everybody is asking what your location is, hey then just put at the end, “Conveniently located in the suburb.” That might just cover it.

o you've got to pay attention to what people are asking and those are the objections that you can turn into better marketing next time. It's all about learning and I see people too quick to want to automate it. And I always say, you can't automate something that's not working manually. If you can't sell your membership face to face or in a text message then no chatbot or anything is going to do that magically for you.

Your conversion is going to go down. So master that first, and then you can go and add all the automation but you've got to get the conversion right first. And I mean, if the … when the offer converts, everything else works. You know? You can go and you can go tweak everything else, but getting that offer to convert first, that's the real art. And that's the real work. And if you can focus just on that, then you can get fancy. And then you can start taking your campaigns to a higher level if that's really what you want to do. And really scale it up. For the next school, opening multiple schools and so forth.

MIKE: Absolutely.

GEORGE: Awesome. Hey, Mike, it's been great chatting with you. So people can find out more about you at groundcontrol.net.nz and anywhere else people can find more info about you?

MIKE: There's a little bit about my corporate stuff on my other website which is kineticpotential.co.nz. So the stuff about the individual coaching and the corporate work I do there is on there. So, yeah, those are the two places to find me.

GEORGE: Awesome. I think we could probably do a round two and go really, really deep into some psychology stuff and things that you do in your day job and how that connects with your martial arts. And if you are interested in the Martial Arts Media Academy where you watch this you can just send us a message or you can go to martialartsmedia.academy and find out more about that. Mike, great speaking to you face to face for the first time. And I will see you in Auckland this year.

MIKE: Looking forward to it. Thanks, George.

GEORGE: Awesome. Thanks, Mike.

 

*Need help growing your martial arts school? Learn More Here.

Enjoyed the show? Get more martial arts business tips when you subscribe on iTunes for iPhone or Stitcher Radio for Android devices.

FREE GUIDE

The Martial Arts
Fb Ad Formula

Please fill out the form and we will send you the free guide via email

General Website Terms and Conditions of Use

We have taken every effort to design our Web site to be useful, informative, helpful, honest and fun.  Hopefully we’ve accomplished that — and would ask that you let us know if you’d like to see improvements or changes that would make it even easier for you to find the information you need and want.

All we ask is that you agree to abide by the following Terms and Conditions. Take a few minutes to look them over because by using our site you automatically agree to them. Naturally, if you don’t agree, please do not use the site. We reserve the right to make any modifications that we deem necessary at any time. Please continue to check these terms to see what those changes may be! Your continued use of the MartialArtsMedia.com Web site means that you accept those changes.

THANKS AGAIN FOR VISITING!

Restrictions on Use of Our Online Materials

All Online Materials on the MartialArtsMedia.com site are Copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Text, graphics, databases, HTML code, and all other intellectual property are protected by US and/or International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, reengineered, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission. All of the trademarks on this site are trademarks of MartialArtsMedia.com or of other owners used with their permission. You, the visitor, may download Online Materials for non-commercial, personal use only provided you 1) retain all copyright, trademark and propriety notices, 2) you make no modifications to the materials, 3) you do not use the materials in a manner that suggests an association with any of our products, services, events or brands, and 4) you do not download quantities of materials to a database, server, or personal computer for reuse for commercial purposes. You may not, however, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute Online Materials in any way or for any other purpose unless you get our written permission first. Neither may you add, delete, distort or misrepresent any content on the MartialArtsMedia.com site. Any attempts to modify any Online Material, or to defeat or circumvent our security features is prohibited.

Everything you download, any software, plus all files, all images incorporated in or generated by the software, and all data accompanying it, is considered licensed to you by MartialArtsMedia.com or third-party licensors for your personal, non-commercial home use only. We do not transfer title of the software to you. That means that we retain full and complete title to the software and to all of the associated intellectual-property rights. You’re not allowed to redistribute or sell the material or to reverse-engineer, disassemble or otherwise convert it to any other form that people can use.

Submitting Your Online Material to Us

All remarks, suggestions, ideas, graphics, comments, or other information that you send to MartialArtsMedia.com through our site (other than information we promise to protect under our privacy policy becomes and remains our property, even if this agreement is later terminated.

That means that we don’t have to treat any such submission as confidential. You can’t sue us for using ideas you submit. If we use them, or anything like them, we don’t have to pay you or anyone else for them. We will have the exclusive ownership of all present and future rights to submissions of any kind. We can use them for any purpose we deem appropriate to our MartialArtsMedia.com mission, without compensating you or anyone else for them.

You acknowledge that you are responsible for any submission you make. This means that you (and not we) have full responsibility for the message, including its legality, reliability, appropriateness, originality, and copyright.

Limitation of Liability

MartialArtsMedia.com WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES OR INJURY THAT ACCOMPANY OR RESULT FROM YOUR USE OF ANY OF ITS SITE.

THESE INCLUDE (BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO) DAMAGES OR INJURY CAUSED BY ANY:

  • USE OF (OR INABILITY TO USE) THE SITE
  • USE OF (OR INABILITY TO USE) ANY SITE TO WHICH YOU HYPERLINK FROM OUR SITE
  • FAILURE OF OUR SITE TO PERFORM IN THE MANNER YOU EXPECTED OR DESIRED
  • ERROR ON OUR SITE
  • OMISSION ON OUR SITE
  • INTERRUPTION OF AVAILABILITY OF OUR SITE
  • DEFECT ON OUR SITE
  • DELAY IN OPERATION OR TRANSMISSION OF OUR SITE
  • COMPUTER VIRUS OR LINE FAILURE
  • PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOT LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, INCLUDING:
    • DAMAGES INTENDED TO COMPENSATE SOMEONE DIRECTLY FOR A LOSS OR INJURY
    • DAMAGES REASONABLY EXPECTED TO RESULT FROM A LOSS OR INJURY (KNOWN IN LEGAL TERMS AS “CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.”)
    • OTHER MISCELLANEOUS DAMAGES AND EXPENSES RESULTING DIRECTLY FROM A LOSS OR INJURY (KNOWN IN LEGAL TERMS AS “INCIDENTIAL DAMAGES.”)

WE ARE NOT LIABLE EVEN IF WE’VE BEEN NEGLIGENT OR IF OUR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR BOTH.

EXCEPTION: CERTAIN STATE LAWS MAY NOT ALLOW US TO LIMIT OR EXCLUDE LIABILITY FOR THESE “INCIDENTAL” OR “CONSEQUENTIAL” DAMAGES. IF YOU LIVE IN ONE OF THOSE STATES, THE ABOVE LIMITATION OBVIOUSLY WOULD NOT APPLY WHICH WOULD MEAN THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECOVER THESE TYPES OF DAMAGES.

HOWEVER, IN ANY EVENT, OUR LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ALL LOSSES, DAMAGES, INJURIES, AND CLAIMS OF ANY AND EVERY KIND (WHETHER THE DAMAGES ARE CLAIMED UNDER THE TERMS OF A CONTRACT, OR CLAIMED TO BE CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER WRONGFUL CONDUCT, OR THEY’RE CLAIMED UNDER ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY) WILL NOT BE GREATER THAN THE AMOUNT YOU PAID IF ANYTHING TO ACCESS OUR SITE.

Links to Other Site

We sometimes provide referrals to and links to other World Wide Web sites from our site. Such a link should not be seen as an endorsement, approval or agreement with any information or resources offered at sites you can access through our site. If in doubt, always check the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address provided in your WWW browser to see if you are still in a MartialArtsMedia.com-operated site or have moved to another site. MartialArtsMedia.com is not responsible for the content or practices of third party sites that may be linked to our site. When MartialArtsMedia.com provides links or references to other Web sites, no inference or assumption should be made and no representation should be inferred that MartialArtsMedia.com is connected with, operates or controls these Web sites. Any approved link must not represent in any way, either explicitly or by implication, that you have received the endorsement, sponsorship or support of any MartialArtsMedia.com site or endorsement, sponsorship or support of MartialArtsMedia.com, including its respective employees, agents or directors.

Termination of This Agreement

This agreement is effective until terminated by either party. You may terminate this agreement at any time, by destroying all materials obtained from all MartialArtsMedia.com Web site, along with all related documentation and all copies and installations. MartialArtsMedia.com may terminate this agreement at any time and without notice to you, if, in its sole judgment, you breach any term or condition of this agreement. Upon termination, you must destroy all materials. In addition, by providing material on our Web site, we do not in any way promise that the materials will remain available to you. And MartialArtsMedia.com is entitled to terminate all or any part of any of its Web site without notice to you.

Jurisdiction and Other Points to Consider

If you use our site from locations outside of Australia, you are responsible for compliance with any applicable local laws.

These Terms of Use shall be governed by, construed and enforced in accordance with the laws of the the State of Western Australia, Australia as it is applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within such jurisdiction.

To the extent you have in any manner violated or threatened to violate MartialArtsMedia.com and/or its affiliates’ intellectual property rights, MartialArtsMedia.com and/or its affiliates may seek injunctive or other appropriate relief in any state or federal court in the State of Western Australia, Australia, and you consent to exclusive jurisdiction and venue in such courts.

Any other disputes will be resolved as follows:

If a dispute arises under this agreement, we agree to first try to resolve it with the help of a mutually agreed-upon mediator in the following location: Perth. Any costs and fees other than attorney fees associated with the mediation will be shared equally by each of us.

If it proves impossible to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution through mediation, we agree to submit the dispute to binding arbitration at the following location: Perth . Judgment upon the award rendered by the arbitration may be entered in any court with jurisdiction to do so.

MartialArtsMedia.com may modify these Terms of Use, and the agreement they create, at any time, simply by updating this posting and without notice to you. This is the ENTIRE agreement regarding all the matters that have been discussed.

The application of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, as amended, is expressly excluded.

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is very important to us. Accordingly, we have developed this policy in order for you to understand how we collect, use, communicate and make use of personal information. The following outlines our privacy policy. When accessing the https://martialartsmedia.com website, will learn certain information about you during your visit. Similar to other commercial websites, our website utilizes a standard technology called “cookies” (see explanation below) and server logs to collect information about how our site is used. Information gathered through cookies and server logs may include the date and time of visits, the pages viewed, time spent at our site, and the websites visited just before and just after our own, as well as your IP address.

Use of Cookies

A cookie is a very small text document, which often includes an anonymous unique identifier. When you visit a website, that site”s computer asks your computer for permission to store this file in a part of your hard drive specifically designated for cookies. Each website can send its own cookie to your browser if your browser”s preferences allow it, but (to protect your privacy) your browser only permits a website to access the cookies it has already sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other sites.

IP Addresses

IP addresses are used by your computer every time you are connected to the Internet. Your IP address is a number that is used by computers on the network to identify your computer. IP addresses are automatically collected by our web server as part of demographic and profile data known as “traffic data” so that data (such as the Web pages you request) can be sent to you.

Email Information

If you choose to correspond with us through email, we may retain the content of your email messages together with your email address and our responses. We provide the same protections for these electronic communications that we employ in the maintenance of information received online, mail and telephone. This also applies when you register for our website, sign up through any of our forms using your email address or make a purchase on this site. For further information see the email policies below.

How Do We Use the Information That You Provide to Us?

Broadly speaking, we use personal information for purposes of administering our business activities, providing customer service and making available other items and services to our customers and prospective customers.

will not obtain personally-identifying information about you when you visit our site, unless you choose to provide such information to us, nor will such information be sold or otherwise transferred to unaffiliated third parties without the approval of the user at the time of collection.

We may disclose information when legally compelled to do so, in other words, when we, in good faith, believe that the law requires it or for the protection of our legal rights.

Email Policies

We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our subscription lists to third parties, and we will not provide your personal information to any third party individual, government agency, or company at any time unless strictly compelled to do so by law.

We will use your e-mail address solely to provide timely information about .

We will maintain the information you send via e-mail in accordance with applicable federal law.

CAN-SPAM Compliance

Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from us and our partners by reading the unsubscribe instructions located at the bottom of any e-mail they receive from us at anytime.

Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter or promotional materials may opt-out of receiving these communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Choice/Opt-Out

Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from us and our partners by reading the unsubscribe instructions located at the bottom of any e-mail they receive from us at anytime. Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter or promotional materials may opt-out of receiving these communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Use of External Links

All copyrights, trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights in and on our website and all content and software located on the site shall remain the sole property of or its licensors. The use of our trademarks, content and intellectual property is forbidden without the express written consent from .

You must not:

Acceptable Use

You agree to use our website only for lawful purposes, and in a way that does not infringe the rights of, restrict or inhibit anyone else”s use and enjoyment of the website. Prohibited behavior includes harassing or causing distress or inconvenience to any other user, transmitting obscene or offensive content or disrupting the normal flow of dialogue within our website.

You must not use our website to send unsolicited commercial communications. You must not use the content on our website for any marketing related purpose without our express written consent.

Restricted Access

We may in the future need to restrict access to parts (or all) of our website and reserve full rights to do so. If, at any point, we provide you with a username and password for you to access restricted areas of our website, you must ensure that both your username and password are kept confidential.

Use of Testimonials

In accordance to with the FTC guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, please be aware of the following:

Testimonials that appear on this site are actually received via text, audio or video submission. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who have used our products and/or services in some way. They are individual results and results do vary. We do not claim that they are typical results. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who will use our products and/or services.

The testimonials displayed in any form on this site (text, audio, video or other) are reproduced verbatim, except for correction of grammatical or typing errors. Some may have been shortened. In other words, not the whole message received by the testimonial writer is displayed when it seems too lengthy or not the whole statement seems relevant for the general public.

is not responsible for any of the opinions or comments posted on https://martialartsmedia.com. is not a forum for testimonials, however provides testimonials as a means for customers to share their experiences with one another. To protect against abuse, all testimonials appear after they have been reviewed by management of . doe not share the opinions, views or commentary of any testimonials on https://martialartsmedia.com – the opinions are strictly the views of the testimonial source.

The testimonials are never intended to make claims that our products and/or services can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. Any such claims, implicit or explicit, in any shape or form, have not been clinically tested or evaluated.

How Do We Protect Your Information and Secure Information Transmissions?

Email is not recognized as a secure medium of communication. For this reason, we request that you do not send private information to us by email. However, doing so is allowed, but at your own risk. Some of the information you may enter on our website may be transmitted securely via a secure medium known as Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. Credit Card information and other sensitive information is never transmitted via email.

may use software programs to create summary statistics, which are used for such purposes as assessing the number of visitors to the different sections of our site, what information is of most and least interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy, currency or completeness of the content contain on this website or any sites linked to this site.

All the materials on this site are provided “as is” without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of merchantability, noninfringement of intellectual property or fitness for any particular purpose. In no event shall or its agents or associates be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, business interruption, loss of information, injury or death) arising out of the use of or inability to use the materials, even if has been advised of the possibility of such loss or damages.

Policy Changes

We reserve the right to amend this privacy policy at any time with or without notice. However, please be assured that if the privacy policy changes in the future, we will not use the personal information you have submitted to us under this privacy policy in a manner that is materially inconsistent with this privacy policy, without your prior consent.

We are committed to conducting our business in accordance with these principles in order to ensure that the confidentiality of personal information is protected and maintained.

Contact

If you have any questions regarding this policy, or your dealings with our website, please contact us here:

Martial Arts Media™
Suite 218
5/115 Grand Boulevard
Joondalup WA
6027
Australia

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

DOWNLOAD THE PDF TRANSCRIPT & PODCAST RESOURCES

Please enter your first name & email below to access the free download

DOWNLOAD THE PDF TRANSCRIPT & PODCAST RESOURCES

Please enter your first name & email below to access the free download

DOWNLOAD THE PDF TRANSCRIPT & PODCAST RESOURCES

Please enter your first name & email below to access the free download

DOWNLOAD THE PDF TRANSCRIPT & PODCAST RESOURCES

Please enter your first name & email below to access the free download

Add Your Heading Text Hereasdf

Test Multistep in popup

Step 1 of 2

Name