3 – How To Explain The Real ‘Cost’ Of Martial Arts Classes Part 3

How much should your students be paying for their martial arts classes? Or is the ‘cost' focus the wrong metric? Here's what to base your gym's value on instead…



  • What's the no. 1 attribute to consider when hiring an instructor
  • How to use a leadership program to groom young, confident instructors
  • The hard fast rule of the skill levels students need to be at before instructing
  • Cost vs Investment. Where do you focus?
  • The ‘black belt story': how to kill the price question once and for all
  • How your business approach evolves when opening school no. 3
  • and more

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

Download the PDF transcription


GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 3.

So, in this episode, we're gonna be wrapping up the three part series of interview with Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten from the WA Institute of Martial Arts. So if you haven't listened to number one and two, I'd recommend going back. Number two has a lot of value in that. But then again, a lot of that value's gonna be missed if you didn't get the full part of the story, which is at number one. So you can access those episodes at martialartsmedia.com/1, the number one, or /2.

So that's gonna be the interview. I've already started interviewing more guests. So what's gonna be happening in this show is, we're gonna continue on this journey. I'm gonna be scoping out as many top martial arts school owners that I can find. And you know, maybe it's not a top school owner as in numbers, as in its huge turnover or its huge student base. But people that have value to share, valuable things that are working, valuable tips. And that's what we want to bring to this podcast. So I'm gonna be interviewing a lot more guests. And if you have any suggestions for guests, please go to the website martialartsmedia.com, just hit the contact form over there, get in touch and please make the introduction.

I'll also be doing a couple of solo shows, which will be a lot shorter. We'll be sharing a couple of things that, from my experience, is what will help you with marketing your school, on the digital platform of course.

So we're gonna get going with this episode. I do also want to thank you for the feedback I've been getting, just speaking to people in person and a few people online that have sent me a few messages, saying that they've been loving the show and have been getting great value from it – that's awesome. What would be really good – if you've got any positive feedback, just head over to iTunes and leave us a good review. Five stars would be awesome; it really helps our rankings. Now, iTunes does make this a little bit tricky. So, if you go to this episode, martialartsmedia.com/3, and just scroll down, you'll find the link to the iTunes platform. It will open up iTunes and then there's a section that you can click on, which will allow you to leave a review. So, anything good that you've got to say for this show, that'll help us get our rankings up, and get the word out of course.

So that's it from me for me now. And once again, I wanna introduce you to Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten from the WA Institute of Martial Arts.

GRAHAM: So, we hire on attitude, not on ability. We can teach ability all day long, but if you have the wrong attitude and the wrong spark, it doesn't work. Touching on that, this is probably, again, the vision of what we want for WAIMA. We didn't want WAIMA to be personality driven, and it's sort of, I won't say it's an oxymoron conflicting there, but we wanted the energy of the program, the school to be the drawcard, not the instructor at the front. I guess you need to have a great personality type, because, someone walks into the door, and you say hello, and this and that, but everybody does that, so you've got that whole wow experience. And again, this is something we said to our instructors, and something we also realized – we cannot promote you unless we can replace you.

And the thing is, you know, my brother in law is a phenomenal dentist, but he'll die doing what he's doing because no one can do what he can do. So he can't scale his business, he can't step out; he a (82)can't do that, because any one can do what he does. And I think, man, that is, on one hand great, you're successful, but on the other hand, you're chained to a job now, you're chained to a business that you can't leave, you can't walk away and do what we do. So, what we do with our guys is grow our staff. We grow this instructor program and this… Thinking of it now, we actually have quite a few tears and journeys, where they really do grow, to being a, as you said with your young lad, being ten – by the time he's sort of, if he goes through the program and sticks with us, by the time he gets out of school age, a starting to hit Uni, he's gonna be a very capable and confident young man, whether he's an instructor or not. But to be able to communicate in this world is a vital skill set. To be able to promote yourself and engage with people, that is gonna differentiate you from the rest of the crowd.

How we do it though is, from the ages of ten, we have them being able to start a volunteer program. There're lots of different teams of instructing. Again, the goal is being a mentor in the program, as myself and Phil found addictive when we first started was, when you are looked upon, and you're 10 years old, and you've got a six-year-old look up to you and think that you're a superstar, you're a mini Iron Man, you're a Spiderman in their eyes, you're a hero, because you show them how to do a front kick properly. You show them how to tie their belt. That is an amazing feeling. So, one, it helps them with their personal confidence, two, they get to share that energy with others. And what a great thing from a parent sitting back, having a younger child in class, and seeing another kid within four or five years age difference being a mentor, it just shows you that our program has that maturity and that depth. And having an adult who's a mentor and a leader is great. But having someone else, who's got great values and qualities, being a little bit younger around their age, that's amazing. To have that modeling behavior. And that's something as a parent myself  I look for and think; I'd love my kids to hang around with other nice, respectful kids,” cause I guarantee it's gonna rub off.

And that's the sort of value system we have with the leadership program. It's designed to have great values, but it's structured well to help with how to communicate, how to help in class, how to be proactive and productive. And then eventually, how to take warm-ups, or games of a class, and slowly as they grow in age and their confidence, how to lead particular groups, into a paid position one day. And then it goes from there. So, there're a couple of different approaches George, just very quickly – we've got our leadership program, we've have our instructor university, and then we've got the diploma. So very much like a university degree. I'm gonna break it down to be easy for the listeners; the leadership programs are like primary school. We hold your hand; we do everything for you. The instructor university is like high school, where we educate you, but again, it's a little bit of self-reliance. And the diploma is very much like a university, diplomas where you go for that Ph.D. You are on your own, within reason, but you're a leader, and it's developing your personality type. And that's something we've got extremely structured.

PHIL: Just something I wanna mention here, because Graham might not say it himself, but he's got a bit of a nickname around our school, sort of like John Appleseed, because Graham has this knack, where he can walk through a class, walk through a school, and just, you know – look at someone's ability is one thing, but look at their personality and their attitude, and literally just that one hint, “Have you ever thought of being an instructor?” And just that one thing, we don't have a belt level limit, when it comes to adults. You might have that white belt, with an amazing personality. Sure, you don't have any skill yet, but we can teach you that. And we will put you through an instructor program.

Now, we're not one of those schools, that will have green belts running schools, that's not the thing. We have the hard fast rule where you have to be two belt levels above the person that you're teaching, even at an assistant level. But we wouldn't put lower than black belts to run a school; you know what I mean? But what we're getting at is, if a white belt, a yellow belt, someone with 6 or 12 months experience has the right personality, we're gonna invite them to teach them the skills of being an instructor.

Not because we must have an instructor, but because we know that what we will teach you will send you down a path, whether it's personally, professionally, or hey if we can grab you and you'd be an instructor for us, we would love you! You know? So that's one of the key things, don't look at the black belts and the brown belts, cause if you haven't identified the personality then, it's too late. Look at your white belts, look at your yellow belts, just have a look. They're approachable; they'll say hello; they're a personality in the class. There's all those sorts of people. Put your time and money and investment in teaching them, and showing them the way. Dangle the carrot, you help here, you volunteer, then you get a paid part time, then you get this, then you get that – one day you might be a branch manager and get paid really good money, so it's definitely about planting the seed early and not letting that fizzle out.

GRAHAM: George, there's another thing that we do too. There's the benefit to our schools, which is great, but a part of our, especially the adults, is to focus on changing the community too. And I don't mean them going out, placards and billboards – it's more about just being genuine and being authentic in what they do. So, part of their challenge recently in the leadership course, we've got one guy at the moment, is to pay it forward. And some of the guys listening may think, “OK, pay forward, but I don't have money to pay for someone's coffee or this,” –  it's not about that, it's about just making something unexpected, a kind gesture, pay it forward, hold the door for somebody, let go of somebody in front of you in the line, smile and share a smile to somebody where normally they've got their head down, cause it's an amazing thing to change people's attitude by the way you hold yourself.

a (85)So if you're conscious of how you hold yourself – man, you will change those around you. And that's what have we got at the moment, we've got close to 50 adults going through this instructor program. And our 50 people go out in their community, and on a daily basis, maybe have an effect on 5-6 other people. It's a pretty good feeling to know that you're not just teaching martial arts, but you're changing your community, whether they know it or not. We're just changing people's days, and that again is what we stand for, and it goes back to that WAIMA values, that wow experience, that customer experience. And whether a customer or not, just making sure we're changing our communities. So it's a pretty cool feeling.

GEORGE: What you're saying is, you can't put a price tag on that. And that's why I want to transition to that before we talk about Dojo 3. But you guys charge a premium if there was a price comparison of martial arts rates, you guys are charging a premium above the standard. And I think for anybody listening to this, there's a lot of things that you guys have just mentioned that justifies that, but how would you answer that? How do you justify a premium service, beyond the average martial arts school?

GRAHAM: We talk a lot about cost versus investment. Again, it's the investment you make. If you think, a cost, if you think about the play on words, a cost is something that costs you, you spend money, and then you don't get anything back from it. An investment is something you obviously spend money on, but it gives you back things. And again, that's something our programs do. You'll invest with us, and we guarantee the money you invest will triple, quadruple times 10, ten times a 100 in what you get from it. So, it's then outlying; we're pretty direct and upfront how much it is for members to start at our school. And there's a lot that can't afford it. We'll do our best to try and offer some alternatives, in regards to trying to help them with our school. If we can't help them, we'll certainly send them to another school. And it's not that we don't like other schools, we certainly do, but not everybody can fly first class, dare I say. So we do hold ourselves to that standard of providing first class service. But like anything, it's making sure that we outweigh the money that they have to invest with us, to make sure they see the benefits and values. And that's sort of, in a nutshell, what it's about. I'll throw it to Phil because I know you've got a good spin on that.

PHIL: Oh yeah, my spin on this, especially as you're training instructors, program directors in particular – if you ever have to teach someone to present fees, you know, for the first time it's like, I remember the first time when we were doing program, we were like, it's $40 a months, and you're like, are they gonna sign, are they gonna sign? You know what I mean? You're scared! To be the way we are today, we definitely can't charge what we used to charge, but it's evolution. But there are two strategies that I do to help students, help instructors, program directors or school owners identify.

Now, the first thing most instructors, you've probably heard this story before, it's called the black belt story. And it's a story about approaching a mother and talking about her son, who is now a a (86)black belt. And she came in one day and talked about the fee increase for the next level. And the instructor said, “Look, how about I do this for you – what have you invested in the last four years? Let's just pick a figure and say $10,000. So you've invested $10,000  in the last four years with your child to do martial arts, and they're a black belt now. Now, if I was to give you that $10,000 in cash, but would take away all the skills, all the abilities, all the lessons that your child has, would you take that $10,000?” And she thinks for a little bit, and she says, “No, not at all.” And then he said, “Let's double it, I'll give you $20,000. But if I give you that $20,000, I'll take all of the skills, all the abilities, all the lessons your child has learned in the four years he's been at our school.” And she thinks, and you know, it's tempting, but at the end of the day, she says no. You can't put a price tag on the life skills that you learn in martial arts. And this is what you've got to forget – it's not the punches and the kicks, it's not being able to defend yourself, although that's an important part. It is the lessons that you learn, lessons that I learned that got me off this hospital bed or out of that terrorist attack.

It's the lessons that helped Graham in his life and the hard times. There is not a price tag, and when you put it into context like that for someone, like maybe a parent, they might think of it a bit differently. For my instructors, what I'm trying to teach them about why we charge what we charge – we truly believe that we change people's lives and that we're just as important here in Australia as swimming lessons. And you know, I've got three children. My children do swimming lessons, and it's like $30 a class for 30 minutes.

a (81)Now, we charge a little bit like that for our 40-minute class, if you do it once a week. So, I think we're just as valuable in someone's life, as learning to swim. I think we're way more valuable than gymnastics, or dance school or football. When I compare myself to other sports, other activities, that I believe are probably life changing as well; I see us double, triple, quadruple the value. I think we undercharge ourselves really, but there comes a point, a tipping point. And as Graham said, the difference is that, yes, some people can't afford it, and it's a bit of a shame, because people come through your door, and you'd love to help them. But to run a professional school, to have 20 full-time staff, that dedicate their lives… this isn't like a job – this is a lifestyle. And our instructors dedicate their lives. They work hard to invest in themselves as instructors, invest in themselves as people, to grow themselves – why shouldn't they get paid well for transforming someone's life?

GRAHAM: George, for your listeners listening in, you know, the martial artists – you think of a doctor, a dentist, I spoke about that before, they may have a degree, a master's degree, a PhD, whatever else – think of the time invested in them, educating themselves to get to that point. Let's say, 5 years, 6, 7, 8 years. I guarantee your listeners here, I spent 10 years, 15, 20 years crafting the skills in this discipline. They may have a first degree, second degree, third degree, fourth degree, fifth degree on their black belt. It's still a degree, so why do you see yourself any different in what you present? Because I guarantee we all wear different hats – a psychologist, a mentor, a fitness trainer, a life coach – all of these things are hats that we wear, and that's something you gotta just think about. If I coupled the income of all those guys and put it into a martial arts instructors, man, we'd be laughing. Obviously, it's something that's very unrealistic, but it's how you value yourself, how you value what you've done and the life that we've invested in education. We believe that we deliver far beyond what we charge, and that's something that, getting your head around that and believing in yourself is a key factor.

GEORGE: Great. Ok, so, quickly just on Dojo 3, and then I'm gonna ask you guys a few random questions. So, two dojos and now you open number 3. What are the key differences, after your learning experiences from the previous two – what's the key differences you did when you opened number 3?

GRAHAM: Ok, so we're gonna paint a picture just a little bit too George. We spoke about taking over a shell and rebuilding a shell in Dojo 1, our sort of headquarters. Then we thought, hmm – was that just a fluke? So, let's operate a new school, that's within the same northern code or northern area. So for the listeners listening, we've got our second school, maybe a 20 minutes drive away. But still very much, because of our branding and our marketing, people may have known about us. So, school number 3, we went completely south of the river. So, here in Perth we have… South of the river is almost like another country. So nobody knows who we were and whatnot. So, this was the big test to see, does our systems, marketing systems work, when nobody knows who you are? So you couldn't rely on word of mouth, you couldn't rely on your brand integrity, it was just your completely unknown entity. And now we're system testing to see, OK – what do we need to do to get this vision, mission, values out there? The marketing and get people through the door. And man, it was an awesome challenge, which is great. A different approach this time around Phil, what do you think?

PHIL: Definitely, third time around you get a little bit more ballsy. You're trying to get the location, you will push the lease, and you'll get free month's lease. So, finding the location – how we do that, there's art in itself. Getting to pick the location, there's a specific art around what we do.

GRAHAM: Guys, just to add to that before Phil runs on. Through the negotiation process, myself and Phil, because we were like, “Right, bugger that – we know what value we bring to a location.” We were negotiating a lease for 5 years, and we said, right – we want 10 months free rent and $50,000 fit out. And the guy was like, “Alright, we'll think about it.” Cause we knew what we were worth. We chose to go to a different location that suited the school a bit better, but I think we've still got 6 months free rent. They couldn't do a fit out for us, but again, that was compensated for the free rent period. And again, that equates close to $50,000 saved in rent. Because we knew that, if we put our roots down to that location, buying the building if they let us in due time, we'd be there for life, you know? That's sort of what we were talking about. We knew the value we were going to bring to that area. Therefore, the negotiations were pretty hardball. So, to be able to sort of turn around and go – they were willing to give 10 months free rent and $50,000 to fit out the premises, it's a pretty good starting point for a new school.

GEORGE: Definitely.

PHIL: Yeah, so, you get a bit more ballsy, you get a bit pushier. You know what you want, and you know how you want it. And at that point really, it was trust within our systems. And for example, again, the manager we chose for there, we didn't go down there, and weren't part of the school really, it just sort of happened organically. But we trusted the systems, trusted that it worked. And as an example, you know, the branch manager was like, “Oh, can we try this, try that.” I was like, “Man, I love your ideas, but no, we're doing this because it works.” Our analogy is like baking a cake: if you see an amazing cake, it tastes amazing, it looks amazing, and you wanna bake the same cake.

What do you do – you follow the recipe. If you miss out an ingredient, you will not get the same result. So we were very adamant that we would follow the same recipe that we did for the second location. And in doing that in the first 12 months, the other school was 300, versus 350. So in the first 12 months, we grew this one 50 more students than the other one. And it was just a testament to following the recipe for success. And knowing that we were doing the right thing, and we would say no to certain things and yes to these things. Trusting in our ability, trusting in what we know works. And just, again, not starting a new business at the detriment to others.


PHIL: So, that's one of the big value points I see.

GRAHAM: Look, I think George, the big thing to help with starting new schools was, it goes back to the staff training and the staff growth programs. So by being able to have instructor programs, on a consistent basis, you're forever developing these little gems, that will be your school manager one day, or your support team or staff. So, we have learned a lot. We tried it once in the early days, to hire from the outside in, get a sales guy from out to bring in, and it just bit us in the ass, very quickly.

So, the challenge with hiring or growing your staff – they take the time to mature, you know, I used the phrase the other day with somebody: it's like making a good bottle of wine. You've got all the ingredients, but you just need time for it to mature and time for it to come into its own. And the same thing goes for your staff. We forever have this system where we are continually growing and maturing the staff, so when the opportunity arises that there could be another location opening, or there's a position vacant in one of the schools, you've got the right person to step in and then be able to be effective, not just waiting and waiting and waiting. So, there're so many components to this machine that need to be working hand in hand before you can go, hey look – I can stand back, and sort of watch. But it's important, and it's fun to watch it go on.

GEORGE: Excellent. Ok, so, getting to the end, yeah – just a couple of questions: is there a number 4?

GRAHAM: There will be. The thing is, we will expand across Australia, if not the world. Something that we've done, myself and Phil being forward thinkers – when the time is right, the time is right. But we are the WA Institute of martial arts. But we own the domain names and the business for South Australia Institute, Queensland Institute, Sydney Institute, Melbourne Institute. We've got all of that already sold out, but we just haven't found the right person yet. So anybody listening, who's thinking about maybe jumping on board with one of us and our schools, you know, drop us a line.

GEORGE: All right, great. So, just going back, cause we've gone from beginning to a maturing model and system. But just going back again, what would you do differently, if you guys look back on the day you took over the Greenwood dojo, and you got started, what would you do differently from all your experience, from everything that you've learned up to now?

PHIL: I don't think I'd do anything different, because if I did, we wouldn't be here today. And I know that's cliché, I guess. But, when I look back, everything happened at the right time, at the right moment. And if I said that we should not have worked so hard at the beginning so that we could have that time with our young family, we wouldn't be here today, where Graham and I only work 4 days a week, we do school pickup and drop off, we get to go on holidays. So we wouldn't be here today. I don't think I would do anything different. If anything, we've now grown into a role where we don't have to teach, we teach when we want to. And we're pretty much managing the staff. So we manage managers. Which is an amazing thing, but again, that's a learned thing that we had to learn.

We originally started a business because we love teaching martial arts. And it evolved to a point where now we don't teach martial arts. We do, we teach it to our instructors. So we train the trainers. But we are constantly now with the big school, now we've moved into a role where it's just HR. We're managing the managers, and making sure they feel good, they're all right, they're still growing, they're inspired, they don't go down the wrong path. So we're like parents. It's like, we've both got 3 of our kids, but really with the 20 full-time staff that are our kids as well. So we gotta guide them along their journey to make sure that they get to live the lifestyle that we want for them.

GRAHAM: There's a quote George that sings out, I've always loved, I read it in the Steve Jobs book, it's “If you wanna predict the future, create it yourself.” And that goes back to us. Day one is where people go, you can't do this, and I'm like, why can't we? So you can have your cake, and eat it too. We run a successful school; we have the ability to enjoy time with our family, and we also have the chance now to travel the world and up-skill ourselves and bring it back. But also leaving a legacy for our team, that if they hit their straps, and they hit those benchmarks, they'll also get to do that. We've created a system where it's not one person has to be the manager/leader at any given moment. So we have plans in place for them to be growing to area manager, state managers, national managers if that's their dream and their passion. To travel and grow, so, you know, would I change anything? Definitely no. We always change things as we go. Looking back the past is the past, but we're gonna change what's happening currently, and it's exciting, you know? We roll with the blows, which is awesome.

GEORGE: Common theme I get is asking yourself the right questions. Just always, if something can't be done, just asking yourself why not and challenging yourselves and taking yourselves to the next level. So what do you guys do to stay on top of your game? You've talked about mentors and so forth, but what do you do to sort of stay on top, that you're always motivated and that you're influencing your staff on the right path?

GRAHAM: Well, we've got a couple of things coming up at the moment, where we're just planning a trip to the States. Education is one thing so, being alive to model and have a look at how other things have been done. Keeping a finger on the pulse with what the globe is doing. Not that we compare ourselves to anyone else, but it's always nice to just go, “Look, have things changed in the last couple of years?” I think the last time we were in the States was two years ago. So, go and have a quick look, we've got some great friends that we'll go and have a look at their organization and see is there anything we can bring back home. When we're on home soil, it's definitely putting yourself in a great headspace of education, and constantly listening to podcasts, audio books, things like that to stay positive, further your mind, because, at the end of the day, there are gonna be challenges in everyone's life, but then really trying to make sure you're surrounding yourself with the right people. And you talked about mentors and things like that – definitely.

If you've got an area that you need attention on, that needs absolute attention, find someone in that area that can resonate with you and your values and do the time. Maybe a three-month thing, a six-month thing, it could be a lifelong journey with that mentor, but continuing education is key factor. And you know, if you're pumping, the rest flows. Enthusiasm is caught, not taught. It's part of our teaching, but also it's great when Phil goes, “Hey Graham, there's an awesome podcast I listened from Tony Robbins,” which he did to me the other day, and I'm like, “Perfect man, great, thank you.” Equally, there're these books that I have, I read this Richard Branson book that was really good – Phil, here you go mate. So, continually sort of swapping and sharing and trying to stay ahead of the curve.

PHIL: I would say, never not be a student. Both in business and life, but more importantly, in martial arts. Cause if you're gonna run a martial arts school, whether you're teaching or not, and you're just managing guys, man, you've still got to train. We will always get instructors to come in and teach us and go to seminars and stuff like that. But how I try and hone my game as well, we're now at that point where we're business coaches for our own business. And that's why we created TIMA, The Institute of Martial Arts.

A way to then test again, like I said, it was another challenge, to test our skill and ability, to help other martial arts business owners as well. And then in saying that as well and taking it to the next level, now I'm also helping others businesses as well. So you know, we do a lot of speaking internationally, nationally, helping entrepreneurs, small business owners in various fields and niches. And we're testing our knowledge, our skill and our ability to be able to turn what we know, what we love to do in this environment, this niche, and help other business owners as well. So it's that constant and never ending improvement, kaizen for all those martial artists out there, that were always improving. We're never satisfied, you know, we just wanna push ourselves to be the best we can, but also share that knowledge as well.

GEORGE: Excellent. Last thing, where can people find out more about you, you mentioned The Institute of Martial Arts?

PHIL: So yeah, the best contact for us would be www.tima.com.au, or if you wanna get in contact direct with us, so that was our website, direct with us, you can just contact us at admin@tima.com.au. That's admin, as it's said, and TIMA, T-I-M-A .com.au. And you'll be able just to reach out, and just, hey guys, I've got some questions, thoughts. You know, we offer online help as well, so people can get access to all our systems and procedures online, or if they wanna talk to us direct, just reach out, we're here for everyone.

GRAHAM: Hey guys, just another one, the social media aspect, again, further education. There a ton of stuff, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and whatnot. But on a weekly basis, we have some vlogs, some podcasts that go out, so you can download them on iTunes, which is the martial arts business success. There's a ton of great material, specifically designed for martial arts schools in regards to content, and there's also the vlogs that are on the website, which will allow you to see a happy face, as well as to get some great content.

GEORGE: Excellent, well thanks a lot, Phil. Thank you, Graham.

That's it! Thank you for listening. I hope you got good value from that. That will be the last part of the interview, the three-part series with Graham Mcdonnell and Phil Britten from the WA Institute of Martial Arts. Next week, we'll be going solo, so I'll be sharing some tips that will help you with your online marketing, positioning and all good things for your martial arts business. And if you wanna get the transcripts of this interview and any other interviews and episodes that we do, you can just head over to the episode, for this one, of course, martialartsmedia.com/the number, which is number 3. So martialartsmedia.com/3, and that's it.

If you'd like to get in touch with me, if you've got any guest suggestions, just head over to the website, martialartsmedia.com, get in touch with us. And if you'd like to chat with me about your business, if there's anything that you need help with, with your marketing, or anything that you feel we can help you with, I do offer a free strategy session, which you can get on the link, the “Work with us” link on the website, and just fill out the form there. We'll get in touch with you, and you can set up a time, which is convenient for us to chat, and see if we can help you with anything with your martial arts business.

That's it! Thank you very much for listening, I'll chat with you again next week. Cheers!

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George Fourie

Hi I'm George Fourie, the founder of MartialArtsMedia.com. When I'm not doing dad duties or training on the mats (which I manage to combine when my son is willing! :), I'm helping Martial Arts Gym owners grow their business through the power of online media.

  • Sean Allen says:


    Great interview with Graham and Phil from WAIMA. I really enjoyed the attitude that the boys have in challenging themselves over and over. They really do provide us with an insight into their work ethic, professionalism and ideals.
    Especially rewarding for me as I was their employer/instructor back in the day. I clearly remember the reasons behind my decision to employ Graham above all others and that move has been the start of a journey that has benefited the martial arts industry. Then my decision to combine Phil with Graham has been a joy to follow.
    As an instructor, I have made many mistakes. Choosing Graham as a young Green belt to groom as an instructor has been a good choice. Helping Phil move into my old school as an instructor then owner has been equally beneficial.

    Of note is the reaction by the boys when our paths occasionally cross. They always show me heartfelt respect and genuine interest in my life journey. My response to them is reciprocated.

    It seems the WAIMA story is only just starting. I am sure you can appreciate this as a Dad sitting on the sidelines watching classes.

    Anyway, great interview.

    Sean Allen

    • Hi Sean! Thank you for the message and for listening to the interview. I definitely gained a lot from this interview myself.

      And I’m sure there are many foundations that you lay that influenced and inspired Graham and Phil’s success. Would be great to have you on for an interview, not only to go full circle with this but also tap into your extensive martial arts experience 🙂

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