8 – Sean Allen: The Importance Of Martial Arts In Physical Education


A business to match your lifestyle while teaching the importance of martial arts in physical education? Meet Sean Allen.


  • How to structure your business to match your lifestyle
  • Life lessons from martial arts that go beyond self-defence
  • Why only having a great curriculum is not good enough
  • When it's ok to ‘sell your martial arts baby'
  • How martial arts help kids think creatively under pressure
  • Using martial arts as the vehicle of values and education
  • And more

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


What I've done is, I've completely changed my martial arts curriculum to answer today's problems. And it might not defending yourself against a right-hand punch in the face.

GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie from and welcome to Martial Arts Media podcast, episode number 8. Today's exciting guest I have for you is Sean Allen.

Now, with this story I wanted to go full circle, because if you remember my first episode, my first three actually, the first interview with Graham and Phil from the WA Institute of martial arts, which was split over three episodes, you might have picked up that they actually purchased the school at that point from their initial instructor, and that instructor was Sean Allen. And although Sean grew the business to about 5 or 600 students at that point in time, before he sold it off, that's not what success means for Sean.

And I found it fascinating that much like myself, Sean has based his entire life around building a business that suits his lifestyle and not the other way around. And Sean is truly living a successful life for himself, he's moved down south, here in Western Australia, down south being Margaret  River area, with just amazing surf spots, where he gets to surf every day and teach a  very small, niche group of people, but really where he gets to express his personal values and teach kids the life lessons and skills to deal with problems and life situations through his martial arts, and through his martial arts classes.

You can find all the show notes on and all the transcriptions are available from this interview. If you get any value out of this episode or any of the others, please head over to iTunes, you can find the link below this episode. Head over there and just leave us a review. Five-star reviews help us get up in the rankings, but an honest review is much appreciated. With that, I want to leave you, and I’d like to welcome to the show Sean Allen.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have with me, Sean Allen. Now, honestly, I don't know Sean Allen too well, but I've heard his name around the industry for quite a while. Now, my podcast started out initially interviewing Graham and Phil from the WA Institute of Martial Arts. And if you've picked up on that story, before it was the WA Institute of martial arts, the pretty much purchased the school. And the original owner was Sean Allen.

So I wanted to go full story and go back and interview Sean, because when I use to train at WAIMA, Sean Allen's name popped up a lot, and it was always these one liner words of wisdom that came from Sean Allen, and I never knew who Sean Allen was. Now, other than the start of WAIMA, before it was WAIMA, I'm going to get into that story, Sean Allen has vast experience in martial arts and has now moved over to Margaret  River, where he's living the lifestyle. I always see his surf pictures and things pop up on Facebook. I want just to introduce Sean and get him of course to share his full story. So, welcome to the show, Sean.

SEAN: George, thank you very much, much appreciate your interest in my side of the world and me of course.

GEORGE: Awesome! So, let’s start right at the beginning, with you as such. So, who is Sean Allen?

SEAN: Well, 35 years of martial arts, I'm 54 years of age at the moment – actually, it’s a bit over 35 years of martial arts. I started as a teenager, for the usual reasons. Just before us starting to talk for the interview, I said that, as everybody does, I've evolved and changed in my 50s, and I'm a vastly different beast than the one that I was when I was training and teaching in the early days when I first started as an instructor.

And I suppose we can go back to the original reasons I started training in martial arts, which probably wasn't that much different to most other people. But it depends on where you want to start, whether you want to start why I first started training in martial arts or where I am at the moment – which year should I start at?

GEORGE: If you don't mind sharing the beginning or what were your reasons for starting martial arts?

SEAN: As a young kid, I was bullied. I haven't got the monopoly on being bullied, I moved around a fair bit as a young man with my father moving up his corporate ladder and moving the family to different opportunities that he had, and I changed schools eight times. So I was always the relatively new kid, which left me feeling a little bit insecure, as it would with anybody. Later on, that was an advantage, because it means that I could adapt to new situations quite easily, but I was picked on, bullied, beaten, hit, purely for the fun and enjoyment of other groups of people.

So, when I was in school, I thought, this is crazy, I've got to learn how to defend myself because I've never been a violent character. I've never been one of those guys that like to fight. So it was a real challenge for me to be able to step into a martial arts academy. I tried Taekwondo  for a while, I've tried karate for a while, I've tried a judo class here and there, and I sort of stuck with bits and pieces.

And it wasn't until I had just become a legal age to be able to go into a drinking establishment and I saw my original instructor walking out and there was a large group of guys encircling a car and – geez, this just goes way back! And my original instructor, Rod Stroud, was not a big man. He wasn't tall, but quite a strong person. And he went out and told these guys, it was 15 or 16 guys, to clear off. 

A few of them fronted up to him and he made short work of them. And I just remember him being in the middle of a big circle and everybody being scared to go near this guy. And I remember thinking, holy crap – who is that? And I was standing at a safe distance about 50 meters away, and a guy next to me said, that's my instructor, he trains at – and he told me where and when they trained. That was on a  Sunday – I was there on Monday and continued to train. I brought two friends, they dropped out, I continued on after that.

And it was always, for me, a series of consecutive challenges. It was a challenge to turn up to training in those days because the content was plentiful. These guys weren't placid martial artists in any way, shape or form. They were violent men who worked in security, who had a string of assault charges on them constantly. So, knowing that and me being a surfy boy, who was a bit of a pacifist, it was a challenge for me to just turn up for training.

But then, lo and behold, the next year I kept training, and I grew 6 inches, so I became 6 foot 1, and I could start to get a bit more control over what happened to me. And that became a series of challenges that I kept focusing on for the rest of my life, especially the rest of my youthful training life. Full contact kickboxing, whatever was going to challenge me and scare me, that's what I would focus on. If something was easy, I lost interest on it. So the martial arts was always that focus and challenge for me and challenging myself.

GEORGE: Ok, it’s interesting you mention how these events, and it’s always easy when you look back at these events in your life that seem as if you had a disadvantage, you moving around and moving around. But then there's always a hidden benefit that you're going to discover later like you said, it was easier for you to adapt to situations because you kept on moving around. So you mentioned challenges: what were the challenges you were struggling with, just to get to training and so forth?

14199200_10153916008768511_482799919776758480_nSEAN: In those days, the intimidation factor in training was reasonably high. I just posted a picture of my instructor standing next to Bob Jones, with their shirts off in the 80s when I was training with my instructor. And there was just a string of comments like, omg, who would ever step foot into a room with those men? People who were there in those days go, I remember the fear of training with them. And these people that were commenting and saying I remember the fear – these guys are Australian title holders in kickboxing. They're national, international champions, in their own field, in full contact – Thai boxing or kickboxing.

So these guys are not just your general mainstream Joe off the street – these are highly accomplished fighters, who admit to being scared when they trained with these two men. So, for me being a pacifist and being not a natural fighter, it was hard for me to just wander into training. And it’s only now, in the fullness of my fifties, that I can say – yeah, I was scared! But to me, that was the challenge that I wanted to overcome, I didn't want to be scared.

I remember, at school, being scared of people challenging me to fight, purely because I didn't know what to do. So, by confronting that fear, funnily enough, it extinguished. And within about five years, I was fighting full contact, I had state titles. Most of my friends started teaching earlier than me. I just wanted to work in the security field as a doorman. I wanted to fight full contact, I wanted to continue to focus on getting control over my emotions in serious situations, and not teaching because I didn't feel that I was qualified to teach yet.

GEORGE: Ok, so how did the journey of teaching then come around? And I'm going to get back to that, because there's obviously a vast difference from what you described now, with the whole intimidation factor. I could be wrong, but it’s something that I haven't really seen in other places today.

SEAN: Yep.

GEORGE: So we can get back to that, but how did your journey then evolve into teaching from there?

SEAN: You know, it’s funny because of just this week, I was standing in front of 20 kids, we're doing a martial arts class, and one of the kids said, why did you start teaching? And it stunned me, because I thought, first of all, I couldn't remember, cause when you're in your fifties, it’s hard to remember where I put my keys, let alone what my original motivation was.

So I had to think about it and I remember thinking, when I first started training, I enjoyed the training so much, I wanted to find a way to be able to continue to train more. And I started training and then, especially when I started focusing on a full-time martial arts club, I wanted to be free to train during the day, so I wanted to be able to run the martial  arts school at night, so I could train and surf and do all the things I enjoyed during the day. So, my initial motivation for getting involved in teaching was more of a perception of a lifestyle than wanting to help people.

I know that sounds selfish, but I've got, to be honest – I wanted to be able to train other people and create strong black belts and all that stuff, but I wanted to be able to train my way. And that was my initial motivation. It just so happened that I was studying to be and was a school teacher in those days, so my method of articulating a technique out the front or just being able to control a group of people was one that I’d learned at university, not one that I just sort of fell into and had to work out along the way – I was professionally trained to be teacher.

GEORGE: OK. All right, so – how did the progression go then from that point? You started teaching, where did you go, how did the whole ownership of your first school come about?

SEAN: I was reading self-help books and positive thinking books in the 80s. I was also buying cassette tapes and listening to those in my car or whatever it might have been in those days and I remember it one time, they said, they were talking about creating your own future, creating your own lifestyle, to just going to work for someone else and jamming in what you'd like to do on the weekends. They said, in this particular program, they said – write down your perfect day, write down your perfect week, write down your perfect month.

So I wrote down my perfect day, what if I would have taught martial arts during the night time, and during the day, I would be free to do what I wanted to do? Because in those days, I had a boxing trainer, I had a Thai boxing trainer, I was still fighting full contact, I was doing a whole range of things. So I thought – what fits in with my perfect day? Don't think about what I'm doing now, think about what fits in with my perfect day. And running a martial arts school did.

So, therefore, I had to work out, well, I've got to be able to create the same income from running a martial arts school that I am as a school teacher. Because if I'm making $80,000 as a school teacher, and I can only make $50,000 as a martial arts instructor, my opportunity cost is $30,000. It’s costing me $30,000 to be a martial arts instructor. So, as you can see, I researched the economics of running a martial arts school to fuel my perfect day and my perfect life, how I wanted to run my life. Most people do it in reverse.

GEORGE: Interesting. And I don't think it’s selfish at all, because that's what I'm doing right here, it’s a lifestyle by design. I've structured my business around the way I’d like to live and it’s fascinating that that's how you actually started your whole planning. And really strategically planning it out, that this is how it’s going to match your lifestyle by design, as such.

So what were the next steps to follow? So you had this plan in place, that this was going to fund your lifestyle in a perfect way, that you're able to surf and do all your things and still have your passion for martial arts grow and evolve. What were your first steps to open a school and get that started?

SEAN: I've had 8 different locations for martial arts schools. Seven or eight, something like that. Well, now it will be nine with River included, but my first locations were part time locations, shoestring budget, leaving pamphlets in letterboxes, got my first few students, just started to get it going.

Interestingly enough, the information that was around in those days for running a professional school – this is before the internet: all you were left with is a couple of international magazines and I bought online, well, not online, I bought via mail and paid for a book to come to me on how to run a martial arts school, and this is archaic stuff!

And basically, in those days, I just got started with teaching and was trying to read everything I can on martial arts school. Because there was only like a handful of martial arts schools in Australia that were running professionally. And even then, you'd find that the guys might have had a day job or were supplementing their income in other ways. So I really had no other schools to look at that I could say, I want to model my school on that. So I just gradually learned by trial and error.

For example, a student of mine, I bumped into him in the shops, and I remember thinking about this recently, I'm amazed at how simple this was and people these days who run a school would think, it’s a little bit archaic for Sean to learn it this way. This guy said he joined another school. And I said, wow, OK, how's it going? And he said, Sean, the type of training is inferior to the type of training that you do, but on the walls are all the requirements for the belts, so we know where we're at and we know what's in front of us. He said it’s a little bit unclear as to what we're expected to do in the future to get better with you.

And I remember it hitting me like a bolt – that's so obvious. But in those days, none of us used to do that, because we'd come in, we'd rent a hall, and then we'd move out and someone else would come into the hall. And rented after us, so you couldn't put stuff on the walls or windows or whatever. So I started doing things like that, I started letting my students know, and I'm talking probably 1989, I started letting my students know, this is what you have to do for your next level. This is the reason why and you have to practice this and we're going to help you.

And I started to be able to do that and the school grew. And then one of my higher ranks quit and one of my other higher ranks saw him out somewhere and said, how come you're not training anymore? And he said, I'll tell you the truth, there was nothing wrong with Sean, he said it was just that I'm sick of learning white belt stuff all the time. So I split the classes up, cause it was all belts in one class. And I had so many people beginning all the time that I just couldn't focus on the advanced people and the beginners.

So that was the start of splitting classes, the start of a rotating curriculum, that was a start of requirements. So, unfortunately, it was a school of hard knocks in those days. You learn when things went wrong and you really had to sit down and think and take it personally: he quit because I couldn't take care of him. So it went from 10 or 15 students, I changed locations, because my then the current location was taken over by the state emergency services, it became an office budding. I moved to another location, which had a cheap rental agreement, but it was in the wrong demographic, it was in a Mount Lawley, which is a retirement area practically.

So I just couldn't work out why the phone wasn't ringing. So I closed that down and got a map of the northern suburbs of Perth, our city. And put markers, dots wherever all the high schools were. And then I put a different color marker where all the primary schools were, and looked at the spread of dots, and just looked straight in the middle there for a location. Found a location, started training – lo and behold, the phone starts ringing like crazy. I outgrew that, moved into Canham Way, just down the road from where you're training with WAIMA. Outgrew that and then moved into a big center. Outgrew that, and moved into the combined buildings next door, and the rest was history.

GEORGE: There's a lot of growth spurts there, what do you account to that? You mention the structure and people knowing exactly where they're going, but what was the cause of getting the word out and getting people to reach out to you that the school grew so much?

SEAN: Two things: number one, in those days, you would put an advertisement, an ad in the paper. I remember, I put an ad in the paper and I would hear, I don't know if your listeners will remember the old pager system? Before mobile phones, we had pagers. And it was like a little button with beep on a little machine and it would be a message to say, John Smith called, please call me back on such and such, interested in martial arts. So I remember, I would get 60 inquiries in a night in those days!


SEAN: And I remember at one stage, I had 30 people coming to watch a  class. So it was 30 in a  class and 30 people watching. So it was a case of number one, you were fishing by yourself in a River full of fish, with hardly anybody else fishing, and they were just jumping onto the hook. The unfortunate thing was that the systems were a week. My ability to be able to retain a student was a week, so I had a lot of student loss in those days. But because I trained so hard, I was reasonably articulate at the front of the group of people. I actually had a linear growth pattern with my schools.

A lot of guys, they might have been great at marketing, but I grew nine students a month for about three or four years. And when I say growth, I might join 15, lose 6, which is 9. But I gradually grew, I grew nine students a month, until I had about 500 students, which was unheard of in those days. And it was also my ability to be able to change the system that I was training under, and having the courage to be able to go – I'm not going to do that and I'm not going to do that because I don't think it’s a good idea. If I'm going to lose members, I'm not going to sacrifice quality, but I'm not going to do something just because it was done in the past.

So it was that, the courage aspect to be able to front up to my instructor and say – look, I'm running a school, I want to do it properly. And he'd say, great Sean, and I’d say, I don't think I should do that, that, that and that, which was relatively unheard of in those days. And luckily, he supported me and didn't beat the living daylights out of me.

GEORGE: It sounds like you picked a great location, you had a rush of people – obviously there was a lot of word of mouth because people wouldn't just naturally be attracted to your location as well. So, with all this happening and you say you pretty much had to scramble to get things in place to retain the business – what were the systems you put in place first up, to structure the business, to maintain all that flow?

SEAN: First of all, for me personally, when I was teaching all the classes, initially I was teaching 7, 8, 9 10 classes a week. Again, it was trial and error. First of all, I had to identify what the requirements were and make them visible for all the students. Then I had to work at how I was going to train people of a variety of different levels. You would have, obviously white belts, people who've done a year, people who've done 5 years, so you've got to think, how do I split the classes up?

And I remember one of the first things I did, I mean, I tried a lot of things – I would get all my black belts, and I would say, right – can I get you to take all the people that joined in, for instance, what is it now, September? So let’s make it August. All these people who have joined in August: I want you to take them through and teach them all the white belt curriculum through to their first belt – go.

And he would take them and there might be around 15 people in his group – I've still got all this paperwork funnily enough, in my archives somewhere. And he would have to identify who they were, he'd have to know their name when they've trained. They would have specific times with him, and as  I'm joining people in September, I’d have a separate black belt take those people on. And then as the first guy from August started to train those people, I’d be watching him. He would then graduate those people, we'd have a graduation night, and he would dump them into my class.

And then he would be free to take on the next month of people, say in October. So I tried that for a while. I then had one instructor training all white belts, no matter when they joined. So I was constantly changing things around to work out what worked the best. A mistake I made in those days was, I had an instructor in  a room next to me teaching, and I was teaching the advanced grades, and I realized that through word of mouth, he wasn't following the curriculum.

So in retrospect, I should have had someone taking the bulk of the students, someone taking the beginners and me floating between the two groups. So it really was a trial and error thing in those days. And I'm talking early 90's when the school had probably around 100 to 150 members.

GEORGE: You're talking about this curriculum stuff in the past – this is a conversation I had recently with a jiu-jitsu instructor, about the whole structure thing. And I'm a novice, but when I've trained traditional Zen Do Kai and that type of martial arts, there was always the structure. You could see what was going, what you need to do. And it kept you on track. And then, I started training jiu-jitsu and it was sort of, you get thrown in and there's no clear definition of what you're doing.

You just know – OK, you're training jiu-jitsu. For something like jiu-jitsu, and I know that a lot of Muay Thai clubs do that as well, that it’s just, there's no real structure of training: what advice would you give someone that has that type of style, that they can put things in place and sort of create this curriculum style that people know where they're going?

SEAN: Ok, well, first and foremost is, most schools might have a curriculum and requirements and what have you, but they're successful because of the personality of the person at the front. They're not successful because they teach Arnis, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or whatever, even though Thai boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA are the buzzwords today. So, yeah, if I taught some weird system of martial arts, it would be harder to make a viable business out of it. But having a good curriculum is only part of it.

If you've got a good curriculum, but you're boring at the front, you're going to struggle to be able to retain students, because in this day and age, the way we can access things on the internet, people want edutainment. They want education and entertainment at the same time. They want edutainment, so therefore, if you're an instructor, you need to be able to obviously show students what you're teaching and where that's going to lead to, but you have to ensure that they're being entertained at the same time.

I don't mean entertained like they're laughing, but you need to give them a buzz in their training. You need to give them a buzz out of handling frustrations successfully, because in the 80s, to create a large body of students, they made it easy. And then you ended up with weaker long-term students, whereas the reason the MMA is so powerful these days is because you can't survive as a weakling. You either quit or you blossom and you toughen up.

So going back to your question, my focus for one of those instructors would be to create a visible pathway that you are taking your students through. The instructor knows what they're doing, for instance in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to get from white to blue. But they have to make the student understand that pathway and understand how they're going to get them there. That's something that we never did before, you just don't question your instructor, and say why are we doing this? That was just unheard of. Usually, it was met with violence or expulsion from the school.

GEORGE: Ok, great. So what made you, not knowing the exact history, what made you sell or leave your Greenwood location?

SEAN: A succession plan for any business owner is important, and also taking yourself out of the picture, so that I wanted to be able to ensure that the business would continue to run and continue to service the 400 or 500 members, and it floated between 400 or 500 for probably a couple of decades, maybe a decade. And when I sold it, it was about the 400 mark. And I effectively, not entirely, but I removed myself from the situation and I wanted to be able to have a system that still created solid students, even if I wasn't the one teaching all the time.

So the decision to move out of the spotlight was a variety of things. I knew that I wanted to embrace a new direction in my life and I think that you can't move in a new direction in your life in any area of life unless you completely let go of an old direction. It’s a bit like, you can't see what's on the horizon without setting sail and  leaving the safety of the port, you might say. So that was my motivation because I've always had an ability to be able to change my mind and go that way if I feel I want to pivot.

So, when I was about, what am I now, 54 – about ten years ago, when I was 44, I realized that my direction was changing. I had a faltering marriage and the Grahams and the Phils in my club supported me in that, which I'm forever grateful for.

And I was really going through something that we all go through, not a midlife crisis, but just a questioning period – who am I, what am I doing? What's my contribution to the world? Is it just martial arts? How am I contributing to my own life and my world around me? So I realized I needed some time off. At the same time, I had two kids in high school and I realized I was missing their growth. So, for example, when I did sell the school, my focus was to get back in touch with them.

So I spent basically two years, not being  a full-time dad, but traveling with the kids and sort of concentrating  on getting myself together after nearly 20 years of total focus on the business. Yes, I was burned out, but I need to be able to find someone who could carry the mantel of business because I'm  not the sort of person who can just  close a business down and walk away.

I'm mentally and emotionally traumatized  every time someone quits my martial arts school, even when I had 400, I would still be traumatized  when someone says I want to quit. I’d take it personally. So knowing that I had to create a system of strength that could carry on after me. I looked at franchising, partial ownership, the whole lot, but I thought, no, I want to step away completely.

GEORGE: We touched on this a bit earlier – how have you evolved then? You mentioned that you had this whole change and real questioning of who are you and what you want in life. And now you've moved out of Perth, you've opened a new martial arts school: how have things changed for you?

SEAN: Well, one of the things was, one of my kids was questioning – I've got two kids, and one of the kids was questioning and saying, we won't see you as much if you move to Margaret River. And I said, look, I'm only 3 hours away, but how can I teach you – I'm your dad, I'm supposed to show you the way in life: how can I teach you to chase your goals in life if I don't chase mine?

So that was the reason for me going, OK, rather than me spending a month a year living in an idyllic location, and 11 months of the year working so that I can do that, why don't I just live in an idyllic location? So we looked all over the world for places to live, we looked at the fact that myself and my wife have both got kids: I've got two kids, she's got triplets. So we have 5 kids between us, we wanted to stay accessible to them, so we had to make it within two or three hours drive away from Perth.

And then we just got the map out and said, where do we want to live? Not where do we live now: where do we want to live? Which goes right back to our original conversation: what kind of a day do I want to lead? What would be a perfect lifestyle for me? Not how much money do I want to earn, or what kind of house do I want to live in. It’s what kind of activities in enrich me on the inside most?

So I tended to that first, and funnily enough, I'm a better teacher now, I'm a better martial arts instructor, I'm a better dad, I'm a better partner because I've taken care of myself first. So when I focus on my wife or my kids or my parents, I'm totally focused on them, because I'm coming from a strong, calm foundation of – I'm living the life I want to.

So that was the reason for the move, the departure from the big martial arts school. Everyone used to say, how can you sell your baby? And it's like, well – it’s not me. It’s something that I've created and it will evolve with the next owners too, which it has. And now I need to move in a different direction. I had to really investigate what matters to me most in the world, what do I think is wrong with the world, what do I think is my message to the next generation, and that's the basic message I have. I just happen to do it via the vehicle of martial arts training.

GEORGE: That's awesome. Sean, it’s been great chatting with you! Is there anything I missed, any questions that I didn't ask that I should have?

14333207_10153944234108511_5067751564843855344_nSEAN: Look, the thing I totally focus on now is, in the martial arts industry, there is a lot of who's got more students, whose got a bigger location, whose students are the best, whose students have more titles, which instructor is toughest. And at the end of the day, with the challenges that we are facing globally and nationally, who fights better than another person is of minimal interest to me and really to everybody.

It’s the things that are challenging us globally and nationally, which is what we should be focusing on. So I've looked at the things that matter to me, things like climate change, things like religious intolerance, things like crime and drugs and what have you, and I thought, right: these are the things, which are important. These are the things that are really going to threaten the lives of my kids in the next decade, let alone by 2050.

14054138_10153872490968511_9104346470015392360_nSo I thought if I can identify the types of things that, for example, kids need to be armed with to be able to be successful and happy in their life. Sure it’s an ability to be able to defend themselves, but that's not of primary importance, kids these days, adults for that matter too, but kids these days need to know how to think creatively. They need to be able to make up solutions to problems where there is not an obvious solution. And martial arts can do that.

Martial arts, it’s up to the martial arts instructor to go, look: I've taught you defenses number 1, 2 and 3: they're not gonna work. You've got to work out how do you blend 2 and 3 together. You've got to work it out, I'm not going to save you. I mean, I save my little kids occasionally by going stop, start again, you're crying, whatever it might be. But quite often, after six months of training, they're stuck underneath someone in Brazilian jiu-jitsu or whatever it is – I'm not your mom. I'm not going to save you, you've got to work it out.

13692905_10153789969843511_7822940420007814257_oPerson on top – stay on top, come on, you can do it. I'm there barracking for you, but I and your mom or dad are not going to save you. And it’s that, I suppose tough love, but it’s that making people comfortable with the struggle and getting to think outside the box, even when it’s uncomfortable, that's a life lesson. And that's something that should be articulated by every instructor. Who cares who can punch the hardest? It’s can you handle the difficulties in life and can you come up with answers.

I mean, what is it: 40% of the jobs in today's market won't be in existence when the kids today leave school. And what's that, by 2020 or whatever it is – 40% of the jobs won't even exist! So we don't even know what the future's going to look like. We have to teach our young people, and adults for that matter, to think creatively under pressure. That's what martial arts can do, very well. As you can see, I'm passionate about that. When I talk about the history, it’s like, ok, I'll tell you what happened years ago – today's different. And that's what I've done, I've completely changed my martial arts curriculum to answer today's problems. And it might not necessarily be defending yourself against a right-hand punch in the face.

GEORGE: Wow, that was a great way to end things off. Thanks again for your time. If anybody wants to get in touch with you, I know you also do coaching, where can people get in touch with you?

SEAN: If they search Margaret  River Martial Arts, they search Sean Allen – I've got websites and what have you. Me, growing myself financially, that's sort of taken care of now: I'm more interested in seeing social change and change within the industry, so if anybody wants to contact me, they just search me and search my name and Margaret River martial arts. And just stay in touch with the types of things that I'm talking about because I'm researching the latest educational techniques for martial arts instructors.

For example, my martial arts system that I'm teaching now is a blend of the Montessori education system and traditional martial arts. So if someone wants to learn more about that, I've written articles about that. I’d rather see me turn the industry upside down so that it’s helping more people, rather than having more violence to an already violent society. I don't think we need people to be more violent: I think we need people to creatively think their way out of problems more.

GEORGE: Excellent. Sean, thanks again for your time, it’s been great chatting to you, I hope to chat with you soon.

SEAN: George – much appreciated, and thanks for asking me in the first place.

GEORGE: Thanks, Sean, cheers.

And there you have it. Thank you, Sean Allen. And as you could hear the last few minutes here, that is where Sean's real passion lies. Being able to teach people life skills through martial arts classes. Big takeaway I got from that is, what's success for you? Success doesn't mean numbers and big premises, but what is a success for you as a person and what are you doing to serve your life purpose through your passion for martial arts?

And he’s got a completely different process, the different system in place for a school. Very niche based, very small, and has a huge waiting list. Think about that, how you could apply something like that, although this is not a tactic for Sean, it happens because of his good service. But if you've only got small premises, think how you could differentiate yourself from all the other martial arts schools out there, by providing a better service, actually have a waiting list because you are in demand. And by that of course, when you have a niche service and have a better service, people are prepared to pay more for that.

So once again – show notes are at, the number 8. I have a few exciting guests coming up, I'm also working on an excellent training, online webinar training for martial arts school owners, about all the aspects of martial arts marketing methods, but more on that later. That's it for now, thanks again for tuning in and I hope to speak to you soon – see you next week, cheers.


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