88 – Darren Reece – The Art Of Crafting Muay Thai Champions

Darren Reece is the coach behind many Muay Thai champions. He shares what it takes and a snapshot of his 30-year Muay Thai career.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • How Darren Reece evolved from being a Muay Thai professional fighter to a martial arts gym owner
  • The one skill that’s helped many school owners open their first gym
  • The ‘iron sharpens iron’ strategy Darren uses to craft world-class Muay Thai Champions
  • How Darren keeps their fighters motivated and focused on their goals
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

We don't have any processes. I don't train my guys like, “You've got to say this. You've got to say that.” We are just who we are. We love being here. The guys that have jobs as trainers, Dan Skinner and Barrie Oliver work full time for me. Caley loves being in the gym. Chris “Tiger” White, who used to work for me when he finished his fight career, before he shifted away, just loved doing what we're doing. So that carries over because you're happy.

GEORGE: Hey, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. So today I'm local, and I'm live, so something new, not on the virtual face-to-face. So I'm joined today by Darren Reece.

DARREN: Hey George.

GEORGE: Hi.

DARREN: How are you?

GEORGE: How are you doing? Good good good. Darren Reece, well, long history in Muay Thai, I'm going to let him share all the stories. Depending on where you're watching this, here in Perth, there's a big Muay Thai movement. And many, I could almost say all, but most of the paths lead to Riddlers and Darren Reece. And we're sitting here in a room of… How would you describe it? Memorabilia? Like, newspaper articles, trophies, which I've added here as a separate little video. So, we're just going to have a chat, as we do. So thanks for jumping on.

DARREN: No worries George. Thanks for having me.

GEORGE: Cool. So why don't you just give us a quick round up. Who is Darren Reece?

darren reece muay thai

DARREN: Oh, well. My fight nickname was The Riddler, that was given to me by Michael Schiavello who used to commentate all the fights on Fox Sports on Foxtel. Well he's obviously gone on to very big things around the world commentating, chief commentator at commentating fights. He gave me my fight name. Back then all the fighters used to call one another by their names, to the point that sometimes you didn't even know the person's first name, it was just, “Hey, Riddler.” “Hey, Nugget.” “Hey, Pitbull.” Stuff like that, so.

Been in Muay Thai since 1989, I started training. In a combination of Muay Thai and Zen Do Kai. Got into it and loved it straight away. Knew it was what I wanted to do. Was actually at uni, and decided to leave uni because I wanted to be a fighter. Which didn't go down well with the parents, but eventually, especially my mom, came around and supported what I was doing, so.

GEORGE: How do you describe that sort of career path to your professors and lecturers?

DARREN: Well, university of Muay Thai, I guess I've been to, for 30 years, so it's a pretty big degree. But, yeah, it was definitely the right choice and very happy in my life and what has been created and what's going on, so I think it was a good choice.

GEORGE: Yeah totally. So we're sitting here at Riddlers Gym but before we get into just what it is about anything else that's going on, walk us through, how'd you get started? You were talking about, we had a chat earlier about you living and training in Thailand as well. Give us a bit of a background of your career.

DARREN: Well, as I mentioned, I started in Muay Thai and Zen Do Kai. Which was really a martial art that kind of blended everything, or the best of everything in progression, is what Zen Do Kai stands for. Most people in W.A., Perth, in the early days started with the BJC, Bob Jones Corporation. I chose, after training for a while, having my first two fights that I really wanted to pursue the path of fighting. My trainer back then, Sean Allen, that wasn't the path that he wanted to go, so he advised me to move on and go to someone that specializes in Muay Thai.

And from there I started to discover Thailand. Obviously it's so close to Australia, and Muay Thai was starting to become known, more and more exposure to it over here. A Thai person, Phon Martdee, famous pioneer in W.A. especially, was putting on shows and bringing over well-known world champion Thai's, just really got my interest, that lead me to Thailand training trips. 

I think the first time was for one month, and the second time was overstaying my three month visa by a month, and staying there for four months, and then another three months trip like that every year, I was making sure I was doing it. And then I lived there from '97 to early 2000, so just did that, yeah for about three and a half years straight. So went there for the Kick's Cup World Championships, which I won and stayed. Yeah, loved it, loved it.

GEORGE: So how difficult is it for someone from Australia, or from, I guess from Western society, to fit in with the Thai culture, and the whole Muay Thai scene, and actually make something of it?

darren reece muay thai

DARREN: Back when I was going there, there weren't the camps down in Phuket and Koh Samui. There was WMC Lamai Gym in Koh Samui, which is still around and going strong now, but back then that was pretty much one of the few Western places that you could go. In Pattaya in Thailand there was Sibutong, which was a world famous and that's where all the Westerners were going early on, that's where I went, my second trip, spent my four months.

In comparison to now, where the Thai's have realized that it can be a tourist thing, just increasing the exposure of it. It's great for the Thai economy and Thai culture and obviously the spread of Muay Thai. Now it truly is a world sport, and people from all over the world go to these training camps now in Thailand. And it's not a matter of being accepted or anything like that, it's just you go there and you train.

So very early on, as I said, those kinds of places weren't around. And the camp that I spent my three and a bit years, Sangmorakot Gym in Bangkok, a large part of that time, I was the only white person there, training with professional Thai's, it was a professional camp in Bangkok, so it was just the ultimate experience. It was obviously very challenging, there was very little English back then. I had to learn Thai, which I wanted to do anyway, living in the country. And, yeah, it was a great exposure.

GEORGE: Fast-forwarding a bit, how did Riddlers come about?

darren reece muay thai

DARREN: Riddlers came about in that, in the latter part of my career, where I was full-time, I obviously started to think about the future. Actually, I knew very early on that I wanted to teach Muay Thai, that it was going to be my career after competing, after fighting. So I did make plans for a very long time. I've got lots of books, still got notebooks with notes and ideas. Gym names, and systems and things that I wanted to have in place. So it was a long term plan. And then when I got to that stage of my fight career, I knew that I needed to start thinking of the future, or putting it into action, so to speak.

So I started doing a few PT's, a couple of small classes, and then the PT's started to build up. And then that lead to, okay, it's time to start the gym. So I, funny story, one of my friends that I used to go to his house to train him, I was training him in his garage underneath his house, which is in Leederville, not far from where we are now, and we'd finished the session, we were like, “Man, this is a good size for a gym.” So it was about 80 or 90 square meters, it was about a triple size carport, and he was looking to shift, so he shifted out of the house, I shifted into the house in Leederville, and that's where Riddlers started. So I was lucky enough, it was kind of a blessing that I only had one lot of overheads. I think rent and stuff like that is the biggest killer of new businesses. So all I had to do was be paying my rent and I had the gym there.

 

So Riddlers operated from there for about three, three and a half years, until I started to get too busy and my neighbor complained about parking and noise and that kind of thing. I was getting up to 20 people turning up for evening classes. I was training with fighters, Eugene Ekkelboom, Chris “Tiger” White, a couple of my novice, newer guys that I was bringing up, in the mornings, so that I was free to do PT's and teach classes in the evening time. But I had problems with the council because of the complaint, and then that pushed me again to take that next step, and find premises, which happened to be nearby.

Ran into a friend of mine, told him that I needed to find somewhere because I was having council problems. He was in the butcher's shop and a coffee shop, and he's like, “Man, come and check out this place behind me. It's not being used. We go and do some training there after work, and we've got a bag hanging up, and hit the bag and stuff like that.” So I went in there and it was 200 square meters, so more than double what I had. And it was just perfect. So that was where I started.

GEORGE: You're not the first school owner I speak to who has transitioned from really focusing on the private sector. We actually email, in our Partners program that we work on, I'm working with a gentleman on Thursday nights, and we're going to get a program called Profit With Privates. Not that that was his way of getting started, but they needed to renovate the gym. So they put all their energy in how they can use private classes to stack up the cash. A good way to transition.

So now you guys are here on the main road, huge gym, what I really want to know from you is, you've got all these champions, and all these people that come through Riddlers Gym and reach such a high level. What do you think is the edge? What do you do different that you create so many people at such a high level?

darren reece muay thai

DARREN: Two things. I think obviously it's my experience from fighting that has sort of experienced all situations. And in fights, seen what's going on. And being able to read it from my experience, being able to communicate that to my fighters where, very importantly, having the respect of my fighters to the point that they listen and use that instruction for their gain. So then it's like they're fighting with my experience, my time, no matter what level they're at. So that's one thing.

And the other thing is having strong fighters. I have a saying, “Iron sharpens iron.” So the more strong people that you have working together, the more and the better everyone grows. So if you're in a small gym, that's like one champion fighter and you've only got other novices and stuff to work with, you're not getting that sparring, clinching, and stuff like that, that you need. Or perhaps guidance from the trainer, because you've outgrown the trainer. Whereas when you've got lots of those people around you, then you all help one another to grow. So yeah, I love that saying, “Iron sharpens iron.” And it's very, very true.

So from those early days, when I had the Eugene Ekkelboom, Chad Walker, Kim Olsen, all those guys. And for the smaller guys, I had Caley working with Chris “Tiger” White, with “Pitbull” Aram, stuff like that. So those guys really had that common to work hard together, spar hard, clinch hard. So, yeah.

GEORGE: Right. So you've got, I mean first and foremost, you've got the right people, and the champions attract more champions. Obviously people see the success that everyone that trains here has had here, and that sends more people around. Is there anything else that you really focus on?

DARREN: Lots of technique. We're big on technique. Big on skill. But also big on strong basics. I personally don't use lots of fancy techniques and things like that. I stick with strong basics and will work those, hammer those basics, we hammer them over and over again. Everyone is, all my guys, are extremely fit, well-conditioned. And we're kind of known for that.

GEORGE: Gotcha. So tell me more about Riddlers, and you've got all the fight shows, and things like that going on?

darren reece muay thai

DARREN: Well I've promoted for shows actually before I even started the gym. I started promoting with a fellow group, splitting the load between us. That was when I was still fighting. So I was fighting on shows, but we were a big group promoting together. That lead to just a partnership in promoting.

I've always felt the need to promote because of the level of guys that I have as fighters. I've felt like when guys gain experience, there's obviously a lot less fights locally, and even interstate. So if you sit there waiting for the fights to come, or there's no fights, more so there's no fights, fighters lose motivation, and they're not in the gym training. These things can happen. So by having a regular schedule of fights, they have those goals. It keeps the fighters motivated if they know that they're guaranteed three or five fights per year, they're more likely to stay motivated and in the gym.

And then if anything else comes up, and this happens a lot these days because there's a lot more promotions around, a lot more going on. A lot of interstate opportunities come and you can take fights on fairly short notice. Like I get lots of calls from interstate promoters, we get lots of trips away. I mean, because with having a big fight team, the promoters also know that they're not just going to get one fighter. If they need three or four, strong chances are that we're going to be able to fit that. So they end up with three or four big fights on their card, with one trainer, so it saves a lot of money to get a lot of fights that way.

GEORGE: What's the big drive? I mean, you've built this machine. I mean obviously you've got the love for the Muay Thai and the passion for the sport. But what keeps you going? What's the big drive for you?

DARREN: I guess helping people on the path that I got to follow. Leading your guys, passing on your experience, seeing them use it to grow in their experience, and just get to live their dreams, to fight and compete. Maybe it’s achieving titles, but for a lot it's just actually competing and doing it, I live supporting and helping that. Trying to help them achieve those dreams.

GEORGE: Got you. So I'm trying to think of some things that we haven't asked, and I'm looking at something here that says, “10 things you don't know about Darren Reece.” And I don't know how old these are, but…

DARREN: Yeah, these are pretty old, so back then…

GEORGE: What's changed?

darren reece muay thai

DARREN: Yeah, quite a few. There's one here, “I do not have an iPhone. Don't have an iPod. Don't use Facebook. Don't use Twitter, download music or burn CDs.” I still don't do a lot of those things. But I do definitely have an iPhone, and I use Facebook, it's a fantastic business tool and just connecting with people. Good for promoting things. It's really changed the way that we advertise our businesses, as you well know. And even for fight shows, we used to get thousands and thousands of fliers and posters done up for shows now, and have to do flier drops and pay for postal distribution and things like that to try and get it out, but it was very… it didn't have a high success rate because it wasn't really a target market.

And now with Facebook, where you're promoting it through people that are in the industry, or friends of those people, or getting those fighters to share things about their fights, it just hits the target market so much more. So it really has changed how we have to do things, and we have to evolve, so I've kind of evolved too.

But having said that, I'm still not overly technical. I'm not huge on the computer. I use Facebook, a little bit of Instagram, but I'm by no means an expert on it. And the things I do right are what I feel. The same as the things with Riddlers Gym, with the business, how we treat people. Everyone always comments on how friendly the gym is, and the great vibes that we have here, in the community, and things like that. And it's nothing that we've ever tried to enforce or push or anything like that, I just got the right trainers and the right personalities, and it's just how everyone is, you know?

GEORGE: Yeah.

DARREN: You say, “Hi.” To everyone. The conversations with them and just, I guess, people can't really believe it, but it's what we love doing.

GEORGE: For sure. But you might be selling yourself short there as well, right? Because that's got to come from the top. So if that's the type of person you are, you've set the tone for that culture.

DARREN: Yeah.

GEORGE: Then that's what's going to take.

DARREN: Yeah, yep.

GEORGE: That's what's going to catch on.

DARREN: Yeah and it's been a big part of the community here. Despite all the champions that we've had, and have, here at the gym, no one's really put up on a pedestal, and so there's no egos. No one's put up on that pedestal. We promote all the fighters equally. All the members, no one's really any more important than anyone else. And it doesn't create that monster.

GEORGE: Yeah.

DARREN: That monster thing that can affect an environment or a community, so.

GEORGE: Just from having that strong culture, a lot of your marketing is actually good fun, because that's enforcing the culture, and people talk, then that's the message that comes across, how much effort. We spoke a bit about culture earlier. Is there certain things that you focus on, that really shapes the culture? Or do you really just stick to who you are, and that sort of resonates through that…?

darren reece muay thai

DARREN: Just really stick to who we are. We don't have any processes. I don't train my guys like, “You've got to say this. You've got to say that.” We are just who we are. We love being here. The guys that have jobs as trainers, Dan Skinner and Barrie Oliver work full time for me. Caley loves being in the gym. Chris “Tiger” White, who used to work for me when he finished his fight career, before he shifted away, just loved doing what we're doing. So that carries over because you're happy, and you're motivating people, and when you're teaching and pushing people and seeing them give it a crack and just loving it, plus you're getting to pass on what you're passionate about and seeing other people enjoy it, just makes you feel good inside.

GEORGE: So what's next for you? Where are things headed for Darren Reece and Riddlers Gym?

DARREN: Oh, look, I… to be honest, my focus has changed… Or, not changed but my focus has broadened in that I'm not interested in expanding the business. I don't want to work more hours. Caley and I have had two boys, so I've got two sons, which we've had in the last three years. Maddox turns three at the end of the month, Leo's nine months, and to be honest, I just want to spend as much time with them as I can. 

GEORGE: Right.

DARREN: I don't want to, in a few years, go, “Oh damn. I was busy. I wish I'd spent more time with the boys.”

GEORGE: Totally.

DARREN: Because they're only young for a period of time. In a couple of years they're going to be in school, and then they're going to be teenagers and not want to hang out with me anymore because I'm not the cool guy. So I want to make the absolute most of that. So to be honest, I'm happy with keeping Riddlers the way it is. I've got no interest in expanding, opening another premises, getting bigger. I just love where I'm at. So that I'm enjoying life. I don't feel like I have to work harder. And I'm still working hard, but I'm also working smarter. And I've got great trainers, great team around us, which keeps things the way that they are.

GEORGE: Yeah.

DARREN: And keeps me happy. And my fighters still get lots of attention and lots of focus, and I don't feel that I'm doing any less a job. Everyone's getting some really big fights and still stepping up and growing, through the state level, national level and international level.

GEORGE: Yeah. I love that, because sometimes the focus can be growth for the sake of growth. When is enough? You've reached that point in your life, and family comes first, and that's where you want to spend time. And I think the gym is awesome, you're producing great fighters, it's providing for you and your family, and you get to do what you love every day. Why change? Why complicate? What's in it?

DARREN: Yeah. I want to train every day. I want to have an hour for myself and train, whether it is hitting pads, or doing some strength and conditioning, doing some cross fist stuff. I love it and want to do that. That keeps me happy, keeps me sane. And especially with the boys, where it's go, go, go, and it's all about them, you need that sort of switch off time, and just be able to get in your own zone, and just go out and go for it, do it.

GEORGE: Yeah. I've just reached that, coolness of dad has dropped. I was cool, but 13, my son is 13 now. Yeah, I can see my coolness on the decline, very quickly, off. 

DARREN: That would be hard to accept.

GEORGE: Yeah. Hey, cool, Darren. Thanks so much for hanging out and chatting. So, just quickly, if people want to know more about you, and we run for at least the sort of time of your next fight show coming up, but tell us about your fight show because you have got a couple in circulation. And if people want to reach out to you, where can they find you?

DARREN: Yeah, well you can if you're interested, you come down and try Riddlers Gym. We've obviously got a fairly active Facebook page, we've got a website, riddlersgym.com.au, you can check us out. It's got all about the trainers, our full schedule, pricing, and everything’s on there. And our fight shows, keep an eye out for EPIC Fight Promotions, I think we're up to number 21, which focuses on our professionals and our main experienced fighters. 

And then my wife Caley Reece loves to promote her show, it's called Evolve, it's coming up this Sunday. That's focused on grass roots Muay Thai and she'll have a couple of main card fights, including the MTA State Title, which she's got on this one. And she works very hard to bring that for the fighters. It's something that she feels like she wants to do on her own, and give back to the sport that did so much for her.

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. Hey, awesome. Darren, thanks so much for hanging out.

DARREN: Thanks very much, George. Thanks everyone.

GEORGE: Speak soon. Cheers.

DARREN: Cheers. Thank you.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other top and smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

87 – Getting Your Fight Shows Featured On UFC Fight Pass

An Australian first, Ben Vickers from Eternal MMA now gets their fight shows featured on UFC Fight Pass. We discuss the details.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • How Ben Vickers’ Eternal MMA started their collaboration with the UFC 
  • What it means to be the first Australian fight promoter to get featured on UFC Fight pass
  • The martial arts metaphor for life
  • The number of interactions needed before an individual takes action to buy a product or service
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

To be a leader. You have to demonstrate you're prepared to go. You're not just prepared to scream and shout. You're prepared to put yourself in those uncomfortable positions also.

GEORGE: At what point did you start looking at opening a school and how did you end up in Perth?

BEN: I started coaching about 2007. I really enjoyed coaching. I kind of realized that I was never going to be a world champion and… But I do firmly believe I could train a world champion. So that was sort of my focus sort of switched from being a fighter to training fighters, and I made the hard decision to quit competing myself in MMA anyway. Sorry I've got a fly harassing me at the moment.

GEORGE: It’s Perth.

BEN: I could Mr. Miyagi it with some chopsticks, but… So I made the call that I was going to cease my fighting career. I couldn't do both. If I wanted to focus on coaching, I had to fully focus on coaching. So I started to coach full time. I was actually in the fire service at the time and decided to leave the fire service to pursue MMA as a full-time career. So that happened in 2010 so I was coaching full-time and working as a firefight full-time.

It's the beauty of the shift system there that I could make that work. And then I put the firefighting away to pursue a career in what I love doing, which was teaching martial arts, MMA in particular. So see I was just coaching and then the opportunity to come to Perth came up at the right time in my life. I was just ready to make the move and there were a few circumstances at home that made it a good, good time for me to jet off to the other side of the world. So I did that.

We opened an MMA Clinic here and I was just working as the head coach. And then some things changed and I ended up running the gym. And then eight years later, the gym’s rebranded and I'm sort of sitting there as my own boss with my own school and yeah, pretty happy with that.

GEORGE: Sounds good. I do want to ask you a question to back track. You said it was a hard choice to move from being the fighter to being the coach. What was sort of the hardest part about it? Was it… I mean you mentioned that juggling the two things at once, being the coach and the fighter. Was that the hardest part or was it sort of more of giving up on a dream that that's the path that you want to take?

BEN: No, when I made the call, I realized that the dream is, is to be a world champion as a fighter, I think. And it's a hard sport. MMA is brutal. And I realized that wasn't necessarily a possibility, so that wasn't the hard part. The hard part is I love competing. I love training. I love not having a responsibility when I go to the gym, you know, it's nice just to be able to go and get your hands dirty and get out. So then I had to make that call that now I was going to become the… As a coach, you become more than just teaching people technique. You become a life coach sort of thing for your students they become family. It's such a strange sport in that you beat the living daylights out of each other so the ego can go straight away because you know the pecking order. You know who can win and who can’t.  

So you don't need to worry about that stuff anymore. And your sort of leave all your, all your, yeah, your ego just, it doesn't need to exist anymore. The role is well defined within the gym. Everyone knows how everything stands. And in coaching, you take respect in a different way. You know, I'm 40 years old, my students are half my age. I have to understand that I can't necessarily compete with them anymore, but I have to then guide them in the right direction.

So it's a hard choice when I'm a very competitive person. So I missed… I had to make the decision to step away from competition and prepare others for competition. And to fill that hole I do stupid things like ultra-marathons and just to test myself mentally because fighting for me is all about the mental. Overcoming mental barriers and finding comfort in discomfort.

So, yeah, I did a two years or three years ago I did an eight weeks training and did 65 kilometer run and that put me in that place, which was what I just wanted to test myself to see if I still had the mental that when the going got tough, the tough get going or would the, would I, would I crack on and make it to the end or would I quit? You know? That's why I wanted to find out. And I constantly look for different ways to test myself in that regard. So I found a home for my competitiveness elsewhere. I took up rugby so I could turn up on a weekend and be a part of the team but not have to lead it and just get my hands dirty and get stuck in. And so I found ways in that way to manage that competitive spirit and focus all my energy during the week on my guys and making them the best they can be.

GEORGE: Got it. It's such a metaphor for life, right? And that's where martial arts just is a, it's a real test of life because, you know, putting yourself in those uncomfortable positions while there's no… I don't think there's, you know, a much harder place to do it then get in the cage or to be in martial arts or have that contact where it can kind of feels like a life or death.

BEN: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. And you know, we're only ever a split second away from absolute disaster, you know, I mean things we do, you know, punching each other, twisting each other into uncomfortable positions and stuff like that. So it takes a great amount of trust and faith in your training partners, which is what bonds are so close together, I think is, you know…

When someone has you in a choke, in a real-life situation, if they don't let go, you run out of oxygen and you die. If someone has you in an armbar, your arm's going to snap if they don't stop when you ask them to stop. That mutual respect and that mutual feeling of trust build really strong bonds with your students. And I'm very much, I lead from the front, so I do everything the guys do pretty much. I'm sure stepping into the cage, I still spar, I still do the fitness sessions with them. I still do everything that I can prove that I'm not just screaming and shouting. I'm actually putting my money where my mouth is sometimes.

I think that's important too, is to be a leader. You have to demonstrate you're prepared to go. You're not just prepared to scream and shout. You're prepared to put yourself in those uncomfortable positions also.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. Let's just shift gears towards the business. I tell you, you're running a successful school. Just for context, so what styles, so you've got MMA, what else do you guys do?

BEN: We do all the disciplines individually, so we have presenting jiu-jitsu, our freestyle wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai, striking, which is more like kickboxing style, and then the MMA stuff as well. Plus strength and conditioning on top of that. So we run, we run the full, all the disciplines that you'd need to compete in MMA. And then my job is to put them all together. That's where MMA fighters are made, is not in the individual arts themselves, but in transitioning those arts together.

GEORGE: Awesome. So… and I'm curious, what is your process for doing that?

BEN: You have to make the best out of each art for mixed martial arts. Like for instance, in jiu-jitsu, you might be a guard player. You might lay on your back with the other person on top of you, while there are no strikes coming down, guard is a pretty safe position. When someone can punch or elbow you in the face, it becomes a completely different story.

So it's working out, taking the good from all the different arts and then putting them together in a program that works best for mixed martial arts in itself. But the key is transitioning them. So how do you get from boxing to get someone on the ground? How do you work those transitions? So it's fusing the transitions in. So my mentor is a guy called Mark Fury. He was Matt Hughes coach, Robbie Lawler's coach. He's cornered a 137 UFC fights or something like that.

And he uses the hand as the metaphor for coaching MMA. So if your hand, if these are the arts, that's easy to work. This is BJJ, this is wrestling, this is boxing, this is Muay Thai or striking, whatever. It's these parts, the parts that join the hands together. That's what we need to get people good at. So you might have good BJJ and good wrestling, but how do we create the transition to that. You might have good striking and good jiu-jitsu, but if you can't wrestle, you're not going to dictate where the fight goes. So it's working on the joining factors. So for me, that's the key.

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. The loop that makes it flow. Probably not the best analogy but-

BEN: Yeah, exactly. It's like what makes everything flow together as one as opposed to being four different martial arts that you're good at. They all need to work in synergy with each other.

GEORGE: So that's now the gym and then so you've got the fighters and now you've got fighters competing and you've created Eternal MMA. So quick just how did we actually transition into that and then we can talk a bit more about what's going on with the fight promotions.

BEN: Yeah. I actually can't take the credit for creating Eternal MMA. I have a business partner in the Gold Coast, Cam O'Neill. He formed Eternal in 2012 and I actually used to just put fighters on it. So he flew some of my guys over to the Gold Coast. He's from the UK as well. So we sort of knew a few people, same people come up with the same sort of time in the same sea. So we got on really well straight away and he started using my fighters on all of his shows.

In 2015, we decided to bring a show to Perth and that's where I sort of came on board as a co-promoter and a co-owner of the business. And that's when we started expanding from the Gold Coast into Perth. I helped sort of develop the promotion on this side of the country and then a couple of years ago we decided we'd move into other States. So we did Adelaide. My thing was on three shows in Adelaide and we just did our debut in Melbourne last weekend before the UFC 243 card in conjunction with the UFC. So we worked together closely with them on that.

So yeah, that's how it sort of came about. I was a reluctant promoter. I didn't really want to do it. I had enough stuff going on, but Cam's very convincing and here we are.

GEORGE: Now, that's quite the… the UFC, how did the UFC come about?

BEN: We sort of asked them questions and we knew they were looking for a partner in Australia and I guess we stated our case. There were a few other promotions looking for the same deal. But I think what makes Eternal… We went into quite some depth in our, in our pitch more than just being on UFC Fight Pass and providing them a broadcast.

We want to help develop the regions. So you know, we want to work in conjunction with them to develop fighters to give them. So to become a pathway to the UFC so we can blood all the fighters, get them their experience, test them out, and then when the UFC is ready to pick the ones that they want, then they can come to the promotion and they'll have a good idea of who they're looking at. Also, if they have fighters they are looking at, we can find them fights for them and stuff like that. So…

GEORGE: I guess just an important step back is how did you actually make the connection? How did it before you actually got to give your pitch?

BEN: You just hear it, you hear things in the industry and we heard they were looking for partners, a partner in Australia, and it's quite easy to get a hold of someone's email address these days and there you go. You just, we just fired off emails and they started talking, started a more in-depth conversation. I know a few of these people from dealing with them with other things as well. So yeah, it's just a case of being diligent, sort of being in the right place at the right time, having a good product and delivering on what you say you're going to deliver on.

I think that's the key to business in general. It's having a good product and doing what you say you're going to do. Which I find is the biggest problem in business these days. I don't think many people follow through on their promises, but I live by that. If I say I'm going to do something, I will do it and do it well. Right.

GEORGE: Yeah. Tell me, I've got a question on that. So you get to do your pitch and what I can hear is you, well obviously you want to deliver on the promise, but it sounds like you really framed it in a way of, you know, it's not just what are we going to get out of the, you know, being promoted for UFC Fight Pass, but really what are they going to get out of it? You know? How could you help develop them? Can you elaborate a bit more on the pitch and how you went about all that?

BEN: Yeah, so we put a pitch together. Obviously, we provide a lot of content. UFC Fight Pass for those that don't know what it is, is the UFC's streaming platform. So it's a digital streaming web-based channel that has 500,000 subscribers in 200 countries across the world. And obviously to service those guys, they need content. So not only can we offer quality content 10 times a year, we can also offer our knowledge of the region.

They need the talent to come through to grow in each region so we can offer them fighters with the skills and qualities that they require to suit their brand. Being the brand leader, they need the best talent and I believe we have the best talent, most of the best talent in the country fighting for us.

That's what we can offer to them as well as sort of being able to give them inside information on the scene in the country as a whole. It's a very mutual relationship. Obviously, we give them all our content and in return we get exposure. That's the nuts and bolts of it. But behind the scenes there's a lot more to it than that.

GEORGE: That's great. So what does that mean for the fighters? Like how does the exposure work? Is it just that it's being promoted on the platform or is it more to it? Not that that's not enough, but-

BEN: Yeah, there's definitely more to it. So for example, we debuted on fight pass in Melbourne just before UFC 243, so we did the Friday night and then 243 one on a Sunday morning. But, obviously, a lot of the UFC top brass were in attendance. So the matchmaker from the UFC was in the crowd that day. So there's no better audition than for you to go out and apply your trade-in front of the guy that you want to impress live.

GEORGE: Totally.

BEN: So things like that, we aim to work with the UFC on dates. If they have a show in Australia, we aim to sort of create… We created a mini fight last week. So our show, we had weigh-ins Thursday, the show Friday. They had on Saturday and the show on Sunday. So Thursday through Sunday there's MMA every day and in Melbourne. Whereas in UFC Fight Week in Vegas, you know, obviously they have these big expos and stuff like that.

So it was like a really big weekend for Australian MMA and we can do stuff like that every time they come to the region. That's one benefit. Being able to display your skills in front of the people that you're trying to impress rather than sending them an email with a highlight reel, doesn't have quite the same effect. They're also readily available on that platform. So if we send a matchmaker a fighter's name, all he has to do is go on Fight Pass and look at that fighter direct through their own TV channel. 

But then also inside information. So if they have any questions or anything like that or they want some guidance on as to who, how this guy is stacking up or whatever, then we can provide that too. But also we're providing regular, if an event does three shows a year and you fight on that event, you might not get on all three shows. So you might only get two fights a year. We're providing an opportunity to fight on 10 different shows a year. Most fighters want to fight three or four times a year, so we can definitely do that for pretty much all our fighters on the frequency that we put shows for it.

GEORGE: Perfect. Awesome opportunity for any fighter, obviously, as you say, you know, direct, but then just being featured on the show. Even if you know you don't have the promoters there, what better thing to put on your portfolio? Just check my fights with them. UFC Fight Pass. Yeah.

BEN: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And it provides a bit of a pathway. It's like I can fight on this show. I know that it's on the UFC, so there's more chance of us then being selected. If we're the best in the country. What we're aiming to do is if you're the best in the country and you owned an Eternal championship, then you should be sort of next in the pecking order to be moved on into the UFC. That's what we're looking at.

Obviously its early days and we're yet to sort of prove that method to anyone, but hopefully next year we signed a multi-fight deal for 2020. They'll take 10 shows from us, whereas this year was a bit unorthodox. They wouldn't normally sign a promotion last quarter, but we managed to get it over the line and they're taking two of our three remaining events this year because of scheduling. They couldn't take the last one, but in 2020 all our events will be live on UFC Fight Pass. So that would give the fighters in the platform on every show to really push and make a run for the big show.

GEORGE: Now, you had mentioned to me earlier, Ben, that you guys have done this all from self-funded 100% you're still running with no sponsors. Is that correct?

BEN: That is correct. Yeah. I sort of spoke to you briefly before, but I've transitioned from being a fighter to being a coach to being a gym owner that none of it was pre-orchestrated or planned. I've never claimed before the last few years to be a businessman. You know, like I just was a guy that had a passion for the sport and wanting to grow it and it's just organically sort of turned out the way it's turned out. So now we're at the point in and it's that corporate sort of driving sponsorship and stuff like that.

It's an area where I don't have the expertise and I've always been a guy that I stay in my lane. If I know about it, I'll do it and if I don't know about it, I'll try and get someone else to do it for me and obviously, you know, pay some… I'd much rather pay someone to do something properly than make a botched job of it myself. Trying to save a few dollars. We have some minor sponsors, you know, a couple of us, you know, they buy tables at the show and stuff like that. But yeah, nothing on a major level that, you know, perhaps some of our competitors might have.

GEORGE: Totally so if we were having that conversation, like let's say I have a product that could be mutually beneficial to what you guys are doing and obviously knowing that, yeah, the exposure is the next level for what you're getting, you know, to be UFC Fight Pass and so forth. Who do you think would be an ideal sponsor and how could they benefit potentially from?

BEN: I think you'd be surprised as to who could be a sponsor for a mixed martial arts event with big viewership. Because you think about the demographic that is one, into the sport and two, attending and watching the sport. It's mostly a male, sort of 17 to 45 disposable income demographic. So you know, it's a good demographic for most companies. You know, clothing, nutrition, tattoos, betting, all that kind of stuff all fit into the sort of the demographic that we service.

So they're the kind of people that we're looking to link up. We did some stuff with Winter Warrior, which is a show that puts on like 20-week programs in gyms around the world. So we're working with them next year, so we're going to be partnering up with them. So that's really exciting for 2020. Any company that wants to have a chance to put themselves in front of that demographic would be a good fit for us.

And also we have assets, you know, we have these champion people, you know, we have great athletes who are very humble and you know, we can come to companies and train their staff. You know, we can do talks, we can… so we can set up very bespoke packages. You know, there's plenty we have to offer with the assets that we have within the company, not just inside of viewership and advertising. Sort of team building, personal development.

UFC Fight Pass

You know, you could learn a lot from a young MMA fighter who's disciplined and sacrificed a lot to get to where they've gotten to. And also from people within the company, like myself and Cam, we were kind of self-made business people that have reached quite high with limited funds and experience, you know. So there's plenty of areas to explore.

It's just a case of like anything, it's just, it's a skill that we need to learn and get better at. I probably need to take some coaching or something like that. I mean obviously if you want to get better at something, you find someone who's good at it and you learn from them. So that's probably what we need to do. It's just, we're very time-poor. I run two businesses and I'm just about to open a third. I have a young family that I don't see very much obviously. 

So yeah, the time to go and do a course or learn from someone is not really there at the moment. But if sacrifices need to be made then they'll have to be made at some stage. So yeah, I guess it's all part of the learning experience.

GEORGE: For sure. So, and what about if like if I'm a martial arts school owner and I've got fighters and so forth, how would that benefit getting on board with you guys with Eternal MMA?

BEN: Well we can advertise your school at our events and your customers are sitting in our audience, you know, and are watching our show on TV so that you're putting your case. So we have had people in the past put adverts on the big screen in the venue of their gym and now we can put flyers or… What it is if you have a brand, I thought, I don't know the exact numbers, but it needs to be seen X amount of times before it sets in someone's head. And then when they're looking for that service, your name will be the one that they…

So it's like subliminal advertising, really. Putting yourself in front of someone enough times for them to, when they do eventually require your service, you'll be the name they type into Google. You know, so that is really where we can assist gyms and also we can obviously help getting their fighters fights if that's… Because I have a huge fight team to service them, having the promotion is great because I can get them more fights. Whereas if you don't have necessarily the connections or know the people to talk to, then you might struggle to match your guys up regularly, which might lead them to getting disgruntled and going somewhere else where they might get better opportunities.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. On the marketing side, like in our group, our Partners group where we work with school owners on the marketing side, basically classify it as a touchpoint. I mean there's various tests, six to eight interactions. It could be typical before somebody reaches out.

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: I mean there are some other tests that stretch up to 43 days and you know, all the fancy stuff. But I mean for any school owner you can think of six to eight interactions with your brand before somebody says hi, let's have this conversation. But that is a perfect thing for a good touchpoint. Sometimes the touchpoint, especially if it's, you know, massive exposure like you know you're doing something on UFC Fight Pass. It could be promoting the actual promotion sometimes has value.

What I mean by that is, you know, nowadays when people have an article in the newspaper, it's kind of pointless. This big newspaper, cause nobody hears about it, but somehow it's got some credibility. So you're marketing referencing that you were featured in this thing is sometimes more valuable. Just like I see when school owners we've worked with that get featured on Sunrise or you know, morning shows.

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: … nobody sees the morning show, but they see the YouTube clip of them featured.

BEN: It gives you that sort of recognition that you're a legit brand. Right, because-

GEORGE: Critical work, yeah.

BEN: Yeah. Credibility. Exactly. So say Nike sponsored you for something, you automatically get that, that’s the biggest company in the world, one of the biggest sportswear companies in the world, you're sponsored by them. All of a sudden people go, “Oh yeah, these guys are legit.” That sort of thing.

GEORGE: 100%. Thanks for your time. I'll bump into you on the daycare trip.

BEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: … again soon. But if anybody wants, let's say, number one, you know like you want to get on board with us. I mean obviously there are big things in store for Ben with the Eternal MMA and the UFC Fight Pass, the exposure. So I mean if, if you're a potential sponsor or a school owner, you've got fighters that you want on board, how can people get a hold of you and have a chat to see if it's mutually beneficial?

BEN: Best bet is probably just an email. So my email would be Ben, B-E-N, at eternal MMA dot com. Yeah, hit me up on an email. Even if it's just like I love to support and advise as well. So if anyone's got any questions, you want it to start a fight promotion or gym-related stuff. I'm more than happy to sort of… I believe that sharing is what makes… Helps everyone achieve and I am very much in lifting people up. So yeah, I'm happy to offer any assistance that I can and yeah if anyone's interested in jumping on board or talking about some options and then, yeah, I'm definitely all ears.

GEORGE: Yeah. Perfect. And if you've listened to the show and you've enjoyed it and you've got some value, especially out of the fight promotions and things like that, just yeah, just shoot Ben an email and just love the podcasts and give some feedback.

BEN: Yeah, definitely a hundred per cent.

GEORGE: Awesome, Ben. Well, thanks for being on the show and I'll probably see you in a couple of days down the road.

BEN: Yeah. Maybe tonight when we pick the kids up.

GEORGE: Yeah, true.

BEN: All right mate, you take it easy. Thanks for your time.

GEORGE: Cool. Thanks Ben. Cheers.       

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other top and smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

86 – Using Facebook Messenger Bots For Martial Arts Schools

How martial arts school Messenger bots can help educate your future students when you're not present.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • How martial arts school messenger bots help with relationships
  • The power of speed replies
  • Getting conversations started without you
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

The quicker you reply, the better response you get at the end of the day. So what a bot actually does for you is it gives you the opportunity to reply instantly and start building a bit of relationship, or sharing information, or maybe even directing people to a paid trial. 

Hey George here. I hope you're well. I'm on my usual walk with the girl. So exciting stuff, in about 90 minutes from now I am meeting with our messenger bot developer. So we're busy mapping out a messenger bot for our Partner members. And so, quick couple of things about bots. I don't know if that's something that you're familiar with or not, but it's basically if you think of email automation in a way, where you have a sequence of follow up messages, well a messenger bot does the same thing. It just does it a bit more instant and looks real in a way, but obviously is an automated way of following people up. 

So there are pluses and minuses to it. I always feel that to have an optimal sales process nothing's ever going to beat face-to-face or person-to-person live contact, provided of course you've got some cool selling skills and so forth, and you know how to present your offers in the right way. But then a big benefit about having a bot is the instant reply feature. When you look at email marketing, email can sit for a day or even longer, and it's okay to take a bit longer to reply. But with messaging people expect a bit more of an urgent reply. The quicker you reply, the better response you get at the end of the day. 

So what a bot actually does for you is gives you the opportunity to reply instantly, and start building a bit of relationship, or sharing information, or maybe even directing people to a paid trial while you're busy and while you're on the mats and before you actually get to them and be able to speak to them one-on-one through the chat, or get on the phone, or however you want to do it. 

So there are two ways to do it. One is to start the conversation, which is my favourite. I prefer to use it as a conversation starter and not to be the actual conversation. And I think a lot, especially of the bot developers, get really crazy about it. They get all technical and create these long sequences and so forth. But at the end of the day, for me, the way I look at it is I just want to be able to speak to someone, start a conversation, and provide them with useful information before I could have the real conversation, and the one-to-one chat. 

That's pretty much what it's all about, for us at least. You can get really fancy with it and have all these long fancy sequences, but for me and for our members, we've got different ways of following up with chat on a one-to-one basis. So the bots really going to facilitate in helping start that conversation, and just give a bit of breathing space, or a bit of time for someone to actually soak up some videos, read up some information, and ultimately if they're ready, sign up for the paid trial. 

So anyway, that's me. I've got to jump to the meeting fairly soon. Just wrapping up the last couple of questions and things that we're going to work on and how are we're going to format the whole bot. So, exciting stuff. We'll let you know more about it once we have it up. 

If that's something that does interest you and you'd like to have a messenger bot built out for you and for your school that you can plug and play, and just swap out a couple of words and be good to go, then yeah, just hit me up with a message wherever you're watching this. Just reach out to my profile, send me a message and we'll have a chat, and see if we could help. Cool. Have an awesome day. I'm going to head back, speak soon. Cheers.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other top and smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

85 – Martial Arts Marketing BS!

When martial arts marketing agencies make promises too good to be true, it probably is.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • Why you should avoid those ‘too good to be true’ marketing strategies 
  • Why a ‘quick fix’ does more harm than good
  • How a wrong offer damages the culture in your martial arts school 
  • How to hire the right martial arts business coach
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Be a bit cautious. Before you just throw money at a company that gives all these unrealistic promises. Having a bit of a gut check and think is that realistic? Because if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

GEORGE: Hey George here, hope you're well. So when is too good to be true, too good to be true? So chatting to someone in Rhode Island yesterday, great martial artist and talking about getting burnt with marketing companies, and I like to keep this podcast positive, but there are some things that just piss me off, and this is one of them because whenever somebody makes promises, it's always a red flag for me. 

If somebody makes a promise and say they'll get you so many martial arts students sign-ups in X amount of time, guaranteed. I think, all right, that's interesting. Maybe that's true, but at what cost and at what expense?

There's one thing to sell a trick and one thing to actually know a strategy and unfortunately what happens is, and all respect to everybody starting out of business and trying to try to get things ahead, but when you start making money at the expense of others, that just doesn't sit well with me. It just doesn't. 

The one thing that attracted me to the martial arts industry was when you look at the things that you see on the wall of an average martial arts school and you probably have it as well. Discipline, respect, confidence, focus, depending on what type of school you have. But it's those values that resonate with me. And that kind of got me going in the industry. Because it was like, “Okay, it's the practical personal development.” But then if I see people working in the industry or maybe they're from the outside or… That doesn't gel with those values that… I'm just not a fan of that.

So here's the thing, it's really easy to sell a tactic. And what I mean by that is you get started, you figure some little trick and tactic out and it works. One part of it works. Only one part of it works and now you go shout it from the rooftops and you go post in all the martial arts groups and you tell everybody about this cool thing that you've got going. And people fall for it because it taps into the secret desire of having a quick fix. 

The secret desire of I can push this button or give this company money and they just going to do everything for me. And I've never once seen that work. I haven't. For a little bit there, I was trying to be that company, but it's not ethically and humanly possible because you can only ever serve one component.

And unless you are doing everything from the minute people engage with you to being the instructor on the mat and furthering that… Have that congruent flow of what you're doing. It's just not possible. So here's what fired me up about this is this company made all these promises and they put this ridiculous offer on the front end for people to buy. And on the front end it looks, wow, it's irresistible. So of course people take it, but what type of people are taking it? Well, the people that you probably don't want in your school because they were just bargain hunters.

They just saw something that was so good, so irresistible, so great that they went and bought it. So for the lead company, well paid, they delivered on their promise. Because they got you the signups, not the sign-ups that you wanted, but they got you some sign-ups. But for you as a school owner, you sit with the crap. And I remember speaking to Kevin Blundell a couple of years back now and on… Perhaps it's podcast number 20. If you go to martialartsmedia.com/20, it might be this podcast. But he was talking about having the wrong offer, having the wrong front end offer and the damage that that did.

It took them more than a year to actually clean out the bad students that they attracted. So be a bit cautious before you just throw money at a company that gives all these unrealistic promises. Have a bit of a gut check and think is that realistic? Because if it's too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. And it might work on the front end, but at what cost for you, your culture, your existing students and everyone in the backend? Anyway, that's all I wanted to share. I might share some other stuff that really pissed me off on another episode.

But hey, if you need help with this kind of stuff, and I'm not talking about a quick fix, but talking to real help, real help to scale your business, to grow your business with a real marketing strategy from the front end to the backend, something that's got to work with your offer on the front end, when people connect with you to something that's got to be congruent with your sales process. And super clear about that. 

Your process, not someone else's but yours. Because someone else's process might not work for you. Then send me a message. No hard pressure, no weirdness. We'll have a chat and if I feel we can help, we'll go take the conversation further. Awesome. I'm going to run off. Get some other work done. I will speak to you soon. Cheers.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other top and smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

84 – How To Improve Your Martial Arts Facebook Ads Through Split Testing

Do this to build a library of successful lead generating martial arts Facebook ads.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • What is a Facebook ad split testing really
  • How to stop ‘flying blind’
  • Why you should always ‘beat the control’
  • Moving big rocks, stones and pebbles
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

If you're not testing and optimizing and trying to improve your ads, then what happens is, every month you're just flying blind, right? So every month, you've got to come up with a new campaign, a new idea. And if you don't have a proven track record of things that have worked previously and you know exactly why they worked, then you're always playing this guessing game.

GEORGE: Hey George here. So I want to give you a quick couple of ideas and tips on how you can improve your ads, your Facebook Ads or Google Ads. Mostly going to focus on Facebook at this point in time, but how you can improve your ads through testing, through running different split tests, et cetera. 

So just finishing up the last touches for a session I'm running for our Partners tomorrow, it's called the Ad Conversion Optimizer. Just finished up mapping everything out and just about to finish up on the actual worksheet that goes with it.

It's going to be a great session, but I want to give you a quick couple of ideas on how you can improve your ads. And I guess first and foremost, why you should be doing it in the first place. If you're not testing and optimizing and trying to improve your ads, then what happens is, every month you're just flying blind, right? 

So every month you've got to come up with a new campaign, a new idea. And if you don't have a proven track record of things that have worked previously and you know exactly why they worked, then you're always playing this guessing game and you're always trying to come up with new things and you're flying blind every single month.

Whereas if you keep track of what you're doing and you measure your different results and you test all these different elements that we're going to talk about now, then you build up this library of winning campaigns. And now when you go and run a new campaign, you know, well, that offer converts, that headline works, that element works, and you can mash them all together and the chance of a successful campaign is so much higher.

And look, there's no golden goose of… Everyone's always looking for that big idea. Well, sometimes that big idea is actually just working with what you've got and making those incremental changes until you build up this golden goose that's forever producing the golden eggs. Right? Okay. So we don't look at eggs, we like to look at rocks. I like to refer to it as balancing rocks, which is kind of why I added this slide over here.

So here's what that means. You've got big rocks, you've got little stones, and then you've got pebbles. Okay. So first let's start with the big rocks. Big rocks are testing big ideas, big ideas as in big, different concepts. So that could be targeting a different emotion, for example, or restructuring a whole different ad format. Maybe that could be like running a video ad versus a text-based ad, or a long copy versus a shorter copy type ad.

Then you've got the little stones. Now working with the little stones, with the little stones is you've got your winning concept and now you start tweaking little elements. So you might start changing the different headlines, changing the descriptions, and now you start testing different elements within that ad to see which is performing better. 

So there's a term called ‘beat the control’. Perry Marshall started, I think he started this concept. Perry Marshall was the… He wrote a book called ‘The Definitive Guide to AdWords’ way back in the day, many, many moons ago. And he always spoke about this concept of beat the control and that means that you are always trying to beat your winning ad basically. These are running ads kind of side by side. Now you're looking at the little stones, for example, and you're testing headline to headline, description to description.

And then you go down to the pebbles. And the pebbled are these tiny little tweaks. It's shuffling these little pebbles to see what type of results you get. And that is basically to maybe swap out a different word, move little elements around, small little increments. It could be different punctuation marks, really little increments to see what gets better results. And I'll tell you what, you'll be surprised what happens when you do that. If you're testing accurately and you know how to track and what to do against each other, you'll be surprised what you can actually achieve.

So hope that helps. That's just to give you a bit of a run around on how to go about it. If it's something that you need help with, really how to structure it, what those big ideas should be, how you should go about that, all those concepts, what exactly you should be tracking and testing and how you can really become a master at advertising. Because that's what it's about. 

It doesn't happen in a day. It happens by committing to the right process. There are so many things that you do anyway. You're going to do it anyway and you're going to spend the time, you might as well do the time right. And work towards building up a library of winning campaigns, winning formulas and not be in a situation where you little elements have to sign up new students every month because you've got to make the rent, the bank, whatever you want to call it?

Cool. So yeah, look, if you need help with that, shoot me a message. I'm going to run off, hopefully, get some training in and finish off the last of my worksheet. Catch you soon. Cheers.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with another top, smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

83 – Karate Club Owner On Verge Of Closure Shifts Into Profit And Revives The Dream

Ever had a close call in your martial arts business? That you'll need to close doors? That was Bob King not too long ago. Here's how he turned it around.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • How to grow your student base through Facebook advertising 
  • Why key conversion elements are essential for martial arts websites 
  • The power of having a business mentor to guide you through your journey
  • How does the Academy program compare to other Martial Arts Business Coaching programs
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Well, it's certainly gotten rid of that big dark cloud hanging over me, and I can see that if we continue the way we are at the very least, even if we didn't grow any further than what we are at the moment, we are now financially viable, and I'm actually putting money back in the bank account.

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie, and I'm joined today by one of our Academy members, Bob King. How are you doing today, Bob?

BOB: Good, thanks George. How are you?

GEORGE: Pretty good. Pretty good. Thanks for jumping on.

So we're just going to have a quick chat just about Bob and his school and working together with our Academy program, and a couple of results and things that came up.

So thanks again for jumping on, Bob. If you don't mind, just share with us a couple of minutes, a bit of background about you. Who do you teach, a bit about your school, etc.

BOB: Okay, so I'm a member of the Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu school. Hanshi Patrick McCarthy is the head of our school. We teach old-style, predominantly karate, but also jiui jitsu and weapons.

I've been doing martial arts for nearly 50 years, been teaching for probably 35 years. Predominantly ran schools out of school halls and community centres and that sort of thing. It was about seven or eight years ago, we had enough numbers to go into full-time premises that became available in the area where I teach. It progressed from there. Just started teaching full-time, probably five, six days a week with different classes on most days.

GEORGE: Alright, awesome. Okay, so we recently started working together and what I want to sort of getting down to, before we got to that point, what problems were you facing and what were you hoping to achieve through the program?

BOB: Well, the biggest problem that we had was our numbers had declined. When we first opened, we had good numbers. The bank account was looking healthy. The building we were in, we occupied two-thirds of it. Third of it was occupied by a funeral director who parked his hearse in it. That extra area became available and we decided to take it on. We were offered the lease on it to expand, and we took it on because we were concerned who might move in and cause us problems.

And we thought also with the extra area, we could make some improvements to our facility and that would hopefully increase numbers further. Failed to materialize. Once we'd gone into the bigger area, our rent went up but our numbers started to decline, and we got to the point where, probably for 18 months, I was losing money. We were going out the back door.

Just prior to joining your Academy program, we were at the point of we either had to do something and turn it around and actually start making the club profitable, or I was going to close down.

GEORGE: All right. Okay, so just a bit more on that. So was there anything else that was the impact that was having on the business and the situation of the students declining, etc?

BOB: Well, as I said, the bank account. After having a healthy bank account, it was slowly going backwards. I think probably over a two year period, I lost probably close to $13,000 out of my account. Obviously, I wasn't earning any income at all. In fact, it was costing me money. I also work as a personal trainer and a massage therapist, so I was basically subsidizing the dojo with that, and also my wife with her income.

So yeah, it was putting a little bit of a strain on us financially. And I guess the joy of teaching, I was losing that a little bit because you were concerned that you were losing members, and not as many students in the dojo, and the thought that you might have to just stop and either go and start teaching out of school halls or whatever again, or just completely stop training altogether. Stop teaching altogether.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And was there any other impact that it was having on you personally? You know, just with you and the family?

BOB: No, not really. I'll admit I'm not a very good businessman. I like to think I'm a reasonable martial artist, but I'm not much of a businessman. And my wife was sort of getting quite cranky with me at times because I wasn't doing the paperwork and wasn't keeping on top of things.

I also sort of took a bit of a, “It'll sort itself out.” We were doing all right for a while, it'll turn around, it'll pick up. It's just a low period, whatever. All the excuses under the sun.

But my wife has always been very supportive of me, so it wasn't a case that we were fighting or arguing or anything like that. But it was just, as I said, feeling a bit, not depressed, but lack of enthusiasm because things weren't going well. For most martial artists, I guess, opening a full-time dojo and being a full-time martial arts student, for most of us that have been in it for any period of time, that's sort of the dream, I guess. And the idea that I was going to probably lose that was not a happy thought.

GEORGE: Gotcha. All right, cool. But turning it around, you took action and we started working on a few things. Now, when we got working together, what are the two to three parts of the system that you feel made the biggest impact to change things around?

BOB: Well, I guess number one was just the fact of having someone, yourself, there mentoring and making suggestions, giving us some direction on what we were doing, was probably the number one thing. Basically, I needed you to give me a kick up the ass and get me moving… other than my wife who was constantly kicking me up the ass.

So I guess, obviously the main focus with the Facebook ads, that was our main form of advertising. Learning how to do that, which was interesting to say the least to begin with, but once we got going with that, that started to bear results. The other thing was the information that you gave us regarding our website. We had a website that we had put together ourselves, which was a bit dodgy to begin with.

And once again my wife, who is far more technologically minded than I am, stepped in and took over that and started working with that, finding her own ideas and doing some research into what to do with that, but also taking ideas that you had given us in the Academy program to improve that. And that made a big difference as well.

BOB: We started getting far more people coming to the site and more people making inquiries from that site as well. Plus we'd already put out a number of ads, I guess, or notices on various other websites around the place, “Find your local…” or whatever they're called, all that sort of thing. So they were probably, as I said, the mentoring from the start and the guidance, the Facebook stuff and then assistance with getting that website working better for us than what it was.

GEORGE: Perfect, that's awesome. So there's this sort of two-fold because the Facebook ads started working, you say that that was an interesting journey to get going. But you know, as we learned, marketing, it's not always linear. You might get the Facebook ads right, and all of a sudden your inquiries come from different directions and things start working. And so, as you mentioned, the tweaks that you've made to the website, that also helped with getting the conversions going, et cetera. Is that right?

BOB: Yeah, and I'd say there were probably people there that either saw things about us on Facebook, saw our ads on Facebook. We were also doing content marketing, which is what you had suggested. So we put a whole bunch of things together that worked really well. One of them, in particular, was a program we called The 12 Benefits Of Martial Arts, which we ran over 12 weeks, put a new one out each week and that went through the roof.

In terms of our Facebook, our numbers of people liking our page increased… God, I don't know how much, probably 1000% locally, but also obviously you get international people and that sort of thing as well, but that raised our profile enormously. But yeah, we had people that we're probably seeing stuff about us on Facebook, and then going and checking out our website, and probably the other way around too. People seeing our website and then going and seeing things about us on Facebook. So I think the two definitely probably complemented each other.

GEORGE: Awesome, so that's good to hear. So what results have you achieved up to now? How are things different?

BOB: Well, before we started the program, we were down to about 50 or 60 members, predominantly children. I run classes for what I call my junior class, which is four to seven-year-olds. The youth is the eight to 16-year-olds. And then our senior classes. We don't do separate grappling classes or separate weapons classes, we teach the Karate Kyu.

So we went from somewhere between 50 and 60, and now we're up around 80. We got a lot of… we did the paid trial, that was probably our biggest thing. We did a 39.95, three weeks unlimited training with a uniform, and that worked really well for us. We got a lot of people trialling from that, and the vast majority of those people that trialled, converted and are now training with us.

GEORGE: That's awesome.

BOB: Now, as I said, we're up around the 80. There are a few more trials and a few more inquiries that have come in that may well, within the next couple of weeks, push us sort of 85 members sort of thing.

GEORGE: Perfect. And so, how's that impacted your business now? You were saying earlier how you were fearful that you would have to give up that whole dream of running the full-time school. How's that different for you at the moment?

BOB: Well, it's certainly gotten rid of that big dark cloud hanging over me. I can see that if we continue the way we are at the very least, even if we didn't grow any further than what we are at the moment, we are now financially viable and I'm actually putting money back in the bank account, which helps pay for me to go and do seminars and train elsewhere and whatever I might want to do with, as well as just earning a bit of extra income. So the future looks good.

And also with the knowledge we now have, once I get my administration in better shape in terms of teaching, I think that the possibility for us to grow even further is definitely there. At the moment I teach all the classes, I don't really have any assistant instructors that take classes for me, but I'm in the process of getting some of my senior people to now come on board and be assistant instructors with me so that we keep good quality in our classes. And as that progresses, and as more students come up to that level, I can see that we will then have the ability to have bigger classes or run more classes and grow even further down the track.

GEORGE: Sounds great. And how has that impacted you personally?

BOB: Well, as I said, I haven't got the dark cloud hanging over me anymore. I'm more positive about what we're going to do and where we're going to be in the future. And there's not that worry that we're going to have to close down or where we're going to find the next week's rent or whatever. So from that point of view, it's certainly lifted, but certainly, I'll say this though, it wasn't a cakewalk. There was a lot of hours and a lot of work put in both by me and my good wife in getting all this happening. So if anyone thinks that they're just going to run a few simple Facebook ads and all of a sudden double their students… out of luck. It takes a bit of work. But it's been good. It's been a very good learning experience.

GEORGE: Definitely so, and I'll add to that, I mean if there was one person that would be on every coaching call and make sure you ask all the right questions, trial and error, that's what it takes. That's really what it takes. I mean it's nice to hear that the support that we've offered and help, but at the end of the day, that ambition and drive, it's got to come from you. It's going to be internal. Because yeah, there are a couple of roadblocks in the way and that's really what makes the difference, right?

Some people take the martial arts philosophy and push through, and others just find the excuse and go the other way. But you haven't, and that's what's basically adding to the success, of course.

BOB: Yeah. Well as you said, I was on every webinar and I probably frustrated the hell out of some of the other guys that were on the webinars, because I did tend to take up a bit of your time. All the modules, I went through and did the module. Sometimes if I didn't quite get something, I'd go back and do the module again. I was taking notes while I was doing the modules, while I was doing webinars. And then when my wife came home, we would sit down and I would discuss what I'd done that day in terms of the webinars or the modules. She obviously also had access to the modules, which she looked at.

So yeah, it was just that yes, we got the mentoring, we got a lot of good information from you through all of those avenues, but it was actually taking that information and doing something with it. Because you have all the information in the world, if you don't use it, nothing happens.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally, that's awesome. Bob, thank you so much. So just a couple of quick questions just to round things up. So if you had to complete this sentence, “I almost didn't join because…”.

BOB: I almost didn't join because… well, the only thing I would say is we didn't know you. We had been looking at various other similar sorts of marketing programs or that sort of thing, but I think the thing that swayed us towards you was the fact that you are specifically martial arts-oriented, as opposed to many of the other ones out there that are just general. But that was the only thing. We hummed and hawed about whether or not we could afford to do it. Not that it was a great amount of money to start with, but that was probably the only thing that made us think twice about it. But in the end, it really wasn't an issue. Long answer.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's perfect. Cool. And what's been the best part of working together at this point?

BOB: I guess access to the information was good. There are a few times where we were a bit frustrated. As I said, when we first started trying to do the Facebook ads, we were both ready to punch a hole in the monitor because we'd try and do something and it wouldn't work and whatever else. But then it was usually relatively simple to send a message through to you either via the Facebook page or even just an email or something and go, “Hey, we're having problems with this. What's the story? What have we got to do?” And usually, you would give us an answer or point us in the right direction. Plus we would then go off and do our own research on that as well, and try and sort it out even better.

So yeah, that available information, the modules being there and being able to go and look at them and, as I said, sometimes go through them once or twice to try and get that information in your head. And then, when we do a webinar, if there was something I didn't quite understand regarding the modules or anything else, you were there to sort of give that information to us. So that support was a big part of actually making things work, but again, a big part of keeping us going because you constantly ask, “What are you going to do today? Why haven't you done this? What's next? What's next?” So I suppose that's the point of a coach, isn't it, to sort of push you along a little bit and get you moving in the right direction.

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. You were saying kick up the ass. I know I'm the lesser of a martial artist, so I can only do that by distance and feel comfortable with it.

BOB: Sometimes the psychological kick up the ass has more effect than the physical one.

GEORGE: Yeah. Yeah. True. Cool. Bob, one last question. Who would you recommend the Academy program to and why?

BOB: Well, I've already recommended it. Told people that I've done this program or I’m doing this program. We had a major training thing up in Brisbane two months ago. I had told my head instructor Hanshi McCarthy that I was doing this program and he was quite interested in it. A few of the people up there, because they'd seen our ads and saw what was happening, started asking me questions. So I told them the program that I was doing, whether or not they follow it up is not my problem, I suppose, that’s there’s to try and get motivated and do something with it.

So I'm quite happy to tell anybody that I deal with in terms of martial arts that we did the program and that we were happy with it and well worth the money that we spent. And as I said to you when we first started, that the consideration of doing the Partners program was there and it's still a possibility. As I said, we need to consolidate and see where we're going and what's happening, but I would still consider going to the next level and doing the Partners program again. But I just need to, as I said, get my act together a bit in terms of running classes and things.

GEORGE: That's awesome. Cool. Well, thanks so much. And for anyone listening, if you'd like to know more about the programs that we offer and how we can potentially help you get similar results no matter where your school is at, whether you're at that 50, 60 marks, scaling to 80, or if it's 100 to 400, we've got a vast variety of programs that we offer based on where the school owner is at.

So if you would like to know more info on how we can help, you can just go to martialartsmedia.com/scale, as in S-C-A-L-E, and just fill in the form, we ask a couple of questions. We'll set up a time to chat on the phone, brief phone conversation, see if or how we can help, and take it from there.

Awesome! Thanks so much. And Bob, thanks again for jumping on. Look forward to seeing you in the next webinar and hitting some more goals.

BOB: Okay. Thanks very much, George. You're welcome.

GEORGE: Thank you. Cheers.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with another top, smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

82 – [Case Study] How To Market Martial Arts To Adults Without Spending Money On Marketing

Case Study on how to market martial arts to adult students with one of our Martial Arts Media Partner Members, Darryl Thornton.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • Signing up new adult students through simple cross promotion 
  • The Martial Arts Bot – a total time saver and game changer 
  • The power of having community support in your martial arts business
  • How does the Partners program compare to other Martial Arts Business Coaching programs
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Realistically you'd be looking at, what would we say, probably $1,200 a year per member. So probably $30 to $40 grand a year more. So it's a pretty big increase, yeah, pretty good little kick forward. They're already our customers. I didn't have to spend anything to get them. They're already in the door, they're all ready to pay me more now. I'm just getting them to pay me more now.

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie and I'm joined today by one of our Partners members, Darryl Thornton from Shukokai Karate Dojos.

DARRYL: That's it.

GEORGE: The naming has changed, right?

DARRYL: Yeah, it has. That's what happens when you go from one location to four locations. You actually got to change the name. Yeah.

GEORGE: There you go. Awesome. Darryl, thanks for being on. So we've been working together for a bit and so I just wanted to ask a couple of questions on your experience and how things have been, etc. So I guess just for a quick introduction, who's Darryl, tell us a bit about your schools. Give us like two, three-minute overview of you.

DARRYL: I currently run an organization Shukokai Dojos in Melbourne Southeast. We now have four clubs. 18 months ago we had one club with around 300 members. We're now 4 clubs with about 700 members. We teach traditional Japanese karate. We've actually just introduced judo as well, which has been an interesting part for me because it's not something that I've really spent a lot of time doing or training in. So we've got a really good coach for that is actually one of the current Australian team members, so that's very good.

We have a very big child based membership. I guess like a lot of martial arts schools. We probably would have maybe 100 adults members and the rest are children, the majority of in between 7 and 12-year-olds. So we are very, very much a family-oriented clubs I suppose. We encourage family members to try and we have family classes available in most of the dojos, where the parents can train with their kids as well. That's actually a really good thing. I enjoy that family class, family orientated ones.

Currently Victorian state coach. I've been a state coach for six years now. Takes a bit of time away from our club but also allows me to gain knowledge from other coaches that I see every weekend basically and a bit of a networking thing as well. There's other business owners and coaches so I can get a bit of Karate information, business information, that type of thing as well. Yeah, that's pretty much it in a bit I suppose.

GEORGE: Perfect. Cool. So, so when we started working together, were there any particular problems you were facing or what were you hoping to achieve?

DARRYL: Well really the biggest problem was our marketing area, like having it simplified. It was quite disjointed. I would just go, oh, we need some more members, so let's run a promo. So the promos I was running with just regular every day, so promos that it everyone sees online and they're quite generic. And even when I started I think as I was using just stock photos which were horrible. So now we run pretty sharp sort of campaigns with landing pages for each campaign.

Rather than having a generic landing page, we have a separate one for the extra promotion, which is very good, much neater, much tighter. We've run some really good campaigns, the parents' program, the women's self-defense program. We run all these top lines and they've been very good in that was actually probably a more internal growth one. Those ones actually have grown out from our own customer base I suppose. The external ones, having the wording or the text correct and the ad placement better would help as well.

How to Market Martial Arts to Adults

GEORGE: Okay. Gotcha. So a marketing a bit disjointed and I'm hearing sort of a sort of fly by night kind of thing.

DARRYL: Absolutely. That was the biggest thing. But now we're more planning how we do things. We were having trouble because I was doing it all by myself, it was just me. And having yourself and I guess the other Partners now, because I think the other Partners are a big part of it. They help sort of straighten you up and put you in the correct line in the path. Because without that I would still be doing what I was doing, still going along and going, Oh yeah, need to do this again with this and I do this, I'll go and do that.

And now it's a much more structured pathway for us, for our growth and our marketing and other areas as well. But you know, the communication I think is very good with this group. The format, the communication goes out to members and perspectives is very good too.

GEORGE: Alright, perfect. And thanks for that. We'll elaborate a bit more on that. But just back on the impact. So I mean, what type of impact is it having on your business, not having the help, plan, structure and things?

DARRYL: I guess if it's just a matter that I was having to spend a lot more time away from what I actually should be doing, which is teaching classes, mentoring my instructors and leadership programs. It took a lot of time away from that and we didn't get great results either. Like sometimes the results were okay, but they weren't awesome. So having to take more time away, having to answer every single message that you get, every phone call, those types of things. They're not ideal when you're trying to teach karate passes and watch what instructors are doing and growing your other clubs.

Having one club to four clubs, it's a lot more work involved just managing the instructors and the membership. So if I have to spend time doing all the extra things that I was doing with my average marketing, I didn't have time to do those other things, like I said, the many hours that I've got in the day.

GEORGE: Yeah. Gotcha. And so not having time to do those things, what impact would that have on you personally?

DARRYL: Oh, it's just draining, I suppose. You're just trying to do everything all at once. I mean I'm not a stressful person, I don't stress about too much, but just feel like you're torn if you don't have enough time to do one thing. So you're sort of doing it a bit, you know, half of this and half of that and not doing anything completely correct I suppose. I've always had a pretty good set of instructors and leaders that are backing me, but not being able to give them, especially the ones that have because we've got a couple of affiliate clubs… I've spent so much time doing other things, I can't keep them the direction that they need and the advice and the help that they need as well.

GEORGE: Perfect. So looking at working together within the Partners program, what are the three parts of the system, two or three that's made the biggest impact for you up to now?

DARRYL: So as a specific part of it or the overall?

GEORGE: Whatever sort of comes to mind first.

DARRYL: I really enjoy the advice and the direction that you get from the other Partners. I think the other Partners is actually one of the hidden parts of the programs that people don't actually realize is very good. Because there are people out there with different skill sets. And outside of the martial arts, there are people with different ideas, different skill sets and say things different ways. So you can actually come in with a problem that you might have or an idea that you have and you get input from not only yourself but you get it from the other Partners, seen with a different set of eyes. That to me is very important.

The communication that we have with you I think is very good. So although you're busy yourself, we have a lot of time, you make time for the Partners pretty much whenever they need it. That's really good.

And the other thing which I know some of us tend to hate is you keep us accountable. Every week you keep us accountable. What are you doing, have you done it? You know, sort of a checkpoint in the middle and have you finished it. It kind of makes you want to, if you put the three things in there that really are important to you, you kind of have to finish them because. Not that anybody gives you any grief over it, but you don't want to say, here you go, this is what everyone's saying, hey, I've done this, I've done this and I've done this as well. So I enjoy that even though I don't like it.

GEORGE: I think it's the part that everybody tries to avoid. But it's good to hear that it's got a psychological place.

DARRYL: It does have a little psychological little ticket that goes, yeah, I've got to get that done because otherwise, George's going to ask me if I've got it done.

And then the final thing I suppose is the programs that you've put in place. Like the Parents program, the six-figure open day is obviously the best one. Then there's the women's self-defense and now the newest one being the chatbot. I think you can't beat the things that have been put in place there. They're amazing.

GEORGE: Yeah, we chatted a bit about the chatbot. And we'll touch on just results and things that you've gotten. The chatbots are things that we are releasing right now. I think it's new for a lot of people, the whole structure and the whole setup. But the goal with how we rolled it out is that it's just plug and play for our members and you just got to change the content and it's good to go.

What has got you excited about the bot? And I guess just to clarify for anybody that doesn't understand the term bot, it's basically just I automated way of replying to all your Facebook messages. So if somebody sends a Facebook message, then you've got a bot that takes over in a smooth way and just answers all the questions and does all the work for you before you actually had the face to face conversation.

DARRYL: Yeah, for me the bot, as we discussed, I've had them before but they've been designed by me who's got zero knowledge on how to design them. I had one running and it was okay, it didn't really get the full interaction with the prospective clients that we really want. This one that you've created is just tenfold on top of the one that I had. The one I had it looks amateurish compared to this one. This one's really smooth and really sharp. It's got all the options you need on it. It's really easy to edit as well. That's the other thing I like about it.

We ran through last week and it was very simple to edit, it's very straightforward. And if you follow the worksheets and all the things that come with the program, you can't miss, you really can't. I can just see it getting bigger and better from here. I can see paper running bots for all sorts of things, just regular posts that you may run, try my post, the whole lot. I think it's great.

GEORGE: Awesome. So let's talk a bit about results. You've had different results with different campaigns and things that you've done. What results have you gotten from applying what we've got in the program?

DARRYL: The Parents program that we ran, that one would have added 30 members, 30 adult members to our program. That one I think has been very successful and the parents that were on the program, they loved it. They absolutely loved it. And that was at the same time as we put that program in, we actually released the family classes so they could try and with their children at the same time.

It's been a very, very good change. Those kids that are in that program with their parents they'll cherish that time because it's a common interest and it's not that common these days that parents have interests with their children. So having that there, I think has been great. Since we did it, we've had a lot of other people ask us recently if we're going to run it again and my answer is yes, we will run it again.

So that was very successful. We're just about to launch the second phase of the women's self-defense bundle we did. So that was a full four-week training program. We're going to run that again very soon. That was quite successful. The open day ones are always there, they're successful, no problem. They're very good.

And then the chatbot thing, the one I'm most excited about at the moment, that's, yeah, very, very good. Can't wait to run that out on my next try my or promos or even just regular posts. I'm really looking forward to that.

GEORGE: Yeah. Cool. And so the big benefit of that is getting your time back.

DARRYL: Really. That's it. That's it. I remember running a promo and it was quite a successful one. We would have had a hundred replies easily and I had to answer every single one of them myself. Even though I was cutting and pasting, it's just time, it's a burden. Someone is, you get a notification, fine, okay, but I've got to answer that one. There might be 10 or 15 notifications on your phone and so you've got to answer all the questions.

Then sometimes if you wait too long, they're gone cold because they've moved on to something else. So having some of them the bot answer for you, yeah, that takes so much time away from… At times I've sort of worried about running a promotion because I didn't know how much time it was going to cost me. Even though we want the new members, I don't know if I have that much time to answer many questions. So that's what I'm looking forward to that for sure.

GEORGE: And just as an a side tip for mentioning that, I heard Alex Charfen talk about this. If your sales structure causes pain, you will subconsciously sabotage it. And that means basically if you know that your house isn't in order to facilitate the campaign and the marketing that you're going to run and you know it's going to cause you some pain answering and so forth, chances are that you're going to sabotage it because you know that running it, like you said, it's going to give you all these headaches and-

DARRYL: Yeah, you might not be able to answer the questions or you might. Sometimes you might be a little bit rude if you answer on the phone and things like that. I've seen it before. I've even done it before. I think we all have. And If you are really honest with yourself, we probably all done that before.

GEORGE: Yeah, perfect. So just quickly before moving on, so 30 adults, people always throw numbers of sign-ups and so forth and it's awesome. But 30 adults, what's really good about this is the fact that the kid's already training, these are parents, it lifts your attention for the kids. It's good. You know the adults that are going to train, they think they're going to stick around for a long time. If you look at the 30 adults, how does that equate to a dollar value for you?

DARRYL: Because they're like a second member or something like that, there would be discounts. So you probably realistically, you'd be looking at probably $1,200 a year per member, so probably $30 to $40 grand a year more. So it's a pretty big increase, pretty good little kick. They're already our customers; I didn't really have to spend anything to get them. They're already in the door. They're already paying me, I'm just getting them to pay me more now.

GEORGE: And you have to send how many emails, one, two?

DARRYL: One email and that was it.

GEORGE: Perfect. Awesome. Just a couple of more questions. If you had to complete this sentence, I almost didn't join because.

DARRYL: That's a tough one. Because we had a background together before I joined your program, I knew what you were about. There are other programs out there for sure. You could join one a month, I guess you could join a different program that's martial arts-based., once a month for the whole year, there's a lot of them out there. But I don't think any of them are as complete with what they deliver. So I think, almost didn't join, that's probably a hard one because I don't think that was ever a consideration.

GEORGE: Sorry to cut you off, but I think the better question to ask you, because you've been with us for a long time and you've been around the block, you know what's out there and what's going on. Maybe the better question to ask you then though is how would you compare the martial arts program compare the Partners program to other martial arts business coaching programs?

DARRYL: I think that the case of that for me would be that it's, the right term is, it's done with you. So I've been in other programs that cost the same, cost more, but you get the information, you've got to do it, you're going to do the work. And sometimes I'm not capable, there are some areas like the chatbots, there's no way I could create, I couldn't create this myself. So having it done with me like this program does, with the help of what you designed plus your input plus my inputs, it's very easy to put it together.

A lot of the other ones, you just get the information and you're kind of left to do it yourself. Which a lot of time I know I would not do it because I was busy doing my own stuff and I'd have all this great information and I just wouldn't be able to do it. I wouldn't find the time to do it. And, and it would just be put in the to-be-done-later box I suppose, and never gets done. But this way, as I said, With the video help, it gets done.

GEORGE: Yeah. Thank you. And that's really key, right? And thanks for bringing that up because if there's one thing that I've been in this marketing stuff for obviously longer than school owners and I've spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on coaching and programs and none of it is ever relevant if you can't get it done.

That's the biggest part of where I like to focus is how do I remove the obstacles that it actually gets done. Because like you say, it's still always good, you might get great information and you get this dopamine release that, Oh awesome, this is going to be so great. But then when you actually got to put your hands together and do it and the obstacles come, it's very easy to put them in the later list and then the not done list.

DARRYL: Exactly. I mean that's probably the thing, I've had some great information come forward and I'm just like, Oh that's fantastic, I really need to do that. And I started doing it, I go, what do I do here? And I can't figure it out. And you have to go back and contact somebody and get the answer. Whereas this way with this, it's virtually all done for you. It's like a plug and play, just put your own information in and away you go. It's very easy. That's what I loved about it.

GEORGE: Awesome. And the last question for you, two questions. First one is a favorite part of the program?

DARRYL: Oh, there's a lot. I enjoy the input from the other Partners and, obviously, we've always got you there as part of that group. That's very important, I really enjoy that. Then accountability is good too. You have to be accountable, as to be accountable I suppose because you actually have to start the thing from the beginning and occasionally we let that slip. But that, yeah, I suppose the other Partners and yourself combined gives us a very good broad view of what we're doing and I think that's very good.

And the done-for-you part, you just can't beat that. Yeah. For me, I'm busy but I'm also lazy and I don't want to have to do everything for myself. I want someone to do it for me. I don't have many other people, not many people are different than that. I like to put my own twists on it, which I think that's what's good about the programs that you put out that you can still put your own twist on it, but the tried and tested parts of it are already done.

GEORGE: Love it. Awesome. And Last question and thanks a lot for doing this, Darryl, much appreciated. Who do you recommend the program to and why?

DARRYL: Really any business owner, any dojo, any martial arts business owner that want to market their business in a way that is tested, tried and tested. And there's a lot in this program that I haven't even used. There's a heap of stuff out there in your program that I haven't used. So anyone that really wants to grow their business and grow it in a smart way too, because there's a lot of programs out there that will get you big numbers in your door, but they don't all stay.

So you need this to be done in a smart way where you're going to continue to get those numbers to stay. The retention is probably more important than growth. And there's a lot of parts of this program to be used for retention. So I think that's who I recommend it to, martial arts business owners. All of them get on it. You know? That's the way to go.

GEORGE: Darryl, thanks so much for doing this. I value your input in the program, especially running the six-figure open day with you. That was a game-changer for so many school owners as well. And look, for anyone, any school owners that want to know more, want to know if we can help, all you have to do it is just ask. The easiest way to do that is going to martialartsmedia.com/scale, S-C-A-L-E. We've got a short little survey, just a couple of questions. Tell me a bit about yourself, what it is that you do. I've got just a couple of questions that you can answer. And then we'll just set up at the time to check, have a quick chat on the phone and see if what we have is something that we can help you with.

GEORGE: Awesome. Thanks so much watching. Darryl, thanks again for being on, much appreciate it, and I look forward to seeing you in the group and helping you create more wins.

DARRYL: Thank you.

GEORGE: Cheers.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with another top, smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

81 – McDojo: A Word That Actually Might Get You Killed

Calling out ‘fake’ martial artists has built Rob the brand McDojoLife with over 300k social followers, but sometimes it comes with a threat to his life.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • What is a McDojo really
  • How McDojoLife came into existence
  • Rob’s 5 rules in considering if a martial arts school is a McDojo
  • How to run an effective paid trial offer
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

But sometimes people misunderstand what I'm trying to do and if I call out an instructor or I call out somebody that I think is doing something wrong, which I would never do without really doing my research, then sometimes their students, some of their students may have some type of a slight mental handicap, not making fun of them, but that has happened where I had a student who was on the spectrum somewhere and he threatened to kill me.

GEORGE: Hey, this is George and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business Podcast. So today, I have a different guest with me. And when I say different, but we are going to explore a whole different topic. So one thing that comes up every time I speak to a martial arts school and the last couple of shows, I've explored the conversation of what is a McDojo? 

What is a McDojo really? It's a term thrown around, it's thrown around quite loosely. A lot of people are quick to label a school a McDojo or they're not, and then there's obviously people that are really fake martial artists out there that need to be called out.

And somebody that does really successfully and has a huge following on Instagram is Rob from McDojo Life. Now welcome to the call Rob.

ROB: Hey, thanks for having me, man. I appreciate you having me on.

GEORGE: Awesome. So now, here's an interesting little twist. I can only introduce Rob as Rob and I can't actually share what his last name is. Why is that, Rob?

ROB: Well, I… you can't really get my last name because I actually get death threats often, so I don't like people looking me up that way. So you can't have that. But that's the only reason. It's not that I'm not trying to be cordial or anything like that. I just don't want people finding out any information about me because that always goes bad, especially with my job, I pretty much call people out all the time, so I try to keep my personal and my business separate as much as I can.

GEORGE: All right, that's really interesting. So you've got, well let's talk about, right, because you've got a huge following on social media, yeah?

ROB: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Roughly right now currently about 300,000 between the different social medias, between Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now I've started up a Twitch and YouTube, so it's been growing.

GEORGE: Okay, so what's the whole drive behind this? What's the purpose behind McDojo Life?

ROB: Well, the idea is that our job as martial arts instructors is to teach people how to defend themselves. And we would hope that if we do our jobs correctly, we can actually protect people in their times where they might have to protect their lives or a loved one's lives or anything like that. The problem when you have a shyster or a charlatan or someone who's out there lying to their students is that those students are basically taking that person, those students… those instructors are taking advantage of those students. 

And what's going to happen is we as martial artists are already aware that those people are being ripped off. We already know because we can look at this from our perspective, people who have been doing it for years and go, “Yo, that's wrong. That's incorrect.”

But from a student's perspective, they've put in a lot of time, effort, and years and years of dedication into an art or into a person, like the instructor, who might be teaching them something that can get them seriously, seriously injured. And I would imagine that there would be more of an uproar about this kind of thing, especially when it comes to things like pedophiles in the martial arts, people who rip people off financially in the martial arts, people who lie about their belt rank and their fight record when it comes to martial arts.

So it just blows my mind how many people are indifferent and the old saying goes, “Real evil is not like evil. It's indifference.” And so all these great martial artists are like, “Hey, if we just let them be, then what will happen is our art will grow and they'll eventually dissipate.” And that's not the case. I've been posting every day, pretty much a new video, sometimes I post some of my old favourites just because I like to, but every day for five years and I have yet to run out of material. And I realized that these folks are growing exponentially because they're getting really good at business and there's a stigma about great martial artists or good martial artists being called McDojos.

So what's eventually happening is all the frauds that are learning these business systems on how to grow their studios are growing, because that's what those systems are for. And all of these fantastic martial artists are failing horribly because they're worried they're going to be labelled a McDojo if they're financially successful, not understanding that if you're not financially successful, your business will fail and no one will follow you because you aren't teaching anymore. You're going to be working at a Winn-Dixie or whatever the hell else you do.

And so the idea of what I'm doing is to open up people's minds to what the real issues are and that usually isn't monetary. Usually. There are usually much bigger issues than a studio being successful. Usually people who hate on that kind of stuff are just that, they're hating on because they're not that successful, and that's a shame. Hopefully, the idea is to create a conversation between different martial artists, between different arts, that we can all come together to an agreement on what is and what is not legit.

GEORGE: All right, interesting. Because I work with a group of schools owners we call Partners, and one of the biggest filters that we put in place, and to me, it's almost kind of like, I wouldn't say a joke, but it's like you've got to be teaching a legitimate martial arts and you've got to be helping students actually achieve the results. For me, from what I see just obviously around where we are based in Australia, I don't really, it's not a common thing that I see a martial arts practice that is really, really shady.

But then I watch all these videos come about and I always question, “Is this current or is it just things that have come from a long time?” Or is that, your knowledge from sharing all this stuff all the time, is it something that's current?

ROB: Of course.

GEORGE: And you mentioned it's a growing cult?

ROB: Yeah, again, like I said, what typically people who are illegitimate do is they try to hang out and then try to study and learn from things that are legitimate. And what happens is we kind of get wrapped up into our own little bubble and our own little world, and become a little bit more selfish. And we forget that no one in the… no one, you can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, no one actually cares about the consumer, period, in the martial arts community. No one, no one cares.

There's no one looking out for the person who's about to become a student. We only look after the people who are already paying us money. We only look after the studios and how to help them grow, how to help retention. But no one has ever touched on the fact that there's no one actually helping out people who are getting into the martial arts.

For instance, when somebody walks into our studio for the very first time, any studio, your goal is to sign them up. That's the goal, right? To meet the sales quota, to get the person from point A to point B, because we as martial artists truly believe that our art will help them. And that's the goal. Our facility is awesome. Us, us, us.

What we forget is that might not necessarily be true. What the consumer was looking for might not be our studio. But that's not a great way to look at it from a business perspective. So from a business perspective, we're going to try to sell that person any damn way. We would never have somebody walk in and potentially go, “You know what, we're really not a good fit for you.” We would never do that, because we want to help you and we feel like our studio is the best studio for A, B, and C.

No one actually cares to help educate that person before they walk in the door. Guide them to the studio that's going to be the best fit for them, not the best fit for the owner, but the best fit for them. No one really seems to care on educating the general public on what martial arts is, the difference between karate, TaeKwonDo, and stuff like that. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of sales scripts out there to where if somebody calls and they say, “Oh this is so and so's TaeKwonDo.” “Oh TaeKwonDo, I was looking for karate.” And then flipping that on the person to get them sold on TaeKwonDo as opposed to karate.

And so I think what happens is that that's where you get a lot of that McDojo mentality is the fact that it is a little bit shady and the idea is to educate. And that's all I care about. I want to educate them. Somebody is looking to get their grandson into karate because their grandson said karate. And the grandson was really looking for jiu jitsu and explained jiu jitsu, but accidentally said the word karate. Well the grandparent might not understand the difference, and so takes it at face value.

Where I think that that's where a lot of the pitfalls fall is people not necessarily getting to where they're supposed to really be. And I think that that's where the shadiness kind of comes into play. “Well, I'm looking for karate.” Well if I stumble across to get back to your point, if it’s current or not, if I stumble across Kyūsho Jitsu as opposed to jiu jitsu, well Kyūsho Jitsu, that's George Dillman's client and they believe that they can knock people out with their mind. Well, that's ridiculous. That's, you cannot knock someone out with your mind, right. It's ridiculous, right. It's a fraud. But there are thousands of people who believe this.

Or Indonesian Silat – if you look at Indonesia today, someone sent me a video of only a year ago where there was a martial arts demonstration of kids, eight year olds, laying down in front of a truck and the truck runs them over, and the idea was their qi was supposed to protect them from this truck. Two kids died. I've never shared that video because I can't because it will get taken down, but two kids died because they believed in this mysticism.

So is current? Yeah, it's very much current. And the problem is that most of us as martial artists are so busy worried about us, us, us, we're forgetting that they are other people out there getting taken advantage of.

GEORGE: Okay, cool. And I'm going to play devil's advocate with this just because it's going to make an interesting conversation, right.

ROB: Yeah, definitely. I would love it. I would love it.

GEORGE: So one thing that came up, Indonesian Silat, because I actually have a client that does Indonesian Silat and I know they're pretty legit. So I guess I just want to give some context on there could be people, obviously in a style that does a shady practice, which obviously is then detrimental to the guys that are being legitimate.

So from educating, the perspective of educating students, I guess what I'm going to ask, let's say this is the scenario, right, that kid wants to do jiu jitsu and grandparent or parent understands karate or vice versa. How much do you think that would matter if the end result for the child that wants to gain confidence, discipline, and be a better human being, how much do you think that makes a difference?

ROB: Well, why not do football or baseball or basketball or soccer then? If that's all you're into it for, right? But if the devil's in the details and the details happen to be a range of combat that's physically effective to helping you, then I would imagine that whenever somebody looks at something, like for instance, a father in jail, which is another area that can come up, and the father in jail talks to the mom and goes, “I'd really like you to get our son in jiu jitsu.” For specifically, because let's say that he was a black belt in jiu jitsu for some reason. Obviously, this is a hypothetical conversation, but just painting a picture, right.

Let's say he understands that jiu jitsu is effective. It's been proven physically to help you defend yourself on the street. It's been proven in sport. It's a proven art when it comes to self-defense. There are shady people who teach jiu jitsu who don't know what they're doing, right. And so, not all jiu jitsu is going to be created equal and as a matter of fact, if I just take the I out of the first jiu jitsu and it is J-U jitsu, it becomes a different art or if I take the I out of the second one and it's jiu jutsu, now it's a different art as well. And so that can be very confusing as a consumer, as a parent, right.

So, but when you walk into the door and you talk to those people and you first start taking the art, it'd be like the difference between saying, “My child says he wants to play baseball,” and I put him in football. Well why? He wanted to play baseball. And will he still get confidence? Sure. Will he still be in an activity where there's other people? Sure. But you can get all of that in different, pretty much any activity that involved team sports or groups.

So when it comes to your art and your style, it kind of boils down to the details and what you're looking for as a consumer. Am I looking to work closely, especially with women, am I looking to be so close to somebody else that their sweat is pouring on my face? Well if that's not for you and you accidentally sign up for jiu jitsu, you're going to be miserable, especially if you get stuck with a contract for over a year. You're going to have people sweating on you for a year when you didn't want that at all.

So I think that it's very important that you decide what style that you want to do because they are quite different and they all do ask of you different things. Like for instance, if you did a traditional karate, like an Okinawan karate, you're going to be asked to do kata. That's going to be a pretty standard thing. Where if you say, “I don't want to do kata,” and then all of a sudden again, you signed up for this karate, well shit, I'm stuck here for a year and I have to do kata and I hate it. Or it could be the opposite. You don't want to wrestle, and yet you signed up for sambo. Well, that sucks, but now you're stuck in a contract for a year.

So I do think that it matters. But you can also get those exact same stimulus, like confidence, being physically active, having a good social environment, you can get that pretty much anywhere. You just have to trust and trust that that's still helping you with those things.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. One thing we're really big on in our group is content creation that actually educates the right prospect. And I take this just from the more bullying the authority type of concept. There's nothing more frustrating when you're doing marketing and you, I think you're chasing offers month to month, and month to month, you're just trying to get numbers in.

But from an education standpoint, one thing we always go through how do you position yourself as the authority, and you don't play in the same field of everybody that's trying to just nail the offers down. But how do you start playing that higher field of the people that are, maybe they've got a problem that martial art solves, but they're not prospects for martial arts yet. And how do you start talking to those people on a higher level? But then start an education process with content.

But on a flip note, so you did get a lot of backlash with what you do. Now, what do you say to the legitimate martial artists that say to you, “Well, you just spreading the bad vibes. You're just spreading the negative.” What's your response to that?

ROB: Well, it depends on how they address it. I think every case is a little different, very similar to every customer is going to be different, every student is going to be different. It just kind of depends on how they approach it.

I like an open dialogue. I love it, because I learn stuff too. It's great. I don't know everything about every art in existence. It will take me a lifetime to learn everything about one art. So trying to be able to get a good handle on most arts is a fairly difficult job. Trying to, I'm not trying to be an authority on it, but I've kind of been put in that position where people assume that I am. And then I have to take that and go, “Okay, well I guess I am at this moment, so I might as well learn as much as I can.”

But when it comes to a verbal discourse and when it comes to having somebody who addresses the negative, I always try to talk with them in the grand scheme of things about what I'm trying to do, which is to open a dialogue more than anything else. I want people to be as educated as they can, and I try to do that through humor, because I feel like that's usually the best way to break the ice with any subject, especially if it's uncomfortable. Just a crack joke, man. So I usually start off with usually one liner jokes.

But I also have an analogy, and I want you to kind of think about this and maybe this will help shed light on it. Let's say we're all in a pool and I'm hanging out, and we'll say I'm karate, right. And we'll say you're jiu jitsu and TaeKwonDo is hanging out. Hell, even aikido guy is over there, right, and we're all hanging out and we're all swimming in the pool and we're all enjoying ourselves, right.

And then all of a sudden, here comes the Bujinkan ninjutsu guys and they walk up to the side of the pool and they start peeing in it. Not actually in the pool peeing, but standing out by the pool peeing into the pool. Now, if this was a public swimming pool, no one would be quiet about it. We would look at the person and say, “Stop.”

But since this is a martial arts school, no one says anything. They go, “You know what, we're just going to keep swimming over here and we're going to ignore that guy and he'll go away.” But that's not how it really works. That's not how life works. So what can happen is somebody else is going to walk by and see that that's okay behavior and they're going to walk up to the pool and oh, here comes the George Dillman guys with the no touch knockout stuff and they start doing it too. And then, the next thing you know, here comes the Silat guys who try to put the qi around their arms and try to stab themselves. Oh it doesn't work, they cut their arm, ah. That happens quite often by the way. I've got plenty of video of it. But then they start peeing in the pool.

Eventually, if we don't say anything, there's going to be more people peeing in the pool than people in the pool. And what's going to happen is we can make a decision, either we talk to them now but it's too late and they've taken all of our students and they've ruined that taste and they put a bad taste in their mouth. Those people are never going to join another martial arts studio. Nine times out of 10, once they go into that first studio and they have a bad taste in their mouth, they may, may try one more. But if they get a second bad taste in their mouth, they're never going to do martial arts again.

And so what's happening is those legitimate martial arts studios are losing not just profit, but potential students who will help carry their art over to the next generation, simply because they were too busy worrying about themselves to actually say something about something that's wrong.

And so, I understand that not everybody is going to agree with how I do what I do. But I don't do it with violence. I never encourage anybody to dojo storm anybody. I am vocally against people speaking out at people during their seminars. I think that our goal is to spread information, very similar to a smoking campaign that we had years ago. 

If I want people to stop smoking, I don't punch the president of Marlboro in the face. That doesn't help anything. It makes me an asshole, right. But if I want them to stop smoking, I'll spread information, and then the more people who get that information, before they walk into their first class, before they talk to their first instructor, they'll have a better handle on how to make their own decisions, first. And that's kind of the goal.

And so, I'm not trying to make anybody's decisions for them. What I am trying to do is get them to have a more open dialogue, so they can make their own decisions and research better on their own.

GEORGE: Awesome, cool. Okay, Rob, so now you've got this huge social following. It's got a lot of traction. Obviously, that polarizes a lot of people and it creates love, humor, and hate, right. Now tell me about the hate, because you were saying, this was out of context, I was about to introduce Rob and I was like, “Hang on, what's your last name?” And he said, “Well, I'm not telling you that.” And then the conversation led to, “Well, I get death threats.” Tell me about that.

ROB: Well, with anything that grows big, the bigger it gets, the more people are going to follow you just simply to watch you fail. There's always going to be those people and the term for it is haters. There's always going to be your haters.

But it's funny, because they're like some of your biggest cheerleaders, because they're the ones who are commenting, helping your algorithms, showing more people about your stuff. Even if they… what do they say, bad press is still good press; any press is good press.

But sometimes, people do take it too far. I do get death threats from time to time, which is why I don't give out my last name and I try to avoid that as much as possible. I don't have anything to hide in terms of my particular martial arts stuff. I try to post up stuff of me from time to time. That way, people can see like, “I'm a goofball, man. I still swing nunchucks whether that's good for the streets or not, I don't care, I still enjoy it. And I don't think every martial art that you do has to be about getting into a cage and fighting someone or a life or death situation. I don't think that every martial art has to be that way.

But sometimes, people misunderstand what I'm trying to do and if I call out an instructor or I call out somebody that I think is doing something wrong, which I would never do without really doing my research, then sometimes their students, some of their students may have some type of a slight mental handicap, not making fun of them, but that has happened where I had a student who was on the spectrum somewhere and he threatened to kill me.

Now, when you get a death threat from somebody who obviously has some type of a social disorder, I take that seriously. I really think that this dude has the possibility of doing that, because it's not like I hide where I am. I tell people, “Yo, I'm going to go in to the US Open or I'm going to this tournament or I'm going to the Martial Arts Super Show in Vegas.” So I tell people where I'm going to go.

But I don't want them to know where my house is. I don't want them to know my neighborhood. If they see me in public, chance you're going to be much safer there. But yeah, I get death threats and I think that what I've really touched on was something I didn't expect, which is that martial arts and religion draw such a fine line, such a fine line.

To some people, martial arts is their religion, and just like any religion, if you yank that rug out from under somebody, you yank their belief structure out from under them all of a sudden and you prove to them that something is wrong. They're going to double down or they're going to agree with you. And most people double down. Even with proof in their face, they go, “You know what, you're still wrong. My instructor is not a pedophile.” 

And I can show them the court transcript and they'll be like, “Nah, I don't believe you.” I'm like, “Dude, what other proof do you need?” But they still don't believe it, even if you shove the proof in their face, because they still want to believe that their instructor that they spent 20 years of their life with is still a good human being, because what does it say about them that they followed a pedophile for 20 years and still think that, knowing he's a bad guy, they have to believe he's good.

And so taking that rug out from under people sometimes is really dangerous because it is a belief structure and that really shatters people. And so, they get violent sometimes. It's fair enough. It comes with the job.

GEORGE: Yeah, I've come to realize, especially the martial arts space, if you want to see where the trolls hang out on social, just like running ads or just telling people or ads is the best, especially because I work with martial arts school owners and sometimes that will attract the martial arts crowd and the context will just be, I just laugh, it just means I'm like, “All right. I'm moving forward. The hate's coming in. I'm doing something right.”

ROB: Yeah. And I do feel bad, I feel bad for legit… for instance, so people send me stuff a lot from Wing Chun kung fu and that art, if you're not familiar with it, has a lot of flow drills. It has a lot of sensitivity drills. When you're looking at it, it looks odd. But without context, if you're just looking at it, which is a big problem, which is why I try to explain that there's so many martial artists, if you're going to post a video of your technique, post context. Context is huge.

If I'm looking at a jiu jitsu drill, a solo drill, and somebody is just shrimping on the floor and that's your ad. That is the dumbest ad ever. Because me as a martial artist, if I'm in TaeKwonDo and I've never done jiu jitsu, still I could've done let's say 15 years of TaeKwonDo and I look at jiu jitsu for the first time, and I go, “What is he doing? That's stupid. I've never learned that in my 15 years of martial arts, and I'm going to make fun of it.” Well, that's because the guy didn't put in context.

This is a hip mistake. This is what this is for. Let me show you the times that it's been applied. Let me show you how it works and why it works. And then, now we're explaining our art and helping it grow rather than making it a detriment. I had a long conversation with someone on systema. Are you familiar with systema?

GEORGE: A little bit.

ROB: Yeah, so it's a Russian art and their big claim to fame is that they say that they taught it to the Spetsnaz. And so, fair enough, maybe you did. But I don't know if people are really familiar with how that stuff works, but they don't just teach one art to the military. Those are self-contracted, those are deals that you make with your government to get paid.

And so, for instance in the United States, we've had almost every art taught to our military. So to say, “Yeah, TaeKwonDo, you know the special forces uses it.” No, duh. But they use jiu jitsu and judo and samba and all these other arts. So to say that that's the claim to fame is ridiculous to me. But also, on a side note, have you ever, the movie ‘Men Who Stare at Goats'?

GEORGE: No.

ROB: So, there's a movie based on a true story that happened in the United States where a gentleman was given a whole bunch of LSD and used his mind to knock a goat out who was in another room. And because that incident happened and the goat actually passed out for some reason, they actually gave him his own platoon and allowed him to start teaching what they called the Jedi program and fed these officers, these military people, LSD and tried to teach them superpowers. Our government really did this. And so, whenever I hear people say, “Yeah, I taught the military.” I always think about ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats'. I'm like, “Yeah, but that crazy dude also taught him too.'

So in any case, but I had a conversation with the gentleman from systema about that same thing, about him posting videos or systema in general posting videos with no context. And we had an hour conversation about it, and he tried to explain it as if it was a drill, which I have no problem with. If I'm explaining a technique to a student or to a classroom, it's going to be done maybe at half speed or slower, so people can understand it, but you're still explaining what it's for.

Where in this art, people are waving their hand and people are falling down with no explanation. And so when you have that kind of stuff pumped through the airwaves with advertisements, it's not helping you, because you've got to remember that the person who's looking at your advertisement is looking at it from a student's perspective if they're going to buy anything from you.

And so they're getting a lot of information about how you teach your class, the tonality that you use, what type of person you are. And if I look at that and I go, “Man, I really like the way that guy teaches.” I would go to your class. I would go check that out. But if I look at it and I go, “I don't know what the hell that is.” Well, that's you as an instructor teaching a poor class, but you're teaching a poor class to thousands of people who are potential students.

So it's important that if you're going to show your stuff, you need to show context. It's so important from a consumer's perspective. They need to know what the hell they're looking at. And I think that that's where a lot of martial artists fail and that's why get a lot of that hate. I think that helps.

GEORGE: Yeah, you've hit the nail on the head. I talk about the context a lot. I've got a video surfing around somewhere, The Three Biggest Mistakes Martial Arts School Owners Make, and the big thing on it was context, because the go to thing is just pick up the phone and let's just do a line of everybody punching and kicking. And I'm like, “That can mean so many things.”

If I'm the prospect and I'm like, “I want to hit this class,” and I see an intense class, is that really the thing that I want to see? So just taking that first 15, 20 seconds of, “Hey, this is me from school this and this, and this is kind of what we're doing.” You could have the same content and just change the context around it, and speak to a different person.

So I think it really comes down to the context, but then also, for clarifying on the context is who are you trying to talk to. Let's start with the who and then you can develop the context, and then the content can just kind of follow.

ROB: I agree. That was something that I learned years ago when it came to, because I used to go to Bill Clark seminars. I don't know if you're familiar with Bill Clark, but he was one of the founders or he's one of the heads of ATA, American TaeKwonDo Association. But he was the gentleman who started a lot of the phone scripts and a lot of the business stuff in the United States on how to grow your business and treating martial arts studios like a business.

And I'll never forget him saying, “You don't want every client. Not every client is right for you. For instance, if I have a client who walks through the door, who's already haggling me for prices and stuff like that, who are already trying to get my price down, they're going to cause me the biggest bit of grief later on down the road.”

It's the ones who are willing to pay the price that you're asking for right away, those are going to be your best clients. The people who are willing to pay what it is you're asking for are going to be the ones who are going to break their backs for you because they're paying for it. They're not trying to look for some deal or try to shade you over right off the bat.

And so, you're right, you don't want… you've got to figure out who you're trying to get your prospects from, and that in itself could be tricky, but that also has so much to do with your advertising and how you do it. Are you doing a free trial? Are you doing a paid trial? I prefer paid trials. I'm real big about that. I don't think doing a paid trial, which a lot of people have a stigma, they think that paid trials automatically make you a McDojo, but then I ask them, I was like, “Is there any job you have ever done for free? Any job where you were working and you did it free?” You're like, “No.” Your mechanic's not going to look at you and go, “You know what, I'm going to look at your car for free. It's cool.” No, he's going to charge you for the time. He's going to give you a consulting fee or an assessment vehicle of your vehicle.

So I think it's, and also it helps you weed out bad clientele. If they're not willing to pay you the $5, $10, $20 bucks for your trial, they're not going to pay you monthly dues. They're not going to pay you a dime. You might as well just weed them out quick. So I really love paid trials. I'm a fan.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. Free trial, from my experience, free trial can work only if you have a super advanced funnel of fulcrum people with your content and you've gone through that process and then work with a free trial.

But if you, free trial and that's your cold offer, especially on things like Facebook, that's hard work, because that's going to take a lot of work and a lot of energy. Then again, on something like Google where somebody has some intent. Yep, they could be a better prospect. But, yeah, the paid trial is where all our clients get the best results, definitely.

ROB: And the cool thing is it could become a free trial, which is usually how the game is played. You pay me, let's say, $20 bucks for three classes and you get a free uniform or a free pair of gloves depending on what your margin is. If it's a karate uniform from Century, I think they're $8 bucks wholesale. I'll give you a free uniform. You paid for it already. You paid me $20.

So then you're in my class and then after you decide either the first day or you want to do one trial, one class, however you want to do it, they already have a uniform that they can't wear literally anywhere else, it's a useless piece of thing unless they actually sign up. And then, on top of that, I can give you that money back and put it right towards the down payment.

There are so many different ways to get people in, and to me, it's not a shady thing, because it's a choice. It's an offer. It's nothing… I think the biggest thing is as long as you're upfront with the people. Just don't lie to them. Don't patronize the student. Don't try to pull the wool over their eyes with what I would consider shady sales tactics.

Now I will say this, I don't think handling objections is a shady business practice. People are going to object. That's just human nature. For instance, in one of the, what do they call, one of the five objections. Let's see if I can remember them off the top of my head. I can't afford it. I don't have the time. It's too far away, the location. Oh, what was it? I have to talk to my spouse. And I have to think about it. There we go. Boom, I still remember them. Not bad, huh?

And so, but yeah, so these objections are always going to come up. Always. They're going to come up every time you try to sell somebody on something. But that's why you do a good job of what I would consider a business tactic called giving a damn. If you actually care about your client, all of those objections are done before we have a conversation. Usually, if you really care about them, you're going to talk to them. “Hey man, what made you want to start martial arts?” “Man, you know, my doctor told me that if I don't lose 100 pounds, I'm going to have serious medical issues and I'm already having them.” “That's a big problem. I care about you. I want you not to die.”

So when you hit me with the objection of, “You know man, I just really don't have the time.” “Bullshit. Yes, you do. You had the time to walk in this door today. You had made the time to not die today. And what you're going to tell me is you're going to walk out the door with a doctor's order that says you have to lose this weight. There's a reason you came to this facility. There's a reason you walked in this door. Let me help you get from point A to point B, because I know for a fact I can.”

That's called caring. That's not like lying to them. All right, if it's the other way around. Let's say it's a fake martial arts studio and they go, “Hey, man, I really wanted to be here for self-defense.” And then you hit them with that old saying, “You know what, most people started for that reason.” And then you just use that to plug and play with whatever problem they have. That's shady. Most people started because they wanted to lose weight. And then the next guy walks in. Most people started because it's self-defense. That's a lie. You're lying to them, right.

But if you're hitting them with the truth, like, “You know what, we had Steven lose 50 pounds here. We've had Susan, she lost 15 pounds here.” Cases that I know personally, we had a guy come into the studio, at one of the studios I taught at who wanted to lose 30 pounds because he had a girl in his office that he was terrified to talk to. He lost 30 pounds with jiu jitsu, that class that I was teaching. Not only did he lose the 30 pounds, he asked her out and they became married and have kids now.

So those are real. That's real caring, right. But when you have the plug and play, like phone script script, where you're going, “Yeah, you know what, everybody started at this studio because of the reason you're saying you want to start.” That's a lie. That's shady. That's where I think most people get upset is when they're being lied to. I think that they respect the truth and I think that when you really care about your client and your student, they'll see the real you. They'll see that you really care, and they'll be more likely to sign up and stick with you because you care.

GEORGE: Love it. So I've got a string of questions because this conversation started from just wanting to talk McDojos and there's some great value coming from this, so thanks for that, Rob. I've got about, we've got about another five minutes or so, so I don't think I've got time for all the questions I want to ask. But let's start with this. Something that we really didn't clarify, I mean if we really look at the term McDojo, in your words, how do you define it as in, “This is a McDojo.”

ROB: I get that question a lot and I have a very definitive answer. So I have five rules. I call them rules. People said that they're signals, but I call them rules, because those are the rules that keep me in check. I don't go after studios unless they break these rules. It's very important to me, and that allows me to keep myself in check with balances.

So rule number one, no pedophiles. I think that if somebody's been a convicted child sex offender, they shouldn't be teaching martial arts and they also should not be legally around children. I know that that sounds like a no brainer and that law should already take place and intervene there, but it's not. There's actually a guy who owns a martial arts studio here in the United States, and the studio's called Warrior's Code. He has three martial arts studio. He was convicted of molesting a 15 year old girl, and for some reason, because of the plea deal that he took in court, he's still allowed to be around children. So I think that that's a huge one, and it happens a lot. There's a lot of pedophiles who do take refuge in opening up a small business, trying to hide the fact that they have ever molested somebody, and I think that that should be weeded out immediately. That's got to stop.

These kids are putting their livelihoods, they're putting their trust in somebody who's supposed to be there for them to help mentor them. And these people are taking advantage of them and that's unacceptable. I don't give a damn what the reason is or what the situation is. Once you've broken that child's trust, you should be done with the arts. Done, period.

GEORGE: Got it.

ROB: So that's number one. Number two is people lying about their belt rank or fight record. If you're going to lie about your belt record and fight records, your chances are good you're lying about pretty much anything else that you can get your hands on. People sweated, they spent years of their life to get their black belt. If you're not one, that's okay. It's okay to open up a martial arts studio as a brown belt. Do it, if that's your passion and you want to do that, you still know more than the new guy. Teach them, but don't lie about it. Don't be like a Charlie Zelenoff who says he's 200 and something and 0 boxer, when all he does is go into gyms, hand people gloves, and hit them as soon as they get gloves on, and calls that a victory. That's lying and that's not healthy for anybody.

Rule number three, shady business practices. There are plenty of gyms that do this. Please never do this if you're listening. But what they'll do is they'll be quite aware that they're about to close. They know they're about to close, and so what they'll do is they'll wait to close until they get that last month's payment and then shut their doors as soon as the payment comes in. And so they'll rip people off of a whole month's worth of payment, when they already knew, they were well aware they were going to close.

Or they'll open up a studio, take the first month's payment, close down, go to another town, and do the same thing. There's been a lot of cases of that as well. Or strong arming your students. Going to their door, when they don't make their payment on time, banging on the door and saying, “You need to give me my money or I'll hurt you.” That happens often as well, and so, that's shady business practices.

Or one that I'm not, I'm on the fence about, but having your students sign up for long-term contracts. Everybody knows damn good and well that the average martial arts student roughly drops out at about a year. So if you're having your students sign contracts for over two, three years, sometimes five years in one case that I saw, and then you're holding them to the full amount after they cancel, that's fairly shady, when you knew statistically that they were going to drop after a year. They didn't know that, but you did. And so that's an ethics thing. So that's rule number three.

Rule number four is no touch knockouts. You can't knock people out with your mind. I'm sorry. You can't do it. 

GEORGE: Unless you take LSD and you attack the goats, of course, yeah.

ROB: You know, I touch you here, you fall over. I hit your hand here and you have a seizure. That's a lie. It's a fallacy. It's not real. But plenty of people fall for it. It's ridiculous.

And then the last one is unsafe training practices and cult like behavior. You're their instructor and their mentor. You're not their spiritual and religious leader. That is not your job. I would never go to my barber and go, “You know man, I'm having this existential crisis. I really am glad that you're here to give me the spiritual advice.” No, I might ask the advice of another friend or a human being, but I'm not going to treat him like he's on such a high pedestal.

You're just a human being. If anybody out there is listening, if you make your students refer to you as sifu absolutely everywhere you go and that's your handle, ehh, a little ego going on there, right. That's just a little weird. But I'll let that slide.

But the unsafe training practices. There's no excuse for that. There's no reason for your students to be sparring full contact out on concrete with shoes and no head gear. That's how people get hurt and die. You accidentally knock somebody out. They fall if their six feet tall. That's six feet down for their head to land. They hit the back of their head on concrete. Now, they're dead.

Or the old school training method where you're hitting your students with sticks every time they get something wrong. You're abusing your students. They're paying you. Remember that. They can leave whenever they want. But that's where the cult like behavior comes in, because sometimes you can brainwash them and make them forget that they can just leave. And so that's one of those things that I think is kind of shady.

So those are my five and those are the ones I stick to. That, to me, is a real McDojo. I could care less how long it takes you to get your black belt. B.J. Penn, for instance, got his black belt, what, two and a half years, three years in jiu jitsu. And then people will turn around on the other hand and say, “Oh, you've got black belt in TaeKwonDo in two years. That's not real.” Well, what is it? Is it okay for just one person? Well, then it's not a rule. It's a guideline. And so that's why I stick to those five rules, because they apply all the time.

GEORGE: Awesome. Rob, this has been a great chat. Loved it. It was awesome, and you shed a lot of great value and a lot of context on the whole McDojo thing and yeah, so what I want to ask you is for anybody that doesn't know how to find you or if anybody wants to know more about what you do and the things that you share, where can they find you online if they haven't already?

ROB: Pretty much anything that is social media, you just type in McDojo life and I'll pop up. You can find, all of my original content is on YouTube. I try to make each social media a little different from the other. I usually do my live interviews, I usually do those on Facebook. So you can find me on Facebook at McDojo Life. Twitter, I'll randomly spew out information on Twitter, but I also share the videos on Instagram, on all of those as well. So look up any of those and you can find me at McDojo Life.

GEORGE: Awesome. Rob, thanks a lot for being on. Thanks for sharing, and I'll connect with you in the social hemisphere.

ROB: Sounds good, brother. Thank you.

GEORGE: Cheers, thanks.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with another top, smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

80 – Discovering Your Martial Arts Student’s Inner Greatness

It's great to know the real reason why your martial arts students want to join, but what if you could go one level deeper? Cat Zohar shares how.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • How to improve your martial arts school’s student retention
  • Member engagement vs. customer service
  • Why member engagement is like fortune telling
  • How to identify your martial arts students inner greatness
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey, this is George and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. So, I've got a repeat guest with me today, Cat Zohar, all the way from the States. Hi Cat.

CAT: Hi. How's everyone? Welcome, hello. Glad you're here if you are.

GEORGE: Cool. So, a quick intro. Why the episode number two and a bit about what are we going to be talking about here today. Recently on our Partners program, we co-created something with all Cat's expertise, all her IP, and we called it Retention by Design. Retention by Design, and Cat's going to correct me if I've misplaced the wording.

But something that we've focused on in our Partners program, we always talk about how to attract the right students, how to increase sign-ups and how to retain more members. And on the increased side, we talk about mastering sales. And with mastering sales, we're really big on really understanding the real reason why people join. Not the hey, I want confidence, but why the confidence? What is the deeper emotional reason why people go ahead?

Cat's taken that to a whole another level when it comes to retention. And instead of just uncovering and discovering what the actual emotional reason is why people go ahead and start martial arts, but she's developed a system where she can actually identify the personality traits and how to identify the actual greatness of the student in a more detailed way. Are they good at the competition, would they make a potential instructor, and so forth.

I'm not going to reveal too much from that, but what I really liked about the whole concept is it just takes things to a whole another level. And if you've got retention problems and football is a top priority over martial arts and a whole bunch of other things and you're finding price wars instead of value wars of why your martial arts program is superior, then this is going to be a lot of fun and a lot of value.

So with that, welcome again, Cat.

CAT: It's great to be here, George, thanks for having me.

GEORGE: So, just for a quick two-minute intro. Just for anybody who hasn't listened to the first episode, just give us a quick rundown, who is Cat?

CAT: Well, that's a loaded question. Cat is a person who has a marketing company that focuses on helping martial arts schools with their member engagement. Member engagement is probably a lot of my contribution to the martial arts industry and helping martial arts school owners not just sign up new members, but most importantly keep those members and keep them not just coming to classes, but keep them showing up happily and referring their friends and family members to their martial arts schools.

So, a lot of what Cat is, is a little special twist on taking a look at our relationships that we have with our students and how to be able to best serve our members. Not just in a sense of giving things, but most importantly in a sense of what they're able to receive by taking part in the martial arts class. Pretty much a combination of the martial arts business along with being a martial artist myself for over 30 years and a practitioner of the arts.

Cat Zohar

This is something that I have a good sense of direction on where martial arts instructors and well-meaning school owners tend to put more emphasis in certain areas, where if they were to shift some of that focus and attention to keeping their students through different things and not just teaching great classes, but also the process of which they help them develop personally and give them that personal development aspect in their program, they could actually do a lot less recruitment than what they may believe is necessary.

In the long run, it saves them a lot of that effort that goes into the ads and goes into the marketing and goes into the arduous task of getting new sign-ups each and every day. It definitely saves a lot of gray hairs from showing.

GEORGE: Awesome. So, let's break it down. Let's start with just the problem of this. Where did things go wrong with member engagement?

CAT: If I had to pinpoint, I always use this expression, member engagement is the opposite of customer service. Customer service waits for a problem to happen, and then figures out, what could we do to make it better, fix it? Member engagement eliminates the need for customer service because we try to pre-empt whatever that problem may be and just stop it from ever forming and ever even becoming an issue.

So, member engagement truly is, almost if you had a crystal ball and you were looking into it and you were saying, if that's the path for this new student that I have, I want to be sure that that thing that I just saw come up into my vision doesn't happen. Or, if that could be the ultimate outcome for this particular student, I want to ensure that that's exactly what their experience is going to be. So, it's almost like a fortune teller, if you will, looking into the crystal ball for the life journey of a martial arts student.

The truth of the matter is, here I am, I'm going to go off on a tangent because I guarantee my instructors never would have expected the fact that I, the geeky little six-year-old girl that signed up for martial arts classes would have been as invested into martial arts training as I am today. And I think that really is a lot of what … Instructors have preconceived notions of their students when they get started and they're not always favourable.

It's like, they're going to end up dropping out, or they're not going to end up going that far. Or they put high expectations on other students, like this is a superstar, they have so much ability, I can make them so great, and then become utterly disappointed that the student decides to pull out or they take a break or stop for football, or soccer as we call it. Yeah, that gets very dejecting in the whole school owners' job role.

GEORGE: It's really hard for this is just a practicality of life, right? Your assumption of people is generally wrong. It's almost like when you run a split test for ads. You always think that's the sure winner, and then it's typically not. And same thing with people. You can have a gut feel and some intuition with, all right this person is like this. You get a good feeling about it. But then there's all these other things that are going on that you could never predict. So, you can never really accurately assume.

And assumptions could also be dangerous. I see this in sales a lot. One thing with website development, always talking with copywriting. We always ask the question, if I had to walk into your school and ask what do you do here, what would be your answer?

Sometimes the question just goes, we started in Okinawa and we did this and there's this whole tangent of stuff. And I'm like, hang on, you lost me at 1964. I'm not here anymore. Because you completely missed the point. What I'm getting to with that, it's so easy to just assume your story is going to connect with someone, or just assume that somebody's here for confidence. But there's so much more going on behind the scenes.

And want to take this, not to a crystal ball level, of course, because it's actually a practical process that you put together. So where do we go from here? If we look at member engagement and you need to lift your game. Maybe people are dropping off and other sports are taking priority, etc., where do you start this whole process within the communication with the parents, etc.?

CAT: Great question, George. And everything that you've said so far has been completely spot-on with your analysis of where people, well, what do you guys do, what do you accomplish. And I think that is exactly where most school owners drop the ball is because they want to put someone on a trial membership, or they want to get them enrolled on something. And before that they're so eager to sign them up on a program or say I got one and celebrate that success, one of the most important areas to learn about the student is day one. It's on the intake process. It's the day you ask them to fill in a liability waiver form and permission slip to try a first class with you.

This is one of my strong beliefs is that If we were to ask better questions on that intake form, and not just one of those old lists of 50 different questions about will you be living in the area for the next year or so or questions that are a little bit less relevant to the life of the student as opposed to the life circumstances of the student is really telling.

How often is it that martial arts instructor as a parent, of say a child that's five, six, seven years old, what kind of a friend is your child? Does he get along well with others? How does he participate in group activities? These seem to be very reasonable questions for a future educator, a teacher, a martial arts instructor to learn and to know, especially from a parent's perspective before they begin teaching the student.

To me it seems like common knowledge that we would take the time to ask questions about the student that we're going to be teaching so that way we know how to teach them. But I don't think it happens nearly enough.

GEORGE: Okay, so let's look at how beneficial this is. Our goal is we want to keep more students and we want to learn more clear understanding of who they are, what they really want, what are their potential personality trait. So how do we go about uncovering a better understanding and being able to use that, not just on the sign-up process, but actually to keep them engaged throughout the program? My follow-up question would then be, how do we predict the actual times, where you were saying member engagement to actually replace the customer service. How do we go about that? I'm asking that now in case it doesn't slip my mind.

CAT: I hope I remember that question when it comes around to that part of the discussion here. Great great great pack here. An assessment. I think the number one way to be able to ask parents the important questions that we need answers to is through a simple assessment. What if this assessment was, oh, I don't know, 18-questions long and ranked them in order of different priorities as far as how they showed up most powerfully in a child's life. And a parent takes this on behalf of a child, or an adult student takes it for themselves based on how they react to different situations and things.

And giving them this type of simple, very straightforward matter of fact-type questionnaire that they could quickly take and basically, you're able to then get a little bit of a profile of who this person before you is, without making too many judgements, but just based on how their personality is showing up and how other students in your martial arts school may have also related to such questions.

GEORGE: Give us an example. I'm trying to just cut in. Just give us an example. So, assessment. If you could handpick a couple of things to give us an idea of how you go about the whole profiling.

CAT: Sure. So let's say if a student has really strong perseverance. Because we know our martial arts program teaches a student perseverance. Let me backtrack one step. Let's say that all these things that we say we teach in martial arts, confidence, perseverance, indomitable spirit. All of these traits were there. And then a parent was able to say, well, I definitely see my child, as opposed to say lacking, he needs more confidence.

What if we were able to take it from a completely different perspective? What if we were able to say that my child has so much fortitude, so much perseverance. He doesn't give up and sometimes he probably should. He's the one who stays to the end, and he's trying to be everybody's friend even when other kids may not be so nice to him in return. These are real frustrations a parent may have if they're dealing with everyday life with their child. It gets me so raging mad when I see other kids taking advantage of his good nature.

And I'm sure there's people listening to this recording right now and says, oh my gosh, I've heard parents say that to me last week. And they're probably thinking of their own student body and thinking to themselves like, I have students like that. Where if somebody took their very last snack for lunch, they would not even have a problem with it or let them do it because they're not aggressive or they're not assertive enough.

So we hear these things that parents want these things for their child. They don't want them to be bullied, they don't want them to be cornered. They want them to exude, not necessarily just confidence, but also assertiveness. They want them to be able to say when enough is enough and stand up for themselves so they're not being taken advantage of, which is completely understood.

But what if a parent was able to recognize, well the fact that they have such good endurance and what if that was really more like empathy. And what if their child's empathy was one of their strongest features and that was not a bad thing. That was a good thing. And we're able to recognize that first through the questions we ask. Like, for instance, how much empathy does your child display when working with other kids or in groups? How do they share empathy with their friends at school?

These types of questions that we're asking specifically, they may say, extremely much. He gets a five on a scale of one to five, five being the highest, that's my kid all the way. So, now we have a little bit of a different understanding of what this child really has initial greatness for because that's the way his personality is showing up. That's the way he communicates on an on-going basis. That's what mom hears from the school teacher every time they have a sit-down conference.

So, these are the types of things that now that the martial arts instructor's able to say, hey, we know you want confidence, and that's going to come with our martial arts program, but we're not going to let him lose one of the strongest qualities that he has with maybe say empathy, or maybe say fortitude or one of the other types of honour. He just has such great integrity, he's not going to tell a lie and he's going to be honest if something comes down to the wire about what happened in this particular situation.

These are all really good things but sometimes can perhaps be seen as a little bit more passive or a little bit meeker. And sometimes that could also lead to some of the reasons why parents bring their kid into a karate school or martial arts program in the very first place.

So all of that being said, gives us a chance to really hone in on where the areas are that a parent says this is great, as opposed to saying, ugh, we just need more discipline in this house because he just doesn't listen to any of the rules. As opposed to focusing the attention negatively on what's lacking, we just really want to shift the conversation and focus on the beginning of a new relationship on what's already there and build on that.

GEORGE: That's awesome. So, what I was getting at then was predictability. So we know in the program, and maybe this is a question down the line, actually because we can focus more on what we've just discussed here. But to that question because we're going to push it out and we're going to forget about it. So, let's discuss it.

So, predictability. So if we think customer service, member engagement. We want to combat problems and deal with situations before they actually arise. How do we go about looking at that journey and saying okay, white to black, let's just call it that. For example, we know in the next three to five years or whatever the journey is. Longer if it's Jiu Jitsu. That's going to be the journey of the student and there's going to be some obstacles where the student's going to want to quit, lose interest, etc. How do we go about that? That's a big question.

CAT: That really is. This may be a little bit of a more lengthy response to it as well. But in all fairness with time and our listeners' schedules here, let me address that this way. There's not a roadmap in any martial arts student's journey. There's a destination where X marks the spot. And if that's black belt, we know that that's what the goal is for a student that we want as martial arts instructors to see our students achieve.

But until that goal is also the student’s goal and the parents’ goal, we have a three-way obstacle. So, we can't just be pushing someone. The student has to want it. We can't want anything for our students more than our students want it for themselves. I didn't say it, I just probably said it better. I wasn't the first person to quote that.

The truth of the matter is if our students and our parents of these students don't want black belt just as much, they're not going to get it. Part of member engagement is really listening to find out what the outcome is that a student is looking for. And make sure that we're able to not just deliver that, but find out what the next outcome is going to be as well, too.

And, through something like the assessment where we know where a person's tendency tends to be strong, we can actually say, well given this amount of fortitude that your child has, and that perseverance, we're running a boot camp session where it's going to be a four-hour training day, but he's got the makeup, he's going to be great for this. This type of rank advancement camp, or this type of workshop that we're going to do, or this intensive training for a competition team, maybe, it's going to be right up his alley. This is going to be something he's going to do so great at.

And because he has that grit, has that perseverance that he's showing naturally, that it's there, it's within him, that's something now that we can take and expand over the course of yellow belt, green belt, blue belt, purple belt, red belt, black belt, and make that grow with him.

A parent comes in, they want confidence, we show them confidence. They say thank you very much, have a great day. We were able to do that in two weeks, that was worth it. And then you're done. But wait a minute. Because we tried to show up with something that wasn't necessarily already there. We tried to show them or give them something that we were able to throw at them or help them develop or help them gain. But we negated the fact that they already came prepared with something.

And that greatness they came prepared with is going to get us so much longer of a road to be able to work with and to be able to naturally appeal to what it is the child's already doing well at. And the parent recognizes, already on board with, keyword. They're already in alignment that yes, this is one of the greatnesses in their child. This is something they'd really excel at. You tell me what parent wants their child to fail and just fail miserably in anything that they do? And then, not only want them to fail miserably at what they do, wants them to do that consistently for about three to five years.

No. We make this into such a struggle, and that's where so many disconnects are going on with martial arts school owners because they see things as this is our curriculum, this is the way it has to be, this is everything that needs to be taught. But sometimes they miss the fact that, well, the student's probably not going to be ready for that after just two classes, six classes, eight classes. Every student is not identical. But the instruction was so great, they're always going to be ready that way. That isn't necessarily the case, either.

So, by giving them the proper instruction where we recognize areas of greatness. Let's say, perseverance, for one. They're able to then now suggest, with confidence, hey, our competition team requires a lot of perseverance from our competitors and it takes a little bit of commitment on the parents' part, too. So, I'm guessing if your kid has all that perseverance, you probably have a little bit of it up your sleeve, too. So, we're going to recommend that he gives try-outs a chance. Is that something you'd be interested in? Because he looks like he's got a lot of talent and a lot of ability to grow with that.

And they say yes, great. And now this is something that's able to move them in the direction of continuing on. So, it isn't necessarily just setting the goal of black belt, but also giving them something that does resonate with them. And that is worthy of their journey.

So how do we overcome and take the predictions with a crystal ball and different things and the membership process where a student may want to stop or may want to take a break? You always refer back to what the initial goodness was in their child from the start. And recognizing that. And recognizing where they're going with that. And recognizing the progress that that area's making.

Not so much about the areas of efficiency, but more so about the areas of progress and about the areas of growth. Not only was he great at something like this when he came in, but look at how much better he's getting at it. And wow, do you see how that transfers over for now to A, B, and C.

Sometimes it's kind of funny. Martial arts instructors want to get to 100%. Say this is 100% right here, and they say, well the best way to get to 100% is not to go from the 98 percentile to make it 2% higher and get there, but what's the area where it's like two, four, six per cent. The area that's 4%, I want to start here and really make it go all the way up. Why such an uphill battle? If the goal is to get to 100%, I want to find out where are we at 90. I don't want to have to go 100 degrees to be able to get there, I want a student to be able to go from 95, 96 and there we are. Look at what we just did.

But it's just an easier way to be able to show people. And then most importantly, instil that type of success in our students through the journey that they also enjoy the process. Sometimes it's counterintuitive what's easiest to be able to deliver with our programs.

GEORGE: So, there are two paths, really. There's the linear path, and then there's the personalized path. The linear path is, yep, there's some bumps in the road and we know that typically when a student goes from this to this, there's a drop off. Or this type of season might affect it. Or change in school, going into teams, all these things. So that's sort of the linear path of the constants that you can predict.

But then what you can't predict and what we're talking about here is focusing on the higher-level, the outcome, the individual path of the student. Where are they at in their journey? So taking it to that point, it's almost like saying, all right, here's the outcome that we want. Here's the outcome that the individual wants. That's what they want. Here's martial arts. How do we form the glue? What's the glue that's going to keep these two together.

And when Johnny here goes off-path, and loses sight, now we can sort of come back and say okay, Johnny wanted to be here, how is that going. Well, you're not there yet. Okay. So let's backtrack on that. So sometimes, it can be also, I guess, reminding of where they're at and what they actually wanted and are they there yet. What's your take on that?

CAT: Evaluation and communication always has to be part of the growth process, period. So, recognizing where a student begins, recognizing where a student is somewhere after a belt promotion, maybe. Having sit downs with parents and open communication about how the program's working in their life. These are all real, important parts of keeping engagement strong with your members.

And of course, any type of relationship is going to have its ups and its downs. It's not always smooth sailing 100% of the time. Isn't that the way the saying goes? It's the turbulence or it's the rocky waves that create the proficient sailor? It's not the calm waters that create the experienced sailor. And remembering that and recognizing that with parents when they come in. It's like, oh, this is a perfect opportunity for us to be able to really, truly express to little Billy here that this is part of the road of life, and we're going to work through this together. And getting him through that period or that experience. So, yeah, definitely.

But also recognizing that so often if there's a problem, their teachers are going to address it like, she just won't keep her hands to herself, she touches and smacks the kid next to her all the time and who cares that he keeps pulling her hair, but she needs to learn to keep her hands to herself. Whatever the situation is.

So often parents are just used to hearing what's wrong, what's broken, what's not right with this particular incident. How can they “fix their kid?” We've got to just recognize from the start when parents come in that there's nothing wrong with their kid and not to assume that there's something wrong with their kid. But, instead, assume that you're here, for what? To just do better at being who you are, right?

I don't want to change you when you come in for martial arts classes. And I think this is where we really have a disconnect a lot of times with the enrolment process. Because somehow, martial arts instructors get this idea that in order for me to do well at my job, I have to completely transform and change who you are as a person, or make you into something completely different than what you are. I don't think that's what parents want, either.

Just because they come in with a concern or a problem or a reason, doesn't mean that reason needs to be 100% of the focus of the entire relationship on-going. To refer back to say, he didn't have confidence, now he does. I'm a superstar, stay with me for the next six, seven, eight years, that's not necessarily the path to success. But, instead, recognizing since your child is so great with A, B, C, since your child does so good already with this particular element, I know he's going to find a lot of success with this and this and this. In fact, this is the reason why our instructor over here, Mr. Jojo or whatever his name is, is doing what he's going today teaching classes. Because he was quite similar.

So, recognizing that the process to growth isn't always the path of most resistance, but instead the least resistance. And recognizing areas of personal development that we could see for ourselves as martial arts instructors.

When I talk to school owners, I'm always amazed sometimes when I hear them express that I know this student's going to be getting ready to quit. Or I'll even ask them a question, who's the next student in your martial arts school that's going to quit? And they give me a name. I'm like, wait a minute, stop right there. You have a name of somebody who's going to quit in your mind. What have you done to prevent that? Nothing. I'm just waiting for it to happen.

I know if I take my vitamins every day I'm not going to get a cold, but when I feel a cold coming on, and I know a cold is coming on and I say, nah, no vitamin C. I'm not going to take any orange juice, I'm not going to have anything to help combat that in any way. I'm not going to make sure my diet's clean this week. No. No, I'm just going to let it happen. It's almost like saying, what's wrong with you?

I'm asking all the listeners to this recording right now. All three of you out there. One, two, and whoever else is listening to this right now. I'm asking you, please ask yourself that difficult question. Who's your next student to quit. And then whatever name comes to mind, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to do differently? Because if you were going to do the same thing, we already know what the outcome is, you're going to be right. Congratulations, you're going to be right again.

But none of the times where a student says that they're going to quit is it completely always, I never saw that coming. It's usually they missed a class, they missed two classes. This happened. Or we hear a little bit of a soft tell. Oh, well we're running into some problems at school. I hope he can keep his grades up. We hear a different type of tune about it. We hear different things about it all the time.

So, instead, a parent comes in says, we're running into some problems at school, we're going to have to stop karate so he can focus on schoolwork. Well, when has that ever been known to help? When has that ever been known to actually fix the schoolwork? So he's going to spend all his time with the tutor then? Actually, helping him excel at something that he's great at, like, I don't know, martial arts classes, is going to be great for his confidence to continue while he tries to improve at school. So, we're going to take the one thing he's struggling the most right now and make that 100% of his concentration and focus?

How would a parent do with that? If you were to say to a parent, let's just go ahead and tell you the only thing you could do 100% of the time is work on that one project you've been procrastinating on for the last year. How are they going to feel about that? Their reactions probably going to be about the same. Yeah, everybody needs a healthy outlet. Everybody needs some way to be able to feel good. So, we just recognize where that shows up. I hope that helps.

GEORGE: So, look, we've been talking a lot of big-picture ideas, big concepts. I want to quickly make this super practical. Because it's one thing when we did the thing for our Partners, Retention by Design, we broke it down as in a process. Let's be real. Maybe this is a simple conversation or simple listening for a lot of people. But for a lot of school owners this might be next level of the head. It's like, all right, I get the concept, but now what. How do I actually make a thing?

So you've made it really practical in a way of going from assessment to actually identifying the, I say personality trait, but the greatness, their inner greatness. And that whole concept as in a process. So, walk us through how that works. How do you go about it?

Cat Zohar

CAT: That's a really tough question to verbalize since it's so heavily based on visual aids. And unfortunately, I don't have my brochure with me right now. But one of the things that is really important is after we take the assessment, we do an evaluation on the assessment. And the assessment's easily broken down into six different categories, or six different areas. And each one has a rank of up to five points per section.

And basically, what we're looking for is out of three areas, which I refer to as our centralized qualities, we also have three contributing qualities. Every centralized quality is going to get matched with one contributing quality. And when these two come together, a centralized quality and a contributing quality, they make a butterfly. We call these butterfly themes. Each student has a unique butterfly theme. And there's nine different butterfly themes a student could actually fall under.

These particular themes aren't my creation as far as how they show up, but instead, science. It's different learning styles. It's the way that students learn best or tend to do best in certain environments. Some students tend to do better visually. Some students tend to do better by hearing the instructions broken down step by step by step. Other students do better when they actually get to demonstrate or physically participate.

So based on what a person's learning style is, we then are able to kind of direct or guide how we go about teaching the classes, how we go about instilling confidence in that student and for whatever their path is. And basically, use this as a little bit of a tool to be able to leverage what recommendations we make for this students' martial arts journey.

So, really after we have their butterfly theme figured out, the next step is for us to be able to communicate that with the parent and then give the parent some ways that this is going to benefit their child at home, too. So, when it comes down to cleaning up their room when they're asked, what's the best approach to get them. What's the best way to give that direction for the child? We're not just going to say it's always this way.

No. Instead, we're going to take it based on how their personality shows up and then recognize what kind of learner they are. And then from that be able to clearly and confidently share with the parent, one of the best ways for you to be able to coach your child, like we do here in the martial arts school in the art of personal development. And it's to give them this command for cleaning up their room. And them recognizing when it happens, that this was done by the process of what. Where their natural greatness tends to fall in.

It really helps you incorporate the martial arts that you teach at your martial arts school with parenting martial arts in a sense that they're able to give out to utilizing the same type of information that we just uncovered based on the assessment for them as well.

GEORGE: Awesome. So, I think here's what we're going to do. We could talk about this forever. it's a lengthy topic, so I want to be respectful of your time. I think here's what we're going to do. If you're listening to this podcast, you're going to have to head over to martialartsmedia.com and find this episode. We have not really planned this, so this will potentially be the worst presentation.

CAT: What are we doing here, George?

GEORGE: This is potentially the worst attempt at a cool offer. If you are still intrigued, listen on. So, we're going to put together something that you can take the assessment and you can implement this whole process in your business from front to back. And head to where the episode is. Just look for Cat Zohar on martialartsmedia.com.

We haven't worked out the details, which is why I'm saying this is probably the worst attempt at a sales offer on a podcast, ever. But the cool part about it is, if what we've spoken about is cool, if you have problems with your retention. If you know that understanding a student's true greatness is going to be super beneficial to understanding how that works.

And to make it in a practical way that you don't have to be a genius with a crystal ball to and really figure things out, but to have a practical sort of step-by-step way of going about it. Then, head over to this episode. We'll have a link where you can access more details. I think we'll shoot a quick video just to give a bit of a breakdown on what that actually is and how that works. How was that?

CAT: Yeah, sure. Sounds great. We'll give the assessment to anybody who wants to take it. So, if this has piqued your interest at all, good. Take the assessment. We'll send you back what your evaluation comes back as and have a conversation about your results. I think that sounds great.

GEORGE: We should ask. Where can people find out more about you and more about all this what you've got going on? And thanks for being on, again, Cat.

CAT: My pleasure. I love being able to share with martial arts community. This is where I grew up and this is where I plan to stay. This is my livelihood, so whatever I'm able to do to help martial arts school owners around the world is truly a good passion of mine and I'm happy to help any way I can in that way.

Best ways to learn about me are either my website CatZohar.com that has the links to all the different creations that my mind comes up with. There's BeginnerMinds.com too, which is the program we're discussing. Any of those sites are the best way to keep tabs on me. Or of course send me a Facebook friend request if you watch this and I'll be happy to connect with you over social media as well.

GEORGE: Awesome. Cool, cat. That sounds cool when you say it like that. Thanks for being on.

CAT: Why, thank you.

GEORGE: Thanks again for being on. As I mentioned, you can check out, obviously, all of Cat's websites. Catzohar.com and BeginnerMinds.com and we'll put together something special for you guys as a podcast listener. So, head over to the website, check that out, martialartsmedia.com. Cat, it's been great having you on again. Always great speaking to you and I'll speak to you again soon.

CAT: You too, George. Awesome. Thank you

GEORGE: Cheers.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with another top, smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

79 – A Different Approach To Running Self-Defence Courses For Corporates

Dave Friedman takes a unique approach for sharing his passion for running Krav Maga based self-defence courses for corporates.

.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • What is personal safety really
  • About Live Safe Education, which aims to teach a spectrum of self-protection strategies to schools, companies, and businesses
  • How not to be more vulnerable or prone to becoming a victim of a crime
  • The advantages of learning self-defence and self-protection techniques in the workforce 
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

No matter how good you are, no matter what degree of black belt or dan you might be in your martial arts, if in the moment you freeze, and you're unable to physically act, it doesn't matter how good you are.

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie, and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. Today, I am joined with Dave Friedman.

Dave Friedman, he's going to do the official, good intro, but he's from Krav Maga Australia, and something we're also going to talk about today is Live Safe, which is their company based on personal safety, and working with corporates and schools. Welcome to the call, Dave.

DAVE: Thanks, George. We appreciate you having me on.

GEORGE: Yeah, cool. This is the first time I actually have a South African guest on the podcast, other than myself, which is pretty cool.

DAVE: So now there are two accents that people won't understand.

GEORGE: Two accents, and I mean, we're not as good as the Kiwis, because apparently we're second best in the world. I don't know how that stat works. And I don't know why the Kiwis got it. It's not like they already have the All Blacks, you know? They have the All Blacks and now they've got the best accent as well. But anyway.

DAVE: That's right.

GEORGE: Yes, so I hope you can decipher the two accents. Well, I guess you're used to one, so now you've got two. Awesome, Dave. Thanks for being on.

I guess, just to kick off, if you can give sort of a bit of a background, just I guess also your background, all the way from South Africa; how you ended up in Australia, and then what you do in the martial arts space.

DAVE: Sure. I'm from Cape Town in South Africa, which is the good part of South Africa. I grew up doing judo as a kid, I represented my province, which is the equivalent of my state, up until about the age of 10. I then actually took quite a break from martial arts. I focused on soccer, I played soccer at quite a high level. And about the age of 18, 19, I got back into martial arts through Muay Thai and through Krav Maga.

So I trained quite a lot of Muay Thai, I competed in a few tournaments in South Africa, in Cape Town. At the same time, I was also training Krav Maga. I've been teaching Krav Maga since 1997, so 22, 23 years now, more so on the side. It wasn't my main, professional form of income, up until about a year ago.

I moved from Cape Town to Melbourne in 2008 with my wife. Most reasons, obviously just crime was on the up in South Africa. Also, more so for education, in terms of starting a family and just wanting my kids to be in a better education system. I've now got two boys, both born in Australia; a nine year old, and a six and a half year old. They both train at my Krav Maga school with me as well. So the bigger they get, the more nervous I get.

And yeah, so been in Australia, now teaching Krav Maga full time. And as mentioned, we've got two companies. Our first company is called Live Safe Education, and that does most of our work in schools and in corporate or businesses, where we teach a spectrum of self-protection, or personal safety, not just self-defense. And then Live Safe Education also owns a Krav Maga Dojo called Krav Maga Australia.

There, we have about 120 students currently, growing. We've owned Krav Maga Australia for seven months, and we've doubled the student base in that time. So we've gone from 70, from about 65 to 120 in seven months and still growing, which is great. We run kids and adult classes there, 11 sessions a week. And then during the workday, we focus on the schools and the corporates under the Live Safe banner.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. So I'm going to backtrack here, and I might have spoken a bit about this, but because … and we've got listeners from the United States, from New Zealand, a lot in Australia as well. Give a bit of context. I mean, it's always good for me to say Australia is great, but for different reasons that other people might see. And I think when people live here, it's easy to complain about minor things. Whereas when you come from a different perspective, you see things with different eyes.

DAVE: Sure.

GEORGE: What is your take? How different is it for you living in Australia versus South Africa?

DAVE: Look very, different. In South Africa, I think the difference being in South Africa, crime is literally or can be around the corner at any time. Whether you're at home, whether you're out having a coffee, or having a meal, walking in the street. There is a 24/7 concern of crime, and therefore, the average person growing up in South Africa, you have this 24/7 always a level of concern.

If you talk about Cooper's Color Code of Situational Awareness, he was a sergeant in the American army which came up with these color codes. He speaks about code white, yellow, red and black. Code white being where you're just oblivious, your situational awareness is almost at zero, and you're unaware of what's happening around you. And that's how many Australians live, because thankfully, we can afford to live like that. And that's one reason why we live here.

In South Africa, everybody is constantly in a code yellow at least, and code red at certain times. So you're never fully relaxed. You're always aware that, at any time, something could happen. When you stop at a red traffic light, you're looking for someone coming to carjack you. When you're getting out your car, you park in a spot, you first look up, you make sure there's no one close by, and then you get out of your car. Every part of your life in South Africa is governed by the constant threat of crime.

Although the concern or worry about crime in Australia is on the up at the moment, it's still nowhere near the levels of South Africa. Unfortunately … well not fortunately or unfortunately, but your average Australian is more often than not in that code white in terms of the level of situational awareness, which makes them more vulnerable, or prone to becoming a victim of crime, whether it be a very low level crime, like a mugging, or having something stolen, or something more severe.

Self-Defence Courses

Whereas what we do at Live Safe is just try and give people some very basic strategies and techniques, without affecting their daily life, but just where they can be close to that code yellow, particularly in transitional spaces, where they are more prone to becoming a victim of crime, in order to keep themselves safe from both the physical, but also the psychological aspects of becoming a victim of crime.

GEORGE: Yeah, cool. So we will definitely dive a bit deeper into that, but I was speaking to one of my friends the other day, and now if you bring this up, it's sort of … and I don't know if I'm accurate in saying it this way, but something when you grow up in South Africa and you're talking about the situational awareness, it is a different thing. I know it took me a couple of years to really drop my guard, until they broke into our house at the end of last year.

Now that situational awareness is right back where it was, but it's a different type of way of life. As you say, you're always assessing, you're always judging, you're always looking why you're standing there, why are you doing this? What's your intention? You're always trying to summarize a situation. And something that, when I grew up in South Africa, you'd never hear of things like you hear in Australia, like the king-hit. You know, where people get punched and they just … they die.

I've always thought about that, like is that just because, well, I mean, I'm used to just the report they live off crime, which also is a whole another story. But partly, the discussion came about, is it that when you grow up in a situational … like in a country where crime is not that on the forefront, that a king-hit catches you off-guard that you actually stumble down and die, whereas when people are more aware of their situation, it's less likely to happen. What are your thoughts on that, Dave?

DAVE: Great. No, I think again, In South Africa, because you … and again, one reason why we left there is because you have this natural level of aggression, concern, suspicion, and that's your base norm to anybody you meet or see, almost until proven otherwise.

Where I think in Australia, your base norm is that everyone's a good mate and a good bloke, and just wants to have a drink with you, and therefore, the person who is on that extra level of aggression, whether it be mental health, personality, drug-induced, or alcohol-induced … it isn't the assumed position. So yes, you're walking out of a club and you bump shoulders with somebody, in South Africa, you actually both turn around and you kind of make sure that there's no escalation, and then you turn and leave.

Here, you don't think about it. You keep leaving, and the next thing, if the person you bumped into turns around, and just king-hits you from behind, and you're taken completely by surprise, because the average Australian doesn't think that that's actually a possibility to happen. So they're not aware of it, so they're not taking that extra step to maybe just look over their shoulder, and just look at the reaction of the person you bumped into, as innocent as it may be, before actually determining that, “Yes, there's no concern. Yeah, I could carry on walking.”

It's small things like that. We're not saying you need big, impactful things to your life, but if you do bump into someone by mistake, just look over your shoulder, have a half a second look. Even if you smile, put your hand up and go, “Sorry, mate.” It doesn't affect your life, but it just gives you that ability to make a quick analysis, “Is there something going escalate here that I need to maybe take some sort of preventative action, or can I just carry on?” It's half a second, but it can make a big difference, as you've as you mentioned.

GEORGE: Yeah. That's awesome. Well, let's dive a bit more into something you mentioned before we spoke, which I found kind of fascinating, as in the differentiation in the definition of what you do. Where most people approaching corporates go the self-defense aspect, and they promote their-

DAVE: It's correct.

GEORGE: …as self-defense. You've chosen to go the opposite, which is personal safety. What's the reason behind that?

DAVE: Right. So number one, again, obviously just with my background, growing up was Africa and having these natural intuitions. What I never said earlier is that when I was working professionally before teaching Krav Maga, I was in the security environment, and particularly sort of high-level counter-terrorism security. Again, even when you're consulting on counter-terrorism, you're not consulting on what to do when there's a gunman inside your venue, you want to know what can you do to prevent the gunman getting into your venue in the first place. 

I say, “Avoidance and prevention, which is much better than the cure.” So I take that, my learnings, that analogy from counter-terrorism, combine it with my self-defense skills, and now I teach what we call personal safety. So we've come up with what we call the Live Safe model of personal safety, which talks about avoidance, prevention, effective escape.

That's what we teach people, so it's not just about self-defense. Yes, we need to learn how to punch and kick and defend ourselves from being held or grabbed or whatever, but we never ever want to use it. On one hand, I strongly believe in learning self-defense, because the confidence you gain from learning self-defense is very often enough to ensure that you don't become a victim of crime, because knowing you can defend yourself, you actually portray this aura of confidence that doesn't make you an easy victim.

But even before that, we want to talk about avoidance and prevention, so that we never have to even think about self-defense in the first place. So I can zoom in on each of those quickly.

GEORGE: Yeah, please.

DAVE: We talk about avoidance. So avoidance, we talk about making safe decisions in the first place. That can be something as simple as you're getting ready to leave the work day, it's 16:35, 17:30, sun's down. You've got a 20 minute walk to the train station, it's dark. Before you leave work, just lift your head up and ask your colleagues, is anybody else leaving in the next few minutes? If someone leaving in two, three minutes, hang back, take the three minutes, walk together in a group. It's just safer than walking by yourself.

Self-Defence Courses

You're going for an exercise, run or a walk in the mornings or evenings when it's dark. You have an option between a dark, unpopulated park, or a well-lit populated streets, take the well-lit populated streets. It might not seem like the best choice at that time, because you're late, you're urgent, we've all got to rush somewhere, the three minutes through the park is quicker at the time, but it's not the safe decision.

So in safe decision, we talk about avoid potentially dangerous environments altogether. Stay in a group, stay in well-lit areas, no matter what might seem pressing at that time. And the way I talk about it is always think of the two extremes of either choice.

Now hopefully, you never come to any extreme, but if the extreme is something happens to me, the park and instead of being five minutes late, I'm in hospital, versus staying in a populated area and I'm 15 minutes late, nevermind five minutes late … which of those two consequences would I prefer to deal with afterwards? And I would hope to think that being 15 minutes late is an easier consequence to deal with than being a hospital. And as I said, dealing with not only the physical, but also the psychological aspects of being involved in a crime. So that's where we talk about avoidance, making a safe decision to avoid an unsafe or a potentially dangerous situation altogether.

Under prevention, we talk about, if you can't avoid an environment altogether, at least have increased situational awareness that will allow you to make an early decision. And that can be simple things, again, these things don't have to impact your life. It can be just listening to gut-feel. So you are walking down the street, you see three, four guys walking towards you. Maybe you can see by body language, you can see they're maybe a bit intoxicated or affected by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, whatever it is. You just get that intuition, “Something doesn't feel, I don't feel safe.”

Why walk past them with a sense of saying, “Oh, I hope they don't hurt me.” Just cross the road, walk into a shop. Let them walk past you. Just make a safe decision, or an early decision to avoid becoming a victim of crime within an environment you can't necessarily avoid altogether. But you cannot make an early decision without situational awareness. And obviously, the biggest killer to date of situational awareness is our smartphones. When we walk and looking at our phones, we need to understand that we have zero to no situational awareness at that stage, and we are more prone to becoming a victim of crime. I'm going to talk about this further. I can talk a lot about this.

GEORGE: Yeah, man. It's great, and yeah, so the last one, effective escape.

DAVE: Yeah, that's great.

GEORGE: That's correct, yeah?

DAVE: And then effective escape means that if I'm either about to be or in a situation where I have become a victim of crime, then it's about an effective escape. And that word effective escape is very important, because if I'm by myself and I back my martial arts … never when I'm by myself, I'm pretty fit and active. I know that if someone's trying to attack me, maybe I can give them one kick or one punch. I can slow them down for a few seconds, and I can turn and run and get to safety.

But if I'm with my six year old kid, I can't run so fast. So maybe one little kick and running away, what am I going to do? Leave my six year old kid behind? My mother-in-law? Maybe we can discuss that, but my six year old kid? No. And I make that joke, my mother-in-law's listening. It's just a joke.

GEORGE: Love you, mother-in-law.

DAVE: If you're with your wife, if you're with your partner, if you're with your mother, if you're with your kids, you can't run so fast. The last thing you want to do is pick up your kid and run, but being chased now, and be caught by a potential criminal, three, four, 5 minutes later, when you're exhausted, and now you can't fight, and now you've got to deal with a fight.

That might take maybe one, two strikes, three strikes, four strikes. It might be putting him on the ground and sit on him until the police arrive, until backup arrives to assist you. But that is your effective escape, because running may not be an option for you, depending on your environment, who you're with, how far you are from a safe venue.

Escape has a whole range itself. It could be a distraction technique, it could be throwing something behind them and you running in one direction, because you're by yourself and you're a good runner. But it could be full strikes and techniques and everything else to go to full restraints on the ground, because there is no other effective way to escape. So an effective escape is a really important aspect of that.

GEORGE: Love it. That's awesome. Cool, Dave. A couple of questions, just steering towards our business owner listeners over here. So Live Safe, now, I really like how you define the personal safety aspect. What is typically your foot in the door with corporates, and how do you go about approaching them?

Thank you. Yeah. Thankfully, a lot of corporates are now coming to us, which is obviously great. What's interesting is they come to us for one of two reasons, either because they have decided there's a need for increased staff-wellness, and more and more so, staff wellbeing and staff-wellness is becoming a bigger priority for companies, and that's obviously good for us. That involves both companies assisting their staff with mental wellness, as well as physical wellness, and one impacts the other. We can talk about that as well.

So sometimes, it's a company that says, “We want to do this for our staff.” Whether it be as a general concept, and might be … We did a session last week as the company was having a staff-wellness week. As part of their staff-wellness week, they brought us in for one session, along with whatever other activities they did for their staff in that week. We did a session for the Sussan Group, which is quite a big retail clothing group, with the head office in Melbourne. And there, that actually came to us because their staff are 97% female, and their staff approached the manager of HR saying, “We don't feel safe walking to or from work. Is there something the company can do for us, or facilitate us doing some sort of training?”

DAVE: The company then researched a number of self-defense companies. They came across us, and again, they phoned a number of companies, but we're the only company they actually brought in for an interview, and ultimately got the work, purely based on the fact that we're the only company that spoke about the overall model of personal safety, and not just self-defense.

Self-Defence Courses

I think that's really important, that's what companies want. They don't just want to know that their staff can punch and kick, but they want to know that their staff can avoid becoming victims of crime through non-physical strategies and techniques that they can implement, and obviously, it has a range of benefits to staff members: confidence, empowerment, physical confidence, also helps with mental wellbeing, and mental confidence. It comes with loyalty to companies, staff know the companies are looking out for them, that they build loyalty amongst their staff members. And certainly, it has, even though it's not primary, it has a really good team building aspect.

When you have a number of staff from different divisions, different levels of seniority, all doing something for the first time, I'd know who's who, I'd know who's the janitor, or who's the CEO. I'd see the faces in front of me, and suddenly, they're all doing something at the same time, our sessions are very fun. If you look at some of our videos, there's always laughter and they're enjoying it. It's serious, but we learn it in a fun way to make sure that our participants enjoy being there.

Obviously, if you enjoy doing something, you're always more open to learning more of it. And we get a lot of positive feedback about how our sessions help increase general team building, staff engagement among staff that maybe work inside the different divisions, or departments that don't ordinarily talk to each. But suddenly now in the coffee room, they have something common to talk about and laugh about the next day or the next week. So that's kind of a side benefit for our clients as well.

GEORGE: That's awesome, because you're touching with some of the aspects there. I guess it comes down to the whole sell them what they want and give them what they need. Because most people … in my mind, because we do a lot of Facebook marketing for schools and just general marketings, and campaigns and copy, and it's like different exercises and things. We've got a group we call Partners, which is a group of school owners I work with, and we always sort of testing different ideas and things. You're talking, I'm like, in my mind, I'm thinking of different approaches that really go well, but I mean, I think the typical approach for a school owner would always be, can your staff defend yourself? Can they defend themselves?

But let's face it; that brings up a lot of resistance in a lot of people, because, “Ah, I don't want to fight. I don't want to punch people. I don't want to …” That it could be that whole mindset, that whole frame of thinking. Whereas, does your staff feel safe walking home at night? … is a whole completely different story. How you would combat that is the same avenue, but how you defined it is just, sets a whole different tone.

DAVE: Good, absolutely. And again, what we do, and I mentioned the example of walking down the street and just seeing a group of people that make you feel uneasy, and you walk into a shop across the road. Or asking some staff members before you leave, “Is anybody leaving soon?” These are very simple, basic things which they don't affect or significantly affect your life in any way. You said it to people, and you can kind of see the bells going off at the top of their head going, “But that's so simple.” But it is simple. And security doesn't have to be rocket science, or personal safety isn't rocket science. It's just a matter of having someone put it in your head, and these are things that can be very easily implemented.

I talked a lot about, obviously Melbourne, there's a lot of trams, and there's a number of incidents across Melbourne where people get attacked or sexually abused or whatever, on trams, because very often, you're on tram with a group of people, and if you towards the end of the tram stops, very often there's women who are situation where they're one-on-one on a tram with one other passenger. And if you read all the case studies again, all the time they say, “Yes, the passenger, he made me feel uneasy. 

It was the way he was looking at me, or maybe I could see he had mental health issues. The way he was talking to himself or shouting or swearing, or even getting angry and engaging the other passengers.” So then as the tram's getting emptier and emptier and emptier, again, if your head's not buried in your phone, but you have the situational awareness of going, “I can see that he's … not is, but potentially, or has the potential to become a problem.” Don't wait for a problem to manifest itself.

But if you can see that the potential is there for it to maybe, and definitely not, but may become a problem going forward, don't put yourself in a situation where either something may happen. Or even if it doesn't, if you feel vulnerable, no one deserves that, that feeling of vulnerability. So as people are getting off the tram, make an early decision. Whereas getting down to just three or four of you left on the tram, get off early. It doesn't matter if it's three, four, five stops prior to your stop. Don't be in a situation where you're one-on-one on that tram, just in case you are that 0.000001% of the person who might be attacked or abused. Now, to you, it's another percentage, but tell anybody who is that 0.000001%, how they feel, and it's their 100%.

So get off the tram early, wait for the next tram. Be 15 minutes late, take an Uber, spend an extra 10 or 15, $20, whatever it is. But it's an early safe decision to make, to avoid a situation. Even if it's not guaranteed, but potential, why be there? Why have even the possibility of becoming violent? Get off two stops early, three stops early. Find another way home. There's enough options out there for you. It's just having that situational awareness of being able to … 

I call it Analyze, Evaluate and Act. Analyze your environment, analyze the situation, analyze what's happening in front of you. Make an evaluation, threat or no threat. Danger or no danger. Danger, potential danger or no danger. And once you've made that evaluation, then act upon that, and make the safe, responsible early decision under that and act. So we're talking about Analyze, Evaluate and Act.

GEORGE: Awesome, love it. So just quickly, before we start sort of wrapping it up, if you had advice for any school owners that would think, all right, they want to start running self-defense-type programs for different corporates in their area, how would you go about starting the whole journey?

Self-Defence Courses

DAVE: I think similar to what we do at Live Safe, and obviously, our actual self-defense teaching is around the Krav Maga model, and through our Krav Maga Australia School. But don't just think of your striking, your punches, your kicks, even your releases from chokes, your holds and that kind of stuff as personal safety. That's an aspect of it. But also think of everything around it and what value-add you can give to people, almost un-sell your own product. 

Say, “I want to teach you self-defense, or I can teach you self-defense, but more importantly, I want to teach you how to never have to use self-defense in the first place.” Because if you're involved in a fight, somebody's going to lose. Somebody gets hurt, it's as simple as that. In a fight, somebody gets hurt. You just hope it's the other person, less so than you. And even if you win the fight, you might still get hurt. And there's still psychological effects after that as well.

It's a matter of what can we do beforehand to avoid ever having to be in a fight, but also, what can we do afterwards? You know that effective escape means running to safety, well, how do you define what is a safe place to run to? Or why are you walking? Are you constantly assessing what is the nearest safe place for you? Is it an open shop? Is it your house or a friend's house that might be nearby? 

If something were to happen now, where would you run? So there's this thinking in the moment, the more you can just have it sort of front of mind, or just in our subconscious, generally the less thinking there is. And we all know, when the actual event happens, and the adrenaline dump hits, and the stress level is increased, and the heart rate increases, our ability to think and make judgment calls becomes harder and harder.

So the more we plan for these and prepare for these, the easier we are to make a safe and responsible decision in the moment. But it's also about avoiding that moment. And also again, when we focused on, and both very much in our Krav Maga Australia the school, whenever we teach techniques, we don't only talk about the physical aspects of the street fights, but we also talk about the psychological aspects of the street fight. 

So as owners, do your research. What happens to the body when you experience an adrenaline dump? What are the effects that you have? Things like the elevated heart rate, the tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, the time slowing down, et cetera. What actually happens to the person, and how can we train to counteract those things?

It doesn't matter how good you are at any martial art. People ask me, “What's the best martial art in the world?” I'll say, “Whichever one you train the most.” It's simple, whichever one you train the most, whichever is your muscle memory and go-to, that's the best martial art. It's simple as that. But no matter how good you are, no matter what degree of black belt or dan you might be in any martial arts, if in the moment you freeze and you're unable to physically act, it doesn't matter how good you are.

So we also have to train the psychological aspect of not … making sure we don't go into that freeze mode, and we are in the fight mode, that we can fight. It might be a psychological fight or a mental fight, but we have to train our students in how to realistically understand and cope with what might happen to them in a street fight, in terms of them talking about their personal safety when they're not inside the gym. And therefore, so that they can deal with the psychological aspect in order to enable their physical training to actually be useful in that moment.

And that, to me, is a lot of surprise drills, high-heart elevation drills, et cetera. We do a lot of work, we'll train techniques in our gym, for example, we might train a technique on a choke release, whether it be someone's got one hand or two hands around your neck and they're choking you. We'd go through the technique, we'd train it, slowly. Then we train it at a bit more of a faster pace, and then we'll always do a surprise exercise. So eyes closed, and you don't quite know exactly when that choke's going to come on. 

Or we make them turn the lights off in the dojo, we make our students just walk around the dojo with 10, 15, 20 other people on the mats, and at some point, one of them suddenly going to just put the choke on them. It's a matter of trying to deal with the element of surprise and how quick they can go through that, Analyze, Evaluate and Act loop, to get to action, have a good, quick reaction and get out of it before they get into that freeze mode.

GEORGE: All right. Dave, that was really good. That was really helpful. You've got such a lot of cool little one-liners as snippets from this, from this interview. If somebody wants to hire you or perhaps get your advice on this, how can people get a hold of you? And how should they get in touch?

DAVE: All right, thanks, George. Yes, we do have the two websites, so for Live Safe, the website is livesafe.org.au. And for the Krav Maga Australia, it's kravmagaoz, K-R-A-V-M-A-G-A-O-Z.com.au are the two different websites, or on my phone number, 0424 184 618.

And again, as you say, it'd be nice if anybody wants to sort of hire us as a client, but again, unfortunately, my passion for teaching personal safety outweighs my passion for business. I'm more than happy to offer any advice, any tips that I have, both to other school owners or just to members of the public. Don't be shy, give me a call. I'm more than happy to offer whatever knowledge and assistance in whatever way I'm able to add value. I'm more than happy to.

GEORGE: That's awesome. Yeah, and if you're listening and you got great value out of this and it's spearheading perhaps a portion of your business that you've been trying to get going, yeah, do just reach out to Dave, even if it's just to say, “Hey, thanks. Thanks for the tips.” And yeah, that'd be great. Awesome. Dave, thanks again for being on. 

DAVE: George, appreciate you having me.

GEORGE: Yeah, you're welcome.

DAVE: Thanks, George, appreciate it.

GEORGE: Yeah, and good to have a similar sounding accent on board.

DAVE: Yeah, absolutely. I've got-

GEORGE: It means a lot.

DAVE: I could be at home.

GEORGE: Exactly. Awesome. Speak soon.

DAVE: Great. Thanks, George.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with another top, smart martial arts school owners, and have a chat about marketing, lead generation, what's working now, or just have a gentle rant about things that are happening in the industry, then I want to invite you to join our Facebook group.

It's a private Facebook group and in there, I share a lot of extra videos and downloads and worksheets – the things that are working for us when we help school owners grow and share a couple of video interviews and a bunch of cool extra resources.

So it's called the Martial Arts Media Business Community and an easy way to access it is, if you just go to the domain named martialartsmedia.group, so martialaartsmedia.group, g-r-o-u-p, there's no .Com or anything, martialartsmedia.group. That will take you straight there. Request to join and I will accept your invitation.

Thanks – I'll speak to you on the next episode – cheers!

Here are 3 ways we can help scale your school right now.

1. Join the Martial Arts Media community.

It's our new Facebook community where martial arts school owners get to ask questions about online marketing and get access to training videos that we don't share elsewhere – Click Here.

2. Join the Martial Arts Media Academy and become a Case Study.

I'm working closely with a group of martial arts school owners this month. If you'd like to work with me to help you grow your martial arts school, message me with the word ‘Case Study'.

3. Work with me and my team privately.

If you would like to work with me and my team to scale your school to the next level, then message me with the word ‘private'… tell me a little about your business and what you would like to work on together and I'll get you all the details.

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

***NEW*** Now available on Spotify!

Podcast Sponsored by Martial Arts Media Partners

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

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.