117 – [Case Study] How Lindsay Guy 3x’d His Karate Business Coming Out Of Covid

Lindsay Guy is impacting many families while growing his karate business. The most important family being his own.

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IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Why risk takers are the actual winners
  • Why asking for help is good for you and your martial arts business
  • The power of surrounding yourself with like-minded people
  • Why repetition (of what works) in marketing is a good thing
  • The elements of an effective Facebook ad campaign
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

It's important that you surround yourself with positive people, people who are all wanting to head in the same direction that you're heading. Regardless of what level of school you've got, you've got guys that come on now who have got quite large schools, that are up to capacity, that are not really interested in expanding their school, but just maintaining it. Keeping up to the levels they've got and of course, they're sharing their knowledge with some of the guys who have got smaller schools. 

GEORGE: Hey everyone, George here, and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. I'm speaking to a guest where, I am speaking to actually for the second time today, because we were just on one of our Partners coaching calls. Lindsay was on that and we’re just jumping over to find out more about Lindsay Guy. How are you doing today, Lindsay? 

LINDSAY: Top of the world today, George. I feel great actually! 

GEORGE: Top of the world, thanks to our conversations, right? 

LINDSAY: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. You wouldn't believe how I felt prior to coming on with you. Thanks, George. 

GEORGE: Exactly. This is the type of banter, this might set the tone for the conversation, a little bit of tongue-in-cheek, a little bit of self-praise where it's not relevant, but anyway. From my side! 

Anyway, so chatting today to Lindsay Guy, and wanted to bring him on to just chat about his journey in martial arts and a whole bunch of other things that we'll reveal during the interview, but I'll give a quick roundup and then I'll hand it over to you to see if you can give us, you can fill the gaps, and tell us more about you and your background in martial arts. 

But Lindsay Guy, 6th Dan, founder of Guy's Karate School, 6th Dan Sho Da Kan karate, 2nd Dan Taekwondo, Level 5 ISKA referee and international referee, and a whole bunch of other things. So, officially, welcome to the call, Lindsay. 

So, give us a bit of a roundup – just how you got started in the business, the martial arts and how things have evolved up to now. 

LINDSAY: Well, I guess like a lot of people, I was a bullied child. I didn't enjoy my younger years, my school days, I was a bit of a, what you call a nerd. Back in the days when guys had long hair, I was a kid with short hair and glasses and big ears sticking out. So, wasn't really what you'd call a trendsetter at the time. Or maybe I was a trendsetter at the time, I just didn't know about it. 

But I remember I was sitting in my house, I was about 20 years old, sitting in my house and I came across an article in a newspaper about some guys who are going to a tournament with one of the local karate schools, and I thought I wouldn't mind trying that. So, at the end of the ad, of course, it had the details on how to contact the instructor if you're interested in studying karate. 

So, I gave this guy a call and went down to start to train with him. I remember on the first night he said, “Look, these guys are going to a tournament. So, we actually might use you as a bit of a partner, so put these gloves on. You can be a bit of a training partner for these guys.” Now, I've never punched anybody in my life. And yet, here's this guy, got those gloves on. And I continued to go back until about, I guess it was about two months later, when he came to me and he said, “Look”, he was a Swiss German, so he had this very strong accent and everything that he said, he still says, just sounds cranky all the time. And he said to me, “Look, you're never going to learn karate. You're stupid.” He said, “You just go home. Don't come back. Don't waste my time.” And I went, “Really?” And he went, “Yeah, yeah, yeah – you're just stupid, go away.” 

So, then the next night I came back and he said to me, “I told you not to come back”, and I went, “Yeah, I know, but I'm coming back.” So, years later I said to Sensei Celso, who was my instructor, I said, “Do you remember years ago when you said to me, I'm stupid, don't come back?” He said, “Yeah, I remember that.” And I said, “So, why would you say that?” He said, “I recognized some potential in you, and I just wanted to see whether you really wanted to learn karate. So, if you came back, you proved to me that you're genuine, you wanted to learn, and if you didn't come back,” he said, “Well, you just proved that you really weren't that keen on it.” So, that's how we started off. 

GEORGE: Now that's interesting in two ways. Number one, that your actual entry point was looking at an ad for a tournament. Well, for me, at least, that's the first time I've ever heard of someone starting based on a tournament and kind of wanting to jump into the deep end. Was that a strange thing for you to just rock up and think, “Well, hey, there's a tournament happening. I want to be in a tournament, and I want to learn this thing to be in the tournament?” At 20, as well. 

LINDSAY: Well, I didn't consider it strange. And now you've just made me feel a little odd about that now, George. Up until that point, I'd never felt strange about it. But maybe there's a little lack of sleep tonight, because of that, thinking about it. But no, I just always wanted to learn karate, because I grew up through the Bruce Lee, the, you know, the Kung Fu with David Carradine days, martial arts movies were all the go back then. You know, with guys like Richard Norton, Chuck Norris, all those guys. 

And I'd always looked at that, and being a bullied child, I thought maybe this is something I can do. Maybe I can slowly, you know, get into something and finally start learning to defend myself. That's why I showed up. And of course, maybe I was stupid at the time, because I just kept coming back, you know, out of all of those students that Sensei Celso trained over those years, I'm still the only one that's still doing karate. 

GEORGE: Now, the second question on that, what do you think of that type of reverse psychology approach? And how relevant do you think that still is – to challenge someone in that way? 

LINDSAY: I don't think it's relevant at all. I would never say that to any of my students. I think it's a, you know, a stupid thing to say. Because at that time, you know, I didn't know anything about karate, I was still a little fragile. I could have just walked out of that center and went, “Ok, I won't do it then.” And of course, he could have lost the student, martial arts could have not gained a great instructor. 

GEORGE: Exactly. 

LINDSAY: Yep. 

GEORGE: Yeah, I always wonder about that type of approach, and I think there's, it works for a set personality, that you respond to that challenge, like, “You won't tell me, I'll show up.” But then, I think, for the majority, 75%, you might miss the chance of someone just kind of crumbling, especially if you have been bullied and you have been stamped on a few times… it could go the other way, right?

Karate Business

LINDSAY: Well, absolutely, it could see, we came through the old fashioned Sho Da Kan, traditional style of training, it was hard training. And yeah, lots and lots of people used to leave, our retention rate was dreadful, you know, you do a big ad, you'd have 30 people and within two weeks, there'd be only six left. It was a hard road, it wasn't a black belt in three years, and it was a black belt in 7 – 8 years. It was training without gloves, it was training without any protection, it was on old wooden floors, and you're regularly getting hit and thrown to the floor. 

So, I understand now why people didn't last, but the people that did last and go through the system, turned out to be quite good martial artists and are, you know, quite tough in themselves. It was a very mental feat, because they used to, you know, just push you quite hard.

GEORGE: And do you think a lot of that is lacking at the moment? I mean, because what I just referenced, you know, it's probably easy to say, and there will probably be someone that says, “Yeah, don't be a snowflake, kind of get over it, grow a pair”, you know, everything else that goes with it. Which, yeah, it's a fair point, and it is relevant, but I think sometimes you can completely separate someone from actually making that decision to move forward and do the thing by not approaching them properly. 

But on that, I mean, what do you feel? How much of that do you feel is missing? And if you look at students today, how do you feel that they progress? And do you feel that they achieve that same kind of grit and hard attitude from training and perseverance? 

LINDSAY: A lot depends on the personality of the student, really. You know, during our training and all instructors will tell you the same thing, they can pick the ones that they can push a bit harder. They can pick the ones that they tend to slap around a little bit more. You know, I've got a 21 year old who's a 2nd Dan with us, and I made sure that he came out tough. I made sure that, you know, he could defend himself, and the first time they got into a situation, he perhaps wasn't, he wasn't going to panic or the first time he got hit, he wasn't going to break down and cry. He's also a big boy. 

But there are those students that have come through that I've pushed a little harder and that were treated a little rougher, and I think they've come out at the other end much better martial artists. There's a difference between being a great martial artist and being someone who's tough enough to stand up for themselves. Like, I can teach lots and lots of people to do great technique, but at the end of the day, are they tough enough to be able to stand up in a self defence scenario? 

GEORGE: Perfect. So, moving on from that – so, your 20s and you know, your training. How did your journey evolve from there? 

LINDSAY: I must admit, we went to a lot of tournaments back then. It seemed to be every weekend we were at some form of tournament we're at. You know, back then there weren't a great deal of tournament circuits like there is now to participate in and back then there were only two events. It was just Kumite, it was just sparring, and then there were kata patterns, and when you went, those were the two things that you competed in, wasn't anything else. So, when we look at today with events and tournaments, you know, there's so much for kids to do today, there's cuddling, I'm sorry, wrestling. 

GEORGE: Ooh – you've just lost half of my audience. 

LINDSAY: There's sword combat, you know, there's sumo, there's high kicks, there's extreme weapons, there's all of those sorts of things that kids can be involved in competing today. But you know, back in the old style tournament, two things: you went in your one Kumite event, your one kata event, and however you performed from there, that was all there was. 

So, I did a lot of tournament work back then, I was involved in the New South Wales Karate Federation, I was involved in the, in what we called WUKO back then, was the world organization, you know, karate union, there was KY karate union in Australia, there was a lot of those traditional associations out there that we belonged to. We competed regularly in, you know, your AKF in New South Wales Karate Federation tournaments, and that sort of thing. There were lots of state titles and Australian titles that we competed in, and then, of course, from there, even international events that we competed in overseas. 

So, over that time, I've probably done, I don't know, thousands and thousands of tournaments. But I must admit that that's been part of the reason that's kept me in and I guess over that time is the fun that I've been able to have, and the people that I've been able to meet through those tournaments. Because if I just stayed in my little town of Maitland and practiced in a little local hall, honestly I don't think I'd still be in karate. It was those tournaments, those people I met, was the excitement I had, the travel that I did, that's kept me in it, I guess. 

GEORGE: Is that due to just the motivation of, it's inspiration from other martial artists, and also just the way your training progressed in a different form? 

LINDSAY: No, I always go to tournaments, and I think I found something I was good at. You know, when you find something you're good at, and you're doing well at it, it makes you happy, it keeps you well, and it keeps you interested. So, I always thought, I had this idea that why would I stop doing something that I like doing and I'm good at to go and try and find something else that I'm good at and I like doing, when, you know, I'm already doing, you know what I liked doing and what I'm good at? 

So, I just stayed there, that was why I did it. And I still compete! You know, I competed a couple of weeks ago in Sydney at the ISKA Sydney Open, so I'm still competing in the old people's events. The ones where we come out with the walkers, you know. 

GEORGE: That's cool. I'm actually on the part of your website that I, well, the part of your bio that I did leave out – achievements. Just scanning through here. 1985, commenced training with Ken-Sei-Kan in Maitland with Celso Bauer. 1987, won North Coast Open (Kumite) at Coffs Harbor. 1988, first place over 80 kg in New South Wales for the Federation. Alright, pretty impressive. 

LINDSAY: Thank you. There's so much that could be listed there. It could be pages and pages and pages of it, but at the end of it all who really cares? Nobody, except me. 

GEORGE: Do your students care? 

LINDSAY: Most of them not. Yeah, some of them do. You know, I still compete and some of them when they see me compete there, and they were, “Wow, that's, Shihan's actually probably pretty good there, I can see that he is.” However, the people that walk in through my door, they really don't care how many stripes I've got on my belt and how many trophies I've got up on my wall. They're more concerned is, what I'm going to give to their children or themselves. 

But you know, what are we going to get out of it? Not what your achievements are. And I think too many people worry about how many certificates they got on their wall and how many trophies they got up on the shelf and how many stripes they've got on their belt. Think that's going to give them students – it doesn't work that way. 

GEORGE: And how did you come to that realization? Was it, was there a time that that was your focus, and you leaned towards that in your marketing, that is your strength, what you provide? 

LINDSAY: Absolutely. You know, I thought the more stripes I had on my belt, the more students I was going to get. You know, when I was in my 30s, I was a cocky, young bloke, and, you know, promoting trophies and self-promotion, I thought was the way that we did things. Realistically, at the end of it all, the only person that really cared about it was me, you know, I can look back through old paper clippings and stuff now that I've got in some scrapbooks. They're great to look at, they're great for memories, but I could put it out at the dojo, and people just have a quick flick through it. 

No one really cares about any of that stuff. I think that when you're looking at promoting your business, you know, whether it be online or more verbally, I think people just really need to know what they're going to get out of it. What can you do for them? 

GEORGE: Yeah, and so I think it's important for you and your confidence in the way you portray yourself, and the fact that you can back up what you say and what you provide. And I think that's probably the missing key, you know, if you can use that as a credibility statement, of positioning it in a way that's actually relevant to the students. Like, what's the benefit in it for them? 

LINDSAY: Well, it's on my website, I've put my bio on the website, Shihan Lindsay, and it's there for those people who want to go and have a look. I don't promote it, I don't tell people to go on and have a look at what I've done. But there are people out there that say, “We want to check this guy out. We want to check his credentials, we want to see what he's done.” And some people go on there and they go, “Oh, wow, he must be a pretty good instructor because it says he's won lots of stuff”, which really doesn't mean anything, because I might not be a good instructor. I might be a self-centered Wally, who, you know, is just full of self-promotion, I might not be a good instructor at all. 

GEORGE: So, you did something slip, and you were talking about cuddling. Where did this reference come from? 

LINDSAY: Well, actually, George, I think it may come from you, to be honest with you. I think it was more or less something we started just to have a bit of banter with you, because I know you do a bit of BJJ, and I know you're quite attached to it. And any poke that we can have at, you know, other martial artists in jest, I think is, is pretty healthy. 

GEORGE: That's good! And I'm glad you mentioned that for the context, you know that we don't get hate messages for this podcast. That was all relevant banter, and… 

LINDSAY: I like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It's not that I don't like it or any form of Jiu Jitsu. I think that, you know, throughout our karate teaching, we do a lot of that. It's just a different art to what we do, that's all. And have I done it? Plenty of it. Have I been involved in seminars where they do it? Of course, many times. Have I enjoyed it? Yes. That's not what I think. 

GEORGE: That's good. I thought it almost would be good to say, you know, do you feel that that is where you would evolve to? 

LINDSAY: Quick answer, no. 

GEORGE: Okay. 

LINDSAY: Why? Because it's not my interest. It's not… 

GEORGE: I just wanted to throw that in there as an evolving statement. That was the only… People come to me, and they say, “But we'd like to do some Jiu Jitsu,” and I say, “Yeah, there's a great school just around the corner. Go see the guys down there, because they're fantastic at what they do.”

So, walk me through the success of your school and how things have evolved. 

LINDSAY: Yeah, well, we did about 32 years in the school hall. And again, just the same, you know, you build up, you have 30 students and then what happens, is in a few weeks, later, you've got 15 left. It wasn't till about three years ago that I made the decision that it's probably about time that I started my own school. See, for about a million years, I just looked around trying all these little business ideas. The same ones that lots and lots of people try, you know. I tried, you know, working on different little ideas that I came up with marketing and the way to do stuff. 

And after 33 years, I realized that I already had it. It was sitting right there. That whole business that I've been looking for is that I've been playing with it for 30-odd years and did not even realize what I had. I'd liked teaching martial arts, I wasn't making any money, actually. As most martial artists would tell you, if they got a little school in a school hall or a community hall, it probably costs you more money every year than what you actually make out of it. And it's just the way that is, and when I went through the stage then, I went, “Okay, there's a couple of things I'm looking at. 

Retirement – do I want to continue to work in a job for a boss asking when I can have holidays and days off for the rest of my life?” No, I didn't want to do it. Did I want a school that I could, you know, build? That at some point in time, I could go and have holidays, the school could still continue to run and I could receive an income from that? Yes. So, now there was only one option then, was to take the gamble, and start a school. So, the first thing was to look around for a building, get a building, I still had a full time job at this stage, and it wasn't til just before COVID, that I didn't have a full time job. 

So, I quit my job on the 19th of March 2020, and then on the 21st of March 2020, the government closed us down. It was a great time to actually quit my job, I went back to the boss and he said, “Sorry, Lindsay, but I've already replaced you, we've already got a guy now doing your job, and we don't need you any longer.” Then we went through the next six months, of course, without any income, which was great. We were still doing Zoom lessons during that time, but I still made that commitment that I didn't want to go back to a job. 

So, what had happened prior to that, though, is that, you know, I'd gone to all of these martial arts marketing companies, every time I opened up my Facebook, there was somebody else promoting how good they were and what they could do for me. Admittedly, I paid quite a lot of money to a lot of those people, and really achieved no success out of it. What a lot of them do is say to you, “We'll do this for you, we'll have regular meetings, you know, we'll help you boost your school, we'll look at it.” 

And at the end of it all, once you've signed up, paid your money, you really don't hear from a lot of them ever again. You send them emails, they don't respond to them. They give you this package, it's a bunch of videos that you can watch, and if you watch all the videos, and do as we say, well, you'll do okay at it. But what I wanted was something different to that, George. 

What I wanted was someone who can hold me accountable, or someone that I could regularly speak to, and was involved in some form of group where I could speak to other martial artists that were going through the same problems as I was going through, or had already been through the problems and come out the other side with some solutions. 

So, when I saw this ad come up for this George Fourie guy, I thought, another one, another one. But exactly the same as the other guys, I contacted you exactly the same as I contacted all the other guys, because George Fourie could have been the one. He could have been the one or he might have been just another line of wasted money. And what I did was, is that after contacting you, I felt comfortable, because I could speak to you, we could go on Zoom, we could have a chat together and you at that time said to me, “These are some other people that I'm working with, if you want to have a chat with them, feel free to contact them.” And you made me a guarantee that if I did what you asked me to do, and it didn't work, you'd refund every single cent that I was ever going to pay to you, which was to me a no loss situation. 

Instead of with the other guys, it was a no win situation. So, you know, we struggled, we really didn't know where we were going or how to get there. We've made lots of mistakes, we've had a lot of students come through. We've had a lot of students that had quit, because we weren't doing things correctly, because we had no experience. And what we were trying to do is go from a 20 student school to a 200 student school with absolutely no idea how to do it, and that's when you came. 

GEORGE: That's awesome! 

LINDSAY: Yeah. 

GEORGE: That's great to hear, and I think I'll just add to that. You mentioned another one of these guys. I sometimes feel, you know, I'm sitting on Facebook and I'm like, I kind of say the same thing, right? Because I know where the information comes from, I mean, I'm late. I have never seen so many martial arts marketing people, which I find interesting and look, everybody is obviously free to run a business and do their thing. 

What I do have a gripe with is ethics. Ethics is a big, big thing for me. And when I started working in the martial arts space, Facebook wasn't even such a big thing. I mean, my story of how I started was completely different. And I sort of worked my way into it, but it was a lot of trial and error and learning. There's a big trend in the online space, where you buy a course, you're not an expert, the expert tells you this is how you become an expert, and you model our system that works on how we sell the course. 

Now, this expert becomes an expert, because they bought the course, and they go sell you their system on how that system works, and they give advice. And unfortunately, people end up spending a lot of money, and they spend money on the wrong things, or things are over promised. And I think for anybody that's listening to this in that field, you know, go out there and get some results before you over promise and lead people down the wrong path. 

LINDSAY: When I made that commitment, I made the commitment to go to a full time school with 20 students. Was a big commitment, but the belief in myself that I could do it was really high. I was encouraged by some other school owners that I knew. Yeah, just go for it. We, I guess, paid out a lot of money out of our pocket for rent, you know, and outgoings and stuff before we built up, and quite quickly, we built up to about 70 – 80 students, which of course in that 70 – 80 students, we're still just paying rent. 

So, I still wasn't making any cash out of it. Hence the reason I took my full time job. But what I found was it was extremely hard to build the business up, while I was concentrating on working all day, every day for a boss. What I'd do from there is I'd leave my place of employment, I'd go straight to the dojo, I'd teach, I'd shut up at night, I'd go home and have dinner and go to bed, and then start the next day exactly the same with my full time boss. 

So, how was I ever going to, you know, build up my business and work on increasing my student numbers if I was focusing more on somebody else's business than my own? You know, my wife was driving an old car, the guy I worked for, his wife was driving a new car. He was having great holidays, whenever he felt like it. I was having holidays whenever he told me I could. So, I decided that that wasn't for me. I wanted to be him. I wanted to be like him. 

So, that was when I made that decision to quit my job. Was it an easy decision to make? For me, it was. It was just straight down the line. I'm leaving. I'm not going to do this any longer. Where did the money come from? At that time? Well, it came from our housing mortgage. You know, we had the withdrawal back out of the housing mortgage, and I used that money then to pay expenses, to pay bills. Were we living quite meekly? Yeah, we were. We weren't having great holidays. We weren't going out for dinner, you know, once a week. We weren't buying new cars. 

What I was doing was, I was investing back into my business, because I could still see even though I had no idea where I was going, I still firmly believed in myself that we were going to make this business work. How? No idea. But it was that blind faith that kept driving me to keep doing stuff to keep looking at people, you know, like George Fourie, to keep making those telephone calls, or those, you know, internet introductions to them, because I was looking for that one person who was going to help me. 

Now, we came back from COVID, we had about 90 students when we came back from COVID. Currently, today we're pushing towards the 300 students. I promised my wife when we hit 300 students that we would buy her a new car. We're pretty close to that now, we've already ordered the new car, and it’s coming in about six weeks. 

I set a goal, and that's what we're pushing to now. So, you know, it's just those little rewards. You might think a car's not a little reward. It is a little reward. It's not a big reward. Yeah. So, you know, we've managed to do some things now and we're actually starting to live a little now. We have a long time where we weren't living, we were surviving. But by putting all of that other lifestyle aside just for a short time, it's allowed us to build the business up to a level now where we're more comfortable financially. 

We can have some holidays, we can go out, we can buy a new vehicle, and we can maybe get some new clothes and all of those things that we missed out on for so long. We can now do those simply because we missed out on them for so long. So, I've made that decision to put my business first, us second, and it was a gamble. All I had to do was do it correctly and do as some of your business advisors advised me to do, and it was going to work. 

There was no point asking successful people for help, and then once they've given me advice, not doing it. It was just pointless. And there's so many people out there, though, come to me now and people I know, have little schools, and they say, “So, you're doing pretty well, how did you manage to do it?” And I tell them, and they go, “Oh, well, we would never do that.” Okay, that's fine, because you'll never have what I have if you're not prepared to do it. It's pretty simple.

GEORGE: Awesome! 

Yeah, I love that. Firstly, well done. I actually wasn't aware of COVID until now, it's 90 to almost 300 students. That's magnificent! 

LINDSAY: Just over a year, now, George. 

GEORGE: Just over a year, triple the business, that's marvelous. You mentioned the car is a small thing – I love the fact that you could buy a car because every time you walk out and you look at the car, it cements the fact that you achieved that because of your success. So, it's actually one of the best rewards, you know, something that you can see, touch and feel every day. 

That's, like, the best reminder out there. And the other thing you mentioned, was just doing the work. Obviously, having belief in yourself, you know that you could do it – it all starts from that, like, really knowing that you can do this, and then having the guts to burn the bridges. And, really just, this is what I'm doing. I'm going to burn the bridges, create this business, it's going to provide for us, and go all in. 

LINDSAY: It's important not to lose focus, it's important not to lose focus of your goal. And you'll know – have there been times when I felt down about the business? Of course. Has there been times when I've really felt like, you know, I'm empty, and I don't know what to do next and what to fill it with? And at that period of time, I know that I've got a huge network of people that I can simply get on the phone or get on the internet to and speak to. Now this week, for example, I had a couple of issues that I wanted some advice on or just someone to throw me some ideas. I contacted Cheyne McMahon and Brett Fenton this week, and had a chat with both of those two guys, because both of those guys are in a position that I want to be in. They've done the hard yards, they've made the mistakes. 

So, I thought what better opportunity than these two guys that I respect, that I know are in a position where I'm in too, and you know, ask them how they handled these situations? Or how would they handle these situations? And they gave me some advice, and I've made some decisions from that, which I feel is going to take us to the next step in our business. So, it's important to get the right advice from the right people. There's plenty of people out there that are going to tell you can't do it. There's plenty of people out there who are going to tell you that, you know, we don't think it'll work. Are you sure you should be taking that risk? I think you're mad. And all those people out there. 

GEORGE: Those are the easy ones to find. You know, and that's why I think family can be the worst people to ask advice for, because they care for you and so they feel that they want to protect you. And so they give you advice to protect you, not move you forward. But you know, on that, asking others for advice. That's what I really love about our weekly calls that we have, our Partners Power Hour sessions, because it's a session where, it's kind of a roundtable session that we have once a week, and a bunch of school owners, like today we had guys from New Zealand, Canada, and Australia on board. All different circumstances, a bit of a roundtable discussion of what's working, what's not, who's got ideas for different things, and, everyone gets to share and bounce ideas. 

And the great thing about a mastermind type of event like that is everyone's actually got a valid point, no matter what level they're at, because you just need that one person to see things from a different angle, and that's what's going to move you forward. But it's kind of a place where we sort of congregate once a week and people get to ask questions, get unstuck, and you've got ideas and advice flowing freely. I always learn from it, I always get great ideas from that. That's how we go create our next training session, because something came up in the session and we know that we can go and create a training from that, and sometimes will be someone like you, Cheyne, or Brett or one of the guys that jump on board and share what it is that they've got to share as well. 

LINDSAY: I think it's important that you surround yourself with positive people, people who are all wanting to head in the same direction that you're heading. And regardless of what level of school you've got, you've got guys that come on now who have got quite large schools, that are up to capacity, that are not really interested in expanding their school, but just maintaining it. You know, keeping up to the levels they've got and of course, they're sharing their knowledge with some of the guys who have got smaller schools. 

So, it's a fantastic environment to be around when we're involved in those conversations, because there's really no negative activity going on inside of our group chats, and that's why I join in. If there was negative activity, I'd simply go. I don't really want to dial in every Wednesday. And you know, I think since I've been on board, which is I guess it's been just over a year now, I haven't missed one of those Wednesday sessions in a year. Why? Because I've just made it so important in my schedule that I can't miss out on those, because they're my motivators. But the amount of information, the amount of ideas I get out of those group sessions is incredible. I get so much out of them that I take, you probably see me occasionally, I'll look across, I'll have a pen and a bit of paper, and I'll just take a quick note on something or write something down or I'll type something. 

Because it's just the little things sometimes that can make a massive difference in your business. Now, we're still doing things wrong. Yep. Of course we are. Are we trying to work on those things we're doing wrong? Yes, we are. How am I doing that? Well, I'm seeking advice from people that, you know, maybe again, in that position that we want to be into. Is our business evolving and changing? Yes, of course it is. So, as our student base grows, the programs that we put in change, the methodology that we do stuff changes, the staff, you know, management changes, the more staff that we have increases. 

So, what we actually do is, we evolve with the business. If we don't evolve with the business, what happens is that at some point of time, we're not going to stagnate, we're actually going to go backwards in numbers, because we're not changing, evolving with our businesses. I think that's why some of those guys with large schools still continue to join in on our regular Wednesday meetings, because they're evolving with their business as well and have to. Even the smallest guy with a smaller school down the road could still have a great idea. You think to yourself, “Why didn't I think of that?” 

GEORGE: What you mentioned, it's a good reminder to have a check in also on the things that, you know, you came into the group with one situation. It's normally you know, people come to us normally for marketing help, but then marketing is taken care of, and then it's a whole new set of problems. And it's just remembering how to evolve with your business, and also let go of the things that you were doing that, you know, as you evolve as a school owner and the business, you've got to let go of the things that got you there to go to the next stage. 

LINDSAY: I guess that, do I want to pay, you know, money to the George Fouries of the world? No, of course I don't. 

Do I need to spend money with the George Fouries of the world? Yes, I do. Why? Because that's where I'm going to get the information to grow my business, I have to find information somewhere, and generally information isn't free. And I, you know, I've got to be prepared to invest in my business and myself. And I guess the biggest thing that you've got to look at is yourself, is that you have to grow within yourself. As, you know, older men we get to the stage where depression can set in and if we're not careful, it sneaks up on you, and have we been through that scenario? 

Well, I've been through that scenario a couple of times in my life. And it's just something that creeps up on you, and I think that the great thing that we've got at the moment is that you know I've got people outside of your group. I've got some great martial artists that I've known for a long time that I can just simply get on the phone to and call if I'm not feeling all that well today. Some of them you call and some of them go, “What's wrong mate? You don't seem your usual happy self today?” “Yeah, well, maybe I'm not.” 

But of course, at the end of, generally at the end of those conversations you come away feeling, yeah, the world isn't so bad really after all. Now, I go to my business and people think it all looks rosy. You start work at three o'clock in the afternoon or 3:30 in the afternoon, and then what happens is that you go home by eight, you've got a great job. I can tell you if you're looking at starting a full time dojo or building a full time, you know, dojo center, martial arts center, whatever it is that you want to run. It doesn't start at 3:30 in the afternoon and finish at eight o'clock at night. It generally starts from the moment you get up in the morning, to the moment you go to bed that night. That's your business, you're working on it, until you get to a stage where you've got other people that are helping you work inside your business and doing a lot of those chores, until you get to that stage, you've got to do it yourself. 

You've got to be prepared to go to bed tired, you've got to be prepared that, you know, you have to devote some of that time that you might have been spending on playing golf or surfing, and I've now just got back to the stage where I'm surfing again. I'd stopped surfing for quite an amount of time, because I really was just working on the business. Now I've got two mornings a week I can devote to surfing, which is great for me, because it also then, you know something for me that works on my mental health. I can forget about the dojo for those couple of hours. I think it's important that we all have that. 

GEORGE: What do you mean? There's nothing like time in the ocean, to forget about everything else. 

LINDSAY: Or whatever for you. It might be golf, it might be lawn bowls, it might be playing the guitar or the piano or something, and it could be anything. It's whatever it is, you have to find what does it for you, because I guarantee if you don't, you're just going to get worn out, you're going to get burnt out and then eventually going to collapse. The only thing that's going to suffer then is your family and of course, your business as well. You can't let that happen. 

GEORGE: I want to say thanks for sharing all the stuff about working together as well. I thought I'd just ask a few questions on top of that, if it's okay with you. 

LINDSAY: Absolutely. 

GEORGE: You mentioned you were looking online. Was there something that was holding you back to maybe not get in touch? 

LINDSAY: Past experience! 

GEORGE: Past experience?

Karate Business

LINDSAY: Past experience, because I jumped in, you know, boots and all with the first couple. They made some really great promises. One of the guys was on the Gold Coast, and I paid the money into his account, and I never even heard back from him. Then I made a few contacts with him that he never responded to. Then I finally got a telephone number that I rang directly. He said, “Well, some of my guys were supposed to be handling that. You tell me they haven't?” And I said, “No, they haven't.” I was completely disillusioned. He said he'd refund my money back, which took forever to come back to me, and I still see his ads coming up all the time now. You go – how do you do that? How do you sit there and claim you've got such a great service when your track record isn't all that good. Or particularly with me. 

And then I found some guys who are in the same business as what I'm in that I joined up through their advertising. And then I went to a seminar that they had on, lined up. And of course, the information came through in the forms of lots of videos, and if you watch lots and lots of our videos, you'll probably see soon. But we didn't have any regular movies, there wasn't any contact, there wasn't any, you know, somebody holding me accountable. 

Now, the thing that I like about the group that we're involved in, is that everybody makes you accountable. Everybody there, you know, replies to a Facebook message that comes out three times a week. What are you going to do? How are you going with it? And why haven't you done it at the end of the week? I'm just one of those people who need to be held accountable. I'm not very good with time management, and I'm not very good with management in general. I'm a pretty good martial arts instructor, but as for running a business, not particularly all that good at it. Lot of martial artists out there are the same. 

So, what I've done is surrounded myself inside my business. My dad ran a business for a long time, and he always said to me, “Mate, there's always a plan here. The things that you're not good at, go and just pay someone else to do them.” So, I'm doing that. So, the things I'm not good at, I'm paying somebody else to do them, because I know if it's left up to me, it just won't get done. So, what made me hesitant with you was the fact that I'd had a bad track record with these other guys, there were more than two, and I'd paid out money. And I guess, was it wasted money? No, it wasn't wasted money, because I learned a lot of things about not spending money with people like that. 

So, let's get more research. And what you did to me, George, was allow me to come on board, involved in a program without paying any money to start with. You had a program going at the time, which I think was your Digitize Your Dojo program, and you said, “I'm not going to charge you any for it, you guys all come on board, and we'll start to work on it.” And then somewhere down the track, you offered me the opportunity to become part of the Partners group, which you remember, I didn't jump on straightaway. I still wanted to know about George Fourie a little more. 

Until eventually I got to the stage where I agreed that, you know, I would come on board with your program, and I have not regretted it. I remember that one day, getting in contact with you, and I asked you about some Facebook ads. You gave me all the guts of the Facebook ad, this is what you need to do, and you sent me some photographs on what it needs to look like. I then, about two weeks later, I think I contacted you and went, “George, it's not working, mate. It's just not working for me,” and you went, “Send me your ad, send me all your visuals, and I'll have a look at it.” 

And of course, I totally changed everything you told me to do, and you came back to me – you went, “But it's not what I told you to do.” You said to me, and I think that I remember you saying something like to me, “Look, I'll tell you what, give it a go the way that I'm suggesting to start with, and if it doesn't work, then we'll go back and give your way a bit.” So, what I did was I changed my ads to virtually copy exactly the same as what you sent me, and all of a sudden, the messages started coming in. And I went, “Oh that works.” So, then I did it again and again and again, and the leads just started coming in. 

And you know from that first ad, I'm still running virtually exactly the same ad. I might change the image on it occasionally just to freshen it, but I'm just doing the same thing over and over, and over and over, and the leads are still coming in. I've signed up 10 in the last week just from running the same ad as I was running a year ago, offering the same special and it works. Until it is broken, don't change it. If it isn’t broken, don't fix it. 

GEORGE: Yeah, I think it just takes time to get to that, because if you've got the right formula, because… The first thing everybody tries and does is, “I'll just copy someone else's ad.” It could work, but what you're missing is the structure and the setup behind that. What got to that image, why is it that image, why did we get to that wording, and what is the link between the right offer and the right pricing, and the flow of going from that. That's where the tweaking, that's where it's really got to happen. 

LINDSAY: I see some of the ads that come up on my feed now from the other local guys, and I've never seen them before, perhaps I didn't look at them, or perhaps because they're seeing my ads, they're doing stuff. But I'm really glad that they're advertising, because what they're doing is they're thinking they can do it better than me. So, they're filling their images up with text, they're, you know, making them way too busy, their ad's saying way too much. And I'm thinking, “That's great, guys, keep doing that, because you ain't getting the call.” I know you're not, because I tried it that way and the phone just doesn't ring. 

So, they're going to eventually get to the stage where they go, “Oh, this is useless. I'm not continuing to pay money for this.” And then they'll stop advertising, which is fantastic for me. I see, oh, there's one that came up yesterday. And I went, “Oh my gosh”, – okay, the text is so small and there's so much on it, I can't even read it. Not even going to bother clicking. But I did, I clicked and sent him a message, said, “Yeah, man. Keep it up. Good work.” 

GEORGE: Last couple of things are, well, two things. Your favorite part about working with us? 

LINDSAY: My favorite part is the Wednesday meetings, is the group. Because I get more out of that, you know, one hour on a Wednesday, I think than any other thing that I do. The amount of questions I can ask the guys and get answered, I might get three different answers, but I can at least pick one of the things that might work for our dojo. That's the best thing, that one hour of power session that we do, because it's fabulous. Everybody's so open, nobody minds sharing anything. 

And as I said to you, two guys from that session, you know, I've already spoken to them this week about a couple of decisions that I was trying to make. They've both given me great advice, which I've taken and I'm much more settled now in myself, thinking, “I'm glad I rang them.” And without that group, I wouldn't have known who they were, I wouldn't have known who to ring, and I might have made the wrong decision. 

GEORGE: Awesome. The last one – who would you recommend the Partners group to, and why? 

LINDSAY: I would recommend the Partners group to anybody who's wanting to run a, whether it be a small part-time studio or a large martial art studio, or even go from a small part-time to a large martial art studio. Why? It's just the motivational side, it's the questions and answers that we get through the group. And I think, you know, if I hadn't come on board with you, George, I'm not sure where I would be. I'm not sure at what level our business is, we might have still been hitting that 90 mark, and building it up, letting it fall down again, and building it up and then falling down again. 

I am so fortunate to have met, you know, you guys through this group, but you can hear it. I'm at a loss for words, which normally, I'm not lost for words at all. Yeah, it's just fabulous. It totally changed our whole family's life. And I can say that with all honesty, you know, I just want to check that bank account, George, if you put that check in… 

GEORGE: Later, later. 

LINDSAY: You know, for the people out there who are looking, perhaps to come on board with George, who have been, you know, dipping their toes in the water, make a commitment to your business and yourself. Just get out there, because George said to me, and he'll remember the offer that he had, that if I don't return you your money in the first 90 days, I'll give it all back to you. I don't have to give anything back to George, I don't have to give him back any of the information he's given me, because I've already stolen it all from him. 

But at the end of that 90 days, George had made me every cent that I'd paid to him, it didn't even take 90 days, I think it was 30 days that he made that money that I paid him. So, whatever he's asking, you know, in there, jump on board and pay it. It's certainly worth it. I'm not doing a commercial for George, I'm promoting George, because in my heart I genuinely know what he's done for us, and I think that he could do the same for other people. So, I guess it's a promotion for all those dojo owners out there who want to grow their business. So, I'm speaking about George more for your benefit than George's benefit. 

GEORGE: Love it. Lindsay, thanks so much. It means a lot. Great chatting to you. There's another story I want to chat to you about, and I'm going to hit you up about that in the near future. And for anyone that wants to connect with you, guyskarateschool.com.au, can have a look at Lindsay's website. 

If you want to get in touch with us and have a listen to what it is that we do and work out if or how we can help you, the best way to do that is just go to martialartsmedia.com/scale, and there's a little questionnaire. Tell us a bit about you, what you're stuck with. Let us know and we'll have a low key chat and work out if or how we can help you. Cool. Lindsay, any last words from you? 

LINDSAY: I could go on for hours, George, but no, look, to be really honest with you, it's later on in the afternoon. I've got to go and open up the karate school and start doing what we do best. 

GEORGE: Awesome. 

LINDSAY: Okay. 

GEORGE: Bye, Lindsay. Thanks so much, speak soon. 

LINDSAY: Thank you. 

GEORGE: Cheers!

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110 – Zulfi Ahmed – How To Become A Master Martial Arts Instructor

Zulfi Ahmed shares insights about his book, The Science and Secrets of Becoming a Master Martial Arts Instructor, and why it's time for the industry to level up.

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IN THIS EPISODE:

  • What motivated Grandmaster Zulfi Ahmed to write the book, The Science and Secrets of Becoming a Master Martial Arts Instructor
  • The difference between a Master and Master Instructor
  • Why the martial arts industry is stuck
  • The importance of stepping up to a mastery level
  • The universal philosophy of a great Master Instructor
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

How do I get them to the next level? What do I teach them? They're doing exactly, they're mimicking me, the way I talk, walk, the way I have fun. They're doing the same thing. What separates me from them, and what separates them from the new upcoming young people? So, there has to be in our industry a body of knowledge, which elevates our industry. But to elevate the industry, we have to elevate the leader, the instructor.

GEORGE: Good day, everyone! And welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast episode – and a very special guest that I have with me today and a return guest. If you recall Episode 57, I had Grandmaster Zulfi Ahmed, join us. And that was actually right before The Main Event in San Diego – that's going back – April 2018. And we've spoken a little bit, not the purpose of this chat, because we've got something really important to chat about today.

But one thing I really remember, Zulfi, was when I was at The Main Event, Kyoshi Fred DePalma's The Main Event in San Diego. And after the event, we were both waiting on our flights, you obviously back to Texas, and me to Australia. So, we both got on, we sat down at the breakfast table. And we just had a long chat, and Kyoshi Fred DePalma held an awesome event, but that was the highlight of the event – actually having a conversation with you and just learning from you and your wisdom from the industry. And so, I'm really excited to be speaking with you again today. And I think, just a quick bit of context.

So, Master Zulfi has been in the industry for 49 years, founder of Bushi Ban International, nine locations in Texas, three in Connecticut, and multiple in Pakistan as well. And Master Zulfi's earned over 300 martial arts awards. Countless, countless credentials. But again, not why we are here today. We are here today, because Master Zulfi has put together a masterful book that I just received the other day, and I've just, halfway through it. It's called ‘The Science and Secrets of Becoming a Master Martial Arts Instructor'. We'll leave details and links where you can actually get this, but I think just to kick things off, Master Zulfi, why did you write this book?

ZULFI: George, first of all, thank you so much for having me on your show, and I really appreciate it. And thank you for your kind words. It was a pleasure. And I remember our conversation at breakfast time, waiting for the van to take us to the airport. And it was delightful. And thank you for having the time to spend with me. I've cherished our relationship – distant relationship. And one day I want to go to Australia and share with you more. Yeah, The Main Event was a great, great event. And, Kyoshi, she's a good friend of mine. And if you've not been to that event, you must go to the event.

Back to the book. You know, this is, one of my friends asked me, ‘how long did it take you to write this book?' And I said a lifetime. I've been in martial arts. You know, I will be almost 60 years old in March. And I started formal training at age nine, informal training at five. You know, in Pakistan, wrestling is a predominant sport. So anyway, going into that, so, I asked, you know, he asked me how long it did take – I told him about a lifetime. But actually, this project – writing this book, ‘The Science and Secrets of Becoming a Master Martial Arts Instructor‘, started about seven years ago.

It arose out of a personal need. I was wanting one of my new directors to run a school, and he was not even a black belt at the time, he was a red belt. And we wanted to compile a body of information, instructor training, body of information that is befitting for an individual to spearhead a school – not just the teaching a class for kids, but a whole school. So, how do you develop that mindset, with confidence and authority? And the way they act, speak, maturity of a high level martial artist.

So, that is when the project started. And what I did was I did my research first, and I have my own experience, lifetime of martial arts training, learning, and traveling the world. So, I did my research, and I called some of the best organizations, top leaders, and I said, ‘Do you have any content, any information, a guide, a workbook, a resource, where you really are teaching an instructor to become the next level, to become a master instructor? Is there a differentiation?'

Now, in our industry, we have some fantastic, phenomenal material, which develops instructors, instructor training galore, you know, everybody now, all schools are at the level where they can develop, you know, instructors, no problem. There's great information out there, seminars are conducted, and workshops are conducted. And we all know that, and we have all learned that. And so my thought was, ‘Okay, that's great, you know, but what is the next level? Where is the industry going? How do we develop the next level instructor who turns into the master instructor?'

So when I did my research, I found out that there's really, truly nothing out there. It's all experiential, that you become a black belt, you train for X number of years after that, and you have X number of teaching hours, and then you become a master. So, now there's a differentiation between a master and a master instructor.

And in this book, I have outlined the difference between master and master instructor. So mastering the martial arts, you can become a master in the martial arts and different styles of that criteria, X number of forums, training hours, even teaching hours, and then you know, at fourth dan, fifth dan, sixth dan, and depending on the style and the system, they recognize you as a master and master martial artist. And there, there are wonderful, phenomenal master martial artists out there. You keep training, that's a personal end of a personal pursuit. But to become a master instructor, what do we have to do? Just like we know, in our industry, that being a black belt does not qualify you to be an instructor.

You know, you have to have instructor training, you can't just put on black belt, a new black belt and start having them teach. They don't have the mindset. They don't have the communication skills. They don't have the principles, the philosophies, the practices of an instructor, so we develop instructor training. Same thing, when you become a master level and you were an instructor already, and now you become a master in your style and system – does that automatically make you a master instructor? So, I don't think so.

So, what it does is, that my master instructor and my instructor, the differentiation between them is only the time they've spent there. But the body of knowledge, the epistemology is the same. The master instructor what I'm calling now  did the instructor's course now he's been in it for X number of years, and he's calling himself a master instructor, but the body of knowledge, the technique, the principle philosophies, thought process, the practices, the communication level has not transformed. It's the same. He's also giving the high five, the three time rules, praise, correct praise, all that standard instructor teaching techniques.

So, when I go and when a parent is sitting, and the parents see this person is a school owner. He's a AKA, you know, Grandmaster, Master instructor, and then we have a 17 year old full of energy, and vigor and animation, he or she is doing the same type of teaching protocol that the master instructor is doing. They're giving high fives. He's giving high fives, they go three times through praise. Correct. Great. So, what differentiates? Yes, they are older in age. Yes, they have four more stripes on the belt. But the teaching methodologies, the style, the communication, the terminology, the verbology, the words, all are the same.

So, how do we separate the maturity level of a master instructor and an instructor? So, I started doing the research, I talked to some of the top, there's some of the best minds, professional minds and martial artists, legends, are in this book. And I called them, I said, ‘I want you to contribute to this project'. And they were very open-minded. I've got legends, you know, the name, the list, galore. And I also interviewed them and I, you know, said, ‘Tell me the differentiation.' And they have their own personal philosophies, but there was not a standard body of information to elevate the industry.

Because another reason was that I feel our industry is stuck. We have a problem. We're not moving. The way we were teaching 20 years ago, we're still teaching the same way. When I was 15, what I learned as instructor training, now I'm almost 60, I'm teaching now. So how do I evolve myself? What is a structure, methodology and guiding principles, philosophies and practices? Not experiential, not because I'm older, not because I have five more days, I can do more katas. But I know, by design, that I am a more evolved instructor.

So, when I spoke to people, they say, ‘Yeah, man, just take experience. You stay in it for 30 years, you become a master instructor.' Okay. Yes, you are a brilliant martial artist, you are exceptional. But what about the 20 other black belts who've been training with me for 20 years and have done the instructor course over and over again? How do I get them to the next level? What do I teach them? They're doing exactly, they're mimicking me, the way I talk, walk, the way I have fun. They're doing the same thing. What separates me from them, and what separates them from the new upcoming young people? So, there has to be in our industry a body of knowledge, which elevates our industry. But to elevate the industry, we have to elevate the leader, the instructor, and they have to start thinking at a different level, more uniquely, more maturely.

So, what I did with research, with personal experience, with interviews, all over the world, this is not limited to the United States, you know. I have friends all over the world, and high level master, Grandmaster, which you already know, they're in it, my teacher and my other teachers, you know, tell me, ‘What is the separation? How do we evolve?' And then I started putting this about seven, eight years ago, and started putting this body of knowledge together.

And I contemplated on, and researched it, observed the master instructors. When I go to these events, I'm observing the master instructor, allegedly, or the instructor and I want to see the behavioral differences, the pattern differences, the communication style differences. And this is what this book is about. It gives you an outline, guiding principles, some philosophies, a lot of practices, which an instructor or even the master instructor thinks their masters can adapt and make themselves even better. We have amazing, phenomenal teachers, masters, instructors out there.

What this book will do is this will make them clearly understand their role and take them even to a greater level, they already at a high level, how we take them to the next level. So that's what I want to bring to the body of knowledge, the pedagogy, the epistemology in this book, that it elevates our industry. So, when our industry, when a leader is elevated, what happens is, it raises our standards, you know, throughout the industry, and when the industry standard is raised, then we have more people wanting to come into our industry, because now, we are teaching at a maturity level.

So, in my opinion, and just my opinion, the martial arts industry is teaching at a college level right now. Our teaching methodologies, principles, practices, procedures, processes are at a college level standard, and we have not evolved to a university standard. And my goal and objective for our industry is to have a contribution. I want to contribute to evolving our standards to get from a college or high school level to a university level. Now, when we have that level, it automatically elevates us. We are the same brotherhood, we have, and we are out for the same thing. And when we elevate the industry, we have more people coming into our industry.

So, that brings success to our profession, into our business. And that also helps us become better instructors, so we can go out and really, truly, beyond the physical, beyond the kick and punch, make the true transformational change in the lives of our students. Because how are we shaping the lives for success for higher growth, higher thinking, by real martial arts. We are not in a temple, we're not in a, you know, facility where they're spending their life learning to be a monk, or you know. We have commercial schools where people come in. 

Now, the reason they will stay is the quality and standard and the maturity of our teaching. Not just the physical, but the philosophies. The communication style. And this is not based on personality. We might there's only one Bill Superfoot Wallace. You know, there's only one Benny the Jet, there's only one, Dr. Mung G, there's only one, you know, Fred Dagobert, there's only one Buzz Durkin, but how do we reproduce those giants and bring our industry to their level of thinking, maturity and communication. So, my objective with this book is to elevate the standard of teaching. So, I hope that helps a little bit.

GEORGE: I love that. I love that you've captured all this knowledge, you know, before it gets lost, so to speak, you know, and you've captured it, and you've given a pathway. I want to go back to the college versus university style of teaching. But, I want to ask, how would you communicate to an instructor the importance of actually stepping up to a mastery level? You know, for a lot of instructors that might be, ‘Well, I'm just sitting, you know, I'm an instructor'. And now, you know, they pick up a book like this and realize, ‘Okay, well, hang on, there's a level that I actually need to progress to'. How do you communicate the importance to an instructor to invest in themselves to become a master instructor? 

ZULFI: Great question. So, it's a process I created about 10 years ago in our organization, the Master's University, and I have a workbook which goes with this. So my instructors first read this book, and we have meetings and then they go to the, you know, 16 hour workshop, where each chapter and we dig deep into it and go through a workbook. So, that's the process. But the first thing we have to do is to turn their mindset on – say, ‘Hey, you are a great instructor, just like striving for becoming a black belt striving to become a master black belt, they need to first, they need to know that there is something more for them. 

There is a Master College or Masters University. There's a masters curriculum, masters course, that they can learn and there has to be differentiation that yes, wow, this is how I used to think of this, who I am, and when I become the master instructor my thinking evolves. I can see in ink, that this is the process, this is what I will become. And I can't wait to become that. 

So the first thing is we have to have the body of knowledge, the criteria, the syllabus, and then we have to let them know that there is the next level. You just don't stay in for 20 years and then now you become a master instructor. There is training, there is a process, there is information that you will need to learn. And then you will be certified and qualified and recognized, accredited to be a master instructor on an academic level, not an experiential level. 

So yes, so we have a workbook, and my goal is when this pandemic deal goes, then I will open up workshops whoever like to, we're doing it internally for my organization, because that's where the need arose. And now I'm, you know, having open workshops and I would like to create, you know, the masters university to the next level where instructors, even master instructors come in and get the knowledge, get the information, and at least know that, ‘Wow, wow, there's a difference'. There's a difference in thinking, there's a difference in teaching. And unless they, if you don't know, we don't know, you know. If the instructor doesn't know, there's something out there, how will they want to pursue it? So, now there is something out there, and now they can pursue it, they can look forward to it. And there is a solid piece of information, education out there. 

GEORGE: I love this. So, I want to just quickly go back to the college versus university style of teaching. And it reminded me of, you know, a conversation we have in our Partners coaching group, where we have a bunch of school owners that we get together on a, on a weekly basis. And when the whole pandemic happened, you know, a big thing that we were discussing was value-based pricing. What I mean by that is, you know, when the whole pandemic happened, the vehicle of martial arts disappeared, you know, the physical thing that we love, and everything moved online, but what I felt was missing online, was the focus still on the thing that was missing? 

Whereas the focus needs to be a higher level, meaning, what is the actual outcome that martial arts delivers? Because if the physical form is gone, how do you still deliver the actual outcome, the community, everything else that martial arts provides? And that got me thinking, when you mentioned university level and college level, how would you feel if all instructors had to step up to a university level? How do you feel the outcome would be different to the teaching and what students actually get from their martial arts training? 

ZULFI: Excellent. When a student goes to college, they get the fundamentals; high school, they get the start. It's like a beginner, intermediate, advanced level. So, if you put it in a comparison, you know, beginner level in martial arts, up to black belt is high school, you know, black belt to second, third dan is college. And then above that is university from the technical, physical, technical aspect, you know, up to like those, you know, high school, second, third dan is college, third, fourth, fifth dan is, you know, university.

So, that's the physicality. The maturity level, it is difficult, it'll be hard for me to express in such a short time. That begins with the leadership, that begins with the leaders, the owners, thinking processes – how do they think, how do they act? How do they communicate, and what kind of substance and content they provide and produce – shallow or deep, wide, broad, wide, long, tall. So, the wisdom-based experience shows wisdom, not learned information. So, college is information, university is knowledge and experience. 

So, the information we take from high school and build the next level of body of information, the university takes that information, converts it into knowledge and wisdom, with the culture that they have, and the type of teaching, the academia, the type of body of knowledge that they produce. It converts that information, tactical to practical, to philosophical. 

Now, when the instructor and the institution matures, I'm not talking about kick and punch, I'm talking about philosophy. I'm talking about life changing content. I'm talking about deeper meaning, let's say, let's say from a school who was reciting the student creed, if they have a student creed, taking the student creed to the highest level, in how they interject the student creed into their daily life. What other teaching philosophies, what other mental, spiritual guidance we can give to our students based on the martial arts field, that it elevates them beyond learning another kata, beyond learning another choke. 

Now, the thinking when we have a CEO or an executive comes into our, you know, facilities, yes, they are coming for the physical training. They're learning to defend themselves. But when they find, wow, there's a whole body of knowledge. My instructor is a wise sage, not just an instructor drill sergeant, this person is a wise sage, a guru, he or she is guiding me through my life by way of martial arts, not just by me memorizing the student creed, but he or she can really dig deep into the life development, my philosophy, my life philosophy, life mastery through the martial arts.

So, when we say life mastery through the martial arts, my instructor, my master instructor, really, truly has the wisdom to communicate with me what this life mastery through the martial art really is. Is it another kata which you learn? Or the principles of Boon Kai application? Or there's a deeper, much deeper – how is it changing my life? My thinking, my spiritual growth. Not making religion, but spiritually. There are some who do that, and there are few who, who connect to that, but the majority is not really receiving that. The reason why is because the majority of instructors don't even know the existence of such a body of knowledge. So, when we elevate our thinking, when we elevate our understanding of who we are, then we can give more. So, my whole objective is to elevate our thinking. 

And everything starts with your thoughts. Then when the thoughts are elevated, as a more evolved, high level human being or instructor in the words which come out of our, you know, symbols, or the word which comes out of our mouth, those symbols connect to the student at a different frequency. There's a different vibration, with those words, beyond the kicking, punching, the choking and throwing arm bar. Okay, beyond the thrashing and bashing. 

So, that's why yoga is so far ahead of the martial arts. If you take a comparison, there are millions of people around the world, mature people, studying yoga, because yoga provides a higher level of philosophical mindset, as well as physical movement. Does the martial arts provide that? Martial arts provides it, but at a shallow level, in my opinion. I'm sure there are some great, you know, philosophical approaches in different systems, but I feel that we still need to evolve. But that's, so, for you, if you have ever understood the yoga instructor teaching, you know, the guru teaching process, they elevate the yoga instructors' thinking, and they can sit and talk to you about life, from a strategic and from historic point of view, not from a personal point of view. 

And because they're thinking, they've trained their thinking, and they have history, you know, yoga can go back thousands of years, martial arts can go back thousands of years, but what you find in martial arts is killing. You know, it was a battle art. So, how do we evolve ourselves? How do we have the people see us more than kick butt machines? You know, we can kick your butt. “Oh, boy, karate guy, Chapo, I'm scared of you, you know, I want to stay away from it.” Isn't that normal? Isn't the normal response? “Oh, Who? Your karate guy? Oh, I'm scared of you. I'm not going to mess with you.” 

That's a standard reply from somebody who meets a martial artist. But instead of, I want them to say in a while, I would love to learn from them, but that only comes when we are evolved ourselves. And this is the first step. I don't know at all. I'm learning myself. This is the first time in my opinion, you know, this is just my opinion. And so we need to grow our thinking and separate it from the instructor to the master instructor. I hope this clarifies. I don't want to go into a different tangent. But I hope this answers the question. 

GEORGE: Yes, I love it. It's like, what you're really showing here is a way of self-mastery on such a high level, but now how an instructor could actually apply that and share that. I want to ask you, because you talk about in the book, this whole subject, elevating your thinking, elevating your wisdom and taking it to the next level. And you give great credit, a lot of credit to great Grandmaster U Maung Gyi, head of the American Bando Association, for helping you step up to that next level. If I could ask, in which way was Dr. Maung Gyi an inspiration to you? 

ZULFI: So, he is my adopted father, he's adopted me as his son. So, we had a formal ceremony many, many, many years ago, 1992 or 1994, when my father came to America, so this is cultural tradition. And Dr. Gyi is my mentor, and he's a father figure to me. And actually he has adopted me as his son through my father's approval. So, we had, my father formally asked Dr. Gyi to adopt me as a son in America, because my father was overseas. And Dr. Gyi, took that role very, very, to heart, and he has guided me with the highest level of integrity that anybody you know, he kept his word to my father, he said, “Don't worry, Mr. Ahmed, he's my son from now on, and I will take care of him”.

And his objective for me was to, you know, I was young at the time, much younger, to shape me and elevate my thinking. And the way he did that over the course of time and taught me martial arts, some of the best martial arts training I've ever gotten is from Dr. Gyi, the physical aspect, American Bando, the Bando system is very vast and very deep, and very, very, you know, full of enriching history and training. But Dr. Gyi is not just a great Grandmaster in the Banda system, he is a multiple PhD, he was a, you know, invited professor at Harvard University. I mean, this man is just on a different level. A whole other level. He's not human, he's superhuman. I'm not saying that because my teacher, my mentor, but that's the truth. If you meet him, you will, you will realize what I'm talking about. And there are very few people out there like that. 

So, I'm very fortunate that I have had this genius of a man, this wise monk of a man, Sayadaw, the monk mind, is taking me under his wing to guide me and, you know, teach me. So, I've learned so much, and not only the physical, but the thinking. And I've learned by observing him, by observation, his mannerism. And we've had conversations, you know, I will give you an example, he came, he was writing a book on me, it's called ‘Panther from Pakistan'. He wrote a book, he stayed 22 days in my home. 

And this is how our daily routine would be: he would be up at 6am with his, you know, pipe and typing on my computer. And when I wake up, and my wife, you know, we make him breakfast. And then all day he would be going and we'd be training. And there would be times, George, and this is no exaggeration. It'll be 2AM, 3AM, and he's teaching me, choking me, stabbing me, showing me the tiger form and all, and we’re talking about history, philosophy. And I'll say, “Doc, it's 2AM, it's 3AM. We need to go to sleep”. And he's, “Oh, yeah, already?” “Okay,” I say, “Doc, go to sleep”, you know, and put him to bed like a child. And then he would be up at 7AM. And I'm dragging. 

So, it was an experience living with the legend. I mean, I learned the true definition of dedication and work ethics, just by being around him, not let alone the physical technique. But that's why he's a genius, multiple PhDs, linguistic, you know, he's military, decorated veteran, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, I'm sorry, I got off the tangent, because when I talk about Dr. Gyi, I just get totally excited, because he's, you know, we need mentors in our life. And I'm so fortunate that he and other people mentored me. So, one way of elevating yourself is to find the right mentor. And mentorship is so important. And let the mentor you. 

Those are the lucky ones who get mentors in their life and they let them guide them and grow their thinking first before they grow their, you know, physical anything. And a mentor is not a person who is a, you know, feel-good coach – ‘Hey, good job'. A mentor tells you the way it is, you know, good, bad, he or she will let you know, you know their opinion. Then it's up to you. They don't influence you in doing something. They just educate you and guide you. So, I hope that helps. Also, I did. I forgot the question. 

GEORGE: No, that was great, I guess, one or two more questions for you. And I think for anyone listening, they can feel your passion, the wisdom and everything coming through, and definitely worth picking up the book. I do have one more question about the book because, you know, other than yourself sharing all this great wisdom, you've got so many people that have contributed as well. I'm probably not going to name all the names, but yeah, we've got Great Master Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace, Grand Master Ridvan Manav. Yeah, actually long standing clients. Yes, I speak to Hakan Manav quite often. Kyoshi Fred DePalma, and we got Hanshi Dave Kovar. 

A lot of knowledge is packed in this book from a lot of super talented martial artists. And we were discussing earlier, you were talking, you mentioned you had interviewed all these people. And I don't know if this is even possible to answer, but with so much diverse knowledge being shared with you, what's the one or two things that really stood out, that was a universal philosophy of a great master instructor? 

ZULFI: The great thing was that everybody had their own unique approach. And there were some people who just did one liners. And some people wrote, like Bill Clark, wrote a whole, you know, some chapters in there. So, one thing was that everybody had their own essence; what this book has is the essence of their personal idea of what a master instructor should be or is. So, they just extracted the essence and put it in, in this book. 

One thing was that what I took away – that open to learning, a master instructor, which is universal, is open to learning. Next point, I think I'll go to three points, which stand out. They're learners, open-minded to learn and grow. Second, they are in service for the students, they have evolved beyond themselves, they are not pursuing it for prize, profit, or fame. They are doing this, because it is them, they have become the essence. They've evolved beyond the price, the money, the fame. 

Now, it's part of the DNA. So, they teach out of love of teaching, not out of need of teaching. And the third thing, which stands out is they all want, they're all on a path of transformation, transforming their students to a higher level of human being. To them, martial arts is more than kick and punch. To them, martial arts is truly empowerment in transforming a student into becoming a better human being. So, these are the key essence, in how they do it, is in the book and how they see it is in the book. And I'm so grateful to all these great minds and great leaders and great legends that they contributed, because my objective was, and still is, to put that info, so it should not be lost. 

When I ask them the question, what is a master instructor to you? I wanted to put their, you know, essence in the book. So, this is not lost for the upcoming generation. So, this becomes a text which is standardizing our industry for master instructors. I'm already working on the next book – it's called, ‘Beyond the Master Instructor'. So, now I'm talking about the grandmaster level, you know, at the next level, so I've already completed about 12 chapters. So, my goal is to publish that in 2022, probably. 

But now, what is after this, because I want to leave behind a body of knowledge that continually shapes our industry. That is my contribution to our industry, which has been so wonderful to me. You know, martial arts has changed my life and martial arts has given me and made me, you know, who I am today. Of course, the teaching of my parents, and my faith, and my teachers, but it's all martial arts, where I'm today, what the reason I'm speaking to you is because of the martial arts, and I want to help shape those other lives. Because I know it's given me a lot, I want to give back to the martial arts and I see it in a way of, you know, a book or a course or, you know, a training. So, I want to leave that behind and continue to ever agree to give back. That's my contribution that I want to leave. 

GEORGE: Love it. Grandmaster Zulfi, thanks so much for making the time to chat with me and for anyone listening, so, ‘The Science and Secrets of Becoming a Master Martial Arts Instructor‘. I even said it the American way, I even said Master, not Master. All the links to where you can purchase the book is in the show notes. Master Zulfi, anything you'd like to add, before we wrap up? 

ZULFI: Thank you so much. I truly appreciate your time. And, you know, thinking of me and helping promote the book, because I feel this will help everybody and you don't have to be an instructor. I've got students in my academy, purchasing these. They just want to learn, they just want to know what we think about. So, this is not just for an instructor or a master instructor. 

Anybody can, when they read this, if your students read this, you are already planting that seed way early. You know, if a green belt, adult green belt, reads this, you've already planted the seed, and you’re already building an instructor, master instructor, in your school already. It elevates your instructors. It elevates all of us. 

So, the lady who edited this book, she's a PhD. And she's a retired professor of education. She used to write manuals for instructors in college. So, she told me, she said, “Master Zulfi, I learned so much from this book”. I mean, she's an educator, she writes manuals, I've learned so much, and she edited it. “I've learned so much from this book. Why don't you write this book for teachers, not martial artists, for teachers? All you've got to do is change the master instructor to teacher. 

And this will be a very big addition to the academic industry.” I was not thinking of it like that. And this person who's outside of industry, who did the editing, she's who I look up to. And I said, “I hope, I'm telling you, I hope this is good enough”. She said, “I've learned from this myself. And you can bring this body of knowledge into academia, academic work and help, it will help the teachers”. 

So, what a great testimony, what a great encouragement that she gave me and made me think in a different way now. So, I highly recommend it, and I'm not worried about selling it or not, I've already achieved what I wanted from this book. But whoever gets this book, first, I want you to give me your feedback, what you take away, so I can improve myself. And I can grow and also learn from it. And it's not only for instructors, it's not only for master, granted, it's for everybody. Your students can read it and when they read it, they will see the martial arts instructor at a different level. And you know, I just wish everybody the best of luck. 

Hang in there, guys. Good times are on the way. You know, when this pandemic is done, people are cooped up, they just want to get out what a great thing we do, what a great service we provide. I guarantee you give it time your schools will be packed. Just hang in there, be true to your profession, keep bringing the best of yourself, continue to grow yourself, and your school will be jam-packed again, that mark my words, it's about to happen. Not happen maybe in the next six months, the one who's relevant, and who's present, will reap the benefits.

GEORGE: Totally. I just want to add to that for, you know, especially for anyone listening from elsewhere, I can definitely vouch for that. You know, one thing that we really assess working with school owners in multiple countries, is watching countries ahead of the curve, get over the pandemic, sort of deal with things, open up and come out of lockdown. And I know here in Australia, schools are booming. And we see how that is trickling through. So yeah, if, you know, if things aren't great now, just be ready, because it's coming. 

ZULFI: For several reasons. Number one, cabin fever. Number two, there's some great movies coming out. Number three, if we have been active and relevant, people appreciate and notice and support that, you know. So, your success is not what you do for them, your success is how they see what you do. The community will support you, because you've been around supporting them, and it's very important to stay present and relevant. The community will recognize you.

GEORGE: Love it. Great opportunity to lead.

ZULFI: Thank you so much for your time. 

GEORGE: Thank you, Master Zulfi.

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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.

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107 – Being The Voice Of Reason For Your Team and Students

If you’re moving in and out of lockdowns, it can be tough to keep a positive attitude. Here’s a few reminders to sidestep negativity and help you lead from the front.

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IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How to be the voice of reason in negative situations 
  • Practicing good leadership skills 
  • How to shift your energy and focus to achieve what you desire
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

It's good to be the voice of reason and challenge people on their thoughts, especially if they're training martial arts with you. What is martial arts really about? What are we really doing here? Punching, kicking, grappling, these are all the stuff that we do, but what is it really? What do you become when you do martial arts?

Hey, it's George Fourie, hope you're well. So, I wanted to shoot this video as a bit of an inspiration/reminder, depending on where you're at. Now, fortunately for me, I'm super blessed. You know, we've got no restrictions in anything. 

But I was chatting to one of our Partner members a couple of nights ago, and they are on lockdown, at number three. And surprisingly, he was not pretty down about it or anything. But he did mention that he's facing a lot of the same cancellations and a team that has been with him a long time just saying, “Great, we'll see you when you reopen”. 

So, no motivation to train online and so forth. And look, I get it, some people are okay with it, some people aren't. Either way, no judgment as to what is right or wrong. But, at the end of the day, what I do want to chat about is just being the voice of reason. 

So, let's face it, there's so much negativity around – finding a negative conversation or a whinging conversation, or complaining, it's easy to find, right? It's really easy to tap into a negative hemisphere and just latch on to the complaining, or the next complaint, or the next thing to whinge about, really. And, as a reminder, it's good to just be the voice of reason. 

It's good to be the voice of reason and challenge people on their thoughts, especially if they're training martial arts with you. What is martial arts really about? What are we really doing here? Punching, kicking, grappling, these are all the stuff that we do, but what is it really? What do you become when you do martial arts?

I think it's a good reminder for people that get it, to kind of call them on their attitude if people are wanting to quit, want to slow down or, you know, “yeah, we'll do nothing and come back later”. Challenge them on it. 

Really, is that how you're going to handle all problems in life, is just when something comes along, you're just going to sit back and wait till it blows over, you know, and wash your hands, or you're going to face it head on, and work within the constraints in what you have.

Let's face it, if you're under lockdown, number three, there could be a number four, there could be a number five, that could never change, you can't change that. But, you can change how you handle the situation and what you do in the situation. 

And this is where your students obviously look up to your leadership, right? And look at, well, what are you doing? Are you leading from the front? Or are you burying your head in the sand with everyone else? 

And I think that could just be a reminder for everyone, because it's easy to get stuck in misery. It's easy to get stuck in how bad a situation is, versus taking the leadership role and just saying, “well, yeah, it's not great. But here's the plan. This is what we're going to do, this is how are we going to navigate through this”. 

So we're going to get through this, and before you know it, we're back on track, and everybody that was sitting on their butts watching Netflix, etc., are going to be way behind you guys who jumped in and kept on training and kept on doing the thing. 

Anyway, I hope that hit home, I hope that makes sense. Look, wherever you are – things have obviously changed a lot. You know, and depending on where you're based, maybe you face restrictions now and restrictions later. Nothing you can control, but you can control on how you lead from the front and the example you set for your students. 

Anyway, I hope that helps. Depending on when you're listening to this, have a great 2021, have a great year. Speak to you soon. Cheers. 

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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.

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105 – Passing Kidney Stones & Getting Your Mojo Back With The 75 Hard Challenge

If your energy took a dive in the last few months, here’s a quick way to get your mojo back (passing kidney stones not essential!).

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • What is the 75 Hard Challenge
  • How to revive your energy and get your mojo back
  • Do this and it will help grow your martial arts business 
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

As a martial artist, for me, it was always I train a lot and I'm doing what I can so I'm doing okay, but reality is, I was not, and I really needed to do a couple of things to uplift my energy and get back on track and feel alive. 

Hey, it's George Fourie, hope you're well. So, if you've been feeling a little sluggish, or your energy's down, just the last couple of months of craziness has really gotten down to you, then hopefully, this episode will help. 

So, a slightly different podcast episode, we normally talk about marketing, business, or interview people. This one is about health and being at your optimal state. And I know, as a martial artist, for me, it was always I trained a lot. And I'm doing what I can. So, I'm doing okay, but reality is, I was not. And I really needed to do a couple of things to uplift my energy and get back on track and feel alive. 

So, I've done just that. In the last couple of weeks I've been part of this challenge. It's called the 75 Hard Challenge, you can look it up at 75hard.com. In fact, I'll link to a podcast in this episode, which gives all the details. You can access that at martialartsmedia.com/105

So, I'll give you a bit of a background about how the challenge works. Now, it's not a weight loss challenge. It's a mental toughness challenge. And I'm not normally one to jump on board challenges. And, let's be honest, if I had to be honest with myself, every time I've jumped into a challenge as well, I probably didn't follow through the way I should have. 

So, a bunch of people in a coaching group that I belong to jumped into this. And I thought, I'm gonna do this, and I'm just gonna give it a go. And I'll tell you what, it's been pretty amazing. It's been tough. I expected it to be tougher, but it's been pretty amazing. And a couple of crazy things that happened, which I'm going to be sharing in this episode. 

So, I'll quickly pull it up on the app, actually, and just show you the details. So, it's basically an app that keeps track of your progress. Now, every day, you've got to do two 45-minute workouts. I believe they've got to be two hours apart. One must be outside. 

Follow a diet, that can be any type of diet, obviously not Krispy Kremes, or something crazy, but an actual diet. No alcohol and cheat meals. That catches a lot of people. Right? That one is a killer for most people, especially the time of year when I'm recording this now, leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Drink a gallon of water. So, a gallon of water is about 3.7 liters. Read 10 pages of a non-fiction book and take a progress pic. That's basically it. Well, it's not basically it, right, because it's quite a bit to do. 

So, for me, I just decided well, okay, let me see if I can shuffle my routine, I need to do two 45-minute workouts. I'm just going to up my jujitsu game. And, so, I've done that, and out of the 17 days, I've trained 14 days. I've been on the mats, I train at lunchtime, so it's super easy for me. 

So, I've been on the mats, 14 days out of the 17. And I must admit the three that I did, were probably the hardest because I had to find exercises to do that weren't in my routine. My other exercise would be, I'll do yoga, or I've got a rebounder where I do some jumping. Or I'll just actually, just, fast brisk walk at the beach with the family and that will add to the exercise time. 

The drinking water, now, I'll actually see what's happened because of the drinking the water. That's actually been pretty simple. As long as I get two of these in before 10 AM. That's 1.2 liters, it's 40 ounces. That makes it a lot simpler. And no alcohol. Now, I know no alcohol can be a tough one. I stopped drinking a little over a year ago. Got pancreatitis, it was super painful. I was told to stop drinking for six months. And I just didn't start since. 

Now, I have nothing against drinking. It's always funny when I go out, or you know, to a barbecue or hang out with people and I say I'm not drinking and the only people that feel weird are the people that are drinking in front of me. And they're like, “oh, do we have to, do we have to stop drinking?” And I've just got to confirm, hey, totally cool with you drinking, I'm just not drinking, and I've had a good run. So, I'm okay with that.

So, yep. If you're gonna take something like this challenge, obviously consider, you know, the festivities coming along, which time of year you are doing it. Reading 10 pages a day has been great. As a habit, I do read a lot. I do listen to a lot of audiobooks. But this is actually got to be a physical book, right? You can't fake it. You got to actually pick up a real book and read it. That changed a lot, no cheat meals, so all these things are pretty okay for me. 

So, here's a couple of crazy things that have happened, well, call them crazy. Well, first up, weight loss: I've lost, I think about four kilograms, that's about eight pounds. I passed a kidney stone. Now, a little bit of background, I've struggled with kidney stones since my 20s. I've had past kidney stones every year, pretty much for the last 10 years. The last time was about two years ago. And it was the worst, the worst as in, I've always passed kidney stones. I know that sounds gross and painful, especially for guys, the thought of it. But, funny enough, passing a kidney stone is not hard. A kidney stone moving through your insides, all the way down, that is pain. 

So, two years ago, I had a stent in my kidney. And that was really uncomfortable, because I had a piece of wire in my kidney. I couldn't walk fast, I had a lot of internal bleeding, and couldn't train. The doctors just kept on feeding me painkillers. It was not a great time. And after all that, they operated, they couldn't get the kidney stone out. So, I know I've had a kidney stone up here for a while. And every time somebody knee rides me, I feel the pain for a couple of days. 

Anyway, I was doing yoga on day eight or nine, and as I got up, I was like, “whoa, that's really sore, here in my bladder area.” And my wife said, I should probably take it easy. She's been saying that through the whole challenge. Anyway, I passed a kidney stone, probably almost as big as a pea, like a green pea. Anyway, I know that sounds horrific, but, I was just celebrating because that's the least amount of pain I've ever experienced for a kidney stone and I passed it. That alone is feeling great. 

Anyway, my jiu jitsu has really improved. Just over the last couple of days, I did start feeling a bit sluggish. Feeling like, whoa, my body's starting to pain, it's getting a bit sore. But, the last few days on the mats have been great. Two days ago, I got sick. Well, at night, I started getting cold shivers and felt a bit weird. But in the morning, I slept 10 hours, that's probably just what my body needed. Slept 10 hours, woke up, I was 100 percent. 

And yesterday on the mats, I spent an hour, I went flat out. Although I was tired, and it's pretty hot here in Perth, where we are. It was really strange. I felt tired, but I didn't feel exhausted. Like, I felt like I had a workout, but I just had so much more left in the tank. It's been great. It's been great in the sense of I feel clear, I've been thinking clearly. 

And here's, if I had to tie this back into business, we started this discussion in our Partners group. Well, okay, if that's what you would do in a challenge, are there things that you can do in your business as day-to-day activities that would grow your business faster? 

That's one thing I've got from just logging into an app, because routinely, the longer I do the challenge, the more I'm addicted to the habit of not doing it, and the higher the stake is of letting it go right? Because, I'm looking at this, and I can see, well I've done 17 days, and the stakes of dropping it and starting again, is just too much. So, I forced myself to do it. Now, there's been some awkward days. My wife was at a work conference over the weekend. And so, my last workout was at about quarter to 10. 

The funny thing is, I've set my day end on the app at 10 PM and I log my results at quarter to 11. And, I've got this disaster, you know, big guy, and he was standing there and saying, “hey, you know, did you miss it?” And I thought, “oh, hang on, I don't have a chance to recuperate.” And it says, it gave you the option to continue if you, honestly, of course, finished your day's activities. Yeah, so I'm back on track. 

But anyway, one of the things that you could do, if you had to set yourself high stakes and be in a group, like we do in our Partners group, be together and have somebody be accountable for you, that you can just go that extra mile. 

I noticed this in the last couple of weeks, we ran a six week challenge, we called it the ‘Relaunch and Restore Challenge' for our Partners group. And, a bunch of the guys jumped in, they started running the numbers, right? So, the goal was, the person who grows, increases their revenue and student base, by the biggest margin over six weeks, will get a title belt. Let me see if I can pull it up. Here we go, a slight cheesy picture of me holding the title belt. 

So, we created a title belt called ‘Partners Challenge Champion'. And so the person, Phil Cassidy, won this. Two of the top guys increased their revenue by 213%. Obviously, they had to be motivated. And obviously, they're to do.

But doing that, it just showed me the power of a challenge, when you have a set deadline that you've got to achieve a certain thing, and you've got group accountability, and you've got a few people that are really pushing you, it kind of makes a difference of picking up that one extra phone call or sending that one extra follow up inquiry, or running that extra ad campaign, or just pushing that much harder to get the result that you want. 

That's something we've been really focusing on in our Partners group. And really, how do we push people further? I hope this was helpful. I just wanted to share this. And I know, for someone, it could be good. 

Now, if 75 days just sounds too crazy, and you're looking at it, and you know, Christmas and Thanksgiving and all the festivities, New Year is around the corner, have a look at it, download the app, check it out, and see what you can get from it. 

And when you really give it a shot, it will transform your life. Well, hey, I'm only on day 17. So, I'll record another podcast when I hit some solid numbers, as in, complete the challenge. Alright, hope you're well, hope you're doing great. I'll speak to you soon. Cheers. 

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101 – Costa Prasoulas – Applying Philosophy And Martial Arts To The Fight Of Life

Martial arts school owner Costa Prasoulas shares how philosophy influences his life of acting and martial arts.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Costa’s ancient ancestral history of martial arts 
  • The philosophy that Costa upholds in his martial arts academy
  • How Costa’s career in martial arts movies began
  • Observing martial arts fight scenes from a different perspective 
  • The self defense approach to Covid-19
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

I think of philosophy and its beautiful relation to martial arts is the fact not that it gives you answers, but it creates questions. It creates an open channel of thinking. In relation to martial arts, there's not one answer. There's many ways from a technical avenue, from a stylistic perspective and many answers, there's not one thing, right? That's why there's so many variations and so many possibilities.

GEORGE: Good day, this is George and welcome to another Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. So today I'm joined with a special guest all the way from Marrickville, Sydney, New South Wales. We were going to, actually like a lot of things, do this interview a couple of months back, but at the time of recording this, as we all know, the world changed and so things got delayed. So welcome to the call Costa Prasoulas. How are you today Costa?

COSTA: Yeah good thank you George, I'm very well thank you. It’s nice to be with you.

GEORGE: Cool. Costa has an interesting background and who better to tell us – look, if somebody has a Wikipedia page, it deserves mentioning, right? So who better to tell us a bit of an intro and then Costa can take over, but… Costa Prasoulas is an Australian actor and martial artist trained in Muay Thai, Hapkido, Taekwondo, Pankration and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, having won the Australian Open Martial Arts Championship in 1992, Intercontinental Kickboxing Champion and won a silver medal at the 2009 World Games. His acting credits include Cop's Enemy and Z-End.

How cool is that? My work was done for me and a really good intro.

COSTA: It's quite interesting, you know, I didn't even know that I had a Wikipedia page until about last year when my daughter came up and she is like, “Dad, guess what?” I said “What?” She goes “Oh, we were looking at you at school with some friends of mine. My daughter is in year 12 mind you. And she goes, “You’re on Wikipedia!” I said, “Really?” I had no idea. And so it only came to my attention that I was actually on Wikipedia like maybe over the last sort of what, 18 months. So it's quite interesting. But it's cool that you said that, I didn't even know myself.

GEORGE: That actually makes it a lot better, you know. If it was instigated from the marketing standpoint and, you know, it's still good that you can get it. But the fact that it was up there without you knowing…

COSTA: Yeah, I had no idea. I had absolutely no idea, no idea.

GEORGE: That can lead to the next question, like: how did it come to that? I mean, you've obviously done some cool things within the martial arts space and then movies. So give us a bit of a background, how this all got started for you and where you came from?

COSTA: Sure. Primarily, from a very young age, I was about five and a half or six years of age when I started really sort of getting involved with martial arts. And the primary reason was my father. My father was actually, he dabbled in amateur Greco-Roman wrestling in Greece. When my parents sort of settled then in Australia, in Sydney and I was, you know, my dad was always sort of in the combative arts anyways, so I had that primarily from a cultural background, that Hellenic combative ideal of you know, mind, body and spirit. My ancient ancestors you know. And so that was kind of like, I never really sort of, I kind of grew up with that sort of mentality. To me that was normal because of the way that my life as a young kid sort of was involved in that.

So I kind of like progressed with some other martial arts as well. With Hapkido, Taekwondo, I moved on to Muay Thai, I spent quite a number of years competing in kickboxing, sort of Muay Thai and stuff like that. I spent a lot of time in Europe, because we have quite a bit of family in Greece, so I kind of lived over in Europe for quite a few years. I competed quite a bit in Europe, spent a bit of time in Holland, sort of Muay Thai kickboxing style is more dutch or European K1 style, which was quite sort of not very popular back then, especially in the 90s. It was sort of very new to the sort of Australia South Pacific region. I spent a bit of time in Thailand, travelled to South Korea, traveled quite a bit. Over the course of those years, I was involved in quite a few sort of choreography and martial arts sort of scenes. You know, doing bits and pieces for commercials and stuff like that.

Then finally I had one of my friends, and she's sort of like to me, well, why don't you get an agent and do this professionally? And it kind of sort of led to that, there was a production that was happening maybe about 10 years ago, 11 years ago and I was kind of involved behind the scenes for choreography. I think it was half an Australian-Indonesian production and we’ve got a lot of Asian cinema mates. You know, there's always combat and there's lava death and revenge, there's always something happening, so it's pretty cool, you know, it's our style, right?

And there was this fight scene that I needed to create between the main actor and three villains. And these guys were all fantastic actors, but their martial arts skills left a lot to be desired. And they were wonderful actors, great guys, but they needed a lot of training. And I primarily turned to the director, I said, “Listen,” I said, “I need to work with these guys,” because when you do stuff like this on screen as opposed to competitive or real sort of situational combat, it's very different. It's very, very, very, very different. You know, you extend your kicks, you need to do your thrust. And you always take use of your environment.

So if we're say for example doing a scene, I don’t know, I’m just going to pick say in a coffee shop or something, right? We're utilizing tables, chairs, stuff that could be used as weapons and you take all this into consideration. Then you know, the number one priority is safety. And usually with action things, I think that it's hardcore action movies especially martial artists don't get enough credit as much as they deserve, simply because it's not just dialogue where if you make a mistake, or there's a slip-up or some kind of retake needs to happen, it can be done.

Whereas with fight scenes, especially when you're dealing with weapons, the tables and chairs and you’re looking all of a sudden like Jackie Chan, what these guys do, they’ll spend easily eight to nine hours to pull up a two to three minutes scene. It's just massive, because you're doing a number of different takes and angles and there's mistakes and then you’ve got injuries and you’ve got… So there's a lot at play, there's a lot more to handle.

Anyway, I said to him, you know, we need to do this, we need to spend X amount of time. So we kind of sort of started to progress down that avenue. And then he was sort of running out of time, so it was going over budget, it was going over time so there's all these little factors to take into consideration. And he goes, “You know what mate?” He goes, “Stuff it, you do it.” Because it's an Asian movie, right? So you've got to remember that the Europeans are usually the bad guys, you know, in a lot of the Asian movies. So you’ve got to understand the historical context of why that happens. So he goes, “You'd be perfect for it, so no problem.” So it kind of like took off from there, and it was a major movie, especially in… That movie was quite big in Indonesia.

It kind of like stems from there, it's been an interesting sort of… I really enjoyed it, especially because I don't really compete much now. Now I'm focusing on my Academy and my acting, I love my family as well, so I try to juggle my time quite effectively at work. It's pretty cool, it's pretty cool. I've been getting a lot more drama serious roles, I kind of like being stigmatized, kind of like a mafia boss, you know, that kind of role. So the last couple of years my roles have been primarily more of a, like a godfather, you know, like a stand over guy, like that “Don't mess with me” kind of dude, you know, which is pretty cool, you know, it’s nice.

GEORGE: Yeah, I saw a few clips and you match that persona pretty good. Yeah, you’ve got the martial arts experience, you were with a bunch of actors, they’re actors, but they don’t know what they’re doing – how does that process work to actually get actors on par with a scene and how much of it is orchestrated and improvised? Is it 100% orchestrated and is that why the length of the time, or…?

COSTA: Mmm, that’s a good question. So you'll find that with straight out actors, it takes a long time to train them. So if they’re doing usually a big budget production, where you get big Hollywood actors, or you know, mainstream high end actors, they’ll spend the time to train them and they’ll, for example look at the film that we all love, like John Wick and yeah you can go look and see that Keanu Reeves was already trained, he had been training in martial arts for years.

But in this particular one, they wanted to change it, so they brought in Jean Jacques Machado, they brought in a lot of guys with another element and he was just training relentlessly for like 3 to 6 months. And this guy has been consistently active and they were able to pull off this scene. So there was a combination of choreography and sort of go with the flow, let's improvise. So with guys like him, you can.

If you take someone, let's say for example, that’s had no sort of athletic training and really hasn't been evolving in forms of martial arts or combat, it's really difficult. So that's why you'll find, depending on the region, depending on what they're doing is they'll use people that will have a background in it. Or you know, a lot of the extras, all the supporting actors, will be very highly trained martial artists to make the flow seem effective.

You know, when you think of Liam Neeson in “Taken”, where he’ll do… the camera angles are very close, so you know where you see he’s not doing much, and he’s very sort of like a one hit, one finish and done. That’s how they get around working with guys like that. So they don't have to overly train them, because they’re more drama based actors, they’re not fight actors.

Whereas, if we go back a bit, where you’ve got guys like Keanu Reeves and Van Damme, you know all these guys. Like Jason Statham, he’s a classic example, you know, these guys are all trained. It's much easier for them to flow, so they can work well. So if you and I both trained and you were in a supporting scene, we would improvise a lot and we would work off each other, so that would reduce that flow. And that's why you'll see scenes, have you ever seen the movie called “The Raid”?

GEORGE: No.

COSTA: Ok. watch “The Raid.” So… it's pretty cool. They did like a 15 minute high impact fight scene where they were just going with the flow. And this probably took them, whereas with a normal actor it would take him 3 days to shoot a 10 minute scene, they did it in a span of like 12 hours, just like that. And some people are highly skilled, but they're terrible on camera. Like they’ve just got no reaction, because you've got to fake it. If you punch me here and I don't react to that, well it doesn't look very realistic on film, does it? You're trying to sell it.

GEORGE: That's interesting. I've always tried to look at movies just from the devil's advocate point of view of, hang on, was that really your hand and how was the angle and how did the punch land? Was it from you, was it from someone else, and was it a double? Yeah.

COSTA: Accidents do happen though. They do happen, a lot of people get injured, you know? There's many people who have had broken foot or broken ribs or mishaps and stuff like that. And it just depends on sometimes you just get caught up in the moment, or you could be on uneven terrain and you’re working off ladders or tables or chairs, accidents do happen. People do get hurt – it’s not intentional, but it can happen, especially when you’re dealing with weaponry in another sort of environment and stuff. And there's also, there's many things, there's also the continuity factor.

So for example, when you’re looking at a base movie, let’s say for example we're doing a scene, we’re doing a dialogue scene, we’re sitting, let's take the coffee shop like we did before – this is where you'll notice things like, they're having a conversation but we’re doing a number of retakes, so we’re there for an extensive amount of time, where you’re drinking say for example, I don't know, sparkling mineral water. But your glass is half full, you're wearing your Breitling watch on your left hand and your hair is styled this way and your shirt has got one button untucked. And then you'll see the same thing later on, but the glass is empty, your shirt looks a little bit differently. That's because they're doing a number of retakes, all this stuff comes into effect too.

So if you've caught a punch on your right side and you're kind of like tripled with bleeding, the makeup comes in and the director of photography to create continuity purposes, because it's very difficult. If you have to do for example a sidekick to the knee, and we’ve got a kick, you’re doing this, you might end up shooting like 50-60, a 100 sidekicks over and over and over again. Say, you start to sweat, all this stuff comes into it. It's quite…it's a lot harder than what people think, it's not that simple. That's why I said to you in the beginning, I said, there's a much higher appreciation for those action sequences and what some of the big actors and the stunt guys actually go through to produce the final product, it's actually quite an intense process.

GEORGE: I think I'll be looking at 2-3 minute fight scenes with a new level of eyes.

COSTA: Yeah yeah, you tend to appreciate it a lot more, a lot more.

GEORGE: So you've got Zeus Academy?

COSTA: Yes I do.

GEORGE: And so with your background of acting, have any of your students followed that same path? Or have you directed them in that way when you spot some talent?

COSTA: Not necessarily. I have offered my students when there has been opening for extras roles, or you know, like background roles and they need people, I will offer it and some of them have been involved in a few short films, like for the Toronto film festival, Sydney film festival, you know the Cannes film festival, they're doing a lot of short films, productions and stuff like that. Nothing major, like not big budget productions or sort of mid budget productions.

I think it's not something that I push them to do, it's something that if any of them are interested in that avenue, at some point I'll probably look into it, but I have offered when there has been opportunities arisen and some have taken part, but I don't really push them down that avenue. As a professor, a martial instructor of the academy, people have different goals. Primarily all of our students that come don't come for that reason. It wouldn't be for martial arts choreography or for that, you know, it will always be something. If something changes in the future, especially some of the guys that have been with me for 10-15 years and they enjoy this and they want to pursue this, definitely.

But I think it's a very oversaturated industry, to be honest with you. It's very little, like the way that the industry works now is very different to what it used to be. So most of the time now, you know, people will make a lot of short films, they’ll make a lot of black pilot productions with the goal to eventually get it on Netflix, or Stan, something like that and get picked up. And if that’s a success, you get a percentile cut and you’re progressed to a seasonal production, whereas… and most of this is free work, you know, it's a very, very oversaturated industry. Especially, here in Australia it's very difficult, especially with action movies, very few productions get done here, they’re more in the hardy tardy kind of thing, they’re not into that kind of hardcore Asian, that John Wick sort of Transporter style movies. You’ve got a lot more Europeans and Americans and Asians that do that style, you know?

GEORGE: Fantastic. So behind you there's a nice display of different trophies and so forth. Give us a bit of background on what's going on there.

COSTA: Yeah. I just mixed up all of my intercontinental kickboxing title belt, a couple of trophies like some, a gold medal from the Sydney BJJ comp, I've just… it's bits and pieces. It's nice, this is some of the stuff that I have. I'm at home now, so I’m not in the office, this is a small one, my home stuff, there's a lot of stuff in the gym. I don't primarily like to make the Zeus Academy about me, I like to have the impression that it is about the academy, you know?

GEORGE: Lovely.

COSTA: That way it gives me a little bit more freedom to do my acting and do some other stuff that I do. So the way that I work with Zeus Academy, we’ve kind of got 5 branches. So we've got our standard martial arts training and different classes, where we offer Muay Thai, high level Muay Thai. High-level Brazilian jiu jitsu, Pankration, mixed martial arts, Hapkido and we have our kids’ taekwondo/kickboxing programs. So we have those styles that we teach there. So then my second avenue is, I do quite a bit of work, I used to and I still do occasionally, but not as much as I did before, due to all the circumstances that have happened throughout the world and stuff. I do quite a bit of work with corrective services and security, sort of protection, sort of area. I do a lot of the training of the guards personally myself.

I also do my film work and we run quite a few anti-bullying programs for schools and we also have remedial massage, personal training, weight control and you know personal sort of little things that we work on with individualistic sort of people, depending on, you know, their personal issues that they're dealing with. And we've also got our manager in Zeus, she's pretty much our psychologist and does a few other things as well.

So I kind of run it with those five sort of little sub branches, but all under one academy. So there's many things that I kind of like to do with Zeus Academy in that respect, so it’s kind of like a little bit different from your average martial arts Academy. And it's not that I kind of like planned to take it to any of these specific avenues. I truly believe like if you work hard and you have faith and you believe in what you do, you're very passionate about what you’re doing and you know, you keep at it things fall into place, you know.

And that's kind of like, it’s kind of happened, with the competitive scene, I love competition. I'm not, I don't push it. We have a few very, very high-level competitors. Not a huge amount, but I do find that they take a lot more of my time and a lot of time that I would like to spend. And it’s great, I understand it because I did it myself, I used to compete quite a bit over here and in Europe as well and Asia. But it's not something that I'm a big fan of going down that avenue. I will support it as much as I possibly can, but to go into that sort of fight lifestyle it's just a whole lot of time consuming with very little return, to be honest with you.

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. So I'm curious just on your, on your academy, you mentioned your you know you've got five sort of different pillars.

COSTA: Mhm.

GEORGE: So different audiences. So when it comes to marketing, is it, do you focus on one primary target audience and then there's a bit of cross-promotion in between, or you sort of just have people coming in from all angles across all five pillars?

COSTA: So from a marketing perspective, I just market the academy, primarily I always market the Academy for its philosophy. The philosophy of the Academy, because I do a lot of, I actually studied philosophy quite extensively ever since I was young. So I studied a lot of Socrates, Aristotle and stuff like that. I think of philosophy and its beautiful relation to martial arts in the fact not that it gives you answers, but it creates questions. It creates an open channel of thinking. In relation to martial arts, there's not one answer. There's many ways from a technical avenue, from a stylistic perspective and many answers, there's not one thing, right? That's why there's so many variations and so many possibilities. And I think that's what philosophy does.

So when I market Zeus Academy, it's more about the philosophy of the academy. We try to make the fist work as a whole in terms of, you know, mind, body and spirit. If one of the fingers are injured or damaged or is not functioning properly, then the whole unit is not going to be able to form at its maximum capacity of power. So we try emphasizing that balance. I think people are in there, we look at sort of those various aspects of it, but in other terms of marketing, we work a lot with referrals. So we work a lot with referrals. And I also get a lot of clients through my acting. So there's a lot where I’ll be on set and they go “Wow man that's great! What do you do?” It's like, ok, yeah.

So I actually had a guy join us, he actually signed up last night. It was a fellow actor. “I've always wanted to do Muay Thai, I’ve always wanted to do BJJ, I always watch the UFC,” and it's like, that's great. You know, I didn't… I hate the UFC, yeah I'm not a big fan of the UFC. But I get that through my own individual thing.

So from terms of marketing from all the five different aspects, it'll be more by referral, sort of personal thing. But when we're doing general marketing, we just sort of market the academy. I keep it very simple, like it's very rare that I’ll, you know, “Come now and get this free,” I'm not a big believer in things like that. I'm a big believer in “Less is more.” Like one of my marketing strategies that I sort of do on social media will always be related to something that I do to the philosophy of life. And I think as the leader of the Academy, I think you’ve got to lead by example.

When I think back to my ancestors, Alexander the Great, Leonidas, or Constantine the Great, which is where my name comes from, Constantine, they were always in the front line. They were the first one on the battlefield. They weren't sitting behind, directing, they were saying “This is what we're going to do and this is how we should do it.” So I’ve always kind of had that philosophy with myself and with my students, you know? So I try to do the same. I try to lead, it's just been one of those things that I kind of do. And it's kind of worked for me and I'm also a big believer in, you know, knowledge is power, but I think yes and no. I think knowledge without action is okay, but you need to take action. So that kind of like means that’s philosophy too, well let's take action. If I can do it and I'm almost 50, you can do it too, you know?

GEORGE: I love that! I was going to ask you about, I was looking at your social media posts and the essence of the philosophy coming through that – it kind of reminds me that the day I started training martial arts and I don't know if you know my story, but I mean my martial arts lifespan is really short, I started when I was 36. But one thing, when you were mentioning the connection of mind, body and spirit, you know, that's what was the selling point for me.

It was all the personal development work and everything that I've done over the years and really trying to master myself and find myself, you know, finding martial arts was kind of the vehicle of the physical, you know. That was the body part which really connected for me. So if you look at the philosophy of Zeus Academy, what is that one core philosophy that sort of stems over all five different styles and avenues that you have?

COSTA: I would say one word. If I could sum up my Academy in one word, it would be family. Because family gives you a sense of security. It gives you a sense of protection, it gives you a sense of strength. It gives you a sense of knowing that there's going to be someone there, or anything there beside you to be there at your best points, but also at your worst points. Because we all fight different battles and strength is not just a physical thing. It's like you just said before, it's all those three attributes, right? I think our family, not so much when I say the word family, I'm talking about encompassing all of those avenues and those attributes and those qualities that we all possess.

And it's one of those things and I think really you know what I'm talking about. But it's really hard to explain this to people that don't train. They don't want to get involved, especially when you real hardcore, tough like in close, like heavy, like kind of like grappling systems or really, really, really up close and personal hard style Muay Thai and stuff like that, you really develop a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and family. And that's what I mean by the term family, you know, you get that vibe and you get that sense of belongingness, again you know that you're part of something that is within you as well as external. I don't know how else to explain it, but that's what I meant.

GEORGE: It's 100% clear, what you’re saying is 100% clear. I love that perspective that you share, because I don't hear a lot of people talk that deep, you know, about this. For me it’s an ongoing learning cycle. I mean just everything, the mind and martial arts. The mind, the body and spirit as you mentioned.

COSTA: 100%. And I think we always start… I mean it doesn’t matter what you do, I don't think what age… it doesn't really matter what your mind frame is when you begin with. I think once you spend an extensive amount of time, we all link to that, right? And it doesn't matter what you're doing. Whether you're working on losing weight, you get that mental, emotional and internal satisfaction and understanding that you start to apply to your everyday life.

You know, whether you're a hardcore competitor, you know you start dealing with nerves and soft control and composure and feeling pressure. And no matter how many times I step into that ring, my heart is pounding! And I’ve got to channel that energy to my advantage and the more I do it, the more I'm able to channel that fear to a more positive approach. It doesn’t mean it goes away, it’s there and that’s where it’s always going to be.

And I don't care who you are, I don’t care how many fights you've had: every time you step in that ring your heart pumps and you feel that, right? But you just start to channel that energy to a more positive effect. It's like saying don't be happy, don't cry, don't laugh, and don’t feel fear. It's not going to happen, it's not going to happen at any point in time. It's just how you channel that, right? And I think the more you stay involved when you train you really start to learn these qualities about yourself a lot more.

And eventually, you might start young and you see in many aspects and I've seen this throughout a number of decades of their training. So now I'm a bit closer, this would be like my 40th year probably, like training from young life. And so when you're young you know, your parents are trying to develop that strength, confidence, that eye contact, all those qualities right. And then you sort of get to your teens, when you start to be a little bit more mentally aware how your physical presence, your mates. And you may start to compete, even if you don't like, you know, you may be trained with people that do compete.

So it gives you that sharpness. And then you go through that whole sort of phase and if you learn to battle through those, you know, those points where, you know, you're going to get hit. You're going to get knocked down. You're going to get beaten up, you're going to get some shocking injuries. I don't even want to start with my injuries, I'll be here for like ten minutes. Blown out knees, knee reconstructions, fascitis in the elbow, disc fusion, you know. Dislocated ribs, dislocated rib cartilage, you name it. It's like, it's just consistently it hasn’t stopped.  So you know, we don't play long balls for a living, do we?

But it teaches you to fight through life. And I think it was actually Sylvester Stallone that said the best thing in the Rocky movie, no one hits harder than life. So when you learn to overcome and channel these things, and the only way you’ll learn to overcome and channel through them, is by using what you said before, that is mental, any internal physical strength and attributes.

Because the external physical presence doesn't matter at this point. And you learn to overcome and become a fighter in life. And as you progress, irrespective of age, I think when you get to sort of our age and over, you’re kind of like, you are more appreciative of this. And it's a constant learning thing, isn’t it? Like, “Oh master Costa, master Costa!” Yeah for sure, it's a title man but it doesn't really mean anything, you know. I mean at the end of the day, we're constantly learning. Constantly, constantly. There's always something to it. I think the day that we think that we know it all is this day we stop growing.

That's my philosophy as a whole thing through the Academy, from the top. And I try to sort of slowly, you know, nurture our instructors that have, you know, that work at our Academy, that teach for me. All my instructors have been with me for a minimum of six to seven years, if not more, that have been featured in our Academy. And the idea is, I want it like that, because I want this philosophy to talk to it. I don't want it to be because it's me; I want it to be because it’s the Academy.

As you keep getting older and older, you know, we’ve got some, you know, students that are in their sixties. Yeah, one guy's almost seventy. So it's really nice to see these people, you know, and they're pushing and challenging themselves and they're doing stuff that they never thought was possible. So I never think it's too late to start, but I think we, all at some point after a level of training, at some point in time, especially within these systems, especially in the system that I teach at the Academy, we really appreciate this mind and body evolving and the connection to life.

When you see that, I think you also create a lot of longevity in your students. And it also gives them a sense of attachment. So for example, we'll go through little things. I was talking to one of my students yesterday and he asked me a question about Muay Thai. And, you know, how it's more of a sport and stuff like that. Actually, I said this when we were at the convention together, when I did the Muay Thai as well. And you know, a lot of people don't know that Muay Thai is actually a very traditional martial art and it comes from pre-Thailand, before Thailand was actually called Thailand. It was Siam, right?

So it was the Siamese people, their military forces were trained to defend the people of this land.  And there were a lot of weapons involved in, there was archery and there was ground techniques and it was stone throwing techniques. And there was all of this stuff that was used in those times back then, you know. And in order to preserve this beautiful art, they were training it and they made it into more of a ring sport, which is what we have today.

But there's a lot of traditions, you know. The way that we bow, the Mongkon and what that symbolizes. And I don’t know if a lot of people know the Mongkon actually comes from the ancient times, which was embedded into the warriors back then. But before they would go on the battlefield, then it was either blessed by a holy man or a priest. And there's always some, you know, amulet or stone or something in Mong Kong and it would never be touched by the warrior.

So even to this day, when you see a Muay Thai fighter get out of the ring, and you will see the ropes, come around, you come to your instructor, your corner man, they will whisper a prayer or you know a blessing of some sort and then he will remove the Mong Kong, the warrior doesn't touch it. So it was to keep the evil spirits away, to keep the warrior and the fighter safe on the battlefield, or in the arena.

And you know, we talked about this thing and I hear people like training like seven, eight, nine years in Muay Thai, and they’re like, “Wow man! it's like, it's good stuff!”  And this is where the mental stuff comes in and you start to appreciate. And not only that: mentally, you make a connection to way back in history and thinking, “Wow man, I'm doing something that was done centuries ago,” you know? And I'm carrying this tradition on.” And you feel that sense of connection. And I think if you're able to touch people like this, you create a very, very, very, long journey. A sense of, you know, lasting students. Yeah, I guess.

So this is the core approach I kind of like to use with all my systems. And I think it's important because I think that the past has a lot to teach us and a lot of stuff that we can take. You know. I'll learn something from you and you might have learned it from someone else. You know, it kind of like carries on. It's not always something new, it's something that was always there, but we just adapt. And that's the secret, I think the adaptation of taking these things and adapting to how we see fit in our current circumstances. I think that's an important point, you know?

GEORGE: Yeah, exactly why I do these interviews, it's just, I learn so much. It’s a very selfish thing, you know, like I mean yeah, people saying “Yes, it's marketing,” and stuff, but the podcast interview is for me, it's selfish in the way that I like to learn. And that's why I can just talk and listen – well, I listen more than I talk, fortunately, in the podcast. It's just exploring and you’ve got such a wealth of knowledge to share, just those things you just shared about Muay Thai. You know, it makes me think of, you know, I’ve never stepped, you know, in a ring like that, but I just love watching that ritual of fighters walking around the ring and blessing, walking along the rope and there’s just something magical to it.

COSTA: When you hear stuff like this and even if you… you get a much nicer appreciation. And I think if people had this appreciation stylistically as well, we all would understand that we're kind of like trying to get through the same journey through different paths. But in the end, we’re trying to meet the same kind of goal, you know? In that heightened level of spirit and awareness and achievement and you know, progression, success, learning and all of those things, you know.

GEORGE: I wanted to ask you just before we wrap things up but here we mentioned the things in the world have changed and so forth in a… I mean, I don't like to talk about it that much, but in the context of what we spoke about, I mean, let's be real right: people faced challenges in different lights, you know? Some people saw this as an opportunity, some people were really struggling with it, you know. I think it was a… to me, I look at it as a real test on humanity just in general, you know. How do we cope with diversity and you know, how do we adapt when things don't go the way we had them or are used to living, for example.

With all this perspective that you have and the philosophy that you shared, how did you approach all this? And what are the things, when all this started to develop, what are the things that sort of really resonated with you from all the years of study that you've done of philosophy that you really put to practice to pull you through?

COSTA: It's a really good question. It was an interesting time. I viewed this as a form of self-defense. I mean, it wasn't a direct or physical – well, it was and it wasn't, but you know in a way it was a self-defense sort of like situation, or kind of like scenario that the world had faced. Like, we needed to protect ourselves in a different way of course, but nonetheless the overall sort of theoretical way is, “Okay, we need to protect ourselves. What do I need to do?”

You know, we all have good days, we all have bad days. We try to have more good days than bad days and I think once you accept, I think the key point here is accepting the fact that you're going to have bad days. You're going to fail, you're going to trip, you're going to stumble, and you’re going to be pissed off. You're not going to be your best. You accept the fact, but you know the next day is a new day and you know, it's a good thing to step up your game and get a little bit better and make amends and change things.

And you know, then we kind of like minimize the bad days as opposed to the good days. They’re going to be there and we need to accept that they're going to be there, but if it’s a 50/50 ratio, we try to make that you know, a 60/40 and then a 70/30 and 80/20. And you know hopefully we get to a 90/10 ratio and that's where we want to be, right? But it's going to be there. It's going to be there. It's like one of those things that we said before, you can’t eliminate, and you can't get rid of fear. It's going to be there. It’s how you channel it and how you react to it.

So this is how I kind of viewed the whole situation. What did I do? I probably did a ton of things that I probably never would have done, you know? I started writing a book about what, six years ago. It's about internal strength, unleashing the warrior within kind of thing. So it's got to do with a lot of the stuff that we've been discussing. So it’s got to do with some training, it’s got to do with some physical stuff, it’s got to do with some mental stuff, it's got to do with historical moments in history and the way that things had adapted, had changed to that particular individual who’s taking part and what the mind frame might have been like. Some of the stuff that's happened to me and I've encountered, I got a chance to actually work on my book, which was great.

GEORGE: Great.

COSTA: We really got our online platform working. Just something that I had the intention of doing, but never really got around to it. Got an app, online training done. Yeah, I hooked up a major partnership deal between Zeus Academy and Nike.

GEORGE: Oh yeah?

COSTA: Yeah. So I don't even think a lot of this stuff would have been done if that wasn't the case. Did I plan for, you know, to do these things? Not entirely, but I think the best way that I can explain it and this is why I use the term self-defense was, if I'm in a self-defense situation, I look at my options. So the first thing that I would look at where we’re sitting now, yeah, I would look at what I have in my environment, right? I've got this chair right next to me, so it can be used as a defensive and an offensive tool. This is how I think, right? With my tools.

So this is the kind of way I thought about it. I'll write a book, the online training, will do this, I’ve got to look at maybe attaching the Academy  to something unique, prestigious and world class that people can associate with, and I have this ability to do because of my acting, you know? It's not something that’s simple and it's not something that I can solve, “I'm going to attach myself to it.” It kind of like fell into it, opportunities arose and I just took it.

What I do think though, I think that depending on people's circumstances, you know, some people have got it a lot harder than others, depending on where you are and what you have access to. I think that people that have been in the game for a lot longer, whatever game they're in, whatever industry they’re in, I think the ones that have been in there a lot longer are always far better, because they're able to ride the storm a little bit easier.

So with us, you know, teaching for how many years, over 20 years, I've had Zeus Academy for about 20 years, I've been teaching since 93. I could ride that with that wave a little bit longer. And also we had a lot more students that were loyal. I was kind of blessed from that perspective. I think it's tough for different people facing different situations. I mean, there was a guy who's only been open for a year or two and couldn’t sustain it, so he had to close. I think that's a key role as well.

I also think that people don't get into survival mode. So this is why I look at this as self-defense. So the first thing that happened was like, I was in survival mode. So my clear objective is to survive. I don't want to win, I don't want to gain, I don't want to get anything – I want to survive first.

Once I survive and I've gotten myself to a point where there's no threat to me now, I can then look at progressing. So I think from a philosophical mindset I portray that this is important. And I think people panic. Either they go too defensive, or they go too offensive. You’ve got to ride your time, you've got to be patient. I think it's a classic example of… Like, if you have someone in side control. And they’re big and they’re strong and they’re battling you, it’s time to attack. The time to defend, you're on top, right? You’ve got to gas them,you got to ride them out, you’ve got to wait for the right moment until you attack the man, you go to attack the mount or you go for submission, or whatever the case may be, that's just from a technical perspective.

So when I take that approach and that's how I kind of handled that situation. That's how I think of it. Did I think of it intentionally? No, that's just the way I think, that’s just sort of my mentality, how I do things, you know? And on a positive note, it gave me a lot more time with my kids that I probably didn't get a chance to spend, you know what I mean? And I can't put a value on that.

I just truly hope that, just in terms of a humanity kind of thing, people become a little bit more compassionate and understanding with each other. And you know what, at the end of the day George, sometimes you need shit like this to happen that people can just come out of it and say, “Hang on: there are far more important things to life than just running around like a madman, becoming a slave to the system.” Because a lot of us, and I'm sure you’re guilty of it, and I'm guilty of it and we're all guilty of it at some point in time, right? So it kind of makes you take a step back and, you know, analyze it. So that's how I work, I sort of thought about it and built a sort of approach.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Hey Costa, thanks so much, this was awesome. If people want to get in touch with you and know more about you, what should they do? Where should they go?

COSTA: Very simple. Our website is zeusacademy.com.au, but .com works as well. And email is info@zeusacademy.com.au. Instagram is, I'm quite active on Instagram, a lot more than Facebook. Instagram is my name, Costa Prasoulas and Facebook is the same as well. I'm usually quite active on my social media, I try to answer and talk to as many people as I can. I usually get through all of my emails and stuff like that, so if someone wants to get in contact, I'll be more than happy to, you know, touch base and say hello and answer questions people have and stuff like that. It’s great. I look forward to catching up with you too my man, soon!

GEORGE: Yes! When we can cross borders.

COSTA: Yeah, definitely, definitely, definitely, yeah.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Costa, thank you so much, thanks for doing this. Great speaking to you and I'll speak to you soon.

COSTA: Thank you for having me, it's been a pleasure.

GEORGE: 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!

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98 – Brett Fenton – Evaluating Your Martial Arts Life & Transitioning To Virtual Gradings

Lifelong martial artist Brett Fenton talks about taking action fast, navigating through obstacles and transitioning to virtual gradings.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How Brett navigated his martial arts business through the pandemic
  • Evaluating if it’s your time to throw in the towel
  • The steps Brett took to pivot his business successfully
  • How Brett's agile leadership helped his team to adapt the right mindset
  • Brett's recovery plan
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

It is a great time to evaluate where you sat as far as life goes. So you can go, “Do I really love doing martial arts? Do I love teaching? Do I love turning up and doing all of this?” Here's the perfect opportunity for some people in the world to go, “You know what, I'm gonna actually jump out of this, because it's not actually something I enjoy doing anymore.” But for me, it actually made me assess the other way and go. “I love this so much, I've got to keep this going. I will turn over every rock to find a way to make this keep happening.”

GEORGE: Hey everyone, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. So I have with me today something that I speak to quite regularly within our Partners program. Great martial artist, great school owner, Brett Fenton from Red Dragon Martial Arts. How are you doing today Brett?

BRETT: I'm awesome George, thanks for having me on your podcast.

GEORGE: Thank you. And so a little bit of an insight: this is round two, but round one.

BRETT: Correct.

GEORGE: So we actually did a podcast… Well, it would be a good six months ago?

BRETT: Yeah, absolutely.

GEORGE: Yeah. And I had my laptop stolen unfortunately and there were two files that did not upload into the cloud. And one of them was Brett’s podcast. So it's been a long time in the making. Lots of change in the world, but here we are.

BRETT: Absolutely, a bit of a different environment now.

GEORGE: Exactly. So we can chat a bit about that, but first up, just for anyone who doesn't know who you are, just give us a bit of a roundup: who you are, what you do and a bit of your background.

martial arts virtual gradings

BRETT: Absolutely, thanks George. I’m a lifetime martial artist. I've been training since I was a kid, and jumped around different styles depending on which family member taught it to me, or friend. Didn't have a lot of money as a kid, so I latched on to anyone that looked that knew any martial arts and basically got it for free as a kid. Moved to Brisbane in the late 80s and basically started training with my still sifu Tom Lowe for the last 30 years. I trained with him in Wing Chun, Jow Ga Kung Fu, Wu Style Tai Chi funnily enough, because he thought I was an angry young teenager that needed some calming down, so he taught me that. Later on, taught me crucial lion and dragon dancing, so I did all the whole Chinese culture, immersed myself in their culture for a very long time. 

Lived over near Sunnybank for a long time as well, then obviously went down the route of when the UFC came out, MMA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu with John Will. Trained and traveled overseas a lot, started with the extreme martial arts in the mid to late 90s and 2000s and started bringing that out, probably late 2000s started teaching that, and Kali and Escrima with Ray Floro. So just basically, just gone on this journey of trying to find the very best martial arts to suit me. And funnily enough along the way, a lot of other people that I've taught have gone, “That's cool, I want to learn it.” 

And so now we have over 400 students. We run nearly 100 classes a week, full-time facility with multiple rooms. But we started in 97’ in a community hall, so we've done the usual kind of thing for most professional martial arts instructors. Community hall to full-time school over about 23 years. And that's pretty much my story, so that's all I keep doing today.

GEORGE: Perfect. So you were mentioning you were on this search for the perfect martial arts for you. Now, knowing, working with you from my perspective, you're a guy that sort of, you just jump in head-on into different directions and you're pretty quick to take action. But also get in front of, you know, what is going on with whatever you take on. So for you that you've done all these styles and all of these different things, what’s the sort of martial arts that resonates with you the most?

BRETT: Yeah, I get asked that question quite a lot, especially by my students here, which is my favorite. They always go, “Sifu. what's your favorite style?” I go, “It's like asking which is your favorite child; depends on the day and the time.” So depends on which one is upsetting you the most. I like… again, I still train, I love my kung-fu because I grew up in the Bruce Lee era, so for me it's still a big part of who I am. But I also love the nuances and the complexities of the Brazilian  jiu-jitsu. I was only just watching UFC yesterday and just watching two high-level jiu-jitsu guys in a cage, throwing crazy control, like twisters and stuff in an octagon. And that was exciting. So I still find that exciting, I love hanging out with, chatting with my coaches like John Will, he's like, he's a wealth of knowledge that I love to just chat to all the time. And so just that kind of stuff is really exciting. 

I love blades, I had my first knife when I was six years old and I've got a collection, probably not as good as Ray Flores’ collection, but I have a pretty good collection of knives that have been given to me over the years by students or family and friends. So I've always loved any kind of bladed weapon. So yeah, at the end of the day, I'm fully immersed in it. I gave up being a top-level sportsman in tennis, cricket, volleyball to just pursue martial arts and that was hard, as like a 20 to 22 year old, I could have gone down there. Martial arts was just such a pull to me that I went… I preferred myself as far as the martial arts goes, preferred myself as a person when I was doing martial arts than I did as an athlete in other sports and stuff. So I went down that road fairly early on as a young adult male and it's paid off, because this is all I do for a living now.

GEORGE: Got it. So, a quick backstory on how you transitioned to where you’re at with your school and everything and then we can take on a bit more of a conversation just on current matters, the current climate and how you plan on getting through that. So what was the… You stepped into martial arts: what was the transition for you going into school owner? You mentioned, from the school hall, etc. Elaborate a bit more on that.

martial arts virtual gradingsBRETT: Yep. So I started with my sifu at the moment in 1989. Started doing Wing Chun and then later on, about a year or so later Jow Ga Kung Fu and then Tai Chi. Early on, he probably recognized that I had a passion for passing on knowledge. I probably did it just organically with my classmates. Like, when I saw someone having an issue with learning something, I would always go over and help them. And so it was very early on that I found myself up the front doing the warmups, probably within a year or so and then after that running small group classes. And we actually had a very big martial art school for the time back in the early 90s, ten schools, like all satellite schools around Brisbane, running one or two nights a week in community halls with hundreds of students.  

And so for me, I was like “Wow, this is amazing.” I would literally drive from one school, I'd finish teaching – this is probably like 1992, I would finish teach at our Indooroopilly headquarters at 7:30 or whatever and then I’d drive into the city, the YMCA in the city and teach a class there 8:30, finish at 9:30 and then probably head out to Jindalee All sports and do a white session. And so for me, six – seven days a week of martial arts training and weight training and fitness training was not, I didn't think of it as anything special, I was just completely wrapped up in the whole thing. So that led me to running my own school in 94’. Like, one of his branches, was quite successful at that. Then I moved up towards the Sunshine Coast and I've made my school in 1997 and we've been running that one ever since. It obviously has evolved and grown since then.

GEORGE: Gotcha, okay. So quite the story. Now, I mean things have dramatically changed obviously, talking depending on when you listen to this podcast, but I think it's important to just address the current situation of where things are at. Because I think anyone in the world has never faced anything like now and some people have obviously, you know, really felt the pressure. And also not, you know, kind of waited in freeze mode and didn't take any action. And others have really sort of embraced the change as much as possible, you know, to really get through this pandemic that we're facing right now. So walk me through just how's it been for you and what have you done to navigate through this?

BRETT: Absolutely, thanks George. One of the biggest things I think was that I noticed it is a great time to evaluate where you sat as far as life goes. You can go, “Do I really love doing martial arts? Do I love teaching? Do I love turning up and doing all of this?” Here's the perfect opportunity for some people in the world to go, “You know what, I'm gonna actually jump out of this, because it's not actually something I enjoy doing anymore.” But for me, it actually made me assess the other way and go. “I love this so much, I've got to keep this going. I will turn over every rock to find a way to make this keep happening.”  

We started on March 23rd, we were given information, which was a week ahead of what I thought the schedule was going to be and when we were going to be told to basically close down physical training. So I know that I was chatting with you, leading up to that, saying we're gonna set up Zoom classes and we already were thinking that way and overnight it happened. And so within 24 hours, I had to go from being on this side of the camera, where I would sit and have conversations with you and the Partners and I was the person watching, I was being the viewer most of the time, to actually steering the ship on the other side of Zoom. And so 24 hours of educating myself from how Zoom worked, creating like breakout rooms and doing all that and we were up and running the very next night with our full Zoom classes, with everything still running, same timetable. 

For me, I reveled in that excitement. I like being challenged, I like being out of my comfort zone. I sometimes get stressed out by doing it and I know that meditating is good for that and I do do that every day, but I get excited when there's… when it's kind of like ice skating. I found that very exciting and challenging. Stressful, but exciting. So for me, I was a lot for that I and I still am. Like, I'm always thinking ahead a week or two ahead, going “Alright, this is what we're gonna do over the next couple of weeks.” and I'm already planning, it goes into my calendar, these are the things I need to do. And I know that you see on a Monday, when you ask every single Monday in Partners, “What's your plan?” So I already know what it is, so I just type it straight in. So I already know what my plan is for the week. And I go ahead and execute. And that's what I do.

GEORGE: Yeah. Personally, I think entrepreneurs were made for this. I mean, you know, that's what we do right? We solve problems. Interesting that you mentioned, you know, where a lot of people jump ship. Maybe it was just the easy way out. I think it also, it really… like you were saying, it really makes you think deeper. Like, am I… Is this what I really want? And I think that's where, you know, if people have been following their niche or, you know, trying to make money in an industry or something. And you didn't have that gut check before you started it, you were just hoping to make financial gains, which is – hey, it's, obviously, that's okay as well, because that's what, you know, people do in business. 

But it's a good time to reevaluate and really sit back and think, “Okay, well is this what I really want?” And then how to go from that. Now, how did you say to see this playing out? I guess, you know, at the time of recording this, where you're at in Queensland there's been some restrictions left. I know in Perth we can… there's already gyms or training outside, restriction of up to ten people, that's moving over I think next week. So what's the plan for you? Where do you see this evolving?

BRETT: Absolutely. One of the things that I've noticed like, we've got a week and then we go to having ten people in an outdoor space, so we can do I suppose boot camps, or outdoor classes. The biggest issue for us is that mostly our classes are at night and it's winter, so once we hit five o'clock, it's going to be too dark to do classes. So in fairness to everyone that trains in our school, we can't fit everyone into their classes. We'll get the three to six year olds done and then everyone else wouldn't be able to. So we're going to continue to run our Zoom classes, but we're bringing our instructor team now into the school, because up until now we've only been allowed to have two people in the building. And when we run two floors, three instructors to a floor, it's a little bit hard to do that. But now we can do that, we have multiple cameras, multiple laptops going, multiple TVs going. 

And that'll allow us to use our breakout rooms to break everyone into small classes. It'll actually be probably easier, because they'd actually be able to verbally tell each other when they need to move people from one breakout room to another. At the moment, we'd be messaging each other, “Can you move such and such over to me, I'm teaching them to do this,” and I have to sit there and pretty much just be a DJ, so it's… my job on Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes is, I'm DJing the whole Zoom classes and I'm shuffling people around. 

It's an interesting time and I saw in the U.S. just the other day, someone's… because they've lifted restrictions now a little bit there. And they said, we're not doing Zoom gradings now, we're not doing our virtual grading. We're gonna do them in person and there was actually quite a bit of backlash about that, because people aren't ready for such a quick change. And so it's, we're gonna keep our gradings going this weekend. We've got Friday, Saturday, Sunday scheduled for 50-plus gratings. They're all private one-on-one gradings that I'm doing and because – again, we can't change people quickly. 

Like, I know I can change quickly because obviously we've got that entrepreneurial kind of spirit thing going on, but for most people it's gonna take a leading of a month to see any kind of changes and we have to plan that for them and slowly bring them up to the boil. And so having them watch Zoom classes while we're teaching back in the school starts to build that familiarity with the students, to see the school again, they start getting excited about doing it. We started booking in our Calendly bookings, started on Saturday. So straight away, as soon as that notice went through from our Premier, I created calendars for all of our classes to allow ten people to come in from June. So June 12th, we are allowed to have 20 people in the building and so that basically means ten people in each room. 

And so we've done our booking for an entire timetable and I literally on Saturday night, watched my phone do two hundred and something emails while people booked in for their classes. So they're excited and it gives them a month to get themselves sorted out. We've got to set up all of our stations for sanitary stations, signage, all of that stuff. We've got to get our processes in place so that we are above and beyond the call of duty as far as what we implement when June 12 comes along. We want to make sure that we're one of the… I suppose the spearheads of that and we showcase how to do this the right way. So it's very important.

GEORGE: Yeah totally. I mean, there's so much that goes into it, right? I mean, if you ever thought your processes were in place, now your processes just change after every premiere announcement.

BRETT: Yeah.

GEORGE: It's new systems, it's new things. You know, interesting things that I see, I think where a lot of guys might find it challenging, where people just shut shop and thought that everything would go back to normal. Well, I know about you, but I sincerely doubt that… you were just mentioning that, I mean, there's been this whole behavior. People have adapted their behavior. You know, there was shock and there was fear, there's all this and… yep, things are gonna slowly return back to normal, but what is that? 

Does that mean 100% physical classes? Does that mean a bit of a hybrid and a balance of, there's online and there's physical. And how do you see this playing up? Another thing that I want to really ask you is how are you managing with your team throughout this? Because I know you've got a large team and how are you managing them and getting them to have this right mindset with all the changes? I know that's two questions, but…

martial arts virtual gradings

BRETT: Yes, that's okay no worries. So again, it's one of those things, you've got to go slowly. I think that we're lucky, we've been reasonably lucky in Australia that they've given us plenty of lead-in time and they've planned this fairly well. There's no knee-jerk reactions, which is good because people don't react well to that. They don't like… We saw when they released a little bit of the rope and allowed people to go shopping – it was literally Boxing Day sales every day for the last two weeks since they did that. So people have gone… They've been cooped up for so long now, they're exploding. 

So we're trying to make sure that we're very, we're over communicating with all of our students to make sure that they understand that there is a limit of how many people can come in and if you do not book in, you'll still be doing the online classes. We're going to give them both and my idea is to keep doing that even beyond like, let's say six – twelve months to still be running that system. Because we have students that have been on the spectrum ADD, DHD, Autism, doesn't matter, Asperger's, where they don't like being around people, but they love martial arts and they love the benefits of martial arts. And so they will be able to still do it from home with Zoom. The hardest part is to train the staff and the instructors to not just focus on the class, the physical class they’re teaching and the physical students they’re teaching, but also to focus on the ones that are up on the TV doing the Zoom class. 

And so like, we've got massive TVs that are going up in each room, where they'll be able to look up and just see who's up there training. And it's just about teaching them to not forget about them. They've had to undergo a very big learning curve and most of them aren't entrepreneurial. Some of them are, they do their own little side gigs as well, but to most this is overwhelming most of the time to them. So some of my team haven't been out to teach online classes, because they don't like looking at themselves on a camera, they don't like being in that environment and so basically, we've put them into hibernation. We keep contact with them, make sure they're okay, but I've already spoken to one and as soon as we can go back, we're gonna actually up, we're gonna start doing Sunday classes and we expect it to be quiet, so she's the perfect person for that because it'll introduce her back into normal classes and she'll just do the set there Sunday classes and give her a row back in the school without putting her under too much pressure. 

And again, most of our instructors are old students. They've all gone through from white belt to black belt, they're homegrown and so we treat them still like they're our students as far as the way we kind of bring them into new situations like we were experiencing at the moment, but slowly doing it is I think the key.

GEORGE: Cool. So what's the situation that you actually navigated someone through that? Because that obviously brings up a lot of beliefs and you know… I guess block for people where they go, “Hang on, I just don't feel comfortable being in front of the camera.” You know, for some people that might just be that introverted personality and they’re just never gonna be that. You know, we’re all different and that's all good but what's their situation, that you actually manage to navigate someone past that and just say, “Hey look, well…”It's kind of just like having a conversation, it's not a Hollywood show, you know? It's like you’re doing a normal class, but you've just got this screen in front of you. Did you manage to navigate past that? Was there anybody in your staff that they were struggling with that, but you managed to push them past that point?

martial arts virtual gradings

BRETT: Well, we've had obviously with our team, they've gone through a gamut of emotions. For a lot of them, their first biggest worry was, I’m going to lose my job, so a lot of our instructors not just work for me, they work for other businesses. And on that day, the other ones shut them down and they went, “No, we can't keep going.” I kept going even though we were like, they were teaching from their living rooms, or their bedrooms, or their garages. They kept going, I kept paying them for their classes and I tried to maintain as much normality for them and reassure them that we will get through this, looking to the future and saying that when we get through this, we're not going to change what we do now. This is just a different version of what we do. 

And so 90% of our teams were teaching through this. And one actually seemed to prefer it, because the whole social distancing was doing her head in, trying to stop children from touching each other and just frustrated her. As soon as it went to the virtual environment, she didn’t have to worry about that, that was not a problem and an anxiety she had to experience anymore. So that actually, it was like she was happy when it happened. So she's gonna have to prepare for the other side now as we come back in and whether that means that she still teaches from home via Zoom and she doesn't lose Zoom kids, that's fine. And we have that ability to have them teaching, if they're not happy to be in here and be around students because they're worried about it, they can still be able to teach because we'll still have students at home doing Zoom and so they'll be able to take care of the Zoom students.

And so again, I think it's about being flexible. It's about being able to like Evan, flow with the times and I think one of the things that I think everyone probably, particularly in the business world now will quantify, is that small businesses had an advantage because we've been known to like to chop and change directions quickly with the times, with whatever we were given. We could change and adapt, whereas a lot of the big businesses fell over because they had certain systems and procedures. They ended up having to just kill their staff and here's why so many people are out of work. And it's from the big businesses, which I know like in Australia kind of mindset is, they're always considered safe. Like go work for a blue chip company, or a big business. 

Who would want to work for Virgin at the moment? You wouldn't want to work for a lot of those big companies because they couldn't adapt. They’re just too big, they're like the Titanic. Whereas a lot of the small businesses, we can zig and zag and not feel that pain as much and also be able to connect with our staff and our team to make sure that they're feeling okay and navigate them through this minefield of emotions and turmoil that they could be experiencing.

But I think we've done really well, like I'm proud of my team. They've handled it really well and we're preparing now to go back into semi normal classes and then in another months’ time after that, so July, it should be mostly like we were before we went into lockdown. Hundred to a building, like this mostly social distancing, but I think this will play out till the end of the year. I think by Christmas we might be out actually to give a high five and hug some people.

GEORGE: Yeah, I mean, hats off to you, because I know you've just been on to it then, you know, everyday we checked. You've implemented this and you've jumped into a new direction, implemented new strategies and really taken it on. What are you excited about, coming in the next… I know, excitement for a lot of people when I ask that, they’re like…

BRETT: It’s fear.

GEORGE: What does that word mean? But I mean, if you really put the opportunity hat on and really look at it, “Okay, things have changed, things have shifted,” – what are you excited about in the next coming weeks?

martial arts virtual gradings

BRETT: Well, again, I've tried to maintain, I actually turned one of my students who wanted to do an in-person grading and they don't want to do a Zoom one, it's not like a real grading. And I said, “Well you know, it's not the same as an in-person grading – it's different. It could actually potentially be better, because you're doing it one-on-one.” Now, it's gonna be a different feel, we may never get to do this again. This may be the only time in history where we do every single person in the school as a Zoom grading. 

So like, and that's the truth, it basically may never happen again. So for me that's exciting. I've pulled out all stops to make this grading the most spectacular grading that they'll ever experience virtually, because it may never happen again. So I'm excited to do that like, literally from this Thursday, it’s Monday today, so from Thursday, from 7AM until about 7PM, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I am grading every thirty minutes and I know how exhausting that’s going to be. But I also find that exciting and I'm a big fan like, I'm a… what do you call it, I’m a podcast savant. I just like, I just go and listen to podcasts 24/7. It’s my favorite thing, I don’t listen to radio, but that's what I listen to. And it used to be tapes in my car, then it was CDs, now it's podcasts. 

And so I’ve always been a big fan of Tony Robbins, lucky enough to have done some training with him, done UPW and a few other things with him. And one of the things that he always talks about is to the professionals, like the professional athlete, or a professional entrepreneur: when they see something that could be scary, feel fearful, they look at the same thing and they look at it as excitement, because your body goes through exactly the same chemicals, endorphins, okay, the adrenaline. It's exactly the same thing as fear. Like, if you looked at it side by side, okay, anyone that's ever fought in the ring, or competed in a jiu-jitsu tournament, or done MMA, or just been up in front of someone to do a grading, you've got two options: fear, which is, “Oh, I'm going to stuff this up,” or “I'm gonna get hurt,” or “I'm no good at this,” to exciting “Oh, I can’t wait, this is so cool.” Exactly the same experience, it's the outcome that's different. 

And so for most martial artists, I think most should have done pretty well through this, if they've got that kind of background. They would have gone, “Wow this is exciting. This is just like another competition, this is another chance to to show my skill, to really challenge myself,” because I think if any industry was really prepared for this, it'd be the martial arts industry, because that's what we do. We live for the challenge, that's what makes us different. Most normal people can't understand martial artists, they look at them and go, “Do you enjoy touching each other and checking each other out and…” – really? Because that's not normal behavior. 

And so that's kind of set us I think apart from everybody else in the world who's freaking out and putting their head under the duna as Scomo likes to say. So yeah, and I think we're well prepared for that and for me, I'm excited to do it, literally, I'll be doing a 65 hour- 70 hour week, this week and 60 of those hours are in four days. That's like, it's insane, but I'm up for that. I love that stuff.

GEORGE: Yeah cool. So if you don’t mind, before we finish up and I think this would be really valuable for other school owners, can you walk us through what you are actually doing with your virtual grading? How's the day going to plan out, what have you done prior and how's the whole process going to roll out?

BRETT: Yep. So similar set up to what we would normally do with a grading and here's another thing, that's the one of the things that I'm looking at as positive coming out of the COVID-19 thing is that, we now have some new systems that we never had before. So everyone that ever wanted to have their curriculums online and available to their students and we're struggling with like, getting like, whether it's IT departments of your website, website developers to actually pull the trigger and do it – they all jumped to it the night this happened. Within two days you had all of the ability to do this. 

And so that was a benefit, being able to schedule all of our gradings on Calendly. I know I can just look at my Calendly now and it is literally 200+ appointments long. It's just like this big list, but I know who's next and in all of my Zoom gradings, they all have their own unique code. All I have to do is click on there, then next I'll click and it brings me to the next Zoom invitation and I'm ready to grade them on my laptop right here, right where I am now, this is exactly where I'll be Thursday through to Sunday. I will shift from one room to the other depending on the grading, and basically one of the other things I'm doing that's pretty cool is, we've over delivered, which I think is really important. So every student normally only gets a certificate and their belt; this time they’re getting a backpack with a certificate, their belt, a bumper sticker and a gift. 

So there's probably $200 worth of value in there for a $50 grading. So they're gonna see that. We're also developing a virtual certificate that pops up on their screen saying “Congratulations, you've passed your virtual grading.” And that'll be branded, but it'll look really space-agey kinda like, very new looking, sparkly, I don't know. Liam and the design team did that at our printers to do that, so he's designing that this week and everyone's coming in to pick up their backpacks. So every 15 minutes, they're picking up a backpack. We're videoing the whole process and we're going to do a video at the end where it basically just crunches it into a little, probably three-minute version, well they call those videos…

GEORGE: Time-lapse.

BRETT: Timelapse, that's it. Yeah, we're gonna do a time-lapse video from the four days to show it with a soundtrack behind it. So that's something cool. I'm also photographing myself this Wednesday in front of all the logos, so in front of the school like, we're all buzzy here with all the different uniforms that I wear for all the different styles. So we’ve got seven different martial arts styles in the school, so I'm going to be basically getting changed, doing a new photo with a plain background, with this background sorry. And then every single student when they grade, there's going to be a list inside their backpack of all the things they have to do so they have to take a photo of themselves with their new belt on, their new certificate with a plain background. 

So like, white, yellow, as long as it’s not dark, nice clear background, then send the photo to me. I'll then superimpose that into the photo next to me on the wall back and then post that onto our Facebook page. And so it will be like they were there. So we're just going to make this virtual, because again, it's a virtual grading, so we can use Photoshop and make it look cool in a virtual world. Like, you know, everyone's been loving the Zoom backgrounds that create their own, I've got a few, I’ve used the matrix dojo in one of my classes one day. Everyone over the age of 30 thought that was cool; everyone else was going…

GEORGE: What’s that?

BRETT: Yeah, exactly, they had no idea what it was. And again, it's about building hype and excitement around something that they may never ever experience ever again. And one of the things I've been talking to the parents is, that a lot of people under the age of 25 have never, ever, ever experienced any kind of thing like this, like any kind of hardship. they've been pretty cruisy for the last 25 years as far as the world economy, the way the world's gone, no big wars, it's been really good, okay? Since 9/11, it's been pretty cruisy. So this is really something that's bonded the whole world together, an experience that everyone's going through. 

So let's make something out of it, let's come out of it and say “What did I get out of doing that? Did I get better about my relationships? Did I get better at learning new tools and skills? Or did I just watch Netflix for 12 hours a day?” So like what did you do with it? And so it'll be an interesting year, next year will be an interesting year to see what tools did people get and where did they take those tools. Like for us, I want to go VR. I want to put VR goggles on students in the home environment, so they're part of this class that we run here. So if this leads us down the road to that, then I'm happy because I was already thinking about it two years ago as adding it to my already system. Because I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and I’ve spent some time with him and he's keen to get VR up and running so I'm like, “Cool, I'll look into that at some stage.”

GEORGE: Yeah, totally agree with you. and that's the thing: if anybody thinks this is a phase, nope, it's just the stepping stone, because it's brought this… it's funny you know, I've been doing these Zoom webinars about three to five a week for a long time. And inviting anyone to a Zoom meeting was always a weird thing. This Sunday my two-year-old daughter was having a Zoom party.

BRETT: Yep.

GEORGE: Because that's what you can do. But it's brought a lot of these technology things, it's just accelerated the normality of it. And people just really had to step into it, so it was that or nothing. And now that everybody's so accustomed to it, it's definitely not going away. This is leading to the next thing and if you think of, I had a chat with someone about virtual reality the other day and she was showing me what they were doing in the automated mining industry. And when I saw that, I was like “Oh, okay, this makes sense.” You know? It's taking objects and putting it in the lounge and you can walk around it… it's like a whole new experience. Now, yep martial arts: it's never gonna go away, the physicality of it. But I think the learning experience is definitely going to enhance in ways that we can't even comprehend right now.

BRETT: Yeah.

GEORGE: Yep, for all those thinking that we're just going back to normal – I’d relook at that perspective and really think of “Okay, well how are things gonna be different from here on and how are we going to embrace this.”

So yeah, there's so much good that's come from it. Yep, there's been a lot of hardship, you know, there’s been a lot of industries that are wiped out. There’s a lot of things that, you know, by no means are okay. But then there are the things that are okay, you know? I see people are friendlier, you know? When people see each other, you know, a lot of people are more… just friendlier greetings. My teenage son that used to just skate has spent a lot more time at home. It's been really good for us, he's been doing a lot of work around the house which has been interesting for a 13 year old boy to be repainting the door and doing things. I mean, those are little things, right? But I think there’s just so much benefit to what's happened and…

BRETT: Mmm.

GEORGE: It's good to just sit back and reflect and think, “Right how am I gonna play my part in this next chapter moving forward?”

martial arts virtual gradings

BRETT: Absolutely, absolutely. I think that humans have always been like… aren't very good at adapting to situations and then thriving in it. And so I'm sure back when Henry Ford was designing the first motor vehicle, everyone was like, “Yeah, that'll never exist,” like planes didn't exist and it was just… computers! I think back to when I was a kid: when I was 6 years old, not only did a computer not exist; the thought of one didn't exist. And how fast technology has come in a very short period, what's the next 10 to 20 years going to look like in this space? And I think yeah, you gotta be open-minded enough to go, “Okay, I'm going to adapt to whatever comes that way and I'll try it.” And I think that again, as martial artists, we're usually pretty good at failing forward so we’re adapted, like learning to fail and then get back up and go again. 

And so the last 2 or 3 months, it's been all about failing and learning, failing and learning. I had to reschedule my entire Zoom calendar because I did a Zoom code for every single class and that meant I got messages and notifications every day for every single class that came up. So I just went. “No, we have one place where we all go and then we'll go into breakout rooms.” And that took me about a week to realize that that was not a great idea, So yeah, but you learn, that's what it's all about.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's it. A simple thing that I did was, I actually just purchased one domain name and had one meeting link. And because I just got sick of going back and forth.

BRETT: Yep.

GEORGE: What was the meeting number, what was the ID. So just create one link, one domain name, forward it automatically. If anybody wants to meet you, just give them the domain name and now you've just got back-to-back meetings.

BRETT: Yeah, exactly, yeah. I learnt that really quickly. And again, love learning, so it's been fun. Challenging, but fun.

GEORGE: Awesome, that's it. Hey Brett, thanks being on the second time, actually nailing it this time. Perfect, thanks so much for being on. Thanks,it's always good to chat to you, because you're always on top of what's happening and you're always quick to implement and do things. If anybody wants to connect with you, what's the best way to do that?

BRETT: I'm on Facebook, Instagram, our website reddragon.com.au. Just easy enough, a Facebook message is the easiest one these days I think so. Just look me up on Facebook, it’s pretty easy to find people these days. And yeah, just give me a shout out if you need any information or any help in any direction. I do a lot of mentoring for school owners, the smaller schools that want to try and go full-time, or they're having troubles with staff and how to train up instructors, I do a lot of work on that. So I'm always available, just hit me up. And yeah, my only thing would be, George, make sure you upload this one to the cloud, right after we finish.

GEORGE: I was thinking that just when you were saying that, just when I was giving props about how cool this episode was, I was thinking, hey I'm gonna make sure this one uploads to Google Drive – now.

BRETT: Absolutely, absolutely, because we’ve spoken in the past, I don't do retakes. The next time we interview, it will be different again. You could redo this one straight after, it would be different again.

GEORGE: Yeah, that’s cool.

BRETT: I’m not good at sticking to scripts.

GEORGE: Perfect, thanks so much for being on Brett.

BRETT: My pleasure!

GEORGE: I'll speak to you soon.

BRETT:  All right, see you guys, bye.

GEORGE: 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!

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96 – Rhonda Britten – Turning The Worst Day Of Your Life Into Fearless Living And Success

Rhonda Britten shares her story of overcoming a child's worst nightmare, to practical strategies that you can use to live a fearless, unstoppable life.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • The exercises that founded Rhonda Britten’s fearless living today
  • Helpful tips to work through your anxiety and fears
  • Gratitude vs. acknowledgment
  • How your ‘wheel of fear’ and ‘wheel of freedom’ work together
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

People that have a difficult time with gratitude blame the world. The world is at fault. They can't be grateful because they blame the world. People that have a difficult time with acknowledgment, blame themselves.

GEORGE: Hey, this is George Fourie and welcome to another episode of the Martial Arts Media business podcast. So today I'm joined with a special guest. Once again not chatting to a martial artist, but someone that can really, really help inspire this community. And I'm speaking today to Rhonda Britten. How are you today Rhonda?

RHONDA:  I'm very fine George and I'm so excited to be here.

GEORGE: Thank you so much for taking the time. So real quick, Rhonda is from fearlessliving.org. Rhonda has also been featured on Oprah I believe and had a TV show?

RHONDA: Yep, 600 episodes of television and I actually aired all over the world. I've done six hundred episodes of television, I've got an Emmy. Written four books, first life coach on TV, Oprah several times, Steve Harvey… And most importantly, just somebody who has devoted her life to helping people understand how fear really works. Not from a theoretical perspective, but really from a practical application perspective. So yeah, so I've been around the block. I've been master coaching for 25 years, I was one of the first original life coaches and now here I am with you George.

GEORGE: Awesome. So what brings us here today obviously is a different climate out there of global pandemic and so forth. And there is a lot of fear in the air. People are experiencing a lot of fear, but people are also being pushed in a position of leadership, which can be kind of a contradiction, right? Because if you’re feeling fear yourself but you're in this position to step up and lead… Where do you find the instincts to actually do that?

RHONDA: Well, what you're talking about right, is knowing the why behind your, you know, like Simon Sinek says right, like the big why, right? But what I know to be true is that, you know, times of crisis actually define us and actually tell us who we really are. Because right now I think, you know, most people don't say they're afraid. Like, what people don’t come to me and go “I'm afraid, I'm scared,” right? And when I meet people and I tell them I'm a fear expert, they're like “oh I don't have any fears, I'm not scared.” but right now with the global pandemic, you can't hide from your fear, right? It's all over the place.

And so right now, if you have a crack in your foundation, that crack is showing, right? That crack is showing. And as a leader, as somebody who has to, you know, stand up and lead, those cracks are opportunities for you to transform your tribe, transform your business, transform yourselves. So it's not about hiding the cracks; in fact right now, leaders need to be not only clear and focused, but they also need to be vulnerable.

So that's one of the things that I know to be true. So you have cracks in your foundation – OK, awesome. Now you get to look at your foundation with clear eyes, not pretend it's better than it has been and actually admit to yourself what isn't working for you and what is working for you. And not only, you know, fill in the cracks, but actually think about creating a whole new foundation, so that not only can you build from where you are right here and right now, but that you can build no matter what the environment is, no matter what happens in the world.

GEORGE: Awesome, so you just mentioned, you were saying that in a moment of crisis you really sort of define. Now, you've got quite a fascinating story and I think people need to hear it if people aren't familiar with you. I would love for you to just share your story, to really give context of how you got to this knowledge and what you’re really referring to here.

RHONDA: Yeah, thank you, I really appreciate you asking me that George. And what you're referring to of course is the worst day of my life. And I'll tell the short version of the story. I was 14 years old and my parents were in the midst of a divorce and it happened to be father's day. My father was coming to take us out to brunch and, you know, my father walked in and went, “Come on, come on”, because that's what dads do. And my mom's putting on her blue eyeshadow, fluffing up her beehive hairdo.

And my sisters are fighting it out in the bathroom and me and my mom start, you know, walking out towards my dad to get to the car, to go out to the fancy sunday brunch. My sister's still fighting it out and as me and my mom and dad walk out, my dad mentioned that he wanted to get his coat from the car. And as he lifted the boot as they say, lifted the trunk, I noticed he didn't grab a coat, but he in fact grabbed a gun and he started screaming at my mother “you made me do this! You made me do this!” – and he fires. Now I started screaming “Dad, what are you doing?! What are you doing dad?! Stop!” and he cocked the gun and he pointed it at me. And I absolutely 100% believed I was next.

And he looked at me, I looked at him. I blinked, he blinked. It seemed like eternity, but I'm sure it was only a few seconds. And then my mother, with already one bullet inside her, saw what's happening and screamed “No, don’t!” and so that bullet intended for me, my father took and shot my mother a second time. And that second bullet went through my mother's abdomen out her back and landed smack dab in the car horn. And the car horn just beeeeeeeeep. Hey, I mean over 20 years, if I heard a car horn, I was right back there in the moment. And then my father cocked the gun again and fell to his knees, put the gun to his head and fired. So in a matter of two minutes, I am the sole witness of my father murdering my mother and committing suicide in front of me.

Now, I don't know how other people would respond to it, but I know what I did. I blamed myself, right? Because I was the only one out there that could have changed it. I didn't jump in front of my mother, I did nothing heroic. I didn't grab the gun, I didn't kick my father in the shins, right? I did nothing heroic. I just… Dad's out there and I said, don't ,stop, don't. And the level of guilt and shame that I felt basically took happiness off the table for me. Like, you can't be happy and watch your mom die, sorry, not an option anymore for me.

So I basically split in two that day. The outside of me was fine. I'm fine, you know, I'm sure we've all played the fine game, right? Like, no, I'm fine, plenty of money in the bank, I'm good, yeah, fine. But inside, you're scared to bejeebers, right? And that's how I was. Like, outside I pretended I was fine. Kept going to school, got straight A's, I'm fine. But inside, I was deathly afraid that there was something seriously wrong with me. I mean, one, my father's blood ran through my veins and I became afraid of feeling that there was something, like really damaged about me, like, really wrong with me.

And so I went away to college, which I thought, yay, nobody knows my story, I can hide from it. When in fact, me hiding it and me stuffing it down even further, had me start drinking. I discovered alcohol, became an alcoholic, got three DUIs. Decided, you know what, this isn't worth living for. So I tried to kill myself three times. And it was that third suicide attempt George that I realized something. I realized I'm not good at killing myself. And yeah, I'm not dying George, I'm not dying. Because George, I got to tell you: that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to die. And here I am, very much alive after you try to kill yourself three times, they do put you in the psychiatric ward to evaluate you. And so I was there, I don’t know, three or four days. They evaluated me, I'm not crazy, and left me to go home by myself. And I remember sitting in my little studio apartment and going, uh okay, I'm not dying. Okay, I better figure this out, because how I'm living isn't working for me. Like, this is miserable, right?

And now I want to preface this George by saying, you know, during this whole time, during these years, I was reading books and going to therapy and doing workshops. I mean, I read my first self-help book when I was 12. So, you know, I have been devoted to personal growth and self-development ever since I can remember, it's what I'm passionate about. And so I was doing everything right that I thought I should do. And yet it wasn't relieving me of the burden of thinking there was something wrong with me. That there's something seriously like, wrong. And so it wasn't until that third suicide attempt when I'm sitting in my apartment all by myself and I say to myself, well, I guess I have to figure this out. 

And I started out of desperation making up exercises for myself – and shockingly, they started working. Still today, I'm still shocked that they work and every time they work for people, which is all the time, I still get shocked when people send me a, you know, note saying “oh my gosh, changed my life.” I'm always like, “really?”, you know, because it's just, you know, it's just still so amazing to me that the work that changed my life changes so many others.

And so I started doing exercises, they started working. Made more exercises up, those worked. And then eventually, you know, it took me many years to start something called fearless living of course. But it was the exercises I started with in that studio apartment all by myself in Los Angeles are really the foundation of fearless living today.

GEORGE: Wow. That's quite a story. Now, I really want to backtrack because you mentioned that you had the self-worth issues.

RHONDA: Yeah!

GEORGE: That you took the blame on yourself.

RHONDA: Sure, of course.

GEORGE: And I really want to get to the exercises, because that really, I think, you know, people in general. I know I’ve had, you know, the self-talk moments.

RHONDA: Yeah, self attack. Like, who do you think you are, what's your problem, why don't you get it together, right? Yeah.

GEORGE: How did you get pass that? Like, obviously you've got to make the decision and have the awareness that it's actually a problem that you need to change it. But let's say you’re at that point and, you know, alright, well as you were after your third suicide, you know, alright, well, something's got to change.

RHONDA: Something's got to change.

GEORGE: How do you go pass that?

RHONDA: Well, one of the very first exercises I created actually addresses this very thing. And I remember sitting in my apartment, like I said, I don't know what to do. And I actually said to myself George, I gotta go back to kindergarten. I actually said that. Like, I've got to go back to kindergarten. And I said to myself what do they do in kindergarten? Well, they give you gold stars. So I went out and bought a calendar and gold stars. And at this point you have to remember that I didn't feel worthy to be happy or worthy to be successful or worthy to be loved. Even though out in the world I was so good at faking, people that met me probably were like “Yeah, that Rhonda, she's great,” you know. But again, like, I didn't think that, I didn't agree with that one bit.

So, I got gold stars, got a calendar and I decided that for 30 days, I was going to keep track of anything that I did that was good. Because I felt so not worth living for and why did I exist that I wanted to find anything worth saving. Like, that’s what I was looking for. What we’re saving here? Am I worth saving? So, I kept track for 30 days and gave myself a gold star for anything good and George, these were things like, got angry and didn’t break anything. Ok? Like, oh, you know, felt rejected, but didn’t run away, right? Like, I'm talking basic things, but back then, that was like a life saver for me. Me getting angry and not destroying anything, or me feeling humiliated or upset and not walking away was a miracle, right? And so, after those 30 days, I had a calendar filled with gold stars. And that gave me hope that there is something worth saving.

Now, that exercise George has turned into what I call acknowledgments. And acknowledgments are something the high achievers are really bad at. And people that are attracted to fearless living and self help junkies, they’re also really bad at it, because they, you know, they kind of pride themselves on telling themselves the truth about how they’re screwing up so they can improve themselves. When in fact, acknowledgments are going to give you more bang for your buck and your acknowledgments are actually a way for you to have confidence, the way to actually create steady confidence.

So it’s something like this, you do it this way: today I acknowledge myself for and acknowledge yourself for any movement forward. And I'm talking about any movement forward. I have an exercise called “stretch, risk or die” that I teach my clients how like, their comfort zone is right in the middle and there's a structure on the “risk or die” zone and I say, even if you’re moving from your comfort zone to your stretch zone, you acknowledge yourself. So George, I want to caveat this: because it’s not acknowledging yourself for being perfect. It's not acknowledging yourself for getting it done. It's not acknowledging yourself for how well you did it – it is literally, I had a new thought: acknowledge yourself. Right? Oh, I made a phone call. Phone call went crappy, didn't go the way I wanted – doesn't matter, acknowledge yourself for making the phone call. So you're basically acknowledging without judging, without putting a oh good or bad on it. You're just acknowledging movement forward.

And when I started just simply giving myself credit for the movement I was making, not how well I did it, but just the movement, that changed everything. Because the confidence started to rise, self esteem started to rise. And when I work with clients and they’re like, I need more self confidence, I go, do this exercise and I guarantee in three days you'll feel better. I've had parents do this with their kids: within 24 hours, 48 hours, they feel better. I mean, it's a confidence booster big time. Because we, as high achievers, well, we don't give ourselves those acknowledgments, we only see the next thing we have to do and how we can do it better, right? And how we should have done it better. And how it could have been faster. And all of that actually erodes our self confidence and self esteem. So that star exercise turned into acknowledgments.

GEORGE: And I love this exercise. So it's almost like practicing gratitude, but at the micro level. Like if you're struggling with gratitude it's like, well, I've got nothing to be grateful for, or this really peels back the layers. Right?

RHONDA: Well, I like to think of it this way. In the world of fearless living, gratitude and acknowledgments are for different reasons. So gratitude is about the world out there, right? So I'm grateful that today Los Angeles is like, the number one clean air city in the world, which never happens, right? So I'm really grateful that I'm breathing clean air and that this global pandemic has created. I can see the stars and the moon better than I ever have before. I'm really grateful for this moment that I get to see the sky the way that I do, right? So gratitude is about out there. Acknowledgments are all about you. They're about you. So it's very different.

And usually George, people that have a difficult time with gratitude blame the world. The world is at fault. They can't be grateful because they blame the world. People that have a difficult time with acknowledgments, blame themselves. And as most high achievers, most people that are making it on their own, businesses, want to do better, they have a tendency to blame themselves. And so acknowledgments for most of my clients are the hardest work sometimes that they do. Because just to give themselves credit takes an enormous amount of surrender, an enormous amount of willingness, enormous amount of perfectionism has to go away, you know? All that fear stuff.

So acknowledgments are all about you taking responsibility and claiming the movement that you made, again, whether it worked or not, whether it was good or not, whether how it looked or not – irrelevant. Did you have a new thought? Did you make a movement? Did you do something? Right? And then when you do that, you're going to start giving yourself credit and this is the reason that acknowledgments are so powerful, is that they become a diary of our effort. I don't know about you George, but most of my life, if I made an effort and it didn't turn out the way I wanted, I forgot all about that effort. Right? I was like, well, that didn't work and I just threw it out the window, right? This becomes a diary and a reminder for you to go, oh wait, id o know how to do that. I did do that. Life is good, right? So it just changes.

GEORGE: Thanks so much for clarifying that, because that makes a lot of sense to me. Gratitude versus acknowledgments: gratitude out there, acknowledgments in here.

RHONDA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

GEORGE: How can we tie this into the topic of fear and how things are holding us back?

RHONDA: Ah! Well, you know, fear is insidious. So let me just say a little bit about neuroscience and I know you probably know all this already, but I'll just say it, just in case, you know, so we have a firm foundation. You know, the way the brain and our neurobiology works is that the brain doesn't know the difference between a physical fear and an emotional fear. Ok? And I know the people who listen to you, physical fear is like their specialty, right? Like, they help people through their physical fears. But those physical fears and emotional fears again, we don't know the difference.

So a fear of rejection and a fear of height to the body and brain are the same thing. All right? The other thing about the way the brain works, the brain does not know the difference between something imagined and something real. So we walk into a room and we don't think we belong there and, you know, we're going to make up a story about it and we live out that story then. Because we actually are, we're hanging on to the imagined story we've made up. So the brain doesn't know the difference. The other thing about the brain is they’re doing research now and they’re starting to prove that some of our fears are actually handed down through our DNA.

So, you know, some of the things that you may have a fear of failure, or a fear of rejection or a fear of success, or a fear of loss or a fear of identity, or you know, etc. Etc. Fear of speaking in public, right? Any fear. Perfectionist, procrastination etc. All of those things are ways, I'll just put it this way: fear’s number one job is to keep us safe. And so, your fears are handed down through your DNA, you experience fear as you're growing up, you don't know it because it's just reality. You don't think of it as, I'm afraid of my mom or my dad or my fellow students unless they are hitting you. You just know that they're mean, or you know, you judge them and you put them aside.

So how fear works is that fear wants to keep you in a safe place. The challenge is George, safety means that it's the same. And they’ve been proving this in neuroscience now that the brain actually and the way we work, body and brain, is we’re energy machines. And in order to conserve energy, the brain automatically – it has a problem, it has a problem, global pandemic. Problem.And the brain automatically to save energy, looks in the past for the solution. So it's looking for a template in the past, going through your books that you already own and going, I've got to have a book here about global pandemic. I'm sure I've cured this before, I'm sure I did this before. And there is no template! Right? So then what happens? Our body and brain gets panicked, because now we don't know what to do, because again, the way that the body and brain find information is looking in the past. Well, the past template does not solve the current problem. And rarely does, right?

So we’re actually unconsciously, not knowing we’re doing it, looking in the past, super fast, auto responder, right? To solve a problem that we’re experiencing in the present, that past template, we’ve outgrown, it doesn't work for us anymore. Which then, we’re trying to use a past template in the present to create a new future and you and I both know that doesn't work. So I want you to imagine for a minute that you're trying to, you know, create a new business, or make more money or find some steady ground in this pandemic. In order to do that, automatically, your brain is going to look in the past – it's not there. So now you’re in the unknown. So I like to say that freedom, freedom equals your capacity to live in the unknown.  Freedom equals your capacity to live in the unknown. But our body and brain are completely petrified of the unknown, they don't wanna live there. They’re concerned about security and safety. And remember one of our number one core needs is safety. And when we don't feel safe, we retreat. And instead, we want to move forward, right? Does that make sense?

GEORGE: Yeah, terribly.

RHONDA: I feel like I'm missing a little piece there. I feel like I'm missing something, so I hope you're going to ask me about it, I just know there's something I didn't connect.

GEORGE: Well, let's take a step forward, right? How do we navigate then into the sphere of the unknown? How do we go there?

RHONDA: Yeah. So let me talk you through the “stretch, risk or die” exercise, because I think that's going to be the best illustration. So think of your comfort zone. I mean, we all know what a comfort zone is. Our comfort zone is what we do, you know, I like to tell people, think of your comfort zone as your life right now. So married, not married, kids, no kids, you know, worried about your bank account, not worried about your bank account. Whatever is happening today, in this moment, let's make it your comfort zone, even though it's not very comfortable.

So think about it as a bullseye, a bullseye on a dart board. The second ring around that comfort zone is called the stretch zone. And now, the stretch zone is the things George, that you now you can do, you just haven’t done. Like, think about all the things, I can think about a whole bunch of things that I know I can do and I haven’t done. You know, how much vegetables should I be eating? I know I should be going to sleep – oh, I know I should be making that extra thousand steps on my pedometer, right? I know these things; why aren't I doing it? This is the tricky part George because the stretch zone is the simplest zone, because you know you can do it. But in fact, it's where we beat ourselves up the most because we know we can do it and we’re not doing it! Ok?

GEORGE: Right.

RHONDA: So we’re ruthless with ourselves! We're so mean to ourselves! Now, the circle around the stretch zone is called the risk zone. And the risk zone is the things you don't know if you could succeed or not. You're not sure you could do it. The die zone is outside of that, the die zone is like, I don't know if I can do that, – I don't even know if I want to do it, right? So I think about when I trained for a marathon. A marathon was definitely a die for me, I haven't run since high school, right? So a stretch for me was, sure I would walk 5 miles, no problem. I should my comfort zone was walking 5 miles; a stretch would have been, you know, maybe walking 7 or 8 miles, right? Like I probably can do it, you know. A risk was running a mile, or running 3 miles – I didn't know if I could actually run a mile. I haven't run since high school. So I don't know, I don't know if I could succeed or not. And then like I said, the die was running the marathon. So I want you to imagine that in between the comfort zone, the stretch zone, the risk zone, the die zone, is a band of fear. And for you to move from your comfort zone to your stretch zone, you must move through what I call the wheel of fear. And in order to move from the stretch zone to the risk zone, you must move through that band of fear.

So we blow it, we go, “I have to add more vegetables” and then we don't add the vegetables and then we beat ourselves up for it. That actually has made our neural pathways stronger in the fact of beating ourselves up, putting ourselves down and proving that we are unworthy. Proving that you're lazy, proving that you're stupid, proving that you don't have it to be successful, right? So every time that we want to make a change in our life, we actually are rubbing up against the wheel of fear, what I call the wheel of fear. And most of us don't know how that works. Most of us don't have a relationship with our fear. And so they just blame themselves, put themselves down, think it's their fault. But it's actually not, it's how we're wired. And once you know how you're wired, you can make a different choice and move from that wheel of fear to the wheel of freedom.

GEORGE: I love that.

RHONDA: Does that make sense?

GEORGE: Yeah, totally. So I've got this visual picture of the wheels of how…

RHONDA: Yeah

GEORGE: …you know, the band of fear really sits. So it's really never a question of feeling comfortable at what, reaching a level of comfort in our comfort zone thinking, okay, I'm now comfortable where I'm at – it's time to take the next step. It's always taking that leap into that stretch of fear and knowing, well, hang on: I've gotta embrace the fear because fear means I'm going in the right direction.

RHONDA: Yeah, I mean it's like, think of it this way. You know, fear is really subtle, so let me just step back with this. Most people like you and I George don't say I'm afraid or I'm scared. I mean, I am shocked that I'm a fear expert because I never, even when I was going through with my parents and after, you know, those nightmares every night for 14 years of becoming an alcoholic, I never would have said I'm afraid or scared. I never would have said that. But what people don't see and what I didn't see is that fear doesn't show up as, you know, like a big giant monster.

Fear shows up in our behaviors and our problems. So how do we know that we have fear, that fear’s on patrol? If we procrastinate, there's a fear under that. If we get overwhelmed, there's a fear under that. If we're a perfectionist, there's a fear under that. If we get anxious, there's a fear under that. If we judge, there's a fear under that. If we're comparing, there's a fear under that. If we complain, there’s a fear under that, right? So all the things that we think, “God I wish I would quit people-pleasing. God, I wish I wouldn’t be a perfectionist. God, I've gotta quit procrastinating.” all those things we’re like, I wish I could quit doing. All of those are just fear responses. Those are not the fear itself; that is just the response that we're having to the fear that keeps us then stuck, stuck and small and convinces us, because we're not doing those things that we then don't have a right, or we don't have what it takes to actually go for the dream we want, or actually make the changes that we really want to make, right?

So in order to really see fear for what it is, we have to really start with our fear responses. And actually no, you're not a procrastinator because you're stupid or, you know, lazy: you’re a procrastinator because you're afraid of something underneath that. And that's where the wheel of fear comes in. Because I believe wholeheartedly, based on the work that I've done and the research I've done, is that the only way that you can truly change your life is by changing your filtering system. And the best way to change your filtering system is to have a mental model that really sets you free. So I created a mental model called the “wheel of fear.” And the wheel of fear basically explains to you, shows you how you operate when you get triggered, right? And so like, I have two pairs of glasses here wait, what – yep, I do have two pairs of glasses.

So let's just imagine that for a minute George, that these are my wheel of fear glasses that I have on right now. So I'm looking at the global pandemic through my wheel of fear glasses. What am I going to look at? There's not enough opportunity. The government isn't coming faster. How am I going to get toilet paper? Where's my water? Oh my god, I'm going to… right? Like, those are the fear glasses. If you put on what we call the “wheel of freedom” glasses, you actually change the complete filtering system. And you see something, just a different world.

And you see opportunity and possibility and hope and goodness and clean air, and you see something completely different. So that's what I'm dedicated to, is helping people understand how their wheel of fear works and what their wheel of fear is, so that they can choose every day to move from their wheel of fear to their wheel of freedom. So, you know, the wheel of fear has four parts and again, I could go into that but, you know, I believe that everybody has a core fear that they have that really runs them. And my core fear is, I don't want to be seen as a loser. Now, if you say to me oh Rhonda, I know my core fear: I don't want to be seen as lazy. It's like, trust me, you're wrong. You're wrong, you're dead wrong. I have only met two people in my 25 years that actually knew what their wheel of fear was, because you will think that your wheel of fear is your fear response. That’s not your core fear, right? So, all your procrastination, your perfectionism, your anxiety, you’re overwhelmed, you're beating yourself up, you're putting yourself down – all those are just fear responses and there's something else driving those behaviors.

And for me, on my wheel of fear, that for me is the fear of being seen as a loser. The fear of being thought of as a loser, that anybody could see it, think it, smell it around me, right? And I'm automatically, my automatic system will go into overdrive the minute I think even for a second that you're thinking that, right? And that's how we do, we're always operating unless for consciousness we're awake unless we're aware, we're operating to try to preserve ourselves, rather than to shed ourselves, right? To release ourselves. So that's, you know, that's our basic opportunity here, is who's going to win the wheel of fear or a wheel of freedom.

GEORGE: All right, so let's make this practical and let's choose someone out of the audience to be a guinea pig.

RHONDA: Oooooh, ok!

GEORGE: So I really relate to that, right? Again, I think I relate to that, but I could be wrong. Where you mention, all right well, you don't want to be a loser. So here's something I know that comes up for me: I know that when I get into creative mode, I need to create content. I have this war of art moment. I procrastinate, or I find things to do. I actually, I was talking to Kylie Ryan about this, I mentioned, you know, I was just about to create a new program for our Partners group. And before I knew it, I was down at the store buying a new monitor. It was important, right? And I’ve noticed, if I set aside a day and according to my Kolbe I should, you know, multitask and do things at the last minute, which is detrimental to me, but I do that. But either way if I know my day is set out that, this is my creation day and I've got to create things – I know that I'm going to find things to do throughout the day and put things, put obstacles in my way and I catch myself doing it. So let's, it's like that is an example.

RHONDA: Yeah, I love that. So that's basically the writer’s, you know, that's a writer's dilemma. As a writer, you know, every, every writer says they love to write, but they hate to sit down, right? Like the hardest thing is to sit down, right? Every writer would tell you their house was spotless before they'll ever sit down and write a word, right? And on one level, just to talk about it from an ethereal level, is that on one level your brain is switching modes, right? Like creative, incubating and creating is very different than executing, ok? So, you know, you probably are in execution mode most of the time and now you're switching to creative mode. Well, that's a different way to be.

And part of creating is actually dabbling, you know, kind of scat, like kind of just hanging out, cleaning the house, you know, like that actually helps your whole body and brain release. It's kind of like when you want a good idea, where do we all go? We go to the shower, right? We go to the shower, because we're not thinking anymore, we're just in the shower and all of a sudden, an idea pops. Well, it's that same theory when we're trying to create. Creativity is a, well there's a muse to creativity and you have to court the muse and so it's like, I think you're trying to… On one hand, I want you to be able to create from 9:00 to 5:00, or whatever you want. I mean when I'm on a deadline for a book, I can write 3 o'clock in the morning – 4 o'clock in the afternoon, because I've got a deadline, right? I'm on purpose. I have zero procrastination. But if I'm not clear about what I'm doing or if I've been in execution mode, there has to be a space for me to change my energy and to prepare the space for me to be creative. So that's one part of it.

The other thing is that there are costs and benefits for you to be creative. So let's just talk about those: what do you think are some costs of you being creative? You came up with this new program. What are some costs? Let's just make them up.

GEORGE: Yeah well, costs are, is it going to be good enough?

RHONDA: Yeah, going to be good enough, yeah. Is anybody going to like it? Are people going to quit? They’re going to be like, oh he's gone downhill I'm leaving, right? Right?

GEORGE: That's, that's a cost, yeah.

RHONDA: Yeah, yeah. So all these, these are costs. So the benefits, what would the benefits be?

GEORGE: Benefits would be that my members get value and they get something that they can action that's going to move them forward.

RHONDA: Right, right. So there's good benefits and you're devoted. So this is what I know about you George: I know that even though you procrastinate because the costs are very high actually, I know that you as a human being are so devoted to your tribe that you actually will create that course. It won't be when you say it is, it will be based on when it needs to be, because you’re a last-minute person – by the way, so am I. So, you know, I'm the person creating a course, like I'm teaching a class tomorrow and I haven't even thought about it yet.

Like, it's not even a thought in my head. Like, irrelevant to me, because it's tomorrow. After you and I get off the phone I'll be like, oh, tomorrow, yeah I need to think about that. And then I'll start and I'll jot down some notes. But I, just like you, work at the last minute. So if I'm trying to force myself to go out of my own system, that in itself doesn't work. But I want you to hear that you rationally know the right answer – oh, I'm going to sit down and do this program. But fear comes in and goes, but we don't know how. And we don't have a guaranteed result. And who do you think you are? Come on, you know, you've been doing this for a long time right now. Yeah, you say you know what you're doing, but what if they don't like it? You know, okay what if this loses your business? What if everybody knows you’re a fraud? What if, what if, what if, what if, right?

And again, you may not be thinking those thoughts. It may not be in your head, right? But they're inside of what I call the wheel of fear. They're the ways that the wheel of fear is, because you're saying to the wheel of fear, “Well I'm going to grow now. I'm going to change. I'm going to add, I'm going to create.” And the wheel of fear is like, “Ah not a good idea thank you very much! This is going to be bad.” And so it tries to get you to be distracted and get you to go by that monitor and have you, you know, stamped in the middle of the night and then start working at 2:00 in the morning, right?

GEORGE: Totally. Okay, so I catch myself doing this. And I acknowledge my fear. What's my next step?

RHONDA: Well I don't know: are you going to sit down and write or are you just acknowledging your fear?

GEORGE: Right.

RHONDA: So there's a couple things. So like I said, we have something called the wheel of fear and a wheel of freedom, but to bypass that right now, to give you a really quick, quick way to start dealing with this, is actually start having a dialogue with fear. So the first thing you do is you never fight with fear. Never. It always wins. 

Fear is as smart as you are, as educated as you are, as spiritual as you are, it knows everything you know, and it's way smarter than you. So we never argue with fear. So a fear says, this is going to be bad. This is what you'd say to fear: you're right, it's going to be bad and I'm going to do it anyway. Oh well, this is, you know, I know you think this is going to bring value and you're going to suck it up and get it done but, you know, what if George doesn't like it? What if Harry doesn't like it? Well, they might not like it, that's right, they may not like it and I'm going to do it anyway. Okay, well you're making a fatal mistake. I might be making a fatal mistake, thank you so much – I'm going to do it anyway. Okay, well don't come crying to me. Okay. Right?

So one of the ways that we bypass is not fighting and not arguing. This is one of the tools inside the wheel of freedom, what I call the wheel freedom. One of the things that I teach my clients is how do you talk to fear and how do you move beyond fear. And what do you focus on instead? And what we focus on on the wheel of fear and wheel of freedom is, there's something called the essential nature. Remember how I told you, like I don't want to be seen as a loser? Well, on my wheel of freedom what I focus on instead is being authentic. So if I'm afraid to be a loser or I think loser around my job is Rhonda Britten is – if I was being authentic right now, what would I do? Oh – I would say this, I would do this.

So you need to, you know, to have another shift of a mental model. It can't be just you and the project because it's bigger than the project. It's got to be like who you are and what really works for you. So whether it's, you know, being authentic, like, well if I was being authentic, would I be doing this project? Or it could be, if I was being compassionate with myself, or if I was being comfortable to myself, right? But there's another frame that you have to decide to step into and take action from that new frame. So me being authentic is, you know, if you're afraid to be a loser, you're afraid if you're authentic that you're going to be a loser. And I have to know that that's not true. Like right, that's not true. If I was being authentic, who would I be? Oh. I would sit down and I might tell my group that it's going to be done next week and not be done now, right? Or oh, I'm going to tell myself that maybe I don't know as much as I think I do and I have to do some research. Or maybe I do need somebody to help me be accountable to, right? Tell yourself the truth. But never, never, never, argue with fear/

GEORGE: I love that. Rhonda, so good. Before we wrap things up, I just want to bring it back to my audience. And looking at, you know, we’ve got martial arts school others that we work with, people are faced in various directions. You know, some people have had their income shot down 100%.

RHONDA: Yeah.

GEORGE: Many of them are Partners within our group of martial artists made the pivot online and are venturing in that new arena.

RHONDA: New world, yeah.

GEORGE: Yeah and I don't want to shift the topic too much and, you know, go down a whole new angle. But I just want to talk about the topic of money, because this has come up a lot of times where, I think especially in the martial arts space, there's been so much emphasis placed on the value that they deliver physically. And if they switch to the online, the detachment of what they deliver physically and they are doing online…

RHONDA: Yes

GEORGE: …They feel that it's just not right to charge money, or that they've got to do it for goodwill.

RHONDA: Yes.

GEORGE: what would be your take on that and the relationship of money and feeling comfortable making that shift?

RHONDA: So I'm going to say two things: one is, I have an exercise that we can do in just a minute, but um… The thing is that, you know, I have a client of mine who's a martial artist. He's a… what kind of trainer is that, you know, in the cage, the cage trainers, right? Um…

GEORGE: Mixed martial arts.

RHONDA: Yeah, and he's… Yeah, right, mixed martial arts. So he is, you know, he said the same thing to me. He's like, you know, but I have to touch them and I have to move them. I'm saying, yeah, but right now what do you think everybody needs that are your clients? I don't know about you, but I think they need a mindset. I think they need maybe critiques on… Like, you could put matches on line and you could critique them. You could help them understand their body better. Like, there are so many refinements, right? Like if you talk to a boxer, a martial artist: the work is not done in the ring, right? The work is done outside the ring, right? So using that attitude of like, okay, I'm not in the ring right now, I'm not with them physically: so what can I do? How can I support them? That's going to give them a competitive edge and even better when we get back in the ring? And I think that's the mindset that you have to think of that you're doing like the heavy lifting, the deep, rooted work, right? The deep rooted work, without the physical body being there.

So I think that mindset work, getting people to understand that they can use their body, taking care of themselves, making sure they're staying in shape etc etc, doing the fine muscles, etc etc – I mean, this is important and valuable work that people will pay for. They will be happy to pay because they want to belong somewhere. Because everybody, most people out there are feeling very, very alone, even though they have five people living in their house and they're stuck with them. They feel very alone and they want somebody that understands them, that knows them like this. That knows them in their power like this. They want to be seen, they want to be remembered, they want to be heard – and they want focus. And you're the one to give them that, because you're their trainer. You're there whether there's a gym owner, a trainer, you know, you're their master. So help them during this time, it's your responsibility. I don't know that's a…

GEORGE: Yes, that is spot-on and very in alignment with what I've been telling our clients iIs really think of the outcome. There's an outcome that people actually get from the martial arts and if you can provide that through a different medium, that's going to keep them together until, you know, the new normal.

RHONDA: That's right. But again, you and I both know martial arts is a lot of mindset stuff. So if your mind is caught in the cracks in your foundation as I said earlier, then you get to do your mindset work alongside your clients. And you get to lead them through that. And that's your opportunity and that is one of the greatest gifts you can give to them. And I promise you this they will remember you forever, leading them through this. They will remember you forever. You know, I mean I think about the people that I've been talking to and I will never forget them, because they're helping, they're supporting, they’re being with, you know, like we're doing this together, right? So you're not just becoming, you know, who they've trained with; you're really becoming their mentor at a whole new level. So I invite you to take it. Yeah. And do you want me to throw this last exercise out? Because I promised I would, but again, I don't need to. I mean, are you complete, what do you think?

GEORGE: If you have the time Rhonda, I would love it.

RHONDA: I’ll just throw it out, because I actually said I would share it, so I want to give it. Another exercise to actually take about, whether it’s abundance or mindset whatever it is, you know, we're focused on the things like, “oh I've got to give everything away.” and again, goodwill is nice but what can you give for goodwill and what will you charge for you? You have to really start to understand that like, I'm doing a lot of Facebook lives right now for goodwill. But I'm also charging my clients and I'm also charging for my courses, ok? I'm giving people a longer time to pay and some people I've been talking to are reducing fees 50% for one month or two months and then that's it so that their clients stay with them. But again, you don't have to do that to pay on what you provide, right?

So this exercise that I'm going to tell you and I'll end with this is control versus no control. So grab a piece of paper, put a line down the middle and on the left hand side write “control” and on the right hand side write “no control.” and I want you to write down all the things you are in control of and all the things you're not in control of. Now, I'm sure you've probably done something like this already with your folks George, is like what do they control, what don't they control. But this is the kicker, this is what I do is my clients. I take it to the next level is, all the things they can control, I want them to grade themselves. I want them to rate themselves from one to ten. Ten is, I'm not going to have a problem with my sleep, I'm the greatest sleeper in the whole world. Water? I'm a ninja! I'm a nine! Right? Or is it, I'm two with my sleep and I'm three with my vegetables and I'm four in connection, right? 

So write all the things you're in control of and give yourself a scorecard, rate yourself. Because what I know to be true is, when you're focused on the things you can't control, when you're getting worried about the things you can't control, I guarantee you you're not controlling the things you can. You're not taking care of business where you can. So I invite you to just do the control – no control. Have the control there, rate yourself, give yourself a scorecard. Focus there, because then when you do that, you'll get your power back. You feel empowered again and then the things you can’t control kind of recede in the background, right?

GEORGE: Simple. What a great…

RHONDA: Simple, but not easy to do, right?

GEORGE: Exactly, exactly. But that's gold and I'm going to do it right now.

RHONDA: It's an amazing exercise, I can't tell you how many clients I have worked with, I've been doing that exercise with clients for over 20 years and I cannot tell you how it changes their life. Because it's not just a list, oh I can do this, I can do this. But it's like, no – rate yourself. That rating gives you like, oh crap, I’ve  got to focus on this, it gives you a focus now.

GEORGE: Right.

RHONDA: Do you mind if I give a gift to your listeners?

GEORGE: Please do!

RHONDA: Ok, so I actually feel compelled to… I don't normally give two gifts, but I did talk about “stretch, risk or die”, so I do want to give them all the worksheets for that, so they can really understand it at a deeper level. So go to fearlessliving.org/risk, and yes, you're going to have to put your name and email in because it's inside a member center. If you don't want to get emails or whatever, of course you can just unsubscribe right away. But again, you're going to need to do that in order to become a member to get the course.

But the other thing that I realized I had just the other day which is so funny. I'd already talked to like six groups and forgot I had this: I actually have created a course called “How To Overcome Fear Of The Unknown”. Hellooo! Helloo! Duh! And when I realized that, I was like wait a minute I have a course called “How To Overcome Fear Of The Unknown”. So if you'd like that course as well, go ahead and grab that and that's at fearlessliving.org/gift. So fearlessliving.org/risk for stretch, risk or die and fearlessliving.org/gift for the gifts. And again, sign up, put your email in, you'll get access to the course. Unsubscribe if you don't want to hear from me ever again.

GEORGE: That's gold Rhonda, thank you so much for being so generous with your time. Thank you for the great gifts. I know I got, you know, my secret finish about doing this podcast is like I get to speak to awesome guests like you and  just learn. And I know everybody listening to this is going to get so much value. So Rhonda, thank you so much, really appreciate your time.

RHONDA: You’re welcome – be fearless.

GEORGE: 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.

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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.

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95 – Peter Graham – Applying The Winning Martial Arts Mindset In Uncertain Times

Peter Graham, top martial arts school owner, Bellator Champion and Multiple World Title Holder, shares how to apply the fighter’s winning mindset to daily life.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • How to stay motivated in a period of downturn
  • How to make decisions under uncertainty
  • Helpful tips for successful goal setting
  • How to think and perform like a ‘true’ martial arts fighter
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

We're scared, we're worried. It's not just for ourselves, you know, we have families and the people we work with and train with, you know, we know them really well. But now is the time for us to dig deep and say, “I have this feeling – it's okay. But what can I do to fight another day?” And that's a real martial artist’s or a fighter's attitude.

GEORGE: Hey this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. So I'm joined today with a special guest, Peter Graham. And Peter Graham, we were having a chat the other day, so just recently, we just started working together in our Partners group and we’ve been having a few calls and we had a few chats about… Obviously right now, depending on when you’re listening to this, but the current pandemic and the situation. And we were having real interesting conversations about us being martial artists. Now. Peter's experience or credentials go two miles further than mine do, but the real conversation got going about the martial arts mindset.

Now, Peter is a real successful martial arts school owner and I'm going to get in to share a bit of his credentials right now because I couldn't keep track of all of them. And we're going to chat about just dealing with the now, how our martial arts mindset could benefit us in this current situation and wherever this conversation goes. So welcome to the call, Peter.

PETER: Thanks George. Hey, you know, this is where they say who I am. I am a martial artist, so I come from a karate background, kyokushin background. I was an uchi-deshi, so I lived in Japan doing karate. And that moved on from one thing to another, to another. Basically the whole budo experience. You know, I just wanted to fight all the time and the best people I could fight. So not unlike a lot of karate or taekwondo guys and girls, you know, they always go to lots and lots of tournaments and, you know, if you keep winning, I guess you try to find ones that are even more up the pay scale so to speak.

So I also have a black belt in kenpo karate, BJJ experience for ten years or eleven. Last couple of years I haven't really been focused on it. I was pro MMA, so I made it to the finals of the Bellator. Lost to Cheick Kongo in the finals, but that's okay. He's a good guy, yeah, I can deal with losing to him.  Made the K1 Grand Prix, which is top-paid. Oceania champion. Six kickboxing world titles, Thai boxing world title, boxing world title. But really, that was just part of being a martial artist, part of me trying to be the best I could be. And it was the whole, I guess a word that people use all the time at the moment is mindset.

Martial Arts MindsetSo along my path to where I thought I wanted to go, or where I thought I needed to be, there were blocks depending on, you know, which, you know, which country rose in or what was happening in the political climate. The economic downturn in 2008, you know, really killed K1. And, you know, there's always something. But instead of throwing my hands up in the air and saying, ah – always look for something else to do. As a fighter, there's different organizations in different countries so I just always kept on looking for that next opportunity.

And I guess that really brings us to where we are now. I mean, with the current situation, you know, all schools are closed down and, you know, I see a lot of people really panicking and stressed out and I understand that, you know, the complete lack of finances is stressful. But in this time, you know, it will really show the people who take the mindset of a martial artist. Anyone who has a black belt, whether it took them two years or twenty years to get it, has that ability to see into the future knowing that the hard work they put in now can repay later on. 

The success of earning a black belt is a huge thing for a lot of people and of course young martial artists, you know, some of them, it's more than half their life as a young child. And sometimes people who have been a black belt for so long or been a champ for so long, or been successful so long, you know, we get a bit soft. We’re used to the good paychecks, we’re used to the high-fives and the successful meetings and the, you know, all the good things and tracking that come along with that. And then we forgot how difficult it was when we first started, you know, we got some really, really great… It's my five-year-old, showing me her cut out of a car.

Now, we've got some really, really great athletes and my gym. And I tell them, I say, hey guys: you see that that new person down there, the chubby guy down there who's turning purple in the face and his lips have gone all white and he's just about to roll his eyes? I said, he's the one who's working the hardest today. Don't forget that. You've got to outwork him every time if you want to get to be… If you want to be the champ. And at the moment, I think that is a massive point for successful people at the moment, you know, specifically in our line of martial arts and combat sports is that we have to say, “hey what was it like when I first opened the dojo? What was it like, you know, the first time you got that big rent bill and went, how am I going to pay for that?” Or, you know, you started to pay stuff or insurance or whatever it was and you went no, no. And, you know, fight that urge to run away or throw my hands up or lie or cheat or steal and do the right thing and stick to my personal principles and continue on.

I remember George, when I first opened my dojo. I was sitting on the steps inside the building. This class of boys come in and there's some steps right in the front. And I was sitting there with my wife, we’d been there a month. We had all of, it was 12 or 14 students. And I said, hey honey, do you think we could just kind of close the doors and run away and go to Brazil? I said, you know, we can hide out there, no one will know me there I'm sure. She looked at me and she said, you know that's not going to happen. That's not you.

But we all had those urges and it's a, you know, it's like Cus d'Amato said to Mike Tyson: ”the hero and the cow both feel the same. But it's what the hero does that makes him the hero and what the cow doesn't do that makes him the cow.” And I think in these situations there's a lot of us who feel similar feelings. You know, we're scared, we're worried. It's not just for ourselves, you know, we have families and the people we work with and train with, we know them really well. But now is the time for us to dig deep and say, “I have this feeling – it's okay. But what can I do to fight another day?” And that's a real martial artist’s or a fighter's attitude.

Because you hit the canvas in a boxing fight and anything after round six, let me tell you – after round six, life gets very different. You really start to get those goals, become very polarized. But you hit the canvas off to round six and you ask yourself, “Why in the hell am I doing this? Am I going to get up and fight another day? Do I need to?” Because if you're going home in a new Mercedes Benz to your silk sheets, you know, with your beautiful wife and fantastic kids, that motivation may have gone. But if you don’t get up to win the fight, your kids are going to miss a meal, or you're going to get kicked out of your, you know, shitty apartment somewhere. Let me tell you, your motivations are different. Different people obviously have different motivations, but that's the mindset that I take.

Now, things are good. My life is great. I'd like to continue that and, you know, all of us can jump up and down and complain and be grumpy at the current situation saying, well why did I do this or do that. And some of us may have prepared better than others, some of them, you know. We might have had our worst month ever, but you had your best month ever. But the fight’s on. And now we're really going to see the cream rise to the top. But there’s awesome things as well, you know, if this is, you know. If you're just starting out only a few months into it or even a few years, yeah, you could.. Because everything is…

GEORGE: Equal.

PETER: Yeah. Everyone's scrambling to open online dojos, everyone's trying all these things. What works, what doesn't work, should I use zoom, should I use Skype, you know, “Can I do it on Facebook, can I monetize it? How do I monetize it? You know, can I stop the payments? Should I keep them?” Okay, all these things we're all asking yourselves. And that's something that a real champion and a winner does. We all ask ourselves questions, right? You wake up in the morning, roll out of bed, “Should I drink the whiskey or should I have a cup of coffee?” Hopefully that's not the question you ask yourself, but just saying, if you wake up in the morning and say, “What am I going to do? Am I going to get down on it? Are we going to hustle? You know, push myself to the 10th degree, or am I going to go hmm. I'll watch TV or, you know, see what’s on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and, you know, cause a problem with someone because I don't like them or I'm bored, or not motivated.” 

But motivation is simple, right? It's very, very, very simple in my mind. There’s the horrible part and there's a good part. The horrible part is, if I stay where I am, it's going to be horrible. And the good part is, if I do what's needed to be done, this will be awesome. You know, you want a drink of water, you're walking through the desert. If I don't get a drink of water, I'm going to die. If I get a drink of water, I'll be fine. It's very polarizing, you know. But if you're doing well in a dojo and you’re doing well in your business, you're doing well in whatever and you say well, you know, if I keep on doing what I'm doing now, I'll do okay. And if I don't go too hard, I'll still be okay. There's nothing, you know, you're 50-50…. But now it's very polarizing. Everyone’s going, oh man, if this keeps going, I'm going to go under. So we start asking ourselves those questions, but then you ask yourself how important is it?

GEORGE: I've been having real interesting conversations about this and partly why I want to do… Speaking to you is kind of bringing it home. So when this pandemic happened, I decided to reach out to other coaches and just other business owners in general with different perspectives, facing different scenarios. First I spoke to Jason Everett, who is a high-performance salon coach. And the energy he brought to the podcast was amazing and he's… Well, there's no virtual haircuts happening. Look how lucky you guys are. You can just put it and run online. And then I spoke to Kylie Ryan. And Kylie Ryan was all about mindset.

So I wanted to talk about decision making and, you know, where should you be when you make the decisions. Because if you’ve got your head in the sand, versus you are striving and you’re leadership focused, there's going to be two different decisions that you make. And the language that you can express is going to be completely different. And so the thing that came up with Kylie was to really just find that place of, you know, just take a step back, breathe and make your decision from that point. Because if you’re consumed in this media here and your mind is there and you're trying to make the decision, it's not going to be the right decision.

So now listening to you and the way you've applied a lot of things with martial arts, which is really bringing it full circle for me in… Who knows where the next conversation is going to take. But this is really, I think this is great for all martial arts school owners listening here.

Now, taking this fighter’s mindset and really applying it and the conversation I guess I want to get to is, how do you trigger yourself into that “it's on.” like, what do you do as a martial artist to go, “all right. Well, here's a situation, it's difficult. I'm going to show up.” how am I going to show up, what do I do? What is the inner self talk that you have with yourself and you said, “all right, it's game on.”

PETER: You know, that's a really good question. You know what, I'll tell you exactly what I do is, I start to ask myself questions. How important is this to me? How important is it that I get up this morning and start chipping away at those things? And then I ask myself more questions. What do I need to do? How much money do I need? How much money have I got? How many bills were coming? How many people do I need? How many people need me? So the more questions I ask, then the more answers I'm going to get. But there's also another little trick to it I say is, you want to ask yourself the right questions. If I ask myself why coronavirus is destroying my business and life, I'll probably come up with an answer if I give it enough energy. Most smart people will. And then at the end of that question, the answer will be whatever it might be, but it'll be negative and I'll be in the same spot.

But then I ask myself a similar question structured in a different way: how can I make sure this coronavirus is a positive thing to my business, for my family? Probably going to come up with an answer if you put the same amount of energy into it, you’ll still come up with an answer. So asking yourself those questions is important that you're asking yourself the right questions. And what I mean by that if you didn't understand it from that first explanation George, is asking in a way that in the end you come up with an answer that's going to develop something and you're going to have forward momentum from it. 

So why is everything so bad? No no: how can I get something good out of this bad situation? You know, how come we've got no money? I’ve got no money because I've got all these bills and I've got no money coming in. Okay, that's correct you're going to answer the question, but it hasn't helped you any. How can I generate more income? Well, I heard that guy George, he's got this thing he's doing online and these people zoom. Well, what’s zoom? You find out what zoom is – ah! Man, would really work for me but how come it doesn't… You know, I've never been good with technology stuff. How come it always has to be technology stuff? Well, that's not going to work either, right? You place the right question: how can I learn more about zoom? I'll talk to my mate George, he will help. I'll talk to my mate Peter, I'll ask the guy down the road. 

Martial Arts Mindset

So I'm always asking myself the right questions, always trying to catch myself say, am I asking myself a question that is going to get me to go forward and have that forward momentum, or am I going to ask the wrong question that’s just going to keep me where I am. And the other thing is, I don't expect it to be easy. I don't expect anyone to do anything for me, I don't expect anything from anyone else and I'm not bitter about it. It's not like, you know, your whole bunch of bosses, I don't care. It is what it is. There's no self entitlement. No one owes me anything and I'm fine with that. However, these are lots of good people who all come out of the woodwork and help each other, which is great. And I see that, but knowing that it puts it on you, that emphasis on you and I guess from being a fighter for so long, you know, you can blame the coach or, you know, you have to fly economy halfway across the planet or, you know the airline was shitty or the hotel room was horrible or you only had a week’s notice – you're going to have all these things, and you'll still lose the fight. That's the reason why I lost. 

Well, you come up with the solution but you know, I'm just going to be super super careful in that fight, I'm going to make sure that I stretch it out beforehand. Like I'm a big guy, I'm six-three, so flying economy halfway across the world, it's a tough gig. But I want to win the fight. So that's the thing: I desperately want to win that fight. And there's a lot of other people who desperately want to win this fight. I know that I want to win it. So that way, by asking those questions, you come up with the solution that is what we need to do. And I say this all the time: to me, there's only two types of people. And people hear me say this again and again. But I mean there really are winners and losers. Winners make solutions. Full stop, period. Losers make excuses. There is a subcategory now, I call it smart losers – they make reasons.

GEORGE: Ah!

PETER: The reason this isn't happening yet – I can see your brain thinking now George, you’re thinking, I’ve met lots of people like that. Oh, but George the reason that happened was, I'm a smart guy. Here’s these reasons why I can't succeed. Well, congratulations: you're successful at being a loser. And if you want to do that, that's fine. Some people will fight tooth and nail. No, no, no, there’s a… Okay, stay where you are, it's okay. But the people who truly want to be successful and get through whatever it is, not just business: life, relationships, money, you know, they're the people who ask themselves the right questions and come up with the solution. 

And if the first solution doesn't work, they go for another one and then another one and then another one. And it goes back to what we were saying before: it depends how important that goal is. Or how important it is that you don't stay where you are. Sometimes – just getting, just out of it, is important to. Say you’re in jail and you want to break out. You’re not thinking, well, I don't want to be here. I want to be in a mansion in the Bahamas. You think, I just want out. We’ll reassess everything and as soon as they get out of these bars go away and I'm out of jail. It's a terrible analogy, sorry, but I think people will get what I'm saying, right?

GEORGE: Totally. I mean, and I really love that because I discovered this really, I mean really that it hit home for me was, a couple of years ago, I think it was my wife that asked me a question that I just wasn't contemplating. I was actually working part time, trying to build up this business. You know, I've never shared this story and it's a crazy thing. Because I was really embarrassed to actually talk about it, because it was embarrassing, right? I've been this sort of a, you know, business mind and computer programming guide for so long and then you know, I moved to Australia and I was working in the sales job, it was going well. 

And then I wanted to start this online business. And I wanted to do this online business but it was just… This pivot in school owner’s experience, right: you’ve got full-time income, you're trying to be a business owner – something's gotta give. Something’s got to tip and I couldn't make this tip. My next-door neighbor walks up to me and says, we just bought a lot of delivery business. I said, okay and so they asked me to be the driver and I was like, no way in hell will I do that. I won't do that and it's ego talking. Look,  just from context: there's nothing against, honestly doing that proper job. It was just… I just didn't feel that was where I should spend my time.

PETER: Absolutely

GEORGE: And so I got a few bills and it didn't look good and uh…

Peter: The delivery driver looked good.

GEORGE: And I think okay, so I just got to give up to sleep two nights a week and I'm going to get about an extra four-five hundred dollars a week and I'm not… That's really going to take the edge off. That's going to make me build this business. So I reluctantly said yes. And so I started doing this before long but then I got accustomed to it, no sleeping and operating that way. Before I knew it, bills got really bad and then I was working five nights a week, my life was deliver milk in buildings from 10pm to 6am, sleep for four hours, train martial arts, have a nap, get to work on the business, take my son to martial arts, have a nap – and this was my life for three-four years. 

Anyway, long story short, but I was really stuck. I couldn't move forward because of my mental capacity… I was a walking zombie. And it was until my wife just started throwing a question at me about what if… What if I did it this way, what if I did it that way. And I was so stuck in this rut for so many years and I went, huh.  And that wasn't the first time she threw a question at me that definitely made me think. And it's since then that I really just take a step back. Because sometimes, especially now, you know: schools are closed, it's terrible. But what if it's not? Okay, my business is closed. Okay, so where’s the opportunity here? Well, I could do something online. Okay, I don't want to do something online. Well, okay, I've got a choice. I could either be out of business, or an online business. Okay, so I'll be in an online business. So what's the opportunity here? Well, I can add this extra component to my school, which I never had time to do. I don't have time because I'm…

PETER: George, can you stop just there for one second. Exactly what you did is what needed to be done. You know, you weren't really thinking about becoming, you know, your dream job wasn't becoming a milk delivery guy. But the pain of staying where you were was too much, so you had to do something. And something came up, but then you should thank your wife. She started asking the right questions. Also thank yourself for asking yourself what can I do? Well hold on. And the reason, I'm going to guess, you came up with the right answer because the pain of not sleeping…

GEORGE: It sucks.

Peter: Yeah, it sucks. It's so annoying, you know, and it drove you to what you're doing now. So that's awesome. You know, you've got that and it's funny, you'll see very quickly which category people sit in when you just ask them a few questions. As you were, keep going.

GEORGE: No, perfect and I mean it's just to add context to this conversation, right? Because I think right now people are really being put to the test. And I kind of look at this industry, you know, what drew me to this industry was the first things I saw on the wall. Respect, integrity, confidence, resilience, all these things. And if there was ever a test to display what you've been teaching, this is it. Like, how are you showing up to this. You can either bury your head in the sand – then what have you been teaching? Or you can say, well hey.

PETER: Exactly.

GEORGE: This is the battle. This is the battle we’ve been training for. Are you with me or are you leaving?

PETER: Yeah, no, this is exactly true. You know, and it's really easy for me to achieve big goals. Because I find this is a big goal. Get to the end of this and open my doors and have everything go back on as per norm. But to begin with, I'm like, I have no idea. I don't know what to do. And that's exactly like a white belt. But now we're all white belts, we’re all sitting in that same place, all going, what do we do? And what happens? You either get a tip or you go for that first grading and you're scared and you're annoyed and it's frustrating. Or, you know, you don't know what to do because you didnt train hard enough. Or you get there and you do really well. And what happens, when do people drop out? They hit the first belt and they quit. So there's going to be a whole lot of quitters at that first grading. They're going to come into that first challenge, whatever that may be and they’re going to quit. We know that because we see it. 

Training is like the world you know into… it gives me all the answers I need. And then it's going to be a few more gradings and some will do really well. In the beginning, there's going to be some who are going to be really talented. We're going to go, ah, these people are awesome! Look at their online business. But some of them will quit and some will keep going. And some will be successful and some will be really successful and some will fade away. Some will get a black belt and realize that’s just the beginning. Others will give up before their first grading and lots of them will come up with excuses and reasons. And that's all it is. I mean, you know, people are looking for a big, complicated answer – it's not. The amount of effort that's required to get to where we're going, especially in these uncertain times. We’re not even sure where it is we're going, specifically. That effort might be a lot more, just like you and your milk job. You know, 10 o'clock to 7 o'clock in the morning or something, ridiculous.

GEORGE: Yeah, it was crazy, yeah.

PETER: Get the cows to give milk at milk at different times. But the pain of going home to your family and saying, sorry, we're just having lunch and dinner from now on. And we're moving into my mate's caravan. This is painful, I'd hate to have to tell that to my wife. I love my house, I love my home, I love my family. And that's, again, going back to those, you know, those principles. And principles of martial artists, you know is, stick to the program. You know, that intestinal fortitude, that inner strength. You know, should I go next door and rip off the guys lawnmower and then I can sell it. That goes against my principles. 

To some people that's fun. I know that, cuz I'm home all the time. I know when they're home and when they're not home, everybody goes steal the whipper snipper as well and I'll be like, if that's where your principles lay. People will do that, but that's, you know, it's not me, it's not you. It's not martial artists as a whole mostly. But we all have to keep on continuing to go back on what we know already as a martial artist and stick to the program. And realize that we're probably going to fail a few times. You're going to stumble a few times, there's a few times we're going to walk out of the dojo, we’ll walk out of a meeting going I just got my ass kicked. I was talking to, before we jumped online, that I just got a letter from my accountant saying, Pete, looks like you've missed one of those bass payments. It's a body punch. Zero income – hey, the tax department wants a really big check from you Pete. I have to pay for it or you know, lie down and go ahh. But I'll come up with a solution, because the idea of doing anything else, not because I'm particularly… 

What's the word, particularly fond of the Australian taxation department. It's, I'll pay the bill and I'll get it done, because I'm fond of where I'm at. And the other option is certainly not going to happen. And once you have that mindset that, I'll either win or I'll be dead, you'd be surprised what you can achieve. Most people don't want to have that commitment to anything, right? Most people are like, huh pretty good. You know, if I get this job, you know I put in the effort there and I'll do this and it'll be alright. They’re scared to take that risk – I understand that. Don’t want to mess up what they already have. Why do you think so many great fighters come from shitty areas and shitty homes and you know, not even, street kids. It's because you’ve got nothing to lose. No one’s saying to you, George if you fuck this up mate, you're going to end up with nothing, you know. 

So, well Pete I’ve got nothing already so, sky's the limit. But when you’ve already got a whole bunch of nice things, it can be harder. You know, you can be paralyzed with fear. Say, I don't wanna lose any of this. If I bet too much, I could lose. I don't want to lose, so I'm just going to keep on that small track. But now, we're all being forced to bet everything. You’re either all in or you’re all out.

GEORGE: So on that Peter, where does your drive come from? What made you a successful fighter? What was that thing that lit a fire under you that you really wanted that success. And still want a continuous, moving forward in business in life.

Martial Arts MindsetPETER: You know what, when I was a kid, I moved around a lot. I went to lots of different schools and I was a nobody to everybody. And I didn't like that. I wasn't good at making friends, because I was always the new kid. And I'm talkative and I get lots of energy and I get really excited. So when you’re the new kid who's really talkative and excited about things, you think, this guy's clearly crazy. You know, every three to four months since I was about 12 or 13, I had to move. I lived in the youth refugees. And then I used to lie all the time. Yeah I've got this and I've got that, my dad's this, my mom's that. Clearly my mom wasn't this and my dad wasn't that and I didn't have anything. Didn't have friends because that would mean you have to be somewhere for a long period of time. I didn't have family, certainly didn't have any money and I had no education at all. And for a while when I was young it was like, well you know, you just carry on. 

Then after a while, you get sick of it. Now unfortunately, most kids who grew up like refugees and street kids and you know, what they call harmless refugees and stuff, even in awesome places like Australia, they end up alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals and their lives are horrible. And that was all around me and I certainly didn't want that. I remember one day, this is a story that really shows where I just said, this has got to change. This particular time, I was living in a big stormwater train, a place called Eastful. A couple of suburbs outside of Sydney. The reason I was living there and not in the city where most street kids live or in the train yards and stuff like that is because I was scared. Because when I was a kid, a really young kid, I actually came from a nice area. 

And we won't go into the back story of how everything went horribly wrong, so I wasn't you know, everyone I ever met who was a street kid, you know, they’re all, my dad's are criminal and my mom is this. And you know everyone could fight me, everyone was tough and I wasn't that guy. And it was my little sister's birthday, so I said, you know, what I'm going to do is a big graffiti piece. Now, I was too scared to do it on a train or on a public walk, but inside this big stormwater train, if I could do it there, yeah, probably not going to get into a lot of trouble. To show you the type of kid I was, I saved up and bought the paint. No respect, I know. Anyway, so you know, I sprayed on the wall and it looked absolutely terrible. This is ridiculous and it was possibly one of the lowest points of my life. It's basically at that time. No friends, no family, I wasn't going to school, no money. I said, you know what, I am going to become a criminal. 

Now, down the road there was a big sports store with a big plate glass window. And I went, what if I go up there, because I've always been a pretty big kid, I'll pick up this big terracotta pot and I'll throw it through the window, take all the sports athletic gear and I'll walk around, I'll look real cool. So I went over there and stashed my stuff in my stormwater train, just outside there were a bunch of trees. So I put it under there, under bushes. And it was, you know, two o'clock in the morning, no one around. And I pick up this, you know, this big terracotta pot and I throw it in this place plate glass window and it bounces off, shatters into a million pieces, you know, and then all the alarms and bells and whistles, everything just went off. And I was like, what? And I run off  and I run back and I jump over the fence and then go down into where the big stormwater train is. And I remember sitting there, I was going, this is ridiculous. I can't even be a criminal. 

Now, what does everyone say, they say, you keep going like that George, you're going to end up a crim. I couldn't, I didn't even have the ability to end up as a criminal. I was shattered, it was like I am good at absolutely nothing and no one gives a shit. And I remember sitting there just contemplating my life and how crap it was. And I said, it's got to be something. Something's got to be there. And I said to the universe, I said, make me good at something. Anything, I'll take anything. At this point, I'll take anything. Now, if you're a religious person then you ask God or whatever and at that point then, absolutely nothing happened. I didn't have a moment of clarity, I didn't have some deep insight – absolutely nothing happened. Nothing happened at all whatsoever for another four years. But what did happen was, I started searching. I’ve got to be good at something, I’ve got to be good at something.

And for me, I could hear it ticking in my head. You're going to run out of time Pete, you’re going to run out of time. You're going to end up like everybody else. You'd better hurry up, you better find your thing. You know, I didn't have much self-confidence, you know, for a lot of reasons. Mostly because I kept failing everything. Because I’d go to school for a couple of months and then the next school would have the same thing or then they'd have something completely different. And then after a while, you just give up. And on top of that, I’ve got add, attention deficit disorder which means concentrating on anything for more than a split second it's normally kind of tough. 

Martial Arts Mindset

But what I do have and I had it in a bucket list, I had a desire. I said, wherever I am now is so shit. I didn't have any guidance, no one’s saying what you should do Pete, you should do this and see that person, or be that person. You could talk to  George – none of that. You know, I'd like to say that, you know, there was some great insight from other people along the road, but there wasn't. It was just that same shitty feeling of feeling like I was invisible. I’d go to school and it didn’t matter if I’d turn up or didn't turn up, you know. Whether I was lalateid or wasn't late – it didn't matter. And I wanted to matter. I wanted to be famous, I said, I want to be famous. I want to have something, anything. And that desire just kept burning into me.

And then the day happened. I had a fight with this guy, I was in a refuge at this time. And I'd made my lunch, it was the last of my food and I was walking back into the common room to watch the tv. I wasn’t allowed to watch the tv with my food, you know, there's no food in there. And this guy Brad said, as I was holding my plate of four sandwiches, he goes, you're not allowed to eat in the common room. I went boom! And all my food went everywhere and I just lost my mind. Yeah, let's just say Brad and I didn't stay friends for much longer and I got kicked out. I was so angry too, because I was like, it wasn't me, I didn't do it, it was this guy. And what was I doing? I was blaming. I was so mad and I didn't want to move, because I was living in this great house in North Sydney in Sydney, which is a great affluent area and thought it made people think that I had money. 

So it was really cool. They said no, you’ve got to go. And they took me and they said, we've got this other place, because I was about 17. They said, you can go there and it's kind of, you know, it's not a halfway house. It's like moving from being what they call young homeless to being young and unemployed. They really kind of set you up there. But anyway, but every day, they moved me there and it was great, this was cool. But I used to go down to the bottle-o. because you know, me and my friends would go get drunk and hang out. I still smoked cigarettes at that stage when I was a kid. I used to go past this karate dojo and I went, that's what I'll do. I'll do that.

I think I wanted to do taekwondo, because I thought the flag was better. Japanese flag, just the red dot. The Korean flag with cool little words and the yin yang, that was a bit cool. I said, this'll do. I walked into the dojo and there's a guy behind the counter called Johnny and I walk in, and I said, hey what do I need to do to be a karate champ? And he told me after, yes Pete, I just rolled my eyes when I went back and said, man there’s this crazy kid out here, you know, who’s so big. There’s this crazy big kid out here, he wants to become a karate champ, you know. They were kind of laughing at me. Just turn up at 6 o'clock. 

So I turned up at 6 o'clock and something happened. I started doing those punches and I thought this is it, this is pretty simple. All I've got to do is work harder than everyone else. And I got it. And I thought, ok all I need to do is turn up and at that time it started, I had a job so I had a bit of money and I had a stable place, because I was just about to turn 18. And once you turn 18, you know, you can stay in one place for a longer time, unless you're, you know, there's a few other rules and regulations and stuff. That your parents clear the papers and let you stay somewhere, but mine didn't. And that was it. I was 17 and I thought, if I don't do this now I'm going to miss the boat. I started karate and punched and kicked and screamed all the way to the K1 Grand Prix. And it was a desire to be better than what I was. And I would do anything, I’d go on every tournament, I would take anything. 

I used to go through the magazines, look for tournaments going to them. But it was that desire to be better than what I was. I find out now, she's my lovely wife, that what, you know, being famous is great, but having a family is a million times better. But it's exciting, because that same way, that drive and that, you know, that perseverance that was needed to get to where I was, happened for two reasons. One is, I really didn't want to be there, and two, I really wanted to get somewhere else. Turns out, the final goal was a little different, which was fun. But it set me up. And it's awesome, it's a wonderful feeling to know that I have that part of my life figured out completely, how to be a success in whatever it is I choose to do. And it works for everyone if they want to be honest to themselves. Some people don't.

GEORGE: First up, I mean, I love your story. That's inspiring stuff. How would you, what would you say to martial artists in general now? You've got, I mean, you've got really extensive knowledge experience in, you know, in the fighting arena. And I know a lot of martial artists do, but maybe some people have forgotten where they were at. Maybe they've gotten a bit complacent: what advice would you give to martial artists, martial arts school owners now in this climate and navigating through the obstacles?

PETER: Super simple: treat yourself as a white belt. You’ve just walked I,n first day on a mamat. What was that thing that said, this is for me? Learn, learn, learn, learn, learn and know that you're going to make mistakes. All the things that we tell a white belt, all the people who walk in that have never done anything before, you know. That open-mindedness that you tell them to have, we have to have now. Learn and beat despair. Don't be afraid to ask questions. It's okay, we're all in the same boat, ask questions. Hey, how did you do this, how did you do that? Can you help me with this? I'll help you, if I find out, I'll help you. 

So, you know, ask yourself the right questions, you’ll get the right answer. And nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing beats hard work. What's hard work? Just do it. Write down a list of things you could possibly do, a list of things, a list of people you could talk to. But things that are going to make things better. Ask yourself the right questions. That's it, hard work, discipline, sticking to the program. Although the final goal might change a little bit, you've got to start with something. You know, I want to be here at the end of this coronavirus. I want to have a dojo and I want to be able to open the doors the day that we're allowed to. That's my goal. And I'd like to have a little bit of money.

GEORGE: Love it.

PETER: If we get there and it says, I'm going to have a lot of money and a great online business and everyone rushes back into my dojo because they’re super pumped to come back, even better. Preparation meets opportunity. That's good luck. The lack of preparation, well, the opportunity comes, you’ll get popped. The fight, it's, you know, straight away. In business it can be, you know, a three month lag. So work hard now and in three months, you have a better chance of being there. I can’t guarantee it, no one guarantees your business is going to be here, nor mine or anyone else's. But you're going to give yourself a better chance if you train, or work as hard as you can.

GEORGE: Awesome. Hey, Peter thanks so much for taking the time to hang out. Look forward to having a few more cool conversations with you. If anybody wants to reach out to you and connect with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

PETER: Just jump on my Facebook, Peter Graham. There's a picture of me. By all means, shoot me through some messages and I'll try  to get back to as many people as possible. Thanks George, I really appreciate talking to you. And thank you for all the help you've given me as well, you're doing a great job.

GEORGE: You're welcome. Perfect, awesome.

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!

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94 – Kylie Ryan – How To Ditch Fear, Get Clear and Embrace Leadership In Uncertain Times

Kylie Ryan, a mindset and performance coach, shares techniques on how to clear our minds, get calm and make decisions from a place of ‘inner truth'.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • Mindfulness tips to reclaim your center and balance
  • How anxiety interferes with your decision-making process
  • How to establish certainty in uncertain times
  • The value difference between martial arts paid trials vs free trials
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Fear only exists when we're projecting our mind out into the future, right? It's like we're imagining some kind of negative future and going from this moment here, I'm imagining that I won't be able to pay my mortgage and my house is going to get foreclosed and what's going to happen? And then what if, what if, and you can go into this awful spiral of what is trying to chess play your way through every possible scenario. And that's a really dangerous habit.

GEORGE: Hey, this is George and welcome to another episode of the Martial Arts Media Business Podcast. Today I'm joined with a really special guest, not a martial artist, but someone who can really provide a lot of value with a lot of things that we deal with on a day to day basis within our mindset. And now more so more important than ever as we are all forced in this position of having to lead and having to make decisions, it's important that we make that decision from the right perspective and right mindset. I'm joined today with Kylie Ryan from mymindcoach.com.au, welcome to the call Kylie.

KYLIE: Hey, great to be here. Excited to share some conversations with you. Hopefully it's useful.

GEORGE: Love it. I'm ready. First up, if you could give us just a two minute intro, a bit of background on what it is you do and so forth.

Kylie Ryan mindset coachKYLIE: Yeah, sure. I'm a mindset and performance coach. I help people with their inner game. All of the mindset, belief, values, identities, emotions, the things that get us stuck and keep us sabotaging ourselves. There's plenty of things that we know that we need to do or that we should do, that we sometimes find ourselves struggling to actually do. I see myself as the bridge between what you know you should be doing or could be doing and what you're actually doing. And what we find is that a lot of the times things that seem like that external obstacles like the economy, or clients canceling, or this virus that's going on at the moment, a lot of the times when we find that even though those things are real, a lot of the times you find that people can handle them in very different ways. You can have two different people that face the same situation and respond very differently.

So what's the difference between those two people in their responses is their inner game, right? Is their mindset, their values, their beliefs, their attitudes, and their internal strategy that allows them to shift their external strategy and get different results in the world. So I help people tweak that in a game so that they get to do the things that they want and show up in the way that they want in the world and get the results.

GEORGE: All right, I love that down. Let's backtrack to two things that you mentioned. Stuck and sabotage. Where does this originate from? Where do people get stuck knowing that this is what they got to do, but then potentially put roadblocks in a way that they'll procrastinate or do different things? I caught myself doing this yesterday, actually. I'm preparing this training from our members right now for our Partners group on how to digitize the school. And I'm in this creation phase and procrastination takes over. This is just a personal thing within me. And before I knew it, I was out buying the new computer monitor that I needed. It was super essential, right? I needed that second screen. That's just something I like really taking a gut check look at me. But where does this originate? Where do people get stuck and why do we self sabotage?

KYLIE: Yeah, that's a great question. A lot of the… just like a little bit of a background information for… Your mindset, your beliefs, your values, all of the inner world of who you are, the personality that you show up to the world as, where does that come from? Right? You've got to think about if your mindset was a software program, where did that software get installed? And sometimes we might have… our original software is installed when we're first born and through that what we call the imprint period from zero, from being born to about seven years old. And then there's another period of the modeling period between seven and 14 but basically like up until about 21, you're learning and having these significant experiences from childhood, from your parents, from teachers, and you download and absorb beliefs, you download the idea of what's possible, you download your parents' attitudes and the way that they show up, you might look up to, or have a mentor and a teacher, or a martial arts instructor, or someone that you look up to and you might learn some things from them.

You might learn from people that do things maybe in a way that is not so useful or that is hurtful to you. But you learn that regardless, right? When we're really little we pick up and we just absorb all of these different things. And a lot of those beliefs are formed and then they drop down into the deep coding of your psychology, the inner hard drive of who you are. And a lot of those things, you're not aware of what programs are in there until a situation presents itself where that particular program becomes activated, right?

You might have that situation where you have to go and step into leadership and speak before your people and it triggered… and you might've never done that recently. And that wasn't an issue. But it could potentially just picking… plucking an example out of the air, it could potentially activate an unconscious memory from being a kid in kindergarten and having to show and tell and not having anything to say, or mumbling with your words, or kids laughing at you when you're a little tiny kid.

And then years and years and years and years later, you find that when you have to get up and speak in front of people, you have this idea that maybe it's going to be dangerous, or maybe you might get humiliated, or maybe you might get laughed at. And all of this happens at an unconscious level. It's not like you go, “Oh, people are going to laugh at me,” but you just find things to do so that you don't have to do the thing that might cause you pain or discomfort. A lot of times when we procrastinate or sabotage about something, then we have attached some kind of negative emotional state to the thing that we want to do. Does that make sense?

GEORGE: Yeah.

KYLIE: Yeah. So we want to go towards a goal and it's… unconsciously you're like, “I want to do this thing, I want to do this presentation.” But somewhere in your unconscious mind, beneath the surface of the water, if you think of the classic iceberg metaphor, your unconscious mind is like all of the bit that's underneath the water. Underneath the water then there might be some kind of belief or negative association with the thing that you want to do.

And it's like consciously you're trying to move forward but got the handbrake on, right? You're accelerating, but you've got the handbrake on. So there's this kind of weird like, “Oh, oh, oh, I feel stuck,” because consciously you want to move forward, but unconsciously your body is sending you signals that it's not safe. And so it's distracting you with all sorts of other things to do like buying a new monitor or procrastinate cleaning, all sorts of different things. “Oh, there's so many things to do in the house,” when I have something that I'm avoiding. That gives you a bit of a baseline understanding of why that happens. And it's usually, it can be traced back to some related experience that created a negative impact or a negative decision, right? Where you thought, “Hey, it's actually not safe to do this.” Or, “This creates a negative outcome for me in some way.”

And sometimes the relationships can be quite obscure, like maybe showing your parents a piece of art when you're a kid and they go, “Oh, I'm busy now.” And the kid could take that to mean that their work is not worthy, or that their stuff doesn't matter, or their voice isn't important. There's all sorts of different deep rabbit holes in our mind from various formative experiences and everybody goes through it, right? Everybody has these things. No one is immune to it. A lot of the times we don't realize that those things are in there until we try to do something and find ourselves getting stuck or spinning our wheels.

GEORGE: All right. There's a few things I'd like to ask from that. Obviously the first thing is, how do you develop the awareness of actually, right this is happening, but then exploring also that… you mentioned there is a negative emotion attached to it and then we'll explore how these things are coming up in today's climate with the situation we're facing right now. Just because it's a good example, I guess just to base our conversation on, in my case of yesterday where I was procrastinating. The outcome that I'm striving for I know is an outcome that creates impact and it's going to do a lot of good for a lot of people. When you say there's a negative emotion attached to it, is that maybe, yeah. Is that like maybe there's a fear attached there somewhere, a fear of how this is going to be perceived or is this going to be good enough or something…?

KYLIE: Yeah. It's like if you think of it like a balance. A balance of scales, right? You've got, there's the positive future that you want to make an impact, you want to do good in the world, you want to… it's going to have a positive effect on your clients and their clients and all of that. But it can also have, “Oh well, maybe someone might think that what I did wasn't very good. Or maybe someone might think I'm being salesy, or sleazy, or selling in this particular climate.” Right? And that's… there's a desire for impact, but it sounds like there might also be a fear of judgment that's playing out on the scales. Right? There's often positive and negative associations with anything that we want to do.

Like every… as martial artists, I would imagine that you guys are pretty familiar with the concept of Yin and Yang and push and pull and positive and negative that everything has that kind of synthesis or holism – there is positive and negative in everything. And even if you're trying to do something positive, there is also potentially a negative impact that happens with that. And so it depends on what you're focused on and what that triggers within you and your personal experience about how you relate to it.

GEORGE: All right, great. Before we get into how to deal with things in today's climate, I was having a conversation yesterday with one of our Partner members and we were talking about, this is the time for leadership. This is… everything that you've been taught in martial arts, resilience, discipline, if there was ever a battle that you're facing, this is the one. You got to show your leadership and be an example. But then how do you do that if you've got your own fears? It's almost like am I faking it? Where do we go to find that inner strength? And then I guess to tie it back into the conversation up to now is, how do we find that awareness of what is causing us to think in that way? Because yeah, what is causing us to look at the negative side and not really the positive and going… not leading?

Kylie Ryan mindset coachKYLIE: Yeah, exactly. Okay. When I think about leadership, right? Leaders get to go first. Leaders are leaders because they're the ones that go first, right? And you can lead… it doesn't necessarily mean that you're up the front as the flag bearer. You might be a leader that's going first from the back and going, “Come on guys, let's do this.” Right? But you're the… Leaders are the ones that go first. And of course every… I find that every time I step into a new level of leadership there is an initiation. Right? And just like going through the different belt levels in martial arts, there is a test that we must go through and move through in order to attain the sense of victory that allows you to lead others through that particular level. It's like, “Hey, I've been through this myself. Let's go. I can show you the path.”

And you get to show others the path because you have walked that path yourself and you have earned that victory. You have earned that right to then say, “Hey, I can help you through this. I have some wisdom, or skills, or ideas that can help you through.” To just ease everyone's mind that is feeling fear and uncertainty themselves, everyone is facing that right now across the globe, which is really unprecedented that there have been pandemics and epidemics before but we've never had the level of interconnectedness of communication to really know what our brothers and sisters are feeling on the other side of the planet. To have this rampant experience of media and potentially even fear mongering in the media that is putting all of this information in our heads.

The first initiation is for us as leaders to be able to find our center, try and make it as relatable as possible in terms of martial arts, if you have… and I'm not a martial arts expert, so please forgive me if I make mistakes with the metaphors, but if you have people coming from every angle, right, and you have attacks coming from every angle in terms of information, or loss of clients, or loss of income and relates as I've got blows coming at me from every side. I would imagine that, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I would imagine that the key part of being able to deal with all of those different attacks is to be able to find your own center, right? To be able to find your own center and start to expand your vision, expand your consciousness so that you can start to perceive things almost before they're happening.

So that you can perceive, “Oh, there's someone that's pulling back to throw a punch over there. I can start to perceive with a wider lens than just my internal state.” I don't know if that's right or not. So starting to go into that inner world and going, “Okay, if I find my center, my center of balance, my center of gravity, my internal state of going, okay, if I can find peace in here internally.” That's the first step to bring yourself into a state of calm, or peace, or if we want to think about it nervous system wise, from sympathetic to parasympathetic, like if we're in an overdriven chronic sympathetic state of going, “Oh,” these attacks on all sides, these chronic anxiety, then the first step is to start to bring our bodies back into calm.

And the simplest hack to do that, which has been taught by sages and mystics and teachers for many millennia, is to take control of the autonomic nervous system by taking control of the breath. Right? That's the one thing that you can take control of that doesn't require a mental shift, but it's almost like a bio hack to go in and go sympathetic in-breath, parasympathetic out-breath, right? And the more that we can just hack our nervous systems back into calm, then it's almost like telling your body, “It's okay. Right now you're safe, right now you're safe.”

And I think what's so disconcerting for people these days is the disconnect between like you walk outside… I walk outside just before and stand in my backyard and the sun is shining, the birds are singing, it looks like paradise, right? Everything seems like it's totally normal. And so there's this weird disconnect between the present moment that actually is, where to most of us things are okay. Or there's no creditors knocking at your door right this second and the sense of impending danger. There's this invisible sense of impending danger, right? There's no zombies knocking at your door and trying to pull your eyes out.

But there is this sense of an invisible danger, and the invisible danger is living in our minds. And it's… it is a real danger. It is a real threat. But it's almost like we're creating this chronic sense of anxiety that's putting our bodies into this state of stress. For me the first step with any… for any leader or anyone at all is to… right, to bring up bodies back into calm and every… all of the mindset training that I've done over many, many years, it's allowing ourselves to come back into the present moment because fear only exists when we're projecting our mind out into the future, right?

It's like we were imagining some kind of negative future and going, “From this moment here, I'm imagining that I wouldn't be able to pay my mortgage and my house is going to get foreclosed and what if… what's going to happen then? What if, what if, what if, what if, what it would?” And you can go into this awful spiral of what is trying to chess play your way through every possible scenario. And that's a really dangerous habit to fall into because so many of the variables are shifting every second, right?

And so it's impossible to know what all of the right steps are to do six months from now, three months from now. It's really about, I believe that this situation is an opportunity for us to be initiated as a global civilization to come back into a sense of center, to be reminded of our power that exists in the present moment and to come back into our hearts and take the next right step. In uncertain times where things are changing, the only thing you can do, and the only thing that you can really be certain of is, “Okay, I'm here at this moment. My feet are on the ground. I can feel my heartbeat, I can take a breath, my body's still working. I still have the capacity to think and move and communicate. Okay, from this moment, what is the next right step? From this moment.”

And I think it's a real opportunity for every one of us to return to the present moment because many of us have lived in… and live in this kind of perpetual state of future pacing. Like, “Oh, I must get this, I've got to do that. I've got my goals, I'm moving here. I'm going there. I've got to set like…” to-do lists and get charts and projections and what boards and simultaneously going, “Well, this is how it used to be,” or, “It's not as good as it used to be,” or, “I'm better than I used to be,” but very little, very few of us re really spend time in the present moment. And the present moment is where your flow lives, right? When you allow yourself to drop into that state of presence, you can start to tap into that intelligent field that allows you to flow with the present environment, right? And allows you to step into the state where you know the next right move because you've dropped all of the mental preconceptions and you're just in the moment.

GEORGE: All right. Perfect. I love that. So really looking at… This is a process before making decisions, right? Like really, let's ground ourselves. Let's just bring ourselves to calm. Take a couple of breaths-

KYLIE: Take a couple of breaths, get yourself into a calm state. No good decisions are made from a stressed state, because any decision you make in a stressed state is going to only ever be reactive, right? You're going to be reacting to the blow rather than going, “Okay, from my center, where do I want to head? What's the next right step?”

GEORGE: That's so good. Okay, cool. All right. I've got a few things I want to ask, but what do feel would be the next best topic to discuss from that point?

KYLIE: From that point? Okay, I think there's an opportunity to make this relevant in terms of what's happening right now, but I'm happy to like, you know your people and you know what… where they're at and what they need. So I trust your questions George.

GEORGE: Perfect. Okay. If I bring things back to current. Right now, what a lot of martial arts school owners are facing is number one, they'd had to just make a 100% pivot. For most, you're either online or you're not a business. And I've been saying this to my clients, “Well, as of today, you are actually an online business.”

KYLIE: Everyone's online. Yeah.

GEORGE: That's what you have now.

KYLIE: Yeah.

GEORGE: It's been a real interesting time because a lot of students that are paying club fees are really happy to continue paying club fees and doing that because they're grateful for what they have in the community and the environment of the martial arts school. The concern number one would be, “Yep, that's great. But then at what point does that… is that not great? How long would people do that if there were real consequences?” And look, we definitely don't focus on the worst outcome, but definitely be prepared.

KYLIE: You've got to be prepared for it, right? You've got to know, “Okay, what's my next… what's the greatest threat and what could I potentially do to mitigate that for sure?”

GEORGE: That's been… the big focus was right, let's retain. Now that we've pulled a lot of our clients, we've got the retain part in control now it's, “Okay, well, how are we going to develop this model from here on?” And I think this is where the money mindset really takes a cave. I can't say I'm 100% aligned with it, but there were a few top people in the industry that announced that they were cutting all their fees and they'll see them in a couple of months and I think it's great if you're able to do that.

What I was concerned about is that there was a long message saying I can't do that. That there's some sort of nobility and ethics involved by not charging and potentially going broke, which is catastrophic. I had a conversation yesterday with someone who was saying, “Well, I'm going to provide all this online stuff, but I'm going to do it as a sense of goodwill and I'm not going to charge.” And my concern was, “Well, is that really what people need?” Because I'm sure they're still going to go to Dan Murphy's maybe, or like, “Oh, are you really doing them the favor of not committing financially?” One of the cases I'm really getting to here is dealing with money mindset. How do you deal with being okay still actually asking for money during a time like this without feeling the, “I'm taking advantage of people.”

KYLIE: A hundred percent. But I would imagine that a lot of people that get into martial arts work have the sense of wanting to help the community, wanting to help… starting with maybe helping themselves and growing in strength and capabilities and then wanting to help others in the community. So there's a sense of giving, of helping, of caring. And I work a lot with healers and coaches, and there's a similar mindset of like, “I'm someone that helps people get better.” Right? The challenge with… I guess the obstacle with that is that we can easily… some can easily fall into the mindset or the archetype of the wounded healer or the rescuer. Right?

KYLIE: And this is where… This is a simple model that comes from transactional analysis, a guy called Stephen Karpman developed it and it's basically just a triangle. If you imagine a triangle with the point at the bottom. And the point at the bottom, so it's… looks like a V. Right? And the point at the bottom is the victim. And when there is a victim and in… and so there's the victim and then there is the aggressor on one side or the bully that's creating the havoc. And then there is the rescuer on the other side or the master. And when we are in situations like this where we're facing a collective drama, there is this aggressor that's happening in terms of the virus is one of the things that's being painted as the aggressor that's causing all of the economy to shut down. Some people are saying the government is one of the aggressors, or people that's forcing people to shut down, or maybe their direct debit company is aggressively shutting everything down. There are many different potential bullies or aggressors in this dynamic.

And then there's the victim, right? If that's happening, then we can fall into going, “Oh, I'm the victim here as the business owner because my business is shut down. Things that are outside of my control now.” And now when you're in that victim state, it feels like if the power lives outside of you, right? The power lives with the aggressor. And the aggressor being the virus, or the government, or the economy. And the power belongs outside of you. And when the power belongs outside of you, that's a dangerous place to be because you're at the mercy of whatever that outside aggressor is that you're seeing as the aggressor.

And that's not to say that those things aren't challenging. They absolutely are. And they absolutely exist. And a part of the initiations, right? The levels that one goes through from victim to victorious… to victory, is by passing through a challenge or an initiation. And the victim feels powerless and only gains power by moving through a particular trial and taking a level of responsibility, and taking a level of ownership, and taking a level of assertiveness, and going, “You know what? I'm going to do this anyway. I'm going to move forward.” And they gain a level of victory. That's how the victor starts to move forward and gain strength and capacity and power to start to move forward.

The other side of the scale is that if we have been a victim, then we often have a level of compassion and wanting to help people that we see as victims, right? And we might see people out in the community and go, “Oh my God, all of my students have… or some of my students, or the parents of my students have lost their jobs. They now don't have any money. Now they've got to look after their kids at home. Oh my God.” You maybe as the business owner might step into the feeling of the rescuer and wanting to rescue people out there in the community because you're seeing them as victims.

And that's because it's much easier. Out of those three archetypes, the victim, the aggressor and the rescuer, the one that feels the best to be in is the rescuer, right? Firefighters, police, rescuers, true rescuers are pinnacled and admired in our society and people can fall into this desire to be the rescuer, but the dark side of the rescuer is that when you're being a rescuer that's not in a dire life or death situation, obviously sometimes there are times when people genuinely need rescuing and this is not necessarily one of those times, although it may be in some cases. But overall when we see people as victims and we go, “Well, none of my students can pay and I'm going to give everything away for free,” then you're falling into the shadow side of the rescuer by going, “I am now seeing all of my students as victims because I don't believe that they have the capacity to pay me for my… in fair exchange for my value and my wisdom and my help.”

That's where it's like, “Hang on. You're not actually helping them by seeing them as victims here,” because people don't need to be seen as victims. They need to be given the opportunity and the strength and the support to rise up, and for them to become leaders of their own lives. And the only way for people to… or one of the best ways for people to move from being a victim into being a sovereign being, a leader of their own lives, is for someone to lead them and give them the support and the inspiration. You go, “No, you have what it takes. You have this within you. I see your greatness. I see your capacity.” That's from a symbolic perspective, but from a practical perspective that might look like, “Okay, I know that there are some people in our community that are experiencing extreme financial hardship. If that's you and you want to continue to be a part of our services, reach out and we can have a conversation.”

Kylie Ryan mindset coachFor everybody else who really wants to invest in moving forward. In this cocoon time, I've reframed quarantine to cocoon time. And I suggest you do the same, right? I think it's quite useful to go, “Okay, we're all cocooned in our homes now. This is an opportunity for us to transform. This is an opportunity for us to inform our minds with information that supports us to move forward, that supports us to get stronger.” So limiting your media, limiting your fear based panic news and starting to inform yourself with positive things or inform yourself with online classes, that is a really useful and productive use of your time. And I think there's an opportunity for martial arts schools and martial arts leaders and business owners to step up and say, “Hey, I am a community leader here. I'm going to run online group classes in place of where my live in person classes were,” and we're all going to be together on a screen. We're going to be doing it together. Maybe the class is priced slightly differently because maybe there's… it's a different situation.

But I think there is still an investment that is required because when people pay, they pay attention. When people pay, they pay attention. And there is going to be a flood and a plethora of free information out as there always is on the internet. And so there's this opportunity for people to pay and continue to be invested in their leader, in their mentor, a lot of people, they look up to their martial arts teacher as a mentor, as a leader in times of trouble, and so there's an opportunity for you to show up as a leader for your people and inspire them to greatness, inspire them to get through the challenges.

GEORGE: I like that. When people pay, they pay attention-

KYLIE: When people pay, they pay attention.

GEORGE: And I'm just going to bring into context to our industry, right? When we do marketing for martial arts schools, we… There's two sorts of this. We got what we call a free trial and a paid trial. Now, a free trial is typically a good thing when there's intent, people search on Google and they go and find you and they had some intent.

When we focus on Facebook marketing, for the most part, it's better to have a paid trial because it's interaction marketing and you can establish some value behind the paid thing, behind the paid trial. People are actually paying to participate, in a fraction. But in the bigger consensus, I think the majority of school owners would agree with me that that creates a better student. Now just to bring it back to this context exactly the same. Right? If people pay, they are paying attention. I don't think it's a wise thing to give away everything for free because if people aren't paying, it's going to be a lot easier to disconnect when there's a screen and I'm at home and I can switch it off and I can swap it to Netflix.

KYLIE: Yeah. Now more than ever we need engagement and we need investment. Yes, there's a sense of shock and there's a sense of panic and that happens obviously when radical changes occur, but that will settle after a period of time, one to two weeks and people will start to get over the shock and panic of it and they'll go, “Oh, okay, we're starting to settle into this new normal way we just live at home.” But… And then those goals that you had before and those needs and the community desires are all still there. All of those needs for community, and certainty, and growth, and leadership, and family, and connection are all still there.

And there's an opportunity for martial arts schools, for dance schools, for any kind of school where people used to go every day, or a couple of times a week, or once a week and they had this experience of a third place, whether that's their gym, or their martial arts school, homework, third place, whatever that third place is. And I see martial arts schools as one of these third places.

There is an opportunity for you as martial arts leaders and teachers to keep that third place open in an online space. They need that third place more than ever because we're all stuck in our own houses, so it's like we need that third place to inspire us, to connect us, to keep us moving for physical health and well-being, for mental health and well-being. There is going to be a massive mental health crisis that comes on the back of this. Once we get through this period of the corona virus situation, there is going to be a massive mental health crisis that comes off the back of it. I think there's an opportunity for all community leaders to step in and give their communities a really strong flag in the sand and go, “Hey guys, let's rally around this. Let's keep moving forward. Let's keep on in uncertain times. Here we go. In uncertain times, certainty matters. In uncertain times, certainty matters. Certainty is a life raft.”

And so there was certainty in your students coming to your classes. There was certainty in your students coming to your school, they got certainty out of it just as much as you got certainty out of it. And in this new situation, they need that certainty in that connection, in that community more than ever. More than ever. And if it means that you go, “Okay, we're going to do a community 6:00 AM, or 6:00 PM, or whatever time suits you and your people, we're going to do a community class and it's every single day now. And I'm going to show up and we're going to do our martial arts training together. And I'm going to give you pointers on the video.” Right?

I think there's an opportunity to be a lot of certainty and to be a lot of leadership. And that's required of us. And it's required of all leaders on the community level, as well as the global level. And a lot of times we're looking at our leaders and going, “They're not providing assurance, they're not providing certainty, they're not giving good plans.” And every time we look outside of ourselves and go, “They're not doing that.” Okay, that may be true, but how can we do that in our communities? How can we build a lot of leadership in our communities in our own way too? Like Gandhi said, to be the change we want to see in the world. If we want to see more certainty than we need to be more certain in the value that we deliver and that it is useful and valid and worthy of investment and fair exchange, there's a real opportunity to step up and also to ask for a fair exchange around that because it is valuable and it is important.

GEORGE: Kylie, thank you so much.

KYLIE: I'm an evangelist.

GEORGE: I love it. I love your message and like I said in the beginning, I just love to talk to interesting people and sometimes it's for my own insight and I'm sure anybody listening to this will get so much value out of that.

KYLIE: Thank you. Yeah.

GEORGE: And even if there was some doubt in things that you were thinking and reaffirming those thoughts and knowing that, “Hey, this is just your opportunity to lead and just really step in that space because people need you more than ever.”

KYLIE: Yeah. It's true. And it's like… it doesn't mean that those emotions aren't there. And it doesn't mean that those emotions have to be gone in order to step into leadership. But a part of the initiation is feeling those emotions, allowing yourself to feel them and then moving forward, anyway.

GEORGE: Like you said, leaders go first.

KYLIE: Leaders go first. Leaders go first. Yeah. What a pleasure George.

GEORGE: Kylie, thank you so much. Is there anything we could do for you? If anybody gets… who's listening, what can we do to just be thankful for what you've just shared with us?

KYLIE: Ah, thanks guys. Well, I have a lot of resources and mindset videos and trainings on my website mymindcoach.com.au and if there's anything that you liked from here and you'd like to hear more, then you can go ahead and find my Facebook page and stay tuned for updates or share one of the resources that you found useful. I've got videos on alleviating anxiety, I've got a free group that I linked to on my Facebook page that gives out more training and free meditations and things to help the community. And I also have mind coach training for those who want to go deeper into learning about this and how to step up as a leader in My Mind Coach Academy. If you're interested in that, reach out and we can have a chat and yeah, look forward to serving the community in deeper and deeper ways.

GEORGE: Thank you so much Kylie, and we'll have all those links in the show notes as well.

KYLIE: Awesome.

GEORGE: Thank you so much.

KYLIE: It's my pleasure George. Speak to you guys soon.

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.

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93 – Strategies From a High Performance Salon Coach To Pivot Your Martial Arts Business

Jason Everett, a high-performance salon coach, shares 3 main pillars to take advantage of with your martial arts business during uncertain times.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

  • The 3 key strategies to implement before you pivot your martial arts business
  • Why you should double down on coaching
  • The hidden opportunity all martial arts school owners have right now
  • How to use your Facebook community to strengthen relationships with your students and instructors
  • And more

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

Download the PDF transcription

TRANSCRIPTION

Now the question is, if you're being tested right now, how do you show up to be tested? Are you going to double down? Are you going to get more coaching education, understand more about your business and get lit up and on fire for what you're doing? Or are you going to be like, “Well, I guess we'll just shut this thing down and I'm going to go on vacation for a few weeks and come back.”

GEORGE: Hey, this is George Fourie and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business Podcast. The first live Martial Arts Media Business Podcast, and… 

JASON: Wow man, that's exciting. First live. 

GEORGE: First live, and I've got a really awesome guest here today. Now, Jason Everett is not a martial artist, but- 

JASON: I'm not. I'm not afraid of some martial arts though, let's be clear. I think it's amazing. I'm just not very good at any of them. 

GEORGE: Here's why I'm bringing Jason on. So, first up he brings good energy. Good energy, a wealth of knowledge and he's in a completely opposite industry, but facing challenges way more than any martial arts school owner is right now. 

JASON: Probably true, probably true. 

GEORGE: And so let me just hand it over to Jason. If you could just give us a quick couple of minutes, who you are, what you do and we'll go from there. 

JASON: Yeah. Well first of all man, thanks for doing this and what you do for martial arts studio owners is extraordinary. I mean I know you do some incredible work for them and I would just say to you guys as a community, now more than ever you need what George is doing. And I say that because I just have seen inside our own group and because I run a group of salon owners. 

So basically what I do is I work inside the salon, spa, beauty industry, barber shops all over the world to help them to increase the amount of take home income that they have, to grow their staff, to grow in locations and to really start creating wealth in their lives for salons. And the reason why I do that is that only 7% of salons actually make a profit, 20% of them are breaking even and the rest of them actually go backwards to go to work every single day. 

So if you run a martial arts studio or a dojo or whatever you would call your place that you operate, is that if you could imagine trying to run your business and knowing that only 7% make money, that's pretty crazy, right? So salon owners very often, like for you guys in the martial arts industry, they love what they do but they're not always the best business owners. Right? And I know that's very true and the reason why I say that… so I work with these salon owners all over the world. I've worked a lot in the corporate space with the salon and spa industry and I've done tons of work there, but I want you to know my background is actually… I come from being a dance instructor.

I was a ballroom dance instructor over 20 plus years ago and I've worked in outside sales, I've worked in advertising and marketing and all these different arenas. And the reason why I say that is because martial arts, dance instructors, even a hairdresser, all those things, those are very hands-on professions, right? 

So if you think about the massage industry, you physically touch people. You guys might… I was going to say I'm going to make a karate joke about chopping them, but you know what I'm saying? The idea is that you guys are a hands-on industry. Gyms, dojos, all these places are very hands on and so when they say, “Hey, social distancing. Please do me a favor and don't ever touch anybody again,” or at least for 30, 60, 90 days or into the future, this whole idea of ‘don't touch your people’ becomes a very big challenge, especially for our clients.

We have salon owners all over the world, and by the way if you can relate to any of this, do me a favor and comment in the comment section below and say relate, because I want to know if you guys are connecting with this and it's helping you. But this idea is as soon as in the US and probably 90% of our clients have now completely shut down, they can't run any sort of business.

And like George and I were talking before, you guys, if you really want to, you could run martial arts classes online right now and it's really hard for a salon owner to say, “Okay, take out that really crappy pair of scissors in your drawer and take your hair, hold it up and let's go to town.” That's not going to happen, but you guys have a unique opportunity right now to pivot and to change some of your business model, even though it's going to be probably like a baby deer trying to walk on ice for the very first time, you at least have the opportunity to still maintain your income. 

I was just on the phone and hope it's okay for me to tell you this. I was just on the phone, literally about five minutes before this with a friend of mine who still owns a dance studio. The guy, one of my good friends, he's been my best friend for over 25 years, he owns a dance studio and I was watching him in his living room teach classes. He had his phone up and he had his iPhone and he had the lights up and his wife is walking around showing me he's teaching lessons on Zoom and I was like, “You go man, that's awesome.” He's still teaching private lessons in his house and walking around and dancing and showing people what to do. 

So I guess background, but the other thing I would just say is would you guys please do me a favor and not get discouraged? Because when we look at what's happening right now, I just believe it's a test for you to decide, do you have really the chops that you need to have as a business owner to make it in a really tough time, or are you going to be one of those people who throws in the towel quits and says, “Forget it, I'm out of here. I guess I better go get a job doing what I've always loved, being a garbage man.” Which is probably not any of you, but I'm just saying that's the choice you get to make here and the universe hands you this choice and it's asking you to step up and I love George, you're doing so much to serve these people and really help them and grow the community because the community needs to be tighter than it's ever been before. 

GEORGE: Jason, so you're talking about having chops. I'd love to know what are you doing to inspire your clients because there is not really plan B. So what do you actually- 

JASON: There's not really a plan B. There's one little plan B. The only little plan B that's going on right now is a lot of our clients very quickly pivoted and they're doing what's called root rescue, which they're giving… They're doing hair dye, because a lot of people come in and get the hair dyed or blow dried and all the other services, so they're actually still selling retail products because people still are on video calls. You've got to make your hair look good. People still have their roots growing out, they have all these other services, so we do have some clients who are able to go in and do some very basic Amazon style. Sell some products and half come out of their business. But we're talking to people about literally laying off their entire workforce except for some key employees and making it through. 

So, here's what we're doing from a strategy standpoint. There are three main pillars that we're talking about with all of our salon owners. Number one, you need to be able to stabilize what the heck is going on. You need to be able to stabilize your team, stabilize your business, decide what can I stop paying for? What can't I stop paying for? And we were really clear is that we said, “Look, you've got to stop paying for things that you don't need right now and double down on the things that you do need.” In fact, I have doubled all of my coaching sessions with every single one of my coaches in the group that we're in. 

I just upgraded them now going to the board room group, which costs me twice as much money to do what I'm doing. And I'm doubling down on the amount of mental health and strategy that I'm getting as a professional. I'm asking my clients to do the same thing, but I'm telling my clients, because they're not closing, I'm like, “Look, I'm going to go…” We normally provide inside any given month for our clients, we do two webinars a week and we do a destination training once every four months. I was like, ah that ain't going to cut it, so I literally started doing every morning at 6:00 AM, we're doing mindset calls. So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I do a mindset call at 6:00 AM. I have called in every personal favor that I have with every one of the highest profile, coolest friends that I have, to come in and jump on that call. And we've actually been doing that for over two weeks now. We're in our second week of doing that and it's actually second week plus. 

So we're doubling down and I'm like, “Look, we're running a call every day, plus we're running our Monday call and we're running our Wednesday call.” And our group is on fire because they're talking every day and people are sharing, here's what I'm doing, here's what I'm doing, here's what I'm doing. And so if you're not engaged in the Facebook community that I'm sure George has, make sure that you're sharing what the best ever practices are because that thing that you might not think a big idea, what's happening in our group right now, is people are sharing an idea and then it's snowballing. 

So one gal said, “Hey I'm doing this root rescue thing,” and this other gal said, “I'm using baby food containers to fill up hair color,” and then this other gal said, “I got on TV,” and this other guy… So they're one upping each other on all these cool things that they're doing and the whole group is elevating in spirits and in ideals and all those things. 

And in addition to doing all of that, I'm literally doing daily lives. Anybody who calls to ask, I'm doing a live with them. I'm also bringing them on my shows and doing everything I can to make sure that every single day people are encouraged, because in a world where everyone is discouraged, there needs to be more encouragement. I'm just on that path, trying to be as encouraging as possible because hell yeah, it's hard, but this is where business owners are made or broken. 

I don't know about you guys, but you guys are martial arts guys, right? You know you got to break people down sometimes to build them back up. This is just the world breaking you down. It's just saying, do you have what it takes? Are you that business owner that's going to rise to the occasion and do something extraordinary, or are you going to remain an ordinary business owner? 

Because ordinary business owners, ordinary martial artists… you know, I'm like a loser martial artist. I've had a couple of sessions. My dad used to be big into Tai Chi and we used to do all kinds of stuff and I've done some karate, but I'm just like a baby junior cub scout, right? I've had some exposure. I can't imagine that every single one of the owners that is in your program is not an absolute consummate professional, expert, award-winning champion tournament winning expert. 

So now the question is, if you're being tested right now, how do you show up to be tested? Are you going to double down? Are you going to get more coaching and education and understand more about your business and get lit up and on fire for what you're doing? Or are you going to be like, “Well I guess we'll just shut this thing down and I'm going to go on vacation for a few weeks and come back.” 

So, I was in my list and then I just started ranting, sorry. So I went into… The first thing we're doing is we're teaching how to stabilize, stabilize is number one, right? Stabilize what's happening in your business. Number two, you've got to get organized. You've got to organize what are you going to do between now and when you can open? And by the way, that might be 30, 60 or 90 days. I'm hoping it's more towards the 30 or less, but let's assume it's 90. Even if it's 90 freaking days, you can survive 90 days. You got this. I'm not even worried about you. 

So we talk about how you get bridge financing? How do you borrow what you can from the bank? And hopefully you'll get some given by the government, we'll see. But borrow what you can, survive on what you can. Go down to your bare minimal staff. And then third, I just want to say this, because this is the part that I'm the most excited about and it changes my mindset every time I think about it. The other side of this is going to be the greatest transfer of wealth in our entire lives. 

I don't think people get this, is that right now all of the crappy martial arts owners are going to go back and get jobs as garbage men, we already talked about that. But the martial arts studio owners that pivot to online quickly, they call up every one of their students and say, “Look, we have trained you for battle every single day of your entire life, it's time to battle with us. Here's what we're going to do. And even though the battle's not a physical battle, it's a mental battle. Here's what we're doing to keep you sharp until you can come back into class with us.” That's just totally a different positioning, right?

You've got your kids at home? You need to be more prepared. You've got your wife on you every single minute of every single day? Even more prepared. It is more time for you to get that discipline dialed into your brain. So get up early, stay up late, do whatever we've got to do and your job is to be that bright spot, the keeper of the light for every single one of your clients. And if you become that keeper of the light for them, every single one of them will remember what you did for them when they were struggling. 

You won't keep everybody, but you will keep a lot. And the ones that you keep focused will stay addicted to you, and that is where you've got to capitalize. I said the third thing, right? Stabilize, organize, capitalize. That is where they will become addicted to you and they will be able to grow. They will be able to flourish and you will come back even stronger and even better. You'll just have better looking muscles when you come out of this thing. So anyway, I know I'm just going off here, but I hope it's helpful George. You've got to let me know if I'm on the right track.

GEORGE: Yeah man, it's totally awesome and what you're saying is just being collective in a group where you've got this energy. I've been talking to our Partners group the last couple of days and every time we map out this plan, it's just evolving because there's no script for it. 

JASON: There's no script for any of us, bro. That's the good news. Nobody's got the damn script. There's nobody who has the advantage right now, and I think I've said this the other day on another show. Super, super important. What I know is that if you and I were going to go into a martial art show showdown, because you have a martial arts background, right? 

GEORGE: Yeah. 

JASON: Yeah. I don't have a salon owner background, just so you know. But you have a martial arts background. If you and I were going to step into an arena and we were going to have a physical battle, I know you would kick my ass. I have no doubts in my mind. You know enough to hurt me very badly, I have no doubt, right? But here's the thing, the cool thing is you're going through something you've never been through before. I'm going through something I've never been through before. Everybody else out there is going through something else they've never been through before. And here's why I'm not scared for a second. Okay? Is that when everything is equal, I know I will outwork everyone. 

GEORGE: Nice. 

JASON: That's it. I just know I will outwork you. I will outperform you. I will out-knowledge you. I will outperform everything because I've been practicing for the most random crap ever in life. I've been smacked in the face. I've been fired before. I've been in all these other scenarios that I've had no money in my bank account. I know how to build back from zero. And I've said before, if somebody took away my entire business, could I build it back? My answer was hell yes. So it's not some one taking it away, it's some random thing that may or may not take away. 

But if I had to rebuild it all again… let's say my whole life got reset in 90 days, I'll just rebuild it again and I'd rebuild it a hell of a lot faster than the first time I built it. You know what I mean? If I've got to move in with my parents, then I move in with my parents. It's never going to happen, but I'm just saying if I had to, I'll do whatever it takes, man. My job is to provide for my family, provide for the people who rely on me, and I'll do whatever it takes to make sure I make it out right on the other side. 

GEORGE: I just want to repeat what you just said, because if any school owner, if you're thinking you had competition, you don't have it right now. The playing field has just gone level and nobody is… Yeah, someone might have a few more resources than you, but the playing field is equal and if you can rise up and step it up, you're going to come out of this a lot better than you were a couple of months ago. 

JASON: Yeah. And by the way you guys, do me a favor if you're on this live or if you're watching later, type in what is the thing you're connecting with the most right now. What's the piece that's firing you up? Because my assumption is that when I get on the phone and I talk to anybody, I'm going to fire some people up and I always want to be in that spot, right? I want to get something inside your core to get pissed off so that you do something. Is it like, “Damn, why is this guy more fired up than I am?” Or like, “Why is he saying that I'm going to be the loser who gets wiped out on the other side of this?” Because what would you say in a martial arts environment? Step into a ring, an arena, an octagon, what are we talking about here? What would you say? Step into a what? 

GEORGE: Step on the mat. Step on the ring. Step in the octagon. 

JASON: Step on the mat, step in the ring. 

GEORGE: Yup. 

JASON: Here's what I would say. If you step on the mat or step in the ring, you know that your mindset either takes you out or lifts you up before you step on that mat. The problem is everybody's standing on the mat with the wrong damn mindset right now. Oh no, this unknown thing that we have no control over is going to take us out, and it's like, just because it's an unknown and it's like this is an opponent I've never faced before. No shit, so is everybody else. Everybody else hasn't dealt with it either. 

And I don't know about you man, but I just have always felt in my entire life, every day I… and it sounds cheesy, but every day is a gift. You've heard that before, right? But I really do believe this, is that I really thought that every single day I could walk out the door and get hit by a bus, take me out. I just believed that that could happen at any point in time, so here's what I know, is if my gift is to be able to breathe life into other people by helping them understand that they are way more capable than anything they've ever thought possible, right? Everybody's had that taste of like, “Oh, I could be better at this.” Everybody's had that taste, and every time you do something, you get better and you get better and you get better. 

So we all have this gift to be able to improve and get better. Since we were little children, we've all improved, gotten better, and gotten better and gotten better, and we've done this acceleration. So there's room for every single person to get better. And what I know is that my gift is helping people realize that they're capable of way more than they are right now. And if I didn't get hit by a bus this morning and I'm still freaking here, I got more to do. So if I have one conversation in my life, right? If I have a conversation with you and it prevents you from… I'm talking to you one day, we're casually walking down the street and you go to step out in front of a bus and I grab your shoulder and pull you back and I saved your life. 

Whether it's literally mentally or physically or whatever, and I'm on my purpose for what I should be done to do, and I get taken up that day in whatever capacity I get taken up in, then dude I lived the best life I could possibly live, but every day that I get to wake up and breathe, it's another opportunity for me to help one more person. Maybe there's only one person that watches this whole show and they're like, “Holy crap, that changed everything for me.” Dude, that's why I did it. I'm 100%. 

But I'm hoping it's going to be more like 20 or 40 or 100 or 5,000 or whoever the hell wants to listen because you deserve to know that you're capable of way more and every single one of you is, I'm sure more of a bad ass physically, mentally and emotionally than I am. I'm sure. I have no doubt in my mind because of how disciplined you are. Discipline for me is one of the hardest things, but don't let your discipline down right now in this moment. This is when you should be… This is when your discipline is getting tested. This is the ultimate test for your discipline that you guys apply every single day. 

GEORGE: Love your energy. Anything else? I want to be respectful of your time as well. I know you're a busy guy. 

JASON: Yeah, we've got a lot going on. But dude, yeah… I mean, what do you think would be the most helpful thing that I could share? Or in your mind, what question do you think…? If you had to pretend that you knew every single mind of every single one of your school owners and businesses that you work with, what do you think they really need to know right now? What do you think their question is? 

GEORGE: I would say reconfirmation of where the opportunity lies here. I've been begging martial arts school owners to do videos for years, and all of a sudden everyone's doing it. 

JASON: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

GEORGE: So that's perfect. Where do you think this shift is going? And if you had to focus on one thing right now, where would you place all your energy? 

JASON: I said this to my salon owners. I said there's a really good book out there called Who Moved My Cheese, okay? And if you haven't read that book, it's a good book that you should read and just be aware of. And basically what it talks about is you put these mice in this maze and there's a piece of cheese at the end of this maze that they go find. And they let the mice go for however long they go, a couple of weeks and they get really conditioned to that's where the cheese is. 

And then the experimenters or the scientists grab the cheese, move it to another place in the maze and the responses of some of those mice is that some of the mice go right back to the cheese over and over, or right back to where they think the cheese will be, over and over and over again. And at some point those mice… I don't know if mice pout, but the mice just sit there and they go, “I'm waiting for the cheese. It's supposed to be here. There's no more cheese.” And they either run back to the beginning or back to there and they just go, “Well there's no more cheese anymore.” And they give up. 

Then there's the mice that just forget all together and could care less. They just say, “You know what? I'm not going to run the maze anymore because there's no more cheese. It's totally been removed from my world and I'm done.” And then there's the mice that go, “Well, there's got to be cheese somewhere else in this maze.” And they start searching for new paths. Your job right now is to search for the new path to get the cheese. 

martial arts corona virusI want you to hear this. People have more money than they've ever had before. I eat out almost every single day and I've eaten out twice in the last week. So do you think I have more money or less money right now? More. I usually fly three times a month to different cities. Well guess what I didn't do? I didn't fly. So guess how much more money I have? I have more money now than I've ever had before because all my expenses have been reduced to basically zero. Don't get me wrong, I have a bit of an online shopping habit that's now getting a little bigger, but my point is that most people believe it or not, even though you're thinking, but Jason, my clients have been laid off. Some of them, yes, but not all of them. Not all of them. 

I've heard unemployment in the US might go up to 30%. That's the crazy number they think it may go to. That means 70% of people are still employed, so don't let that idea that ‘all of my clients are gone’ is going to do it. What I'm saying about this cheese analogy and all this other stuff that I just want you to get, is that, yeah, you know what? Maybe temporarily you're going to need to go to an online dojo, but I just want to let you know it's going to change. 

We're not going to stay locked in our houses from now until the end of time. I mean, it's not going to happen. I can't foresee that happening. We're going to go through it. We're going to get through whatever that is. And again, put a 30, 60, 90-day plan in place, weather that storm and hopefully your business is strong enough to weather that storm. If not, schedule an emergency session with George and the team and go how the hell do I plan this out because I don't know how I'm going to do it? 

And by the way, that's why you need a frigging coach on your side to help you, so you're not trying to put together your own crazy ass plan, right? Get some real advice on this. This is probably a test for you to say, “Look, how good are you at technology?” Do you suck at it? Because what I've told people is what used to be a nicety, like, “Oh it'd be nice if we had online classes. It'd be nice if I had a website that people could buy classes on. It'd be nice if I could do it online. It'd be nice if we do all these things.” Well look, all those niceties have become necessities. Okay? 

And so all of these things like for me, I've got high-end camera gear and audio gear and all this other stuff because I do classes like this and there's a lot of things that I've had to do over the years to kind of adapt and overcome because of how I wanted to run my business and I just shared a video. I shared… Three years ago, I ran a company called The Video Rock Star Academy teaching people, and the whole video was how do you future proof your business? And it made sure no matter what happens, you can stay on top of the curve. And I said you better know about video marketing. Three years ago I said that. Guess what the number one thing is I'm teaching right now George? 

GEORGE: Video marketing.

JASON: Video freaking marketing. How to do video? How do you show up on camera? What do you need to do? Because people are going, “I don't even know. How do I turn my phone on and make it work? And Facebook and like…” I'm not meaning to insult anybody, but you're five years behind the rest of the learning curve so get with it, get on track, pivot and understand that pivot's not forever. Maybe you're independently wealthy enough that you can just survive for 90 days without worrying about it. 

But you know what? This is a perfect opportunity for you to teach everyone on your staff how to use video, how to use technology, and how to do it. And it's your job as the leader of your school, of your dojo, of whatever it is that you have. It's your job to step up and be that leader because your staff needs you more than they ever have. And all those things that you teach them, you've got to exude. It's got to seep out of your pores man, because you guys talk about leadership and discipline and all that other stuff. It's your turn to be the leaders and to be disciplined and do all those things.

Anyway man, I hope this has been helpful. I hope it was powerful, man. 

GEORGE: Totally. Jason, ever so grateful. Thank you so much for jumping on. 

JASON: Yeah, man. 

GEORGE: We'll give virtual fist pumps. 

JASON: I've got digital knuckles brother, that's how that works for me. Digital knuckles, that's how this happens. 

GEORGE: That's cool. Hey Jason. 

JASON: Thanks so much for having me on man. 

GEORGE: Thanks so much. Is there anything we can do for you just to say thanks? Give you a thumbs up somewhere? 

JASON: Dude. Here's what I would say, if any of you guys want to stock any of the stuff that I do, you can find me online. Just go onto Facebook. You can find me at facebook.com/… If you want to find me personally, because my salon owner stuff may not apply to you, but just go online. You can find it at, it's Mr. Jason Everett. Very fancy, Mr. Jason Everett, or just search Jason Everett. I'm connected with George on here, but what I would just say is, here's the one thing any of you guys could do for me. If you go on my page and you track down anything and you see it, here's my request. If you see something and it ever speaks to you, share it for me. 

The best thing you can ever give me as a gift is not your money. It's your ability to reach one more person. If you help me reach one more person with what I do, even if it's a salon owner piece of content and you're like, “You know what, but it was really inspiring,” just share it on your page because you know what? I know every single one of you, most of you, have hair on your head and you probably go to the salon or a barber shop or something like that and I would love to be introduced to more people.

So if you could help me fulfill my mission to meet more people and to help serve more, that would be what I would ask man, come track me down and you can find me at jasoneverett.com on any of the socials. Just track me down, connect, share some of my stuff. I would be eternally grateful. 

GEORGE: Awesome. Jason, thanks so much for taking your time to share your message with us. Super helpful, love your energy. 

JASON: My pleasure man. 

GEORGE: I'll speak to you soon. 

JASON: George, keep doing what you do, brother. Keep up the good fight and keep disciplined. All right dude, talk to you soon. 

GEORGE: Thank you. Cheers. 

JASON: Bye.

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.

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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

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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.