18 – The Art Of Martial Arts Coaching With Paul Schreiner From Marcelo Garcia Academy

Paul Schreiner is not your average martial arts coach. Discover how he articulates the art of jiu-jitsu and shares working with Marcelo Garcia.

martial arts coaching


  • The deeper meaning of martial arts and jiu jitsu in particular
  • Having the discipline to drill, revise and optimise techniques
  • Why letting go of your ego is not as modest as it's made out to be
  • The core habit that Paul has adopted from working with Marcelo Garcia
  • B.J. Penn's powerful ‘marriage of jiu-jitsu' statement
  • What you can expect when training at Marcelo Garcia Academy
  • And more

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


Developing expert knowledge or expert ability is your own process of discovery and taking ownership for your learning.

Hi, this is George Fourie and welcome to another episode of the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 18. I have with me today Paul Schreiner. Now, Paul Schreiner is a coach at Marcelo Garcia's Academy in New York, and if you recall episode 13 with Jess Fraser from the Australian Girls in GI, Jess was talking about Paul within all her traveling around the globe of training at different clubs and learning jiu-jitsu.

Paul Schreiner was the person that left the biggest impact, that stood out for her with his unique coaching abilities and being able to articulate his learning and making an impact on someone, getting his message across of, not just teaching different techniques, but also being able to explain the art and the transitioning of the different moves and so forth. So this is a very in-depth conversation, I enjoyed this. This is not so much about the business side of martial arts, although as a martial arts business owner, you will get a lot of value from this, just learning from about how they go about things and working with Marcelo Garcia and just the pure passion for martial arts. There's a lot of gold in this episode.

Now, of course, for more of the business stuff, you can head over to martialartsmedia.com/plan to be exact. We give away a free martial arts business plan for online media, which kind of defines how you can market your business, what you should focus on. It gives you a bit of a holistic view of how you can approach online marketing and covers a lot of the pitfalls that people are facing right now with marketing, doing one marketing strategy and it's not working, or it stops working and this gives you a bit of a holistic view and approach of how you can approach marketing your business and get your leads.

Now, as always, the show notes, transcriptions and all links mentioned in this episode can be found at martialartsmedia.com/18, that's the number 18. And I want to keep this short and jump straight into the interview, so please welcome to the show Paul Schreiner.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have with me is Paul Schreiner. Now, if you recall on episode 13, I interviewed Jess Fraser and Jess was discussing, within her travels, training at Marcelo Garcia Academy and the one person that stood out for her as a coach was Paul Schreiner. So I wanted to get Paul for an interview and just have a chat about his involvement in jiu-jitsu, his coaching methods and so forth. So welcome to the call Paul.

PAUL: Thanks for having me.

GEORGE: Awesome. So I guess just to go right from the beginning – who is Paul Schreiner?

download-4PAUL: Let's see… I'm basically just a guy that does jiu-jitsu full-time. I'm 38, I started jiu-jitsu when I was 17, I think. I'm from California, so I grew up surfing about. I grew up in a pretty crazy family, progressive family. My dad was kind of a social activist and we lived out of a VW van a lot and drove to Central America every summer, so I got a lot of world exposure that way I guess. I grew up surfing and I wrestled my senior year in high school, actually my junior year in high school, and then I was looking to continue with a sport. I saw that there was jiu-jitsu in town. This was back in 96-97, and I started training jiu-jitsu and other than some injuries, I haven't really looked back. So teaching was just a logical progression for how to stay involved with the sport for me.

GEORGE: So from your training, did you evolve into tournaments and so forth?

PAUL: Yeah, in the beginning, I was just still mostly focused on surfing and traveling. Jiu-jitsu was a hobby for the first couple of years, and I injured my knee on a surf trip and I had to take a couple of years off of everything, I had to take about a year and a half- two years off. I got an infection in my knee, it required a bunch of surgeries to try to get it more or less functional again. And at the point, when I went back to jiu-jitsu, I actually just recently told this story, I haven't thought about it for a while, but I remember I was driving past the academy and it wasn't there and then I was driving closer to my house and then I saw it just had reopened, the school I started at had reopened at my neighbourhood, and my old coach, Garth Taylor's truck was out front, so I just pulled into the parking lot and walked in and Garth was training with B.J. Penn, and J.D. And they were getting ready for the world championship when they were both brown belts, and B.J. was just getting his black belt the following week to compete as a black belt in the world championship. So I walked in, I saw those guys training and I've been out of it for about a year or two, so I just hadn't been exposed to that babble of jiu-jitsu and I walked in, and I was like, this is what I want to do. So basically, ever since that day, I've been training full-time with the intention.

Back then, my intention was to compete in tournaments and I competed a lot for a bunch of years and pretty early on in my competition, I realized that it was valuable to compete, not just for me, but as a part of the school, and that it would be an invaluable experience to have if I wanted to coach and teach jiu-jitsu someday. So I always looked at competition through the lens of the personal challenge to win and as a way to experience jiu-jitsu on a deeper level and something that I'd be able to share with other people someday.

GEORGE: So what does that mean for you? The deeper side of jiu-jitsu?

PAUL: I guess it's just the idea of taking anything and getting better at it every day. The idea that you're working towards this perfection, this excellence – perfection that isn't attainable, but the excellence, the near perfection is something that we can experience and just try to sharpen ourselves. I feel like also I was a little directionless as a teenager and as a young adult and jiu-jitsu just gave me something that I can always, no matter what else I was doing in my life, I could always train and I felt like a better version of myself for it. And then, just the other lesson that jiu-jitsu teaches us is how to confront our ego, or how to get our ass kicked and get smashed and get held down and not be able to get out, but not give up either and learn how to find space and breathe and survive in any situation.

xThose are some of the deeper things, nothing too esoteric or spiritual, just the idea that it's something that we can make incremental progress at; we apply ourselves, we show up every day and we show up with respect and the requisite concentration and give it our best. I was in college, I took a lot of art classes and one of my painting and drawing teachers, Howard Ikemoto was, to this day, was probably the most influential teacher I've had in my life, just in terms of how he approached the process really.

For me, it was never so much about the result, it was always about the process and it still is. To this day, I make time a few hours a week to drill and work on new positions and go back to stuff I haven't done that I used to do ten years ago, I don't do anymore, and see if I can reconnect with those techniques and if it fits in with what I'm doing now, so I'm still trying to engage myself better as a martial artist. And then I try to pass along and communicate that passion for falling in love with the process and being respectful of the process and that's really what I'm trying to pass on to the students, rather than any particular idea of jiu-jitsu.

GEORGE: So you highlight the process of applying and you said that this teacher was your most influential teacher because of that – can you elaborate a bit more on the process and how you apply it?

PAUL: Yeah, not to be disappointing or not to disappoint, but I don't have a particular methodology really. That teacher, and also, I started to get involved with Zen Buddhism when I was in my early twenties and meditation, so the process for me it was just  trying, or giving my best or going and fighting. And then, afterward, the breaking down, the natural analytics of what you do after a match, breaking that down with my coach, my coaches, with myself, sometimes writing things down, just trying to search for, watching videos, studying afterward. And then the next day, trying to literally forget everything that I had studied and then go in as a blank slate again and practice whatever my coach said to practice that day, without asking questions and train and then have the questions come and then have the process to break it down again and restart the next day.

And just looking for sparks from inside for me, for whatever reason that's the way I respond as a learner of anything, I try to find a little insight to a particular situation and then try to see if I can expand that across the board in whatever I'm studying. I mentioned this recently in another interview, but for me now, my process that I'm understanding, my own learning process in jiu-jitsu, I've been trying to apply it to fly fishing, which is something I've taken up more seriously in the past three or four years. I did it as a kid and then I got out of it and I'm getting back into it and trying to understand and figure out how to get better at that too and enjoy the ride.

GEORGE: Awesome, it's not disappointing at all. It sounds like you're aware of what you do and then just being open minded about what you did, analyzing and breaking it down and just really improving it.

PAUL: And another thing I would say, it's a part of understanding yourself, especially for someone who's competitive – reasonably competitive, I'm not extremely competitive anymore I think, but it is how you relate to your ego and I think there's a little bit off, people bullshit around the idea of, that we were completely letting go of our ego and we step in the door and for me at least, it was more trying to understand how to harness my ego and my desire to beat whatever training partner that was beating me.

download-5Figure out and study what techniques and what timing I needed to equalize and maybe even pass them in trying and then, again, forget about that and then be able to be just present and aware and in the moment. You get smashed and you get held down by the same person every day and it starts to drive you crazy and without making a personal grudge you couldn't channel that ego into figuring out what you need to do to make yourself better and more complete in jiu-jitsu. I was always, and I still continue to be driven, not just by competition jiu-jitsu, but I'm still trying to understand what jiu-jitsu is. It's a big thing, it comes to self-defense and self-control and competition and Vale Tudo and everything else. I'`m still, as you can see, sorting it out.

GEORGE: You're miles ahead.

PAUL: Thank you.

GEORGE: So, how did working at the Marcelo Garcia Academy come about?

PAUL: Even before Marcelo came onto the scene in 2003, when most of us become aware of Marcelo and his break up from Abu Dhabi, a lot of people obviously knew who he was already: he won the world's at every belt level, from blue juvenile to purple adult, and brown adult. So it wasn't so much of a surprise that he was something special, I wasn't super aware of him. Except in Brazil, I heard people talking about this kid from Fabio's school that was amazing and then after 2003, I became a big fan of his. In 2004, I attended a seminar that he taught and we got to know each other.

Then, at the time, from about 2000 to 2007, 2008, I was spending about four to six months a year in Brazil, training and competing, so I would run into Marcelo in tournaments. We'd always talk, just say hi. I interviewed him one time for “On the Mat,” the website. And we just kind of stayed in touch and then I was with Dave Camarillo, who was one of my main training partners for a long time. At the Pan Ams in 2006 I think, or maybe 2007 Pan Ams, and I just competed and Marcelo was there and I introduced Dave to Marcelo. Then Marcelo invited us out to New York to help him train for Abu Dhabi. Dave Camarillo bought me a ticket and we came to New York for two weeks and trained with Marcelo, so that was how I got to know him better.

And then after that, every time, if he had a big event coming up or if I had something I was competing in, I would try to make the trip from California to New York and then later to Florida and then back to New York to help him train, or helping get myself ready. So that was kind of the genesis of me getting to know Marcelo and we always got along really good with him, he's kind of, what you see is what you get. I feel like a lot of us, I'm sure you feel like you know him already, he's the guy who always has a big smile and he never has to act or pretend like he's a tough guy and he's just an absolute beast when he steps on the mat.

We always got along, he has a great sense of humor. We became friends and at some point, I told him I'd be interested in moving out there just to train with him and I guess one thing led to another and he opened a school in New York and invited me to come be the instructor, the other instructor with him. So I moved here to New York in 2009 and I have been here ever since, teaching and training full-time. Now we have a number of other teachers at the school, we have Bernardo Faria, we have Marcos Tinoco, Mansher Khera, Matheus Diniz, Jonathan Satava, Joe Borges. We have some up and coming people, who are going to be great teachers, like Scott Caplan and Phil, so yeah, we're in good company here.

GEORGE: That's excellent. Something that you mentioned, you had a lot of depth within your club that there's just so many good trainers, but I do want to ask you, and I guess there's many, but what are sort of the core one or two things that you've learned from Marcelo?

PAUL: One is showing up – not that I was unaware of the importance of that before, but Marcelo doesn't, as a coach, he never asks you to do anything that he doesn't do himself, so there's nothing artificial about training, there's a culture of hard work that you guys are all in there together, making yourselves better, and it really helps you believe in yourself, or it helps you believe in the technique. I was told one time, a lot earlier in my jiu-jitsu journey, that the most import thing, above all else, is that you believe in the technique and that will substitute even for belief in yourself when things get really rough.

download-6If you believe in the technique and commit to it, there are some situations where things are so bad in a fight that if you're just thinking how could I do it, you could potentially give up, but if you have that faith in the technique, it's going to work. Marcelo has that absolute belief in the technique. If the technique is going to work, it's going to work against anyone. It's not like it's going to fall apart if this guy's bigger and stronger than you. So I think that the value of hard work and showing up every day and being there twice a day and cutting out the distractions from your life, the pressure, just staying ahead of your opponent and being aggressive, looking for the finish – that's what I respect about Marcelo's jiu-jitsu.

It's not overly strategic, it's about two people fighting until one person quits basically, which I think is the big idea behind jiu-jitsu, that's what made me fall in love with it in the first place. It wasn't because I can sweep and win a match by two points, which I'm happy to do. I'd rather win by two points or by an advantage than lose, but the idea is to step out there and fight until you make your opponent tap. And Marcelo really epitomizes that spirit, he would almost rather lose the match than hold anything back and not go for the kill.

GEORGE: That's powerful, right there. I want to step back to just your coaching methods – and I know you mentioned that you're not so focused on a particular process and so forth. But it's something that, when Jess Fraser spoke about this, she was really inspired by the way that you teach and explain jiu-jitsu as such. Can you elaborate a bit more on that, on your teaching method and how you handle different people and different learning abilities and different styles and so forth?

PAUL: Yeah, sure. As a governing principle, I'm always trying to strip down, rather than elaborate whatever I'm doing. A lot of times in the past I was given credit I didn't deserve as a good coach when looking back I don't think I was because I was a good explainer of moves. And I think that's almost one of the least important things about coaching now, being the teacher, being the explainer of moves. It's more about getting your student to be able to do it and understanding how the moves connect and the art of redirecting your opponent's attack against them.

download-7Your attacks and your jiu-jitsu are connecting together within your body and then relating in a binary way with what's coming at you. It's not a mess, it's not just you throwing techniques against the wall. Our jiu-jitsu is connected to what our opponent is doing. And then understanding the physics of it and the mechanics of jiu-jitsu in a very simple way that we can communicate, but also understanding the art, what's going on between the moves to our opponent, or to our students rather. I heard B.J. said this one time: jiu-jitsu is the marriage or the union of basically two things: the technique and the will to win.

And you can't just train one and not train the other. You can be the most technical guy but have no desire to win, no will that pulls you through the fight to survive and find the way to turn the fight and go for the kill. We can't only have that belief in ourselves or that desire to kill and not have the technique to back it up, it's really both. And again, it relates to, our belief in the technique helps to build our will, and it helps to build our will in the general sense and it helps to build our will within the fight. So it's getting our students to understand how they can access their own power. And I'm a blue belt at that, I'm a purple belt at that, you look at someone like Fabio Gurgel or Marcelo, a lot of the greats – they're black belts with that.

And another thing that I think, you definitely see them in the art world, in the creative world that I've always been adherent of is that you take what works. If I see Marcelo teach a great class, I steal it, you know? And I figure out how to make it maybe mine in a way that I can communicate it with my words. I see the way he puts things together so that it teaches to the level of where the students at, of what they're going to get out of it in the simplest way possible, so that you don't have to go off and elaborate on principles: the principles are included in the lesson in the simplest way, so that your student discovers it, rather than you delivering it and hand feeding it.

And so much of developing expert knowledge or expert ability is your own process of discovery and taking ownership for your learning. To the best of my ability, I try to see the way my student learns and I try to tailor in some sense what I'm teaching to that and teach just above that level so that they have to extend themselves and really dig to get that. And then there's just the physicality of it too, you kind of have to go through the fire a little bit, it can't be too easy. I'm always trying to balance accessibility and experience.

GEORGE: That's a good answer. I did want to ask you, what can people expect when training at Marcelo Garcia Academy?  Guess you've kind of answered that – is there anything else that there is to add to that?

PAUL: I like to think that the single most important thing is that we're welcoming, we're nice to people. Regardless of jiu-jitsu, if you treat other people well and with respect, it seems to come back around. That said, we have a culture of hard work, so you can expect to train hard, but if you don't want to, if it's not in your future to ever compete and you have no interest in it, you're not going to be forced into competition, or competition training. You can just come in and train, but the idea is, we built a culture and we built a room where people can train hard, train safe and shake hands and be friends before and after.

That's I think how we framed training and the culture and the environment of Marcelo's is the thing I'm most proud of and the biggest thing that hopefully you can count on when you come. That really comes from the top, that comes from Marcelo, that's the way he is and that's the culture he's created and that's the product of the people he's surrounded himself with at the gym. People who, if their ego is too big, it's too much about them, they usually don't end up fitting in in the long term. That's the thing I'm most proud of from the gym and I think that's hopefully what you can expect when you come to train at Marcelo's. Technical jiu-jitsu, hard training and a good vibe at the academy.

GEORGE: Paul, it's been great chatting with you. I've got two more questions for you: one would be, do you still get to surf in New York?

PAUL: Yeah, I do, I surf when I can. My timing is atrocious now, but there's the good surf, there are good waves here, there are really good waves. It's a little bit more fickle than what I'm used to in California, it's not like good point brakes, at least that I'm aware of. For the most part, it's a lot of beach breaks, and the sand moves around, you kind of have to be on it with the swell direction in the wind. I usually just call my friends that are better at that stuff than I am and they tell me where it's going to be good and I try to get out there. Yeah, I try to fish a lot too, which is my other option for getting out of the city, so I try to go upstate and fish the Delaware River and the Farmington River. I fly fish when I can as well.

GEORGE: Sounds good. Paul, it's been great chatting to you – if anybody wants to learn more about you and find out more about you, where can they reach out to you?

PAUL: You can always walk into the academy at Marcelo's. I'm there 6 days a week typically, for some Part of the day. I teach Monday through Friday and then I teach a class on Saturday every other week. I have a website, it’s www.paulschreinerjj.com, so you can get in touch with me through that, I'm also on Instagram. I have Facebook, but I'm not super on it about checking it. That's it – again, the easiest way is to just come by Marcelo's. I know it's a bit far for you guys, but you'd be surprised at how many Australians we have at the academy, any given day there's a number of Australian visitors there.

And I have to say, from what I see here in New York, the level of jiu-jitsu is getting really high around the world and Australia really seems to be closing the gap with a lot of really technical competitors. I think being so far away from the center and being so much in a periphery, people really have to take ownership of their training. Like what Jess does, you have to travel and we end up with people that are a lot more passionate about it and that's what it takes to be good. It's that passion.

GEORGE: That's it, awesome. Paul – thanks again for making the time and I hope to connect with you again soon.

PAUL: Anytime, thank you, George.

GEORGE: Thank you, cheers.

PAUL: Cheers.

GEORGE: And there you have it  – thanks for listening, hope you enjoyed that interview. I learnt a lot, especially as a jiu-jitsu student as well, it made a big impact on me, just how they break things down, especially the key thing that stood out for me – well, one of many, but the one thing that really stood out was mentioning how it's not just about the technique, but having the will and faith in the technique and trusting the technique that it's going to work and you can't have one without other, you can't just have the will and no technique, and you can't just have technique without the will. That really really stood out for me, amongst other things.

Thanks a lot for listening, I hope you enjoyed this how. Again, the show notes are at martialartsmedia.com/18, and if you enjoyed the show and you enjoyed all these shows, please head out to martialartsmedia.com/iTunes and there's a little picture there below, you'll see a link, or a blue button that says “View on iTunes,” and please head over there, just leave us a good review – a 5-star review helps us get our rankings up within the show. So if you are enjoying it, that is the one thing that we can ask in return, which would really really mean a lot to us.

That's it, thank you very much for tuning in. I'll be back again next week with another episode. Have a great week, I'll chat with you soon – cheers.


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

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17 – Growing Your Martial Arts School With External And Celebrity Instructors

No time to groom martial arts instructors to grow your martial arts school? Con Lazos hire's externally if they're a match. Martial Arts celebrity Richard Norton most definitely makes that list.

Grow Your Martial Arts School - Con Lazos and Richard Norton


  • How martial arts ‘fills the gap' with education
  • The school teachers advantage to martial arts instructing
  • Having access to the knowledge of world-renowned Richard Norton
  • Trusting your gut feel when hiring instructors from outside
  • When you take your foot off the pedal and have to start from scratch
  • Grooming students to be the best version of themselves
  • And more

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



The main thing here is that we teach from a total love perspective. What I mean by that is, we have to love everything about what we're doing.

Hi, this is George Fourie and welcome to martial arts media podcast, episode number 17. I have with me today Con Lazos, from Fusion MA. And we talk about a few interesting topics, that being going back to the whole teaching aspect again as an ex teacher, using those principles in teaching martial arts, but also something a bit counterintuitive to what most people recommend, and that is, instead of just grooming instructors from the ground up, but actually employing people from external clubs and external expertise to come and coach at Fusion MA.

And that's the blend that is really working well for him and he's got various experts on board, other than himself. One famous and well respected martial artist from Australia, Richard Norton, who, if you're not familiar with, was the fight coordinator and stunt coordinator for “Suicide squad“ and a whole bunch of other movies, so you can check that out on Google, you'll find a whole lot of information about him. And we discussed a bit working with Richard, but more so, talk about Con's vision and how he likes to impact youth and students through training martial arts.

Now, if you've listened to a few episodes, you know that I've always been asking, please leave us a positive review on iTunes and I've been sending you to the link martialartsmedia.com/itunes. But I have to apologize, because somebody brought it to my attention that it’s only halfway to leave a review when you go to that link and iTunes does not make this easy, they make it pretty confusing.

Martial Arts Media Business PodcastSo the link is correct, but it’s not the last step to leave a review. So when you go to martialartsmedia.com/itunes, you've actually got to click on another link and you'll see there's a sort of a red, fiery, I don't know what you call that, picture of me, with a logo of martial arts media. And just below that, there's a blue button that says, “View on iTunes.“ Now, you actually have to click that button “View on iTunes“ to open up iTunes and then you're able to leave a review.  So, apologies for not giving the whole swell of how to get there, but that's basically it. martialartsmedia.com/itunes, click on the “View on iTunes“ button and you can leave the review. And why do I ask for this? Because, if you're getting value out of this show, that's all that we could really ask for in return. Leave us a good review that makes the episode stand out within the iTunes directory, so it gets noticed more and it helps us get the word out about the martial arts media business podcast. So if you want to help us in that way – much appreciated.

As always, transcriptions and links mentioned in the show can be found on our website, martialartsmedia.com/17, that's the number 17 and that will take you to the page where this podcast episode is hosted. Alright, let's jump into this interview, and please welcome to the show – Con Lazos.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have with me Con Lazos from Fusion MA. And a couple of things we want to talk about today, something that's really been brought to my attention that really stands out on what Con is doing, is employing talent from outside and not promoting people from within, but actually creating a martial arts school that serves a vast variety of styles, because of the way he is running his staff. And of course, I want to thank Michelle Hext for putting me in touch with Con, who I interviewed a couple of weeks back. So welcome to the show Con.

CON: Thanks a lot for the intro George and very excited to be on this call with you.

GEORGE: Cool, awesome. So I guess, starting right at the beginning: who is Con Lazos?

CON: Right. So, I'm 43 years old and I've been running Fusion martial arts fitness for a lot of years: in the Yarraville location since 2001, in the Port Melbourne location since 2008 and I've been teaching martial arts since 1991 in various different places. An ex school teacher who saw a need for proper martial arts teaching to fill in the gap about what they don't do at schools and my whole life has been basically health and wellness through the martial arts.

GEORGE: Where did you actually get going with martial arts yourself, before all the teaching and everything came about?

CON: When I was a young kid, a primary school kid, I actually use to live in Greece and I got into martial arts through watching martial art films in outdoor cinemas in my home town of Chalkida in Greece. Every summer, I think this was a plot by the martial arts club that was opposite the cinema, that just used to run those old school martial art films that are so eclectic, those kung fu films with Bruce Lee and snake kung fu and this and that. And I used to go and watch them all the time and I used to bug my parents to go and take me to the martial arts center. And my dad was an ex army boy and he was like, there's no way you're training at any of these martial arts centers, they're just not the standard to what you think it’s going to be, so you're not doing martial arts.

So I had to befriend a couple of kids that were martial artists and their dads used to run the school, so I used to go around to the house a lot and basically try and learn anything I could in my primary school years. So I got a little bit of a wing chun at the start, but didn't officially start until we moved to Australia and my first official martial arts instructor was a really good man called Ragnar Purje, through Goju. He took me in for a few years and then I just kept going on forwards from there.

GEORGE: So you went from martial arts, you decided to go into teaching – how did that transition to your martial arts instructing?

CON: Alright, when I finished year 12 at high school, just before that, I was basically state level swimmer and I was making my way up through martial arts, through Taekwondo specifically. My parents were like, you're not doing sport as a job, because you know what? You should just keep it as a bit of fun.

So I went and started applied science for a couple of years, and then I realized nah – actually, this is what I'd like to do. And then I started physical education and mathematics at the University of Ballarat, so I could become a better martial arts instructor, because I was already pitching martial arts since I was 18. So I went into this University at 21 and yeah, I did my bachelor of education, just so I could become a better instructor with what I do. Obviously, then I went and became a school teacher for a few years, but the martial arts was a real calling, and I eventually had to stop school teaching, because the martial arts then took over all my time, and the training.

GEORGE: Now, this seems to be a common theme, because I spoke to Sean Allen and Sean Allen, he was also an ex teacher, and he was being very vocal about using the whole teaching concept through martial arts and then, a few weeks back, I spoke to Jess Fraser, and her go-to coach that she was speaking about, Paul Schreiner, which also focuses a  lot on the coaching element and does a lot of studying with coaching: how do you feel this gives you that edge? Having that teacher background and applying that in your martial arts instructing?

Fusion MA - Grow Your Martial Arts SchoolCON: I think it’s a massive advantage for myself, because you've seen the other side of the coin about what they're trying to do at schools and what they're trying to achieve and how they basically are trying to make the kids to move along at a particular kind of pace. I wasn't happy with the pace that I saw here and I just thought, you know what? We can do a lot better with the kids, even twice a week coming in, to do a lot more character development for the people, through high training.

I know some people that do character development with the clubs basically, they focus a lot more on that and they don't focus as much on the training. We really focus on the training, but we're trying to bring up the best kids that are going to be really well integrated in the community. And we find that a lot of the kids thought the systems that we're doing here, that when they go to school, they might have come from nothing, but they end up being school captains, because they know how to be good leaders.

They take home all these trophies from school. I've got this young instructor here, Fred Made is winning all these major awards, for the type of kid that he is. So the school teaching element let's me marry what they do in schools now with what we're doing and we're just filling the gap. Not everyone can do everything, and we certainly don't say that we'll do everything, but we're certainly filling that gap for pushing kids to go further in life and to learn how to be successful.

GEORGE: Do you structure this with a set curriculum, or are you very more sort of in tune with the individual needs of each student?

CON: We've got a curriculum that we have. It used to be so much more filled up to what it is now, but kids have changed and adults have changed and the time they commit, and come to the classes has changed. So our curriculum is 100% reduced to what we used to teach, in regards to all the wrist locks and arm bars, because my system that we have here at Fusion martial arts in the Taekwondo system has a lot of self defense, you know?

So we've narrowed it down so it’s certainly easier to learn, but certainly the conversations that we're having with the kids about what we're expecting them to get to, to get their black belt, that's really honed in basically every single class. So it’s a looser class structure, it’s not like we don't set out ten weeks they want and tenth minute is what you do, but we do have the rough thing that we do and we're just making sure we're covering it over the ten weeks.

GEORGE: So you've got a few instructors that were with you?

CON: Mhm.

GEORGE: Just give me a bit of an overview of the setup, because I know we're going to lead into, there's a lot of external players that also help with instructing: just give me a bit of background on how that's set up.

CON: Ok, so: four or five years ago, we used to bring up everyone from internally and they trained with me, because I used to teach all the classes. It was really good before, because I actually could bring everyone out. And then eventually, some of those people, they wanted to become my instructors, so they used to take an assistant role and take more responsibility and then obviously, sometimes the people meant to move on and do something different with their lives, because they get families and so on. I've got one instructor now, his name is Jake Vella. He's been fantastic with us and I brought him right through since he was seven old, he's now 23. He runs my Port Melbourne location, he knows the way I like doing things, but now what we're doing is, we're bringing people from the outside, but we still keep building our assistant instructors and everything from the inside.

So if they now want to do their own career, they can actually go and have their own place outside of Fusion and be able to run their own centers. That's still a few years to go, but we've got a really good teenage team at the moment, that in the next 6 or 7 years time, they'll easily be able to run their own places, if that's what they want to do. I've got some really good people that have come in from externally.

I guess the most famous one that everyone around the world would know is the gentleman called Richard Norton, who is one of the first 12 non-Brazilians to get a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Basically, right up there with Chuck Norris and done all those movies, so every time professor Richard Norton is in Melbourne, Fusion MA is his home base. He comes and helps teach some of the classes out of here. Obviously, the guys really love it, but his main focus is to go around and run seminars, all around Australia, with all the different things that he does, on top of even just the Brazilian jiu jitsu. So he's a really good name. And then I've got another couple instructors here from Iran, one is Arash Mojdeh and his brother Eisa.


They're fantastic, they bring in that hardness from Iran that sometimes I think we've lost in Australia. I feel like all that old school training and that's what we're trying to lead with from here. So it was really good to bring Arash in from the outside, because he was an international competitor at the time and I needed someone to look after our competition team, so his main focus is to look after our competition team. And we've got national team members back on board now because of this.

GEORGE: And is that also for Taekwondo?

CON: He is a Taekwondo guy, yeah, Arash is only a Taekwondo guy. Obviously, with my guys, they want to learn all around. In time, they've learned Brazilian jiu jitsu, they've learned boxing, they've learned everything, but his forte is Taekwondo, yes. An then we've got another instructor that teaches basically Jeet Kune do, we call it modern day kung fu, Jeet Kune do. His name is Christopher Christoph, he's from Bulgaria. He runs a big security from here in Melbourne and he just loves his Jeet Kune do, so we've just introduced him into the club. Anyone that wants to do Jeet Kune do, there's that. So we've got a really good variance of people in here.

GEORGE: Having someone like Richard Norton – I know obviously he's a busy guy and he's got all these great movies going on – what was the latest one I saw…

CON: “Suicide Squad.“

GEORGE: There, that's it, “Suicide Squad.“

Richard Norton and Con Lazos

CON: He's involved with everyone, he's so popular with helping people, Scarlett Johansson, all that kind of stuff. He's right up there, he's at the top of the tree. And for him to come in and pitch at the club here, we're very thankful, I'm very thankful. I've made great friends with him, because we've got the same kind of philosophy on what martial arts should be all about. So yeah, it’s really really good.

GEORGE: Is that a big draw card? Do you find that, most people that start martial arts, they're just not familiar with who people are, but does that celebrity status help you at all to draw students?

CON: I've personally got a big issue with really promoting. I've got a bit of a backwards kind of a thing: I've worked with a lot of top end people as well, as does Richard.

If you actually come into Fusion MA, it’s very Spartan about what you see around, unless you ask, you won’t know who's who. Obviously, with Richard, he’s got the name out there, and he’s very well respected. I think it’s a very good thing for people outside of Fusion to know that he’s here. The people inside Fusion, I think guys like this, when you're used to having someone around, obviously you totally appreciate it, but you really don’t know what the gem is you have until you don't have him anymore.

He’s just gone missing for a couple of years now because of all the movies. He’s just returned to come back on the mats with us for a couple of months and the guys are absolutely appreciating it, because they missed out on him for a couple of years. So now when he’s come back on the floor, the talent just shows. It’s just a totally different kettle of fish. I guess I could exploit it and say, this is who we've trained and this is who we've got and all that kind of stuff and I think that we would get a lot of blow ins.

But for me, I'm not really interested in blow ins, I just like to have our students and what we’re doing with our students and really developing the people that we actually have. I like people to stay with us for a long time and keep on building them up. So if someone wants to come across because our professor Norton is here, or any of the instructors are here, that’s great. But we don't want you to just come here for like a month or two and then, see you later. We want to work with you and make something of you.

GEORGE: For sure. So going on those principles, let’s just start internally, and then all these external influences that have come in. So, when you sort of groom people internally to become instructors, how do you get all these philosophies across? Because, you've got experience with teaching and all this: how do you communicate this message that it can't be one step, two step, three, which I guess can be a lot harder for younger people to grasp, how to communicate effectively and spot the needs in people and so forth. How do you go about handling that?

CON: These instructors that are coming up to be internal instructors, they started with us since they were really young. So when they come up and become teenagers, they've already got the feeling of what the club is like and how the instructors are really talking to their students and so on. My main thing here is that we teach from a total love perspective. What I mean by that is, we have to love everything about what we're doing. We have to love everything about the people that we have and we want to work towards bettering the other person.

So if you're in that environment all the time, where you're coming from a place of love, even when you have to discipline someone: if you're doing it from a place of love and care, that goes into that person over time, and then, when they start teaching, we can start reminding them: remember when we did this with you? This is what it is. Remember when we did that with that kid? That's what it is. If we see that they're not doing it the way that we like, we take them aside and we do the job ourselves to show how we do the discussion, or how we go forward with that and obviously, they'll learn through us, through example.

I'm very much in the club as much as I possibly can. I've got five young kids myself, I'm still here at least four days a week, just to make sure that everything is running really well. Obviously, before I had kids, I was basically living in Fusion, so those people are really well groomed. So yes, if we always show them that we've got a sense of love and care, that gets past down very naturally to everybody. And obviously, if someone is stepping out of line, it’s myself that will step in and I will deal with that myself and I will explain to them how we go about doing that. Because sometimes – you know what martial arts is like: sometimes, people get a bit of an ego, and they want to be the hero and they want to teach a little bit harder, they want to show someone discipline, or whatever it is. I've got to always remind them that it’s not about us: it’s about our clients and about how we deal with our clients.

GEORGE: How do you deal with bringing in people externally? I've seen this conversation around in a few Facebook groups, that people are very anti bringing people in from the outside. It’s always, groom people in from the bottom-up, groom people to become instructors. So it seems like it’s a big thing that business owners fear is to bring people in externally. Now, you've got all of these strong values, and love and care and value service with your students, instructors as such: how do you convey that message to anybody like Richard Norton, or anybody that comes in externally, to be an instructor at Fusion MA?

Arash Mojdeh Fusion MACON: I guess the first thing, I've never put an ad out for an instructor. It’s always been through introduction, or it’s always been through someone. Let’s just say, I’ll give an example, which is Arash. Arash had come from overseas, he was living in Footscray up the road, he'd gone around to a lot of Taekwondo clubs and he just happened to drive past Fusion in Yarraville. And walked in and – I don't know what it is, but I've got a sixth sense about someone when someone walks in. I can tell whether they're going to be a good person or not.

I introduce myself to them, I'll have a bit of a chat. Then he opened up and said that he was a Taekwondo person. I said, how do you feel about coming in and just having a bit of a kick around. You know, I've got friends in Iran, and obviously, we hit it off from then. Because I've got a lot of friends form overseas, form international competition myself and been having my ear on the ground and so on. You sense something about someone. And then obviously, he's coming in, training. One day he goes, I really loved your club because you guys are really training well.

You're training hard, you love that kind of thing. If there's any chance that I could work here with you guys, I would love to have a chance. So then obviously, we test it out a little bit by little bit. I teamed him up with Jake Vella, who is, as I said, my student that's been with me for a long time. He went out to the Port Melbourne location, which was South Melbourne at the time. He worked alongside of my right hand man, which is Jake, for a year, until there was a position available in Yarraville for him to be able to do it. And then I just gave him what he's really good at, which is the competition team.

And we started backwards from that: OK, you're going to start the competition team. We're going to build that from nothing to something, and then I'll integrate you in my normal classes. And now, he's basically running the show here in Yarraville for the Taekwondo. And obviously, there's always conversations to be had, because it’s not only someone from outside, it’s actually someone from another country altogether, and they have different systems and so on. And we just keep on talking it through. It’s the easiest thing to do, get upset, that someone's not doing something right: the hardest thing to do is to be able to discuss it and realize that we're doing it for our students and not for ourselves.

And then, it just sort of pans out. It doesn't always pan out 100%, we've had people come in externally and they've taken it to a different level to what they thought that we're going to go for and it just didn't fit into our culture and I've lost a whole bunch of students because of this before, so I just try and get it out a little bit earlier. I think that's why the instructors are scared to lose students. I'm not scared to lose students, I'm only scared to lose students that have been treated wrong and if I'm not on the floor watching what's going on, that's my fault. And I've done that and basically, my club went down from whatever numbers I've had to a third before, because I stepped back as I had another child and I thought, you know what, I think I've got everything down packed. I think everything's going to run really well – I basically stepped off the club for six months, I'd come in 2-3 times a week. And in that time, I lost most of my students, so

I had to restart from scratch. And actually, that's when Arash came into the club, at that time. So yeah, if you don't have your finger on the pulse, you're going to lose it for sure, 100%. Because this is a personality based business. People that walk in, they've got an expectation of what they want. We obviously try to match what we are with the way that they are, and if it matches, they stick with us for a long, long time. If they come in with one set of perspectives and then they see something different, either then they join or we've done something wrong with one of our instructors. So there's lots of conversations that need to be had all the time, that's the key.

GEORGE: That's awesome. Keeping that ear close to the ground and just really paying attention. That really sticks out for me, just being on top of it before things escalate in a  direction that you can't control.

Richard Norton Benny The Jet Con LazosCON: Yeah, that's right. And you know what, a lot of people are interested in opening up a lot of clubs and good luck to them and everything. I've seen some really successful people open up multiple clubs and I think the only way it works is when the other instructor has got a major share in that club, because they feel like they're doing something good for themselves or their families and so on. However, if the culture's different between the clubs, the person that loses is the person that created the name. Obviously, this club is not called conlazos.com.au – it’s called Fusion MA, because I like to bring in the best of everybody, but the culture has to be the same.

GEORGE: Con, awesome. It’s been really great chatting to you. Where do you see this going? What's sort of your plan? Where do you want to take your journey with martial arts and your instructing and your school?

CON: This is actually something I've been working on really hard on myself over the last year. I think martial arts is a very, very difficult gig and I'll be honest with everybody: I think it's about as hard as it gets, and I'll tell you the main reason for this: we've got basically four, maximum five hours a day to make a business work from a business perspective. So you've got a building that sits there all day, where other businesses, they can make it work 24 hours a day if they really want to. Martial arts is a very hard business, but you don't have to get rich. I think you can do it, there's ways to do it. If you want to leave a bit of a legacy behind, I'm finding that this is better.

So I'm not interested in opening up more Fusion MA's around. One of my students wants to go and open up their own, it will be their club and they can have my love and support behind them, and so on. I just want these two to run really well. Jake, I totally trust in Port Melbourne, that's his people out there. If Jake left, those people would not stick around, I guess the only person that could step in would be myself, because I obviously used to go in and out a fair bit, but really, that's his club.

Yarraville, it’s always going to be here and it’s going to be bringing up instructors and so on. This is a career for a kid that wants to go to university and you know you want to see yourself through while you go and make something different of yourself. If someone wants to become an international competitor out of here – by all means, go for it. We've got all the facilities, the gym equipment, we've got the talent, we've got the knowledge, we've got the location- we've got everything like that.

That's where I see Fusion going, just making better people out of Fusion, looking out for this local community. There's a lot of great instructors, I'm not interested in going and competing with them, or try and take over territory and all that kind of stuff. I just love everyone to know who the best is in their area. We definitely want to look after all this area that's around Yarraville for what we do. And the same thing for Port Melbourne: if someone wants to go in competition with us, we just keep on doing what we do really well and our clients will be our clients for life. If they left, they weren't our clients to start with. I think that's the long game, just keep on looking after your clients.

GEORGE: Awesome. Con, it was really great chatting to you. Where can people find out more about you?

CON: They can go to fusionma.com.au. For myself personally, most people find me through Facebook. I'm always trying to calm my Facebook group, to try to keep it under 5000 people, because obviously, you need new people coming through. So that's Con Lazos, and you'll find Fusion MA attached to it. Yeah, that's the best way to go about doing it. Bit of a Google search and you'll find us straight away, we can't hide very much these days.

GEORGE: Yeah, true. All right, Con: thanks a lot for chatting to me, I hope to chat to you soon.

CON: Thank you so much George, thanks for your time.

GEORGE: Cheers, bye.

There you go  thank you very much for listening, thanks for spending your time with us here today.I hope you got something of value out of that. Thanks of course to Con Lazos from Fusion MA for sharing his journey and his perspectives and values that he brings to the martial arts industry. And for me, when I do listen to any podcast or any training, it’s nice to listen to the story and get the context out of it, but at the end of the day, I'm also looking for that transformational info that I can apply to my business. And a simple goal that I set for myself when I listen to stuff is just one thing: can I grab one item, one thing out of this conversation or training that is actionable, that I can apply to my business? And I hope you can do the same for your business, I hope there's things coming out of these podcasts that you can relate to and just make that one little shift and tweak that is profitable and builds a better business and helps you influence more people through your martial arts training.

Thanks again for listening – show notes are at martialartsmedia.com/17. If you can, please leave us that review that I've been asking for. I would much appreciate it. And martialartsmedia.com/iTunes, but click on the blue icon button that says “View on iTunes.” It takes you to iTunes and you'll be able to leave a review there, we much appreciate it.

Anyway, back next week with another awesome interview. Looking forward to that and I will chat to you then – cheers.


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16 – Justin Sidelle: The Lifestyle Of Running A Martial Arts Business In The Tropics

Sun, surf and martial arts? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Justin Sidelle shares the laid back lifestyle running their martial arts business.

martial arts business


  • Justin’s martial arts journey that inspired him to travel the world
  • How a healthy environment motivates martial arts training and how it affects your performance
  • The importance of “word of mouth” and social media in boosting your martial arts school’s exposure
  • Having a martial arts holiday in Bali, Indonesia vs Thailand
  • Giving back to the community and making a difference
  • And more

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


And on top of that, being in such an environment that's that healthy and that welcoming, your training goes through the roof. You perform better, you learn better, you learn faster.

Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media business podcast, episode number 16. Today, I cross international waters – again. Well, it's not really international for us so much, because it's just Bali, and Bali and Perth, that's about a three and half hour flight, but I'm speaking to Justin Sidelle. And Justin Sidelle is the head coach at Bali MMA, the head jiu-jitsu coach at Bali MMA. Now, if you recall episode 13, I had Jess Fraser on, from the Australian Girls in GI and she mentioned that Bali MMA is her home gym, although she jet-sets and travels around the world. So I wanted to get in touch with Justin and just have a chat with him about his lifestyle: living in Bali, being able to train jiu-jitsu, which he loves and living in the tropics and just living an awesome lifestyle and living a very laid back life and doing a lot of good things within the Bali community.

But first, just a quick update, more a notification, if you're not aware of it, depending of course on where you listen to this podcast, if you listen to it on your iPhone or through your Android type device like a Samsung or so forth, or on the website. If you listen to it on the website, you might have noticed it, but we give away a martial art business plan for online media for martial arts business owners and it's basically a plan for the online media side of things.

It's looking at the different components of digital marketing for your martial arts school, so what you need to basically cover all the elements. There's a lot of information out there, you've got to do this on Facebook, and you've got to do this on Google and you've got to have SEO, but this is kind of giving you a holistic view of all the components that you need to have a prosperous martial arts school, but not only that, to make sure that you're not single point sensitive.

Let's say Facebook fell off the map today: can your business still sustain and can you still market? Do you still have ways and means to actually get in touch with your people? So it's just looking at things from a holistic point of view and all the elements that you need to cover. It's on the website, you can download it on martialartsmedia.com, or if you go directly to the link, it's martialartsmedia.com/plan. Download it, check it out. That will put you on our email database and we'll also send out weekly updates from when we release this podcast and such.

That's just it from me. I want to get into the podcast now. I've got to tell you as well, this was always going to be a problem: talking to someone in Bali, I knew the internet wasn't going to be the best, we ended up talking on the phone and there was a bit of a delay, which kind of overlapped a few times. All in all, the interview is awesome, you're going to get a lot of value from this and it might even spark you, light a fire under you to go take a nice tropical holiday with some awesome martial arts training. So, without further ado, please welcome to the show – Justin Sidelle.

GEORGE: Alright, good day everyone. Today I have with me a guest from Indonesia, from Bali to be exact. Well, I guess rather saying, based in Indonesia, but actually an American gentleman. His name is Justin Sidelle and how I was introduced to Justin was through Jess Fraser from Australian girls in GI, who I had on the podcast episode 13 and she mentioned that Justin is her head coach and her home training grounds, if you want to call it that way is the Bali MMA. Welcome to the call Justin.

JUSTIN: Thanks George, thanks for having me.

GEORGE: Alright, awesome. So I guess we should start right at the beginning and we're going to ask of course how an American ended up in Bali, but  – who is Justin Sidelle?

JUSTIN: That's a good question, man. Who you are as a person never stops changing, right? So it's hard to answer that question I think for a lot of people. I was somebody who was out traveling. I was traveling through Asia and I got a good job opportunity thrown my way and I was first in Thailand, so I worked in Thailand for a while and then I met the Leone brothers and Donny and they wanted to come out to Bali and open a gym out here, so I kind of followed them out here and we opened Bali MMA.

GEORGE: Alright, cool. How long ago was that, how long did you start traveling that you went over to Thailand?

JUSTIN: I've been out of the States now for three years. So a year in Thailand and now two years in Bali.

GEORGE: What was the big motivation for going? I know there's a lot of motivation to set up in Bali, but what was the idea behind setting up Bali MMA?

JUSTIN: I think it was a passion for, I still look at the guys I came here with, I still look at Andrew and Anthony and Donny and a big passion for them was surfing. They all wanted to come out here and surf and that was something I was interested in getting involved with. Definitely, the Asian lifestyle, living in the tropics, is something that I think attracted all of us for wanting to come here.

15049824_10209156096792461_674409732_nJust that training lifestyle and the destination, that's just kind of so inspiring and makes you want more for yourself and more on where you're at in the world. It was just the perfect place to open a gym really, and there was nothing really out here like this already. We were the first really professional gym that set up. So it's kind of cool, we're working our way up towards being a world class destination gym and I think we've done that. Then you continue pushing forward to really keep up with our competition.

GEORGE: With not having the competition and you were the first there, what was your primary goal? Were you thinking, OK, we're going to set something up for Indonesians as such or Bali, being such a hot travel destination, was it more a goal of being a place where people can train on a holiday, or were you going for that expat market for people that are living in Bali and trying to accommodate for them?

JUSTIN: That's a good question. I think initially our goal was to be a destination gym. Because before we were in Phuket and Phuket was a much more transient place, we had a lot more tourists coming in and out. That much said, we don't have that here in Bali, we just find that there are more expats and locals here that are interested in training, which we didn't have as much in Thailand.

So I think what we figured out quickly was that we were going to be able to cater to both. So I have my core group of guys that are either part of our professional fight team or live here in Bali that train with me daily and then I also have handfuls of tourists coming through every week, if it's even just for a drop in class or just two months of a hard training camp, or maybe just 6 months to a year, just to give their life a new start. I get all of that, it's a great environment.

GEORGE: So the majority of people who train there, what styles are you coaching and is it mostly adults or do you have kids programs as well?

JUSTIN: Oh yeah, adults and kids both. We're really multifaceted, we have a professional MMA team that I coach for their jiu-jitsu, so my approach to them has to be a little different, right? My concern with them is not only them  having a pristine jiu-jitsu technique, but also that they're safe in a fight, so for them, I kind of structure their jiu-jitsu a little differently, so I know they're going to go in there, they're going to be safe in a fight, they can handle themselves well and they're looking to finish.

So I have  a different mindset for my pros than I do for my hobbyists. My hobbyists, depending on whether they're competing in jiu-jitsu, I need to give them tools so they're going to work in that style and that environment. My hobbyists, I tend to steer towards more self-defense. Again, kind of like that mixture between MMA and sports jiu-jitsu that has to be taught to them. So I really try to cater it to my students and who's there. Kid's programs, we have a couple.

We have our main kid's program here that's taught by Andrew Leone – fantastic kid's coach, he's really hands on, he's funny. He knows how to get the kids rolled up and having a good time, he does a great job with our kid's program here. I helped him, I established that with him, we built that together, it's a ton of fun. And then we do a program called Jalang, with a green school. Jalang it means “to wonder” in Indonesian. They come out once a semester for six weeks and we teach them jiu-jitsu and boxing and wrestling as well. We do it separately, so it's not straight MMA, but we teach all the components to them.

GEORGE: What a variation there! How do you cater for international clients, and people coming through on holiday? How do you get the word out and how do you get the marketing out in a place like Bali?

JUSTIN: A little bit of it is word of mouth, a lot of it is through social media. There tends to be, what we're finding is that there's a community of people that want to go on holiday and do something healthy for themselves. They just don't want to go partying the whole time, so a lot of people are choosing to do things, like go to an MMA camp, in a destination like Bali, so they can go and get the holiday they want, but train on the side, eat healthy, live a clean lifestyle while they're here and then go back to the real world.

So a lot of it is just networking, people who come through, they go home, they tell people from their gym, and then next time, they come and bring friends – it’s just people who like to travel already. And then a lot of it is people that have come back, that have trained with us before, so maybe they pass through. When we were training together in Thailand and in Bali, so now they're coming over here to check out what we're doing over here. And then, we just establish those relationships and people keep coming back.

GEORGE: I can see you have quite a few, I know Tiffany Van Soest, that's also the home training facility for her.

JUSTIN: She's my neighbor, she's right next door.

GEORGE: Oh, cool. So does that help a lot with marketing, having someone like that on board, and big names, how does that influence it?

15045612_10209156137353475_1634376610_nJUSTIN: Oh, absolutely! She's such a big influence on the team here, the energy she brings into the room. It says a lot about her skill set, she can walk into a room full of MMA fighters and they all just shut up and listen to whatever she has to say, so it’s a technical striker. All that input is really great and having high-level competitors like that in the gym pushes everyone else to raise the bar on themselves and train harder. Having world class athletes that we do, that come in regularly makes a big difference in the energy of the gym.

GEORGE: Going back, I want to know a bit more about you. Alright, you come from America, you started traveling and so forth – let's just actually take a step back from all this and let's start with your career, where did you start in martial arts?

15050023_10209156119793036_29076811_nJUSTIN: I started doing traditional martial arts as a kid and then when I got a little bit older, I got involved with Brazilian jiu-jitsu. So I in 2005 I started jiu-jitsu and I fell in love with it right away, I knew that's what I wanted to practice and that's what I wanted to do. So I just kept cutting the fat around things in my life that wouldn't let me train and it was actually after I did, in 2010, I was still training probably three or four days a week in jiu-jitsu and competing actively, I competed in IBJJF, really great jiu-jitsu tournaments. Jiu-jitsu just becomes such a Mecca in California, you could go to California and train, it’s just always tough competition, great guys to train with.

So anyway, in 2010, I went to Thailand for the first time and got the taste of training full time, I went to Tiger Muay Thai, and did like three weeks there and it blew my mind. On my way back, I ended up getting a job offer from the gym I was training at the time, with Dave Camarillo, so I ended up at that point in my life, switching from, I was working in restaurants and bars and grocery stores and stuff like that, to training jiu-jitsu full time. And so I trained and taught with Dave for the next four years, I've probably been a brown belt for maybe like a year and then I left to do some traveling in Thailand and south east Asia and I ended up doing work with Olavo Abreu. And so I took that and stayed there and got my black belt from Olavo Abreu and then came to Bali.

GEORGE: That's got to be the ultimate lifestyle for you, living in Bali, being able to train every day, quite a laid back lifestyle?

15044892_10209156097392476_288918132_oJUSTIN: Oh, for sure! It's great man, I wake up every day, go get breakfast on a beach, drive my motorbike around through rice paddies, all that good stuff, and you go to the gym and you train – I love my team, I love everyone there, the atmosphere of the gym  is so great. I thought about this a while ago: when you show up to work at least 30 minutes early every day, for no reason other than to be there, you like your job. You know what I mean? When you're getting out of bed early just to go to work, you really like your job. I'm just so happy to be at the gym and training with my team, it’s been great man, it’s a great lifestyle.

GEORGE: How big is the gym? How many students do you have coming in and out? Regulars, versus the people that just come by for holiday training and camps and so forth?

JUSTIN: It's hard to say, cause it’s kind of seasonal, but it’s unpredictable. When we have people coming in slow all day. So I'd say when it’s slow, I can just – jiu-jitsu is what I've got the best idea of, right? So when it’s slow, I have ten people in my class, when it’s busy I have close to thirty. So it kind of depends on the time of the year and how many people are coming in. I can get a really even mix and now, since I've been down here for a while, I have people who come and train with me for longer.

I'll use Jess as an example, she loves training with us, so she'll come up for months. And then I have Jess with me for four months, and that's great. And then, she feels like a local, she feels like family to me, she's been here so many times for long stints. But then, there's the tourists coming in and out and then the people living here. Whenever someone leaves, someone else comes in, you know what I mean? The door is never wholly shut, we've always got people in the gym.

GEORGE: So let's say, a place like Australia, if I look at Perth: Perth is probably, I wouldn't say it takes the majority of Bali, because Bali is a big place, but I know that it's the number one vacation destination, just because, I mean, it's a three and a half hour flight, it's cheap for us.

JUSTIN: Oh, it's so close to you guys.

GEORGE: Yeah, driving down south or getting on the plane to Bali is kind of the same thing for us, except Bali is a whole different country, so it’s very popular for multiple reasons. But also, there's so many people that come from here and then they go to Thailand, they go do things like Tiger Muay Thai and Sinbi and go train in those destinations. What would you say to people to consider Bali MMA as an option beyond the other alternatives, like there is in Thailand and so forth?

JUSTIN: Again, it’s something that you should just experience. I've been fortunate enough, I've trained at Tiger Muay Thai with a top team and I've trained at some of the smaller gyms in Phuket and then I've been here. it’s just such a different experience, it’s a different vibe. There's a lot of similarities too, they're all great gyms to train at, you've just got to shop around and see these other destinations. I think training at these gyms is a bonus to the place you're in too. I always wanted to go to Thailand, training at first was almost as a bonus, it was something to sweeten the deal.

15050297_10209156096952465_1302411700_nThe vibe in Bali is just so different, it's something you really have got to come in and experience and see just how warm and welcoming everyone is. One of the things people talk about are the dogs, we have all these gym dogs at the front of the gym and they're super friendly and nice. You walk up in this cafe area and you're greeted by these super friendly dogs. The people at the cafe are super friendly. They're all international so they're really welcoming and excited to meet new people. Then you go inside and everyone's very welcoming again – everyone's ready to lend a hand, answering the questions you have, super supportive people that just make you want to stay.

And I think that's the thing most of why people come, they get that overwhelming sensation of feeling so welcome that they should stay here and they feel at home. And they are the people that want to come back and keep training with us. I think that's something that's definitely worth experiencing, it's the camaraderie that we all carry here, it's very strong and we make people feel very welcome when they come here to train. And on top of that, being in such an environment that's that healthy and that welcoming, your training goes through the roof. You perform better, you learn better, you learn faster. So the level in the room is very high.  And because everyone's taking care of themselves and working so hard, people get a lot better here really quickly. Again, you've got to come try it.

GEORGE: From what you're saying, because I've been to Bali multiple times, That whole relaXed and laid back culture, it sounds like you've really embraced that and I can actually visualize how you would experience that within your gym and just have a really awesome holiday, but get all this great knowledge and value from all the expert coaches and trainers out here.

JUSTIN: Right. And it's a really good place for people to go who are traveling alone too. When I first started traveling in Asia, I didn't have many connections, but the connections I had were through martial arts. So the great way to go out and meet some people who are doing the same thing you are, if you're traveling and you train, definitely go stop by a gym, it's a  really good way of meeting some local people and it will give you a better experience of the place you're seeing and visiting. It's something I took on very early on in my traveling and it's something I do even when I'm still traveling, I always bring my GI with me, I'm always ready to go train at a gym. It's just a  great way to meet people.

GEORGE: Ok. You mentioned earlier, briefly, that you also have fight shows and tournaments and things within Bali. Can you elaborate a bit more on that?

JUSTIN: We have something called Canggu fight night. We just had one for Halloween that was really successful, we do kickboxing smokers, people then come out and watch, the boxing and kickboxing. We just put on a  really good show, a good time for them. If you follow us on Facebook, you can see there're some videos that we recently put up. And again, it's  that vibe that makes it so different. I've been to a lot of Muay Thai fights and MMA shows and stuff like that.  

The vibe really affects how good of a time the people watching are having. And everyone here is just so easygoing and laid back, it makes the fight truly fun and people are just genuinely having a good time and I think when the fighters are having a good time, so are the fans watching. It gets everyone to kind of open up, put on a good show and fight hard. Our next one's going to be, I think the second week of December, so if you guys are thinking about coming to Bali, definitely try to be here for Canggu fight night.

GEORGE: OK. And where about in Bali do you host that?

JUSTIN: We're based in Canggu.

GEORGE: OK, that's where all the awesome surf spots are. 

JUSTIN: Right, yeah. We've got some good surf spots here. Canggu is an interesting place, it's kind of where hipsters meet hippies, it's  very unique. Again, if you're looking for having a healthy holiday, it's a really great place for it, because there're so much health conscious restaurants close to the gym, and just again, the environment here is really great. There's a ton of rice fields everywhere  and we're close to three beaches with great waves. It's a good time.

GEORGE: Oh yeah, definitely. Alright, awesome. And then, one more thing I want to ask you before we start wrapping it up: you also mentioned your involvement with one of the orphanages there?

JUSTIN: Yeah, we've done some work for the orphanage called Jodie O'Shea. People usually go in and work with the kids a little bit and then a bunch of the other guys from the fight team come out too, pretty much all the fight teams and then Subba brothers come out quite a bit.  It's a good time, it's just kind of something we started doing because we wanted to give back. I've been trying to get a program up and running with them to be a continuous thing, but it's difficult, they're pretty far away from us and with the traffic and everything, it's a little difficult. We just try to do stuff where we can give back to the community. If it's doing free women's self-defense seminars, or working with kids locally here. I think it's something really good we can do to help share our passions.

GEORGE: Justin, it's been awesome chatting to you and I know I'll definitely make a trip to Bali to come and see you guys sometimes. For anybody that wants to come and visit you guys and make a trip to Bali, what should they be doing? What would be the process to get in touch with you guys?

JUSTIN: Either on Facebook or our website, balimma.com. Any questions you have, don't be shy to ask. You can message us directly, but it's better to go through the site. People will message me all the time, asking me questions about coming out to train – please, please don't be shy to do so. If you guys want to come out, train, see Bali, just explore, it's a great place to do it. So Bali MMA, check us out on Facebook or  our website.

GEORGE: Justin, it's been great chatting to you and I hope to see you  on the sunny side soon.

JUSTIN: Absolutely, thanks, George.

GEORGE: Cheers.

15126212_10209156097552480_676270323_oGEORGE: And there you have it. Thank you, Justin and I'm sure that might have sparked some ideas for you, to go and train. Awesome trainers in Bali and a great lifestyle. And if you've been to Bali or if you haven't been, Changu, where they are situated, is a really, really cool part of Bali and there are nice surf spots. What I like about it is, it’s because I don't surf that often as I used to, the surf spots are, it’s kind of from the beach, so there're not long extensive paddles, but it's reef breaks that are in easy access from the beach, and there's nice little restaurants and it’s sort of out of the main hustle and bustle from Bali. And of course, they've got an awesome gym in there, Bali MMA, so great place to have a holiday.

Thanks again for listening, thanks for tuning in. I do want to ask a  bit of a favor: if you could head over to iTunes and really help us, we're really trying to get the rankings up for the show. The more people vote on the show, the better we get listed in the iTunes library or directory if you want to call it that. So if you do want to do us a big favor, and if you've gotten value out of this show, please head over to iTunes. You can just go to martialartsmedia.com/iTunes, that will take you there and just leave us a review. Five-star reviews are what helps us get the good ranking, but an honest review would be much appreciated.

And that's it. Awesome guest on board again next week – I will chat to you soon, have a good week. Cheers!


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15 – Martial Arts Advertising Ideas: Google Adwords vs. Facebook Marketing

Looking for martial arts marketing ideas? Google Adwords and Facebook ads are the big players. George Fourie shares the core differences.


  • The key difference between Google Adwords and Facebook Ads
  • Why one click doesn't help you generate leads anymore
  • How to focus on multiple touch points to engage your leads
  • All martial arts marketing ideas are worthless without this (HINT: Remarketing)

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


Good day everyone, it’s Facebook marketing, SEO: should you be doing all of this for your martial arts school, what should you be doing, what shouldn't you be doing, what is the differences, can they work together – let's discuss.

I'm George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com. In this video, I'm going to be talking about Google AdWords, should you be doing it, how does it compete with something on Facebook, what is SEO and all these fancy things. How do they work together and what strategies should you be looking out for where you implement this different marketing on these different platforms. So let's look at a comparison.

b-86Google and Facebook. Google: firstly, Google has a whole different way of advertising and marketing, because when you go to Google, you've got the intent. You've got intent to find a solution for a problem, you're looking for something. On Facebook, you're not looking for something. You're interacting, you're being social with your friends, you're looking at funny cat videos: you're doing something else than looking for something of martial arts or what it is that you're looking for. So Google has intent and Facebook is more like an interruption type of marketing. You've got to keep that in mind on how you're interacting with people, because if you think about it, it’s going to take someone 6 to 8 interactions with your brand before there's any form of conversion.

And that conversion is not necessarily joining up, that's a conversion of leaving an online inquiry, or picking up the phone and trying to engage with you as such. So the key thing to keep in mind: on Facebook, for example, if the first interaction is an ad, you have risked potential of turning that person off and not being able to take that relationship further, whereas, if you have relevant content for them, something that might interest them and from that lead to an ad afterwards, which is something that you can do, then you have more chance of converting that ad, that person into a lead, by following a different sequence.

Same as with Google of course. With Google, it’s a bit more direct, because somebody is searching for something, so an ad will show up, telling them, “This is what you've searched for,” and if your ad matches what they are looking for, that message-to-market match, then they're going to engage with your page and they are going to more than likely convert.

3With both these platforms, you've got to bear in mind that there are multiple touch points. It’s not just going to take that one click and that one view of the ad for somebody to actually convert. So you've got to be covering multiple platforms, and this is where you can have them both work together. This is how you're going to save money eventually on marketing. If you think there're 6 to 8 times that there needs to be an interaction before somebody's going to convert, how are you interacting with your prospect 6 to 8 times? How are you getting in front of them? Offer, offer, offer, offer, or content, value, content, content, offer? You've got to play around with how you are approaching your people so that you are starting by building a relationship and then slowly working towards the conversion.

Let's get back to this multiple touch points. A recent study – and thank you, Ezra Firestone, for this, mentioned that people start a search query on mobile and then they finish the transaction on a desktop. If you think about it, how many people are looking at your martial arts website and they click on the inquiry form and they just look at all this text and now they've got to sit and try ad work it on their phone with their thumbs and people just give up.

If somebody's found your website for the first time on the mobile website, they might not finish that inquiry on the mobile device, so you need a way to actually get them back to the website because chances are they're going to forget. How many times have you looked at a website on your mobile device, thinking that you'll get back to it and then you simply don't? I know I've probably got hundreds of saved things on my Facebook account that I don't even go back to that.

So it’s just something that you do and because of the way technology works, attention spans are just getting shorter and shorter and shorter and shorter. So you've got to keep interacting with people on these multiple platforms and this is why platforms can work together, because if somebody has found you on Google and they looked at your page but they haven't done anything to convert, you can now do something like marketing campaigns, by tracking them through what's called the Facebook Pixel and you can show them ads when they land up on Facebook, so here's you next interaction. So you need all these little elements to work together.

Same as with Google Remarketing: when somebody goes to Google ads and they go away, you can have ads appear on different websites to get them back to your website and make sure that they convert. So if you accompany that type of things with good content – content meaning instructional videos or information that your prospects might be interested in and a good follow up email sequence, then you're touching all these multiple touch points and that is how you're going to have a profitable business and make your ads work and make your ads convert.

That's it – if you've got any questions with this type of thing and you need an help with that, – get in touch with us on martialartsmedia.com – I'll see you in the next video. Cheers!


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14 – Hakan Manav: Martial Arts World Titles, Movies & A Thriving Business – The Ultimate Martial Arts Success

Hakan Manav, 5th degree Taekwondo black belt and world martial arts champion, shares his life journey of success and their thriving martial arts business.

hakan manav


  • How to deal with the constant pressure of being ‘The Master's Son'
  • The truth about martial arts skills that improve coordination in other sports
  • How business principles discovered in tertiary education lay the frameworks for a successful martial arts school
  • Getting everything you can from TV publicity (Australia's Got Talent)
  • Business growth hit the ceiling? Do these 2 things to breakthrough to the next level
  • The training schedule of an elite world class martial artist
  • And more

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



It all started back in that day, we went overseas, we opened our eyes, we invested in ourselves, we sought knowledge outside of the martial arts industry, as well as within the industry, and then it was just one step at a time and consistent growth.

Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 14. Today I have a very inspiring, very versatile, talented young man on board and this gentleman is truly, truly a gift of multiple talents, and what I mean by that is, first up, he's born into martial arts, he is an amazing martial artist, his skills are just beyond, it’s another level. If you follow any of his social media accounts, he spends most of his time in the air. His tricking ability is beyond this world, his skills are just phenomenal, you've got to see it to actually absorb what it is he is capable of.

And when it comes to the business side, their family own and operate one of the most successful martial arts schools in Australia, if not the most successful. And that, of course, depends on how you measure success, but what I can tell  you is that their main location has a total of 1450 students, they have another 5 set locations of 200 students each approximately and they have systems and a staffing in place that allows them to operate 7 days per week.

So whether or not that is your goal, look, there's value in what these guys have learned along the way. And the guest that I'm talking about of course, after much suspense, Hakan Manav. Hakan shares his journey from humble beginnings, having to live up to the expectations of his dad's reputation, Master Ridvan Manav, and just his journey going from where they started out with basically nothing and building up this organization and feeling that pressure from a young age and dealing with that.

We also touch on his moving career, how an Australian talent show opened multiple doors for him, so much to share in this conversation on multiple levels. As always, depending on where you're listening to this, you can find the show notes and everything else mentioned within this podcast, you can find at martialartsmedia.com/14, the number 14. And that's it for now, I want to get into this interview – enjoy, and welcome to the show Mr. Hakan Manav.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have a guest with many talents with me today and that is Hakan Manav. Now, I'm really not sure how this conversation's going to go because we can talk about movies, we can talk about being featured on Australia's Got Talent, we can talk about his martial arts career in general, but we'll see where this goes. So welcome to the call Hakan.

HAKAN: A pleasure to be here George, thank you.

GEORGE: All right. So, for those that are not familiar with you, let's start right at the beginning: who is Hakan Manav?

HAKAN: Well, let's go back to when I was born. Basically, my father established the Australian Martial Arts Academy well over 30 years now, I think pushing on to 35 years soon, I think 34 years. I'm currently 28, going onto 29, so I was born into the family, born into the martial arts from a very young age and I grew up with it and I had many fantastic experiences, because of the martial arts. I've been very fortunate, there are photos of me in the nappies starting out in martial arts.

GEORGE: That's way back!

HAKAN: Yeah, many many years ago.

GEORGE: So what came first? You grew up in martial arts, how did things evolve? Was it just a given that you're going to become an instructor?10341619_10152080186176277_1515235339274962255_nHAKAN: Well, my dad was heavily involved, he was quite young at the time, he was active and I had that role model there from the very beginning. We were predominantly a Taekwondo  tournament based school back in the days, so that was the culture that I was brought up with. And back then, the academy was part-time, in that my father had a full-time job and he did this with a passion and all we wanted to do was fight, training to fight, make the Australian team, travel and everything that came along with that.

So my young journey started with that and I competed in many tournaments growing up. There were my fond memories as a young kid, traveling to all these destinations around the world, competing, camaraderie, having fun. And then I got to a point where I completely had enough, hated martial arts, sick of martial arts and didn't want anything to do with it. So that's when my friends started to play a bigger role in my life and we had this constant struggle in the family household. But I found my way back into it, found what I loved and the rest is history.

GEORGE: What do you acquaint that struggle to? Is it sort of having plateaued too quickly, or…?

HAKAN: I think it is a culmination of things. First of all,  it was the pressure, it was a pressure situation. I was always the master's son, the boss' son, so that came with a lot of pressure everywhere we went. So I always had this weight on my shoulders. So there was  that and there was my friends doing other sports and things like that and then you've got the business element to it, so everything that comes with the stress, trying to ensure the members.

As a young kid, I was exposed to all of this and it all just kind of played its toll, setting up at festivals, doing the extra work, doing the makeup classes and everything, when instructors couldn't show up – all this added stress was on my shoulders from a very young age. I do remember, I do embrace it, it was a fantastic learning experience, and it really set the platform for where we are today, but it was a culmination of things.

GEORGE: Ok. I can understand how that could happen, all the pressure and so forth. How did you actually get it back?

HAKAN: I've actually been training throughout my whole life, in martial arts. There were just periods where I would train more, 5-6 days a week and then there would be periods where I only would train a minimum of twice a week. So back when I was about 13-14, at that age, just started high school, friends were cool, hanging out was cool, all my friends back then were into rugby league and all the team sports, so they would talk about their games on the weekend – none of them really cared that I was the best Taekwondo athlete in my division, for my age group in Australia, none of them would really care about that, so that was really hard for me when I would come back to school, I'd just come from an overseas trip, I want to share all my experiences and it just would've gone nowhere.

That was the struggle that I faced, but then I tried some other sports. I did soccer, I did tennis, I did basketball, while still doing martial arts twice a week, but I would always also do this and then go on their games on the weekend. So I did that and then I had a lot of fun with it and I can definitely say when we do promote that martial arts does improve your coordination, does help with other sports, I can personally say that it does, because when I did do other sports, I picked it up very quickly because of that athletic background. I played soccer for a few years and I picked it up really well.

The footwork, the agility, the dribbling, all of that I did really well, but I soon realized that I wasn't as proficient at soccer as I was with martial arts. There are a lot of very good kids that were doing the team sports and I realized that I was good, but I wasn't in the top tier that I used to be in the Taekwondo. So I went through that period, I had my fun with it, but then I realized, I think my true passion lies in the martial arts. That's what I was essentially born to do, so I found my way back into it, back when I was about 16.

I had a few years where I didn't compete, just kind of had a bit of fun with it, but then I found my way. I'm extremely grateful my parent allowed me to do that. However, we have to share this funny story with you all. As a young kid, I was super flexible. I could do splits in my sleep and I played soccer for a couple of years and then I lost my split, I lost my flexibility. I came back and I remember going to my dad, “Dad, why did you let me play soccer, I lost my flexibility!” It was just this funny family feud that we had.

GEORGE: Yes, because I think I saw a picture of you floating around that puts Jean Claude van Damme to shame.

HAKAN: Yeah, he was definitely one of my role models. I actually met him at a young age. We had photos of him, my dad also was extremely flexible.

GEORGE: How's your career evolved? I see you've been in movies and I see you're doing all this tricking stuff, which is just phenomenal, and then you've got the instructor side of things going, so what sort of the predominant drive where you're taking your martial arts career?

HAKAN: Like I said, it all started back when I came back to martial arts. I was about 16, I made the Australian Taekwondo  team, our school was predominantly based Taekwondo school then. I went to Korea for the Junior World Championship and there I saw these demonstrations, they were called the Korean Tigers and they were fantastic. So I continued fighting, but I remembered the impact they had on me, the moves they were doing were fantastic, but what really drew me was the entertainment value they brought to martial arts, the wow factor.

It was something I had never seen before. So I came back home, and I continued training, and at that time I was just about finishing school and my family always stressed the importance of education. So not only did I want to be good at martial arts, I also wanted to ensure that my schoolwork was there, I wanted to get into a top university, I wanted to do a degree that I loved and during my final years of high school, I really put my head down, and I would do a minimum of three hours of study every night back in the day and also continue my training, so keep both of it up.

I received a really really good, I guess UAC, which is the HSC year 12 exam result. I went to the university of Sydney and I studied a Bachelor of Commerce, Major in Finance. I did that for four years when I was about ages 18 to 22. At that time, we applied a lot of the business principles to the academy to lay the foundations and frameworks to running a legitimate, professional business, ensuring that the marketing, the accounting, the human resource, the curriculum, the delivery – everything was laid there. All of that process happened during that time.

Around the same time, back in 2009, we saw this audition for Australia's Got Talent, so we thought we would give it a go. It was a great challenge, we entered it and it was a great challenge for me, because up until that time, I always had a great experience in the competitive aspect of martial arts, the sportsmanship, the traveling, the weight cutting and everything, the discipline, the satisfaction, the sacrifice that goes into training every single day.

So I wasn't really able to get my creative juices flowing at that point. This opportunity came along and I jumped at it. I said, let's see what we can do, let me see if I can make this as entertaining as possible. Now, throughout my whole life, I had this frustrating experience in that, anytime I told people that I would do martial arts for a living, or we run a martial arts school, it would really be looked down upon. And I think it’s because a lot of the times when people have had a martial arts experience, it’s often in the local church hall, or the local school hall, so people felt that, for me personally, people really looked down upon it, it didn't really have a positive stereotype back in the days.

So I thought, this is a fantastic experience for me if I could really get our school out there and hopefully shine a positive light on the sport. So rather than going out and doing a whole bunch of kicks and things like that, we thought, let's make it entertaining, let's make it appealing, let's add some comedy in there, let's add a bit of a storyline. So we did that and we got really far, we got to the finals and we didn't end up winning, a singer ended up winning, but we had a lot of fun with it.

And that opened up a lot of doors for me, that experience there. It just took off from there, we put our school on the map, the demonstrations increased dramatically, the demand increased dramatically for the performances, as well for the school. And then we just rode the wave. And for a few years, I did seminars, I did martial arts seminars, extreme kick seminars, just really adding this element to all martial arts schools around the country, just getting that wow factor in there. Just motivating, providing students with another element they can add to their curriculum. It proved to be successful at our school and many other schools as well.

GEORGE: Excellent. So when the Australia's Got Talent happened, you just saw the opportunity and that was it, you jumped on that?

HAKAN: I jumped in it, yeah. Look, I know there have been a lot of other martial arts schools that have also done it, but it was hard. It was hard, it was a challenge, it was definitely a challenge because there was no real benchmark and nor real precedent set that I could follow.

GEORGE: How have things evolved from that point? You guys have got a really really successful business, how's this all played a role in that?

HAKAN: Basically, also at that time, that happened about 2009, let's go back a few years, let's go back to 2005, 2006. We went overseas to the martial arts industry supershow, which is the martial arts convention that was held in Vegas. And again, that really opened up our eyes to everything that we could do  in the martial arts business, in the martial arts industry. So we created our Little Dragons program, we created the Dragons program, we created upgrade programs, and we really had an experience, that major culture shift within the academy.

So when I talk about being a fighter dominated school, we really transformed that. It took a bit of time, but we really focused on leadership and cultivating leaders, assistant instructors, junior instructors, really developing and instructor program. That happened about 10 years ago now, so we experienced that. I was just coming out of school and we had some fantastic instructors who are still with us today, who are open to change, who are open to  making things better, setting a professional platform, aiming for world class service in the industry.

It all started back in that day, when we went overseas, we opened our eyes, we invested in ourselves, we sought knowledge outside of the martial arts industry, as well as within the industry, and then it was just one step at a time and consistent growth. So I'm going to say back then, we would have had about 300 students at the one location.

GEORGE: OK, and you've expanded that to 1450?

HAKAN: Yeah, right now, we're actually just sitting on 1450 members in the one location.

GEORGE: What challenges does that bring, you obviously must have huge premises, but having 1450 students at one location, what challenges does that bring on a day-to-day basis?14886222_10153814456386277_1285758414_nHAKAN: There are a lot of challenges definitely, but when you develop a fantastic team of instructors and you develop that leadership culture, you keep everybody happy. Everyone's got their roles, it’s definitely manageable. We operate over 120 classes a week, our academy runs 7 days a week. Everybody's got their roles like I said, we have a tier instructor system, starting with my father as the master, we have 5 head instructors. We've got our instructors, our assistants, our volunteers and so on. And everybody plays a part and we just continually ensure that everyone is looked after and make sure that we're consistently improving.

So it is a challenge, but something that we can all handle, do well, we're all young, we're hungry and we want to make sure that we keep this thing going as best we can. Some of the challenges we do face include of course staffing, that's the number one. That's the number one challenge, that's where I spend a lot of attention, ensuring that we're developing, we're training, we're motivating, inspiring the instructors to run the 120 classes a week that we run.

GEORGE: Ok. So if we go back, and this might be tough to recall, but can you recall what were the first steps you guys took? When you were at 300 students, you got back from the USA; what were the key things that you thought, all right, this is what we've got to do first?

HAKAN: It was a big slap in the face. One of the first things we did is, we needed to know our market. Our market before was fighters, people who came in, I mean if ten people come in, one or two of them were the ones that really stuck it through and were able to represent us well in the competition scene. That was kind of our focus. We then said, OK, what we want to do is, we want to make martial arts applicable, we want to make it accessible to the masses.

So how we did that, one of the first steps we did was dividing our classes. We had two classes back in the day: we had a junior class, everyone under the age of 15, and we had a senior class, everyone above the age of 15. So we divided the brackets up into some really small classes. We first started with, we looked at our membership base and we said, OK, where are the majority of our members? The majority of our members were in the what we call our ninja age group, which is the 9-12 age group. So we set age brackets into classes.

What we then did was, we developed a curriculum. We had the depth, we developed the depth in each age group. So we had the 9-12, then we went to the 6-8, then we went to the 3-5-year-old age group and we just really stuck at that for a while. As the number grew, as we started improving our marketing and our culture started to change and the instructors started to develop, we started to add more classes, more days, more age groups and more upgrade programs. So we went with the demand and that all really started from dividing the ages up into specific brackets.

GEORGE: And so at this point, you were still just focused on Taekwondo, is that correct?

HAKAN: That's right, yeah. Our base was predominantly Taekwondo, but then when we went overseas, we really were open to investing in ourselves, both in terms of business and in terms of leadership and knowledge and in terms of I guess physical martial arts skills. That's where I started going out and started learning things that we can apply to our upgrade program.

So things included the extreme kicking, the martial arts tricking element, the weaponry – this complemented our martial arts training and proved to be a further challenge to our advanced members, which then improved our retention. So not only did I do that, my father did that, and so did our other head instructors. We went out, we followed our passion in whatever field it was, we did self-defense, we did kickboxing and then we got all this knowledge embedded into our curriculum and then went from there.

GEORGE: OK, I just want to highlight that, if I heard that right. So you said that by raising the bar and making it more sort of a complex challenge for the students, that increased the retention?14914540_10153814456376277_1602600503_nHAKAN: Definitely, definitely. You know, again, I'm going to give you some examples. There were some students quite a few years ago where they would get their black belt, they would shake your hand and say thank you, as in, they thought it was the end. They thought the black belt was the end. Again, this was another learning experience for us, that was partly our fault that we made them feel that way because maybe at that time there wasn't a challenge for them.

So we then figured, OK, we've got to make this curriculum deeper, we've got to consistently challenge these people and provide them avenues, be it on the extreme side, be it on the leadership side, be it through the self-defense, weaponry – we want to make sure that there's something for everybody and that includes giving further challenges but that's challenges that are manageable and broken down into small consistent goals, if that makes sense.

GEORGE: OK, so what would be that step for that black belt? Because I sometimes think I'm facing this with my son right now, because he's just achieved his black belt, and he's ten years old. He's put a good five, six years in to get it, but I need to get him to realize it's time to put that white belt back on again. Your achievement is only that for where you are at.

HAKAN: Of course, of course. And look, I think all this does come back down to the instructor, because if we keep investing in ourselves and improving our knowledge, then we can, like I said, increase the depth in our content, increase the depth in our curriculum. It's going to consistently create that “wow” factor – wow look at my instructor, he keeps improving, or she keeps improving. There're so many more things we can learn.

So firstly, I believe it has to be cultivated through the leaders and through the instructors in the academy, that's what needs to be done. At our school what we do is, once people get a black belt, they have this, as well as they're doing a physical test, they have to fill out this worksheet and one of the questions is, how has achieving my black belt changed my life, so it's a reflection on the way they've come.

And the second part of the question is, what are my goals, moving into, going into the future, now that I'm a black belt? So it gets them thinking about that from a very young age. But then, we also have a beyond black belt curriculum, which we give to the black belts and on that they still grade. I feel that in most styles and most systems when people do get a black belt, the grading period is a very long time between grading. So that could make the black belts lose motivation. Why is retention so good in the younger belts, is because gradings are often more frequent, so they get a goal to work towards.

So we created this beyond black belt curriculum for our black belts and every six months, they have a challenge. They get to improve a level or get closer to their next dan or their next level within that black belt curriculum. We test them on the weapon, we test them on knife defenses, we test them on traditional forms and we really lay out the part for them in the future. Once they've achieved their black belt and we really lay out their path and make it click for them that this is just the beginning. We use the analogy that getting your black belt is just like finishing high school and then once you get your black belt, you've graduated and now you're welcoming into the real world.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. Now let's go back to your instructors because you've got this massive organization that you're running and you've got a lot of staff and a lot of part-time and permanent staff?

HAKAN: Definitely. At the top of the ship, we have my father who is the great master. We have five  full-time staff, we have seven part-time instructors that run classes, that are responsible for curriculum and ensuring that their program that they're assigned to are run well. These instructors operate between 3-5 days a week and then we also have a bunch of part-time instructors that do abut 2-3 days a week and then we have assistants and then we have volunteers, or non-paid staff, which we groom from a very young age.

We've realized that it's a long-term process and it is a numbers game, so we invite people into our leadership instructors program, and then hopefully, we funnel them out and we train and we groom the right instructors and this process does take time, but this industry is a long term game. It's a marathon and we understand that.

GEORGE: And how do you sort of define a career path for you instructor?

HAKAN: Again, we lay out the path for them. So we have I guess, a module, an instructor-developed the module that's got all the T's clearly written out in it, in terms of their roles and responsibilities and what needs to be done. They have a log and they have to do a certain minimum of hours on the floor, then they have to get checked off by somebody on top of them, so by an instructor of that day or that class who checks off and provides them with their feedback and that's how we go about doing it through that. Then we have obviously consistent training that we do and so on.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. Alright, so last few in the business: you have 1450 students – what's the next level for you guys?

HAKAN: Yes, that's 1450 in the one location. We have 5 other part time locations as well throughout Sydney and they have about 2 staff and they have about 200 members in each location there. And we're also in about 3 schools that we teach as a school sports program, as part of the intra-sports curriculum as well. I guess the next step for us is to continually raise the platform, continually develop instructors, as well as raising the bar, keep learning, keep developing, keep going on, keep following the trends as we know, for example, technology is constantly changing, so being on top of all of that… My personal goal is to ensure that we provide well class service, provide best practice service in the martial arts industry.

GEORGE: OK, excellent. Hakan, how about you? I've seen a few movie reels from you and so forth: how's that side of your career evolving?

HAKAN: Yeah, definitely, let’s go back to that. Again, the Australia's Got Talent put my team, put myself on the map. That opened up a  lot of doors for me personally as well, so that opened up a lot of opportunities for short films, feature films, stunt work. So what I did do is, I didn't throw myself completely into that field, I didn't my burn my bridges and say moved to LA per se, because I enjoy the martial arts business side, I enjoy teaching and that was still my passion throughout that time.

So when these opportunities did arise, I had the flexibility to go out and do it. I did a 6-week show in Dubai, a live theater show, which was a massive production and a fantastic experience. So for me, it's all about enjoying it, enjoying what the martial arts offers, be it through the entertainment, be it on the business side, the teaching side, giving back. I'm living a fantastic lifestyle that martial arts do offer. So for me, it's always been about challenges, opportunities, experiences and just really enjoying the life that martial arts brings.

GEORGE: OK, great. And then, I have to know: you're training schedule and so forth, the type of things that you're able to do with all your spinning kicks and stuff that I'm not even going to try and pronounce yet. But how much time and work go into developing that level of skill set?

HAKAN: Yeah, look, again – I have to be thankful for the discipline and the consistency that martial arts training has offered me from a very young age. So for me it's no biggie, it's what I grew up doing, it's all I know really, so I train about 7 to 12 sessions a week. 7 to 12 sessions a week: that includes weights training, that includes bodywork, calisthenic type of training. That includes Taekwondo, boxing, Muay Thai, as well as the flipping and the tricking as well. So I like to really mix it up and keep it interesting for me because I feel that's the way to grow.

So I always try to find ways to be a little uncomfortable and this tricking side is like that, the flipping side is challenging because it's consistently overcoming fears. I remember when I learned my first backflip: the fear of going backward was very tough. So I try and keep my training consistent, no matter what we go through, no matter how busy we are, I always ensure that I get my sessions in, weekends, weekdays, late nights, early mornings – who cares, it doesn't matter for me, I've got to find the time to do it because it's who I am and it's what I love to do.

GEORGE: That's awesome, so embrace the discomfort.

HAKAN: Exactly, and that's what I look to do. I'm going, pushing onto 30 now, I feel great and I always try to keep in shape, work on my flexibility, work on my stretching and just keeping on I guess.

GEORGE: Awesome. Hakan, it's been really great to chat with you. Where can people find out more about you, because I know there's so much to what you offer for the martial industry – where can people find out more about what it is that you do and offer?

HAKAN: They can contact me directly through Facebook, Hakan Manav is my name, so they can contact me through there. I guess all my videos and the program that I offer in terms of seminars and things like that are on my website at www.hakanmanav.com. And for more information about our academy, it's basically www.australianmartialarts.com.au.

GEORGE: All right, excellent. Thank you very much for speaking to me this morning Hakan.

HAKAN: Not a problem, not a problem George, it's my pleasure, thank you for having me.

GEORGE: Thanks, we'll speak soon, cheers.

HAKAN: Thanks bye.

GEORGE: All right, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the interview – how good was that? So many things to learn and besides the business value, if you head over to his social media account, look for Hakan Manav on Facebook, on Instagram. I will have links to that in the show notes, martialartsmedia.com/14 and think back to the fact that Hakan mentioned that he was scared about doing a backflip at one stage! It just shows once you push those barriers or fear away, what is humanly possible.

Thank again for listening, we'll be back here next week. If you want to support the show, it's a little effort on your part, not much. All that we ask for is a good review with iTunes. This helps us rank within the iTunes directory system, whatever you want to call it. And it gets the word out. It gets the word out to martial arts school owners like yourself, and what I'm finding interesting is that a lot of people are listening to the show that aren't martial arts business owners, but they are finding value in just the transformational journeys of top martial arts business owners.

And for myself as well, the value that I'm getting is just tremendous, because the information shared where I initially started and thought it's all going to be business: it's not, it's the deeper things behind the business. It's the mindset, the transformations and the philosophies that come strong from martial arts that just makes the podcast valuable, and obviously, the information that is being shared. So if you want to help out the show, martialartsmedia.com/itunes and just leave us a review. Five-star reviews boost our rankings, but an honest review would be awesome.

That's it from me, we'll be back again next week with another show. Thanks again for listening, I'll speak to you soon – cheers.


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13 – A World Class Australian Jiu Jitsu Jetsetter’s Perspective On The Perfect Martial Arts Gym

She travels the globe, dominates tournaments and is the driving force behind Australian Girls in Gi. Here's BJJ Black Belt Jess Fraser's story.



  • The necessity of female martial artists sticking together to overcome challenges
  • Cross training in other martial arts gyms: great for community or a retention killer?
  • How male martial artists can improve their teaching skills with the ladies
  • What injuries can teach you about training martial arts
  • What the meaning of a true martial arts family is
  • The one core skill set martial arts instructors need to drive transformation
  • And more

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



You wouldn't believe: I walked in with this sling on and these guys, they remember you and they remember your whole name and they remember everything about you and they run across the room to hug you. It’s just the most incredible thing.

Hello, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media podcast, episode number, lucky  13. Today I have a different guest with me – different in the sense of, not a martial arts business owner, although she has a leading organization within the martial arts industry and she's also a martial arts expert, Jess Fraser. And once again, the attempt was to go one angel and the conversation really evolved into some deep elements and there's some real gold there for you as a martial arts business owner.

The reason why I want to do interview Jess is because she's quite the jet-setter. She travels all over the world, I've been following her on social media for a while and if she's not in New York, she is in Canada, she's around America, Las Vegas. She is in Bali, she's in Melbourne – so she's truly living the martial arts lifestyle of just being passionate about training and learning, and also, have a great organization, Australian girls in GI, which we're going to talk more about. 

So, first up, some news and what's been happening. You might have seen posts around, depending on when you're listening to this of course, about a survey that we've been running at martialartsmedia.com/survey and it's all about discovering what it is that you as a martial arts business owner need or struggling with, your pain points and what the obstacles are. Then we can find out where things are going wrong, what do you need help with: then we can interview better guests and of course, we can deliver better content and better solutions and the result of that is putting together a web class that is going to be invaluable by the way it’s going now.

And I'm not saying that to toot my own horn here: it’s shaping up to be a very valuable piece of information that I'm going to give away for free that most people would be charging a lot of money for. That's just from comparing to what the information that is floating around the internet at the moment and what people have been told to do with marketing their martial arts school, I can tell you that it could be a good game changer for you. And that's not me to hype up the training, it's truly a decade worth of experience and other people's experience that has gone into this.

So, I'm really looking forward to releasing that. Depending on when you're listening to this, we'll keep this survey going, because no matter when you're listening to this, we'll keep it running so that we can keep adjusting our approach and keep interviewing more guests and keep optimizing the delivery of our content, which is what you would probably have seen in the solo type shows coming up and the solo videos: it’s all based on the feedback that I'm getting through this survey. So thank you for that if you have completed it.

If you haven't, it’s at martialartsmedia.com/survey, it will take you about two minutes – much appreciated if you can do that for us. If you're enjoying this show and you would like to leave us a review, we would much appreciate it, it truly helps us in the rankings. You can go to martialartsmedia.com/itunes, I put the link there, so martialartsmedia.com/itunes and that will lead you to iTunes, just leave us a review. A five-star review would be magic, but an honest review would be appreciated. All right, so that's it from me, please welcome to the show Jess Fraser.

Good day everyone. Today I have with me a different guest. If you've been following the podcast for a while, we've been talking a bit to martial arts business owners, martial arts school owners and getting their perspective on how they run their business, how they do their marketing and all the rest. So today I wanted to turn the table and I wanted to bring in an expert martial artist, but not just anyone: someone who travels the globe, truly lives the martial arts lifestyle. I don't think she's ever in Australia – well, I did catch her in Australia now and I want to welcome you to the show, Jess Fraser – how are you doing today Jess?

JESS: Great George, thanks for having me.

GEORGE: All right, cool. So a bit of an intro, but first and foremost, from your side, who's Jess Fraser?

JESS: That's a big question, isn't it? I guess for the purposes of today, the easiest answer is: I am a black belt, I have recently received my black belt from my coach Justin Sidelle, who is based out of Bali MMA. He's an American guy, he's from San Fran and he's now based out there, so that sort of sums up what I'm like. I'm quite international and a bit of gypsy, which some people think is a bad thing and I think is a really great thing. But yeah, I travel the world training  Jiu Jitsu . I've been based out of Australia for a long time, but for the past 14 months, I've been traveling exclusively for  Jiu Jitsu  and plan to do so for the next year or so again.

I'm a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu , I'm also the head and founder of a huge organization called Australian Girls in Gi, which is Australia focused, but of course has female members from all over the world. And basically, we're a gym and affiliate neutral community organization that fosters the growth and development and retention predominantly of women in the sport of Jiu Jitsu . So that's kind of being my greatest achievement in life, both of those two things. And I'm living the life based on them.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. We're definitely going to expand on the girls in GI, but for now, just a bit more about your martial arts career. You do travel a lot, so I take it there's a lot of competition involved in tournaments?

JESS: Yes, well, there was. I started competing very early on, I think 10 months into my journey, I was doing the ADCC trials and came second in that. And then about a year later, I was later in Abu Dhabi representing Australia as a blue belt, so it's been a lot of competition for me, but mainly it was because I felt like to lead an organization like I wanted to, I really needed to be an authority in some way.

And because I didn't have the belt that I wanted to be the leader that I wanted, I felt like I had to prove myself through competition. And I guess over the years I realized that maybe don't mean as much as how you treat people and what you give to the community and how you are within the community, you know? Maybe it does, but you don't need to exclusively be a competitor to be a great leader.

At the time as a blue belt or a purple belt or a brown belt even, I felt like I needed to compete a lot, so my competing was prolific. I've been to Abu Dhabi three times, I won the trials three times, which is a pretty good run. I'm a NAGA champ and all that kind of stuff, I've done a bunch, like the advanced division of NAGA or whatever, I've been to the world's a bunch of times and I've won medals there. And I've won medals once I've gone over to Abu Dhabi, I've done all that kind of stuff. I've never taken the top spot, I would love to, but at the same time, I'm in the game, you know?

I'm running with the pack and I'm proud of that, and I've been at each belt level. Yeah, that's kind of being me as a competitor. I have a background of, I came from a background of teaching krav maga, I was an instructor in that for a long time and before that, I was a yoga instructor. So my life for the past 13 years has been quite physical and the last 10 years has been in self-defense and martial arts as a whole.

GEORGE: OK. I find it interesting that you say that you had this bigger vision all along and that you felt that doing all these achievements in martial arts was what's going to allow you to be recognized as that leader. Am I right in saying that you didn't really feel you could be the leader that you are with your organization based on your martial arts credentials?

JESS: Yeah, I felt like, maybe it was just a personal perception, but in Australia, I'm the 12th female to earn her black belt in Australia. We couldn't even fill a bus, you know? There's not many of us and there're not many brown belt women, so it's really quite new in Australia to have a female black belt at the table, as it were. There are so many male black belts here, the community is actually really strong and really large, but as far as females, not so much. I sort of felt a bit of a , who are you, but who do you think you are, to start this organization that was a bit challenging for some of the old school guys.

And I say guys, because I mean the guys, it wasn't the women who were stopping me from doing it. There was  a lot of pushback about creating an organization that was about breaking down the walls of cross training and really bringing women together to train. Now, I had to. It's not like Australian Girls in Gi was aimed to only be, oh, we're all about unity and all gyms should come together. The fact of the matter is there was just the only female at each gym, so if we wanted to train with other females, it was out of necessity.

That kind of cross training and all welcome policy, it's not that I was ever going to exclude anyone, but we desperately needed the coaches that were men to give us the green light on that, you know? It's only just now in the last year or so that female coaches are emerging in Australia of higher rank. I felt that as a lower rank, I didn't have the authority of the black belt or the 20 years in martial arts or whatever. I did have a lot of experience in yoga and krav maga, but we all know that that's not necessarily transferable, definitely not physically.

I felt like I had to do my time and earn the respect of the community, and whether that be proving myself out on the mats, or proving myself with my rank or the quality of my  Jiu Jitsu  or whatever, I just felt like I had to just not get anything wrong, you know? Not cause any dramas with anyone, try not to cause any politics, just really toe the line so I can let this thing happen. I also think that even if I was a competitor that was losing a lot that would be cool for the community too, at least they'd see me trying and failing and that in itself would lead other women that wanted a hero in that department as well, you know?

So either way, it would have been fine, I need to be trying, I needed to be perceived to be trying, so I could be really a part of the community. From the get go, from my very first competition, I competed, and then I was straight on one of the tables saying, hey, do you need some help and I was always volunteering and I was helping on events, from the get go, just trying to be as proactively involved in the community as possible, whether that be out on the mats or reffing or whatever – I just needed to be everywhere to try and make this thing happen for Australian girls in GI. And it worked, whether my process was right or wrong, it doesn't matter, we've ended up in a really great place.

GEORGE: Ok, it's got to be hard to avoid politics – I said we'll get to this later, but we're talking about it now, so we might just expand to it and then go back to the other stuff we want to discuss. I can see how there's got to be some politics and a feel of a business threat of a way, there's this organization under your own organization and what does it involve? How do you get this message across, to explaining to people what it is about and how it might benefit their organization with Australian girls in GI?

JESS: The thing is, the gyms that aren't open to cross training and aren't opening their doors either way, in or out, just aren't involved and that's totally fine. I'm not a missionary, I'm not trying to convert them. If that's what that style of gym requires, that's totally what they want to do and I'm not interested in pushing back on that, I'm not trying to make a change, I'm trying to foster help for those women out in the community that doesn't have another female to train with and their coach is like, you know what you need? You need to roll with another chick! I want to be able to solve that problem for her.

So the gyms that are really into it and feel safe and secure with open doors policy or a visitors policy or travelers policy, they're really involved. And what we can say absolutely is proven, is I can prove to you student retention. So if you're a coach and very often business owner, which is often the same person, I can prove to you that I can positively influence retention of your members. Now, we all now that that's just as difficult as sales, and just as important as sales, is to keep them. So if I can help you with that, I can help your income! Simple as that, the amount of women that's in the sport that tells me, look, Jess, you're the reason that I'm still here, is ridiculous!

They call me , they have me as a service where they can message me, they can contact me online and stuff, and when they're having a hard time or really feeling like they want to give up, they reach out either to me personally, or the AGIG community and we keep them! We save them.

GEORGE: OK, cool. Sorry to interrupt, but because we've gone down his track, now we've just got to take one step back:  how does it exactly work, what exactly is the organization about?


JESS: So what it is, predominantly, like my day-to-day is an online forum that's very heavily moderated on Facebook, so we have a public page that people, like fans and mainly male teammates ad stuff and fans of female Jiu Jitsu and that kind of thing, they follow that and they can see our events coming up and see the photos and what we're getting done on the public page. And then, that sort of filters down as the second tier of the thing and it's the members. The members are all in a closed group, it's just one of those group forums on Facebook.

Each person that sends me a request gets a relatively large letter of terms and conditions as a response when they send that request, though. It's full of things, like terms or conditions of involvement. Now, there's no fees or anything to be involved in AGIG at all on that level, but we do ask, I do kind of list what I require out of members and that is like politics free, no bitching, no reporting to your coach that you roll with some girls and her arm bars are bad – there's none of that.

We're a unified group and try to lift each other up as a whole and then the group is used for discussion and not defamation, so the girls can use the group online to discuss problems they might be having, as a teammate or a technique or whatever it is. Kind of like the conversation that most guys would have on the mat after the training sessions or in the changing room after the training session – when you're the only chick on the mat, or the only chick in the changing room, you miss out on all of that conversation or perhaps you're not invited to the meal after training or whatever, so we provide that online.

We provide that communication and support and debriefing, very often there are positive things that the girls say after their training, like they finally got a sweep on some massive blue belt guy or whatever it is, and we all cheer for her, she's all happy, you know – that's what we do on day-to-day, that's the support on day-to-day. The group on Facebook is predominantly women, but there are male coaches in that group, like kind of invitational, like silent witnesses in the group so it is really important that the space is a space where women ask questions of women that answer and that females get the opportunity to see that in fact, like all the other women their peers do have a lot of authority in this field and are problem solvers and experienced and all that kind of stuff.

So it's really important that the male involvement in that membership online forum is quite silent, but those guys also really benefit from it, so they're getting to know they can go to understand things in Australia with this being so young. These guys are learning how to teach women as well, it's not an everyday thing for a lot of them, and a lot of these people are really remote. In Australia, the key places that you'd be doing BJJ would be probably the major cities, but there's heaps of Jiu Jitsu along the coast, you know?

And a lot of the coaches are purple belt guys and they don't have a lot of support, maybe they're one trip away to a black belt occasionally, they might have one female student and they've never taught a female before, they don't even know how to deal with her size or whatever, so we're supporting everybody in that way, the teams that want to be involved. So that's the online presence, but then my actual life, my real work, I create face-to-face events.

We do female-only competitions throughout Australia, but I try not to focus on the competitions to be honest, because I think that's not what everyone wants to be doing, but it is what a lot of people want to be doing, so I  try not to focus fully on that, but I do provide it as a service if they want it, mainly for the little girls. The under 12 are the most popular because mine's the only comp where they don't have to fight boys, which is like a Godsend for a lot of them. I do round robin style things, for ages 5 and up, so we do get a huge adults presence to that, but we also get predominantly little girls, they just want to have a wrestle with a girl, and it very often doesn't happen at the comps for them. So I do that.

I also do seminars all over the place, because I want to share my Jiu Jitsu with these girls, I got to black belt with the help of this group, so I want to share my black belt with them, that's really important to me. I also travel Australia, doing events so that every single woman gets to roll with a female black belt. I give my body to that, I really want them to know what they're gunning for, and to that end, I try to stay really good at this sport, so what they're gunning for is really high quality and it's really important to me that that's what they see, and that's setting the bar.

I spend a lot of time and money cruising Australia, trying to get that to happen and then I do also run camps and they're awesome. The camp in Melbourne, which is coming up in January, and I think we've got maybe 25 tickets left. That camp in January is huge, it's 4 days, I think it's 6 instructors, 5 assistant instructors, it's non-stop Jiu Jitsu and socializing and it's all accommodation included. it's all meals included, it's out in the bush setting and there are canoeing and pools and it's just the best thing ever, so that's the big thing that I spend most of my year working on.

And also, I do camps in Bali, so I've got one coming up on the 21st with Luanna Alzuguir – hall of fame, everybody knows Luanna, she won ADCC three times. I'm doing a camp with her, which is quite a different style camp, and that's coming up in Bali like I said, 21st of November till the 25th and that's a total DIY thing. You do your own accommodation, your own food, you just meet us at the gym each day. So that's what I do, I make it happen for the girls.

GEORGE: Awesome. I'm going to be getting back to this one more time, but I want to stop at Bali quickly because I've been following you on social media and I see you travel a lot.

JESS: A lot, yeah.

GEORGE: You pretty much live in Bali. I think I saw you in New York as well, around the States, I think there was a time you were in San Francisco or Canada, I can't remember which one.

JESS: Yeah, yeah.

GEORGE: So all over the place. Now, with all this traveling, what is the biggest benefit that you're getting, what is the biggest learning experience that you're getting from traveling and training in all these different locations?

JESS: The biggest thing that I learned this past year, what I did is, I was a brown belt when I left Australia and I really felt, again, that I had to prove myself a little through competition. The biggest lesson for me obviously is that I don't, but I went on a big journey, I kind of packed up my life and left my lovely boyfriend and left my job and my house and everything and sold everything to go on this big mission to do a lot of competition.

I had a lot of world's and Pan Ams and all the NAGAs and STRAGA open, and everything you can possibly think of. Abu Dhabi, everything, paid for, booked, everything, and I went on the journey, and I sort of started in Bali and really worked out that that was my team and that Justin and I really worked well together. And that we will continue to, whether it was remotely or not. He's a really great coach from a distance as well, he's such a great mentor to me, he's always challenging me and asking a lot of me technically and he's really expanded my Jiu Jitsu.

I started there and then I came back to run that camp at the beginning of the year in January and I jet-setted again and went to Hawaii and Hawaii was amazing. I was kind of unsure, not really knowing what I was doing. I was sort of being a bit like a Pokemon, finding them and fighting them, you know? I was just cruising around, trying to get to every gym possible in the world and just roll with everyone. I just wanted to feel what other people are doing and see how they're staying inspired and stuff because I was feeling a bit stagnant in Melbourne when I decided to leave everything behind. I was just on a mission at the time, I was preparing to compete.

I got to Vegas and I hurt myself pretty badly, pretty quickly. I ruptured my bicep, I did a pretty major tear on my left shoulder and ruptured the bicep on my left arm, so I was out of action for a long while and had to find a way to come to terms with that, that I packed up my whole life to travel for Jiu Jitsu and was sidelined for the first 2 weeks. And then, within four months, the bicep fully ruptured and it was the weird thing, it was kind of hanging on apparently by a thread, and on a Thursday I fully ruptured it choking someone. On Monday, because it was fully detached, I was rolling again, and I was at Marcelo Garcia‘s academy by that Monday.

I guess the big journey for me has been about finding a way to be in this sport without being a competitor, even though I want to be really good at it. Just discovering how other people are approaching that, big lessons about acceptance and friendship and support in the sport and what is truly important to me, because even in the four, four and a half months I had off, my life in Jiu Jitsu didn't change. In fact, my involvement in Jiu Jitsu didn't change at all, so it really taught me that the physical side of it is just sort of like the way to be involved in the community.

It became much more holistic for me and I am now sort of traveling more in Australia, now that I'm traveling Australia, I'm traveling more for the relationships than the sport. But I guess big lessons for me were about balance in life and maybe not putting all your eggs in one basket and even though I was injured, I was traveling and there's no way that you can wake up in the morning in Vegas as an Australian and think, oh God, it’s all bad – it’s all good! You're not at work, and you're traveling and you've got all these amazing people that you can go and see, and I just think that this community really can lift you up, even in some pretty bad times.

I traveled and I went and I saw my family, that's why I ended up in Canada and then I trained with a  bunch of teams in Montreal, even though I couldn't roll. There was a top team in Montreal, they took care of me. I couldn't roll, I couldn't do anything. I couldn't because I was in danger of making this arm worse that we thought it was going to get better. And they just let me come in and drill. These were complete strangers and they helped me get through a really really hard time in my life. They had a rack up at the back, so you come in for class with these guys and Fabio is an exceptional team leader.

He would let me come in, welcome me with open arms, he remembered me from an Abu Dhabi fight, I fought one of his girls in Abu Dhabi, a purple belt. And she was on the mat, preparing for camp and instead of automatically assuming, oh, you guys will be in the same division, which we would have been for world's, he was like, come on in, jump on the mats!

And they had a sports rack in the back of the gym, so I'd come in and we'd do drills that would not hurt me every day for an hour and then when the guys got to roll, I'd just do squats. So it was a really nice couple of months with those guys, they really supported me to get me back to the mats. And they did, I got to a point where I could roll light and then I fully ruptured the bicep and as soon as it was gone and I knew I could roll, I was on the plane straight to Garcia!

GEORGE: This is going to be maybe a tough one, but let's say you take Marcelo Garcia out of his gym: what is it that stands out with training there in comparison with other gyms?

JESS: Paul Schreiner is the short answer!



JESS: For me, I love Marcelo and like everybody, I look up to him in a huge way. I think that his Jiu Jitsu is absolutely beautiful, I think that his attitude is absolutely beautiful. I see him manage a room of people that are all elite, there's some bad ass guys in that room, and girls, real good people. And he's managing all these egos so beautifully and he does it with such good grace. Him and his wife, they're just doing an incredible job with that gym. I don't know much of the back workings of that space, but I've always been really welcomed in there and I'd been out there, it's almost three years ago now, but at the time I was there, I'd been out there two years before for world's prep. And these are people that let me come in as a purple belt.

I paid my fees, which doesn't really allow me how I was behaving as a purple, but I paid my fees, turned up pre-worlds prep and was just trying to tear through everyone. I was like, I'm getting ready for world's, it's my time to bash people! It's like, you pay the fees to the gym, but there are these people there that train every day, it's their bodies you're using for that pre-camp. Maybe they didn't sign up for your pre-camp. Maybe your pre-camp doesn't mean as much to them as it does to you and I look back now and I think it was a really unfair way to behave.

So I went in there this year and was like, you wouldn't believe: I walked in with this sling on and these guys, they remember you and they remember your whole name and they remember everything about you and they run across the room to hug you. It’s just the most incredible thing and most incredible sport, they're kind of like my heroes that I follow on Instagram and stuff. From my first experience from feeling like that with Marcelo's, where it was so warmly welcoming, I wanted to go back there.

But the biggest thing for me, and I love Marcelo, I'm not saying it like I have favorites, but for me, the first time I was there, Paul Schreiner just blew me away as a coach. He is just exceptional and he's dedicated his life I believe to becoming an exceptional coach, he's continually upskilling as a coach. I'm sure as an athlete he just loves the sport so he just gets better by design, but this is a man that invests in the coaching aspect, which I find is really rare across the board.

GEORGE: How does that differ? What exactly do you mean, how does his coaching compared to another coaching?

JESS: I think that he is really well studied in communication and I asked him quite a bit about it because I went back there for him. I wanted to just sit myself in front of that guy and go – just teach a man, I just want to see you teach. I want to see your process and I want to see what you do. Of course, when I hurt myself at the beginning of the year, I had to make a decision on how I wanted to be involved in the sport and I couldn't be involved that year as a competitor and maybe never again, I don't know. I'm 37 and I'm broken, maybe this is why people quit competing.

That's something to come to terms with, but as far as my interest and what I learned was, I don't want to just be an exceptional athlete, I want to be an exceptional leader and a coach. And I don't think that just comes from being good at a sport. I trained for two years to become a teacher of yoga and we weren't just learning how to do the act of yoga, we were learning how to teach and how to communicate with different personality types. It was two years full-time study, and I just haven't seen really many of my coaches learn how to teach.

They might be really great at the sport, but I would like to see, and this is what I search for, exceptional coaches. And I don't think that that just happens accidentally by having a cool personality and being charming, I think that happens when people are really interested and they're upskilled in both departments. Not just physically as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner, they really are learning how to communicate. There're heaps of courses online that I've seen that are available that people just don't utilize, and they should. I can't just expect to use Facebook and think that I'm going to influence the world if I don't go find out how social media works. Get upskilled, whatever I'm going to do, learn about the thing!

For me, it’s very clear that Paul is investing in how to coach and I did ask him about it, he said that he studied a lot about how Iyengar yoga practice is done and how they approach teaching this thing. It’s very perfect, very detailed practice. I don't know much about the rest of his background, but it’s very clear that he's not just upskilling and not just focused on the sport, he's focused on how to communicate the sport to others, which is what a coach is. If you take Marcelo, long long long story short, if you take Marcelo out of that gym, oh man, there's layers under that. You take Marcelo out, you've got Paul, you take Paul out, you've got Bernardo. You take Bernardo out, you've got Marcus Dimarco, who is ridiculously good – all of these men are really fantastic like athletes and coaches, but for me, it's Paul Schreiner that just blows my mind.

GEORGE: So, it’s all in the communication, in the process, not as much the expertise, but the delivering of the expertise.

JESS: Absolutely, absolutely. For me, one of my first coaches, and he's still a coach, my coach Martin Gonzales at Vanguard in Melbourne, one of the things that he said to me years ago was that he sort of finds potential offensive, that potential is actually a waste if it’s not realized. It’s a waste, potential should be just the precourse to something great, you should be able to do something with it. And if you don't, that's on you. It’s not the greatest of things, I sort of see athletes that are really good at this sport are not necessarily the greatest of communicators.

They have the potential to be, they have all this information that they could hand over to you, but if they don't, it's value to them and them alone. And that's totally fine, that's the kind of athlete and person that you're going to be, but it’s not the side of sport or the community that I'm looking for. It sort of comes down to, again, with Australian girls in GI, there's two groups: the teams that really don't want to be involved in that sort of thing and the teams that do, and that's cool.

I'm all for the teams that do, the ones that want to cross train and get involved: they're my tribe, they're my people, let's do great things together. And I'm kind of leaning towards in having mentors and leaders that weren't necessarily the greatest of all time, even though, obviously, Marcelo is amazing, but I want them to be the greatest of all time at sharing. Sharing the information and what is truly beautiful in a coach is if they're the greatest in the world in sharing information, but they also have the greatest Jiu Jitsu behind them.

And I used to look at that sort of backward, I used to look for the best in the world, athletes, but the reality is, a lot of them that have got to that point have done so by having to be really self-focused. I wouldn't say narcissistic, but they had very self-focused lives. And to flick that switch just because they've retired might be quite hard for them. I don't know, it’s just stuff we haven't looked into and haven't unpacked yet. I don't think that just because you grew out of competition, whether it be through age or injury that makes you an exceptional coach, no.

GEORGE: Excellent, that's insightful. A few more questions on that now: the reverse of that – what's the worst practice that you see in your travels? Don't hold back.

JESS: The worst practice, how do you mean?

GEORGE: Why would you avoid training at a certain gym? Is it a commonality that you see around the world, whether it’s in New York or Bali or anywhere, that you feel it’s not acceptable, it’s not a place that you would train for that reason?

JESS: Ok, so somewhere where you wouldn't revisit?


JESS: To be fair, everywhere I had on my list was great, and I had a massive list, and it changed from time to time. I really want to do a huge east coast of America tour, there're some people over there that are just off the hook. There's such a great run of people if you go all the way from New York down to the tip of Florida – man, it just never ends, but I just ran out of time and money and stuff. But everywhere I went was really great. I chose names definitely, even though I've just said I shouldn't do that, but I've had these dreams of meeting certain people for a long time and so I kind of had a list of names that I wanted to follow.

And I did ask a lot of questions, there were some people that I had the plan to go to, and a couple of people said, well, I don't know, maybe his online presence is great, but he's not very good of a teacher. So I listened to people, I listened to my peers for guidance, and  never really hit any roadblocks. I hit two problems in San Diego that I would say I wouldn't return for. One of them because of expense, there's a couple of gyms there that I just can't justify it – it’s Jiu Jitsu, you know? I've already spent $6000 to be there as an Australian and I can't justify $80 a day, I just can't do it, which is really disappointing. So I guess just out of necessity, there were a couple places I couldn't return to.

There're a couple of places that would require you to either remove your patches, which I am never going to do for anyone, no one's going to tell me to remove my patches. That's fine, if that's what they don't want in their gym, or a higher GI at an exorbitant price, I remember where they would be a brand, so you get stuck in this loop of getting sort of sold to, so you have to buy all their equipment so you can train with them. And that's fine if that's what they want to do. Like I said, if people want to be involved, they want to be involved with my thing and I guess that's what this business is doing as well, just setting the price at what they believe is the value of their academy and I agree with them, it’s absolutely worthy of that price – I just can't pay it.

That was me as a traveler – if I lived locally, yeah, I would probably train there, but I just can't afford the drop in prices, so that was a road block for me. Having said that, I'm happy to pay. I've paid my way around the world, I didn't expect to walk in and have any handouts anywhere.  I've definitely paid everywhere I went and I pride myself on that. I don't want to be in anyone's pocket, it's just, I know my limits with costs, you know?

So that was one thing. I also had a really nasty interaction with a very well regarded black belt at some point in my travels, where he really questioned me about being a nomad. We trained and he's been a hero of mine for a long time, so I was really hurt by it, but I understand what happened now. I came as a visitor and definitely they allow visitors at that gym and welcome them, but I believe that that is just because that's just the way that the sport has gone and they're sort of backed into a corner to not be closed doors anymore because of their fame.

But I don't believe that the head of that system likes it, I think he, in fact, resents it a great deal. He took me aside and kind of shamed me in front of a bunch of people for being a gypsy, for having more than one team patch on my back, for being on the road, a whole bunch of stuff. Said to me, look, I can tell in your Jiu Jitsu, I can tell by the way that you feel when you play Jiu Jitsu that you've either never had a master, or never let anyone be your master. Really kind of domineering, quite intimidating, very upsetting conversation, where he tried to question everything about me.

And that's fine, that's cool. I know self-defense, and I mean that on an emotional level, so I was just like, oh cool, that's really interesting, thanks for that and just left. That's fine, but that I found quite alarming and now that I've been through it I find that that was, you asked me earlier about the big lessons of the trip and I really thought on that one for a long time, cause I really loved him, I had all of his books, I really loved him and it was very evident that women on the mat were challenging to him and he called me a gypsy as if it was an insult and all that kind of stuff.

And then my beautiful coach in Bali, Justin, when we spoke – and I never mentioned who the person was but we spoke and I said I had a kind of a hard encounter and I spoke about a couple of things and he was like, yeah, but you're a gypsy, it’s the best thing! So I had these two men call me a gypsy: one thought it was beautiful and one thought it was horrifying, so it was quite interesting. But again, it comes back down to this thing: there're lots of academies and lots of humans that really respond well to kind of a dictatorship, they want to thrive in that environment.

These are guys that would probably thrive in the army too, but there're lots of humans that can't thrive in the army and can't thrive in that environment. So I see myself and people like me within the community that really liked cross train and travel and make this a lifestyle, not a membership. We really need that, say Studio 540, oh my god! That to me is the most progressive, amazing place, I love what they've done down there.

There's a whole bunch of coaches and they're all elite and there's Leticia Ribeiro there and Justin Flores is there, it’s so good. It's a melting pot of shared interest and shared the joy for this thing by the beach. That's everything to me that sums up why I love Bali MMA, you know? And why I love training up here in the Gold Coast and all over Byron, all this kind of stuff. It’s a lifestyle for me and being called out for it, saying it like I was doing the wrong thing by not having respectful lineage or loyalty, I was really taken aback by that with this.

He's a professor and he's somebody I looked up to for a long time, so the big lessons for me, I guess apart from acceptance of myself and my role in this community was I started to see the correlation between, everybody says, it’s my family, the team is my family, they talk about his family thing and there's all this push for respect and lineage and in fact, I kind of looked at that and I dissected it and looked at the idea of family and the fact that not all of us – and I'm not talking about my family because my family is wonderful, but not all of us are lucky enough to be born into the perfect family.

Not all of us are lucky enough to have two parents that stay together and are loving and are brave enough and are bold enough to get us through everything that we need to get through. Maybe there's fraction in the family or maybe the parents weren't even there or maybe there's a problem with your brother or whatever it is, but there's plenty of people that don't have the perfect family and don't have the luxury of it and to me, I've started to see family in that way. Lineage, definitely in the Jiu Jitsu community is a luxury, it’s actually a privilege.

These men that are so stern about it, you should have one master and one lineage and everything else or whatever they say, some kind of swear word or something, some kind of insult about changing teams. The thing is, if you were lucky enough to get all the way through with one coach and one master that your really like and you still like his Jiu Jitsu, that is a privilege like no other and you should be happy as hell. It’s amazing. And you know what? I'm jealous because some of my coaches have failed me. The reason I bounced was because my coaches failed me, one of my coaches had a complete mental breakdown. It’s hard to stay loyal to a guy that's no longer in the sport.

So having this, not grand master, but it’s pretty close, guy call me out for being a creonte essentially, OK I thought, well, you know, you're lucky enough to have a  nice, perfect family with two parents and a brother and a sister and a dog, but the rest of us, us orphans that have to band together, our bonds are just as real and they're just as important and they're just as worthy and in fact, if you've got someone like me that's not had the best upbringing as it were in Jiu Jitsu, and she's still in the sport and she's doing great things for the community, I think that should be commended not condemned.

And I guess that's a big reassurance for me with Australian girls in GI. The amount of women that I know that had a boyfriend at their gym and then when the breakup happens, the boyfriend gets the gym and the breakup – how could she be loyal to her coach? How is she able to stay perfectly near the sensei kind of stuff, if she's also got this real world problem for her that means that her whole life's been turned upside down. She loses her friends and her teammates in that exchange and it happens!

It happens to women in this sport, I'm sure it happens to guys too, but more often I see the girls that have to move gyms and I think that those kind of people that stay in the sport, that's real loyalty. They're loyal to the sport and just because something happened at the gym doesn't mean they're in the wrong. I think there needs to be an alternative way at looking at cross training because some of us need to, some of us need to, otherwise, we wouldn't thrive.

GEORGE: That's excellent. Well, I've got to tell you, I applaud you for your individuality and to do that, you know, it's funny, we're probably going to end it here, but you almost talk about this whole dictatorship of martial arts, and it’s funny, you're part of this family, until you do your thing. It’s all family, but as long as you do family our way, it's OK, but if you do family your way, it's wrong.

JESS: Yeah, that's right!

GEORGE: That's true gold right there. Thanks a lot for your time, it’s been great chatting to you, I feel like we really hit the mark here in these last 20 minutes with your learning and your experience and I think it will be great, because the majority of the people that listen to this podcast are men and are obviously martial arts school owners and it will be a great insight for them to get a  ladies perspective on how it is for you on your side and how things work. So with that, with the Australian girls in GI, how do people get involved with the program?

JESS: The easiest way I would say is to go to the website and then there's a bunch of ways to get actually involved with Facebook, but just so you don't have to remember all the different links or whatever, there are links on the website. The website is www.australiangirlsingi.com. That's the website, there's the get involved in Australia and you can become a member or a fan. The member takes you through to the forum, so that's the group. It would just be facebook.com/groups/australiangirlsingi, so if you sort of do Australian girls in GI in any formation on Facebook, you will find us.

But it's important to know that there is two different groups, different areas online in Facebook. There's the public page, and you will pretty clearly find that that's a public page, because there's no discussion going on, that's just where we put all of our updates so the world even knows that we exist, because otherwise if we're in this closed group forum, you guys don't get to see it.

The closed group forum is in that way for function, we're keeping the girls protected. You've got to understand that the first words, Australian girls, people searching for that group are not always desirable! I'm glad they're a fan of my work, but they're not the same kind of fans that we want, so I had to make it a secret group to protect the women in there. And there's a lot of women in there that write things that they don't want the public to see.

We're dealing with a lot of PTSD and anxiety and that kind of stuff, there's a lot of anonymous posts that people message me and they can post anonymously via me. So just jump on Facebook, just type in the words Australian girls in GI. You'll find us, there're heaps of events coming up, there's always events coming up in Australia and the only one that's quite international at the moment is Bali and that's in a couple of weeks. So that's the easiest way to find us, just send me straight a message, I'll always get back to people if they send it straight though the age and I can direct you.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. Jess, thank you very much for your time.

JESS: No worries.

GEORGE: And I hope to speak to you soon.

JESS: Yeah, great, thanks, George!

GEORGE: Thank you, cheers!

And there you have it, thanks for listening. If you'd like the transcripts of this show, you can go to martialartsmedia.com/13, that's the number 13. And I really enjoyed this chat, because it’s different to what we normally do, talking about the marketing side of things, and people's journeys and so forth, because this is a completely different journey and Jess is so well traveled and has got such a lot of experience dealing with different martial arts schools, so it’s great to get that perspective and most importantly of all, a ladies perspective, because in the industry that's mainly male dominated, for the most part, it’s great to hear the challenges that a lady has, trying to fit in with the whole martial arts arena and things that get in the way of politics and relationship and so forth.

There're a few things there that really take home with your marketing and especially the coaching side. The one thing that she mentioned was learning from all these experts, it’s not always about the expert, but it’s the delivery of the content, the delivery of the teaching. We all, as martial artists, we all want to learn and prove ourselves and we've got to do that in all areas in life: we've got to do that in our business, we've got to do that in our communication and everything else. So there we go – thank you very much for listening, we'll be back again, we've got a few more great interviews lined up, so watch out for those- looking forward to speaking to you soon – cheers!


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12 – Why Martial Arts School Owners Fail At Marketing “Tactics”

Struggling with marketing your martial arts school? Maybe it's not your fault, but rather the key elements that are missing.


  • Why being a ‘one trick martial artist’ leads to marketing failure
  • The missing elements that no one talks about
  • Why your newest offer is not always the answer
  • Do this one thing prior to your offer to improve your results
  • The 6 critical elements of marketing for business longevity
  • And more

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


Hey, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and in this video, I'm going to be talking about why most martial arts school owners fail at marketing “tactics”.

Ok, so why do most martial arts school owners fail with marketing tactics? Now, I put emphasis on tactics because it's kind of like being the one trick pony martial artist. There're a few viewpoints on this, but I hope this analogy sort of gets to where I'm going with this.

Imagine you're doing martial arts and all that you do is, you've got one punch – that's all you do. Or you've just got one kick and that's all you've ever learned, you've only learned that one punch or that one kick. What happens if you break that one arm or you break that one leg or something happens? Now your whole game plan, your whole everything that you can do in martial arts is pretty much nonexistent because your one trick has been eliminated. And I see this happening a lot in marketing.

I've been doing this survey, this two-minute survey on the website to gather what pain points people are having about different aspects of marketing and with their business. And something that's been coming up a lot is people saying, let's say Facebook for example: how they started doing Facebook advertising and they're running all these ads and it's awesome and they're getting all these leads and it just dries out – what happens? What happened, it's worked once and now it doesn't work again. Well, there's a lot of things that come into play with that and you can't just be that one trick pony that only does that one thing.

Now, this is something I'm going to hammer on all the time, but go to Facebook right now: have you ever been on Facebook ready to buy or ready to join something? Have you ever gone down that track, especially for someone you're seeing for the first time, a brand that you're not familiar with – have you ever looked at it and said, wow, I just want to buy this! I don't want to look at my friends anymore, I don't want to look at funny videos, cat videos, or whatever it is that you're doing. It takes a lot for you to break that element and switch off and go, ah, I actually want to buy something. Unless it's of course super targeted and super relevant to something that you want, but for the most part of it, you're really doing interruption marketing.

It's a social platform, people are there to connect with friends and watch funny stuff and do whatever they do. They don't really care about your brand, they don't care who you are. And a lot of people don't get this, they think that everybody's just going to stop and bow down to what it is that you offer. But it's just crap, it doesn't work that way. So you've got to match people, you've got to have that message-to-market match, you've got to match people in the frame of mind that they are at and what they're doing and the way you do that is through valuable content.

Now, if you are doing advertising on Facebook and it's working right now and it stopped working, I want you to ask yourself this: have people been turning off to your brand because all that they see from you is ads? I mean, think about it: your market in a certain radius from where your club, your school is positioned, there's only so many people. You're going to very very quickly exhaust that market if you target all those people and all that you do is go offer, offer, offer, and buy it, buy it, sell, sell, join this, this offer, $20, three lessons, four lessons, free offer – whatever it is, offer, offer, offer.

Now, this brings up a whole other can of worms, because if all that you're doing is an offer, offer, offer, offer, then all that you're doing is, you're training your people to only respond to offers. So the value has become in the offer and not actually in what you do, whereas the value should really be in what it is that you teach, the principles of martial arts and what people are getting out of it.

But if you are just offer-centric, then you're always going to be depending on new offers and every month be drained, because you've got to get this next big offer up, because people only respond to offers. So what I'm getting to with all this is, it comes with a good content marketing strategy. You've got to be giving people value and you've got to be covering all bases with all these elements.

Now, I've got a free martial arts business plan that I give away, I talk about 6 elements of marketing. And the reason why that's so important is because it's not just one thing, you can't just focus on this, you can't just focus on that – you need all the elements. You need the converting website, you need to have a form of lead generation, you need a follow-up system and then you need all the social platforms and everything.

And I understand that that's got to be painful for you as a martial arts school owner,  because you've got enough on your plate: you've got to run the classes, you've got to run the school, you've got to run the staff. There's so much happening and then, unfortunately, this is only more that I participated other than training martial arts, is this digital world of all these different elements of marketing. Somebody said in a meeting to me the other day, it used to be so easy, you could just put up an ad in the newspaper.

Well, now it's not that easy, but you have the benefit of the internet. It's a lot more to know, but you can just reach so much more people in a shorter amount of time and you're able to track and measure what's working in advertising or not, which is something nonexistent really in a paper type ad or flyer. Not always, but for the most part of it, it's a very hard process.

So to embrace this whole online platform and online marketing thing for your business, you've got to find a starting point, and implement that, but you've got to be able to adapt, because if the only thing that you're doing is putting the ads in front of people's faces, they're going to turn off from it. And now you have lost complete opportunity to connect with this person because you didn't establish the value first.

You started with an offer – offer, offer, offer, no value, where you reverse that process: start with the value, give content, give people education about what it is that you're doing in your marketing and from that point, make your offer. But it's the same thing if people walk through the doors and you say: offer, this is how much – there's no relationship, there's no connection. I mean, who's really going to jump to the offer? People want the relationship first, and then they make decisions afterward.

So I hope that helps – look, depending on the time you're watching this, I've put together a survey. It will take you about two minutes, it's for school owners like yourself, it's just to establish what the different pain points are that you are having in the marketplace. And I want to put together a web class which, depending on when you're watching this, could be live already right now.

If you're not, I would love for you to take this survey, martialartsmedia.com/survey. So that's martialartsmedia.com/survey. If you can, help me out with that, much appreciated. It will take you about two minutes, you can keep it anonymous if you want, but that's going to enable me to learn about what the problems are that you're having, like this video, which has inspired this video. And I could put together a complete web class and help you with the problems that you're facing day-to-day in your martial arts school.

I hope that it helps, thanks a lot – I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers!


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11 – How You The Martial Arts School Owner Can Help Us Help You

George Fourie takes a different twist on this episode with a 2-minute survey request for martial arts school owners that promises a big return.

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


Hi guys, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and this week, we've got a bit of a different twist to the show.

Okay, so we've got 10 episodes down, we are at number 11, this is number 11. But this episode is going to be more a request from you than a give. So, there's been a lot of giving, we've done a few interviews with some great guests, we shared a few in between the tips and now I'm going to turn this on to you.

So, I want to know where to take this podcast, which direction I should be going. And I'm also preparing a web class, an online web class, where I'm going to be teaching all the different aspects of online marketing that we know work when building your business through the means of the internet.

So, the purpose of the web class would be to give you a good education on what you can be doing to get leads in through the door, how you can convert better by means of your website and when you speak to people, how you could automate these things on the back-end through follow up sequences and things we do with our services. And then also, how you can retain your students by doing these automated processes and having a way to provide value to your students over and above just from what you do in class.

So, in order to do this, I need to know from you and get a better understanding of what is the bottle mix in your business? What is it that you are struggling with as such? In your day-to-day operations, what are you struggling with specifically, and I mean specifically, not just, we struggle with lead generation, we struggle with retention – that gives us nothing to work with, so I need as much detail as possible.

I'm trying to figure out what is the biggest obstacle to keeping you where you are and not taking you where you want to be. And I want to see what we can do and how I can help you take that from the position where you are and take you to the next level through the means of online processes, online marketing and providing that link.

So, not to go off topic here and not to mumble on: basically, what I'm requiring from you is two minutes, two minutes to complete this survey, to tell me what it is that you are struggling with, the problems that you are having in your business, give me a better idea of where you are at now and the obstacles that you are facing. At that point what I can do is, I can look at everything that we provide and I can teach you. I can teach you means, what it is that we can do to help you if you want to do it yourself of course so that you can take this training.

And if you've got someone that does this stuff for you or you do this yourself, that you can do it, or that you are educated to make a right decision if you do want to hire someone to do all these services for you. But the only way to make those choices is to be educated, and I want to provide that education for you, but the only way that I can do that is to know exactly what it is that you are struggling with.

That brings me to this episode. My request to you is, take two minutes, please. If you go to martialartsmedia.com/survey, there is a short video. You can actually just skip through the link, take the survey and it's going to take you about two minutes. Fill it out as detailed as possible. You can keep this completely anonymous, so if you don't want to leave your name and if you don't want to leave your email address, that is fine.

But all that I really really want is some honest answers. On the flipside, though, if you have some pressing problems and you would like me to contact you personally, get on the phone or get on the Skype call, I'm more than willing to do that if I'm going to get a more clear understanding of the problems that you are having. I will commit the time and I'll chat with you as long as it takes, basically that I can get a clear understanding of how we can help you better.

So that's going to be for the web class and for this podcast of course. The more I understand about what it is that you want and what you need, the better I can interview people to deliver that information and prepare a very decent, intensive web class that we can go to all the details and some of those problems and take your business to the next level, take your business to where you want to go.

All right, so that's it for this show. Like I said, it's a bit of a twist, it's not tips and no value, but if you can help me with this part and you can give as much information as I need, then we can take this podcast from ten episodes to a hundred and we can make it really, really cool.

I can zone in and make sure that we have guests, whether they are from martial arts schools or coaches or external people, whoever they are, to solve these problems for you, we can do that by having the best understanding. So, please go to martialartsmedia.com/survey, please complete the survey for us and I will be back next week with another episode of the martial arts media business podcast. Thanks again, chat to you soon.


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

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10 – Should You Use A Facebook Profile Or Page (Or Both) For Marketing Your Martial Arts Gym?

Many Martial Arts Gym owners use a personal Facebook profile for their marketing. But what are the consequences of doing this?


  • Costly consequences of having a profile for your martial arts business
  • The awkward Facebook friend request
  • What is Edgerank and how it controls who sees your post
  • Why people don't see your Facebook status updates
  • Why you can't scale a Facebook profile
  • How to segment your friend lists for different posts
  • And more

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


GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com. In this video, I'm going to be talking about should you have a Facebook profile for your martial arts business, or should you have a Business Page and what's the difference: should you have both, what should you be doing in this scenario?

quotescover-jpg-95quotescover-jpg-95Ok, so should you have a Facebook Profile for your martial arts business, or should you have a Facebook Business Page for your business? I think that kind of answers it: of course you should have a Facebook Business Page, but let's explore the options why.

Now, first and foremost, if you have your business set up in the Facebook Profile section, which is actually just for a normal person, then that is actually against the terms of service for Facebook (see section 4), and they can actually shut your account down. If you're building authority on this account and you engage with people and your members most importantly, the last thing you want is your Facebook account shut down, so you do need a Business Page, instead of the Facebook Profile. Let's also look at the obstacles this is going to cause.

If you look at a Facebook Profile, it's a lot more personal. So for me to be able to connect with you, I need to add you as a friend. And it's a bit hard to be a friend with a business as such. You can be a quotescover-jpg-18friend with a person, but to be a friend with a business – it’s a bit awkward.

So what you've got to look at from that point: if I'm a prospect and I'm trying to find out more about your business, now I've got to engage with you on a personal level, which I don't want to do yet – I just want more information about your business. That is why a “like” is so much easier, because I can just like your business and I can follow your updates and find out more information about you, whereas, if I had to add you as a friend – which we are not friends, I'm just searching for information about you, it’s so much more personal. There's just a bit of an awkwardness of actually adding someone as a friend who's not your friend and you just want to find out if this is a business that you actually want to engage with and if you want to take up training.

quotescover-jpg-42So you definitely want the Business Page. Now, the Business Page has advantages and initially, it has some disadvantages because Facebook would prioritize your posts from a profile versus a Business Page. Now this gets a bit technical, but there's a thing called EdgeRank. And EdgeRank is basically Facebook's ranking mechanism, how they decide which posts show up in your news feed. So yes, it doesn't mean that if you post something on Facebook that it’s actually going to show up: it means that Facebook still has a look and prioritizes and sees, OK, well – what should be showing up in your custom news feed?

And of course, if you had a sister that just  had a baby, or there's a wedding anniversary or your friend has a birthday or something, these are things that are going to show up in your news feed, rather than a business promo special. And this is why it’s so important to have engaging content and be telling people stories. And this is where blogging and things like that come into play. So it’s not just about putting offers up and doing specials and so forth.

But that's going a bit off topic. So essentially, yes: you want to get onto the Business Page. Now, the Business Page is going to allow you to scale, which is something you're not going to be able to do with a Facebook Profile anyway because it maxes out at 5000 friends. As a martial arts business and if you're targeting your local area, you might never need that limit or reach that limit, but nevertheless – do you want a limit on your profile and your reach and do you want to have the risk of having your account shut down as such?

So you've got to get the Business Page setup. If you already have your whole business set up on the profile, you can convert that to a page, OK? That can be done. You are going to see a drop in your reach in the beginning, but hey – you're a business, so you should be extending that reach with paid ads, and that is something that you can do with a Facebook Page, which is something that you can't do with a Facebook Profile.

So that would be the first step for you to do, is to convert it, get it over to a Business Page and start providing value to your audience from that. If you're not getting reach and you've got a promotion, if  you've got something that you want your entire audience to see, then it’s very very easy to just hit the boost button and pay $5 or $10 and just make sure that your reach gets extended to people who like your page and their friends and so forth.

OK, so: should you use both? Why not? If you have your business and you are seen as an authority in your industry and people have already added you, then post on the page first, and then go to that page and share those posts onto your personal profile.

So now you're doing both and you're reaching both benefits. And yes, if there are people who are adding you on your personal profile and they're not friends as such, then it also becomes awkward, because you don't want to be rude and you don't want to not add them because you want to connect with them. But you can actually exclude posts from them.

So if you have people who are of a business nature that are adding you onto the personal profile, then add them to a list – there's a way that you can do this and you'll see this if you update on a status, there's a little drop down box that says public, friends, and this basically says who has access to the posts that you are posting.

So if you're only posting it to friends, only your friends will see it. If you want to post in public, it means anybody on Facebook can see it. And then, if you have a segmented list, martial arts students or whatever that are, martial arts prospects, you can have that as a list, and then when you do a status update, you can actually segment to that specific list and make sure that only that audience sees your posts.

All right, I hope that helps. Plenty more tips on how you can build your martial arts business . Go to martialartsmedia.com, I'll catch you in the next video – cheers!


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9 – Brannon Beliso: Replacing Contracts And Belt Testing Fees With Service And Martial Arts Merit Badges

Brannon Beliso shares his versatile life of being a musician, Ted Talks and teaching life principles through martial arts merit badges.

martial arts merit badges

martial arts merit badgesIN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How to avoid an unsustainable bad business model
  • A different perspective and philosophy to martial arts business
  • Locking people into contracts vs. giving them what they really want
  • Leading a new movement of business
  • The humility habit of success
  • What consequences occur when kids can't deal with rejection
  • And more

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


You need to have a very clear vision and vision is based upon purpose. Once you understand what your purpose is, then you create a vision to facilitate that.

Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 9. Today, for the first time, I cross international borders and have an American guest on board, all the way from San Francisco, Mr. Brannon Beliso. Now, of course, I'm still going to be interviewing multiple Australian martial arts school owners, but the aim of this podcast is to interview guests from all over the world, anyone who is a leader in the martial arts industry that is doing great things and anybody that we can learn from. And professor Brannon Beliso is definitely on the list of one of the great leaders within the industry.

I was familiar with these one merit badge systems before I knew who Brannon was, which is basically a system, a  reward system for kids. And we're going to touch a bit on that, which you might probably be familiar with already. But more importantly, we're going to talk about Brannon's philosophy on martial arts, how he got started, basically living on top of his dad's martial arts school premises when he was a kid and how he's focused on the servicing side, on providing a great service and modeling different companies on providing a great service to the martial arts industry I can assure you, lots to learn from Brannon in this episode.

Show notes and transcriptions are available on martialartsmedia.com/9, the number 9. And I would love your feedback: anybody that you recommend that I should be interviewing, any feedback on what we can improve on this show. And if you want to support us, the great way to do that is to head over to iTunes, which you'll find the link to this episode martialartsmedia.com/9. Find the link that goes over to iTunes and leave us a comment and a review. Five-star reviews help us to get up there in the rankings, but an honest review is much appreciated.

That's it from me for now- please welcome to the show professor Brannon Beliso.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have with me my first American guest, professor Brannon Beliso. Brannon Beliso is all the way from Sacramento, is that right?

BRANNON: San Francisco actually, San Francisco.

GEORGE: San Francisco, all right, I got that wrong in the first few seconds of the interview. All right, we'll definitely flip it from there. Now, you might be more familiar with Brannon's program as well, which is currently called one merit badges. This is the first thing I remember from when my son started martial arts, he's getting all these badges that were really impressive because it’s got all of these successful words and complimenting words for skills and things that they achieve in their classes. And now I actually meet the man behind the whole system, which is Brannon Beliso. So, welcome to the call.

BRANNON: Thank you, thanks for having me George, I'm grateful to be here.

GEORGE: First up Brannon, let's just go back to the beginning for the people who are not familiar with you – who is Brannon Beliso?

BRANNON: Well, somebody the other day labeled me: I am a multifaceted modern-day renaissance man. And I went, wow! I've actually got a couple of books I'm working on, a children's book, I've got an actual self-help type enlightenment book coming out. As you know, I have one merit badges, which will soon be called kids love life skills, that's in 300 or 400 schools across the globe and it's very big in Australia.

I own two martial arts schools, one in San Francisco, one outside in a suburb. And we have about 900 students between the two locations. But it's a very unique business model and I'm sure that with you and a little bit… I had a big music career in Asia about 20 years ago. I've owned several other businesses. I love to create, I love to impact, I love to make a difference. Anything that allows me to do that, whatever medium offers me that, you'll find me there.

GEORGE: Ok, so I’d almost call you a true artist – not just a martial artist, but a real artist because it sounds like you're using a lot of outlets for the expression of your creativity.

BRANNON: Absolutely. Now, with social media, you'll find me at Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram – any type of social media, anyway, I can communicate. I use Facebook live, I break all the rules. It's really about content. We know content is the king, whether it’s social media or otherwise and it's producing relevant content. Not just sales-based content, but relevant content that impacts people at a much higher level. And I find that to be an art form as well.

GEORGE: What came first, the music career or martial arts?

BRANNON: I'm going to date myself a little bit George. I started martial arts back in 1967, I'm actually 55 years old. So I started in 1967. At the time, kids weren't training and my father was one of my instructors. So as a child, I’d sit in the corner for two hours a night, 3-4 days a week I believe. And I’d have to sit in Seiza, kneeling position in silence to prove to these adults I wouldn't be disruptive if I was allowed in the class.

So I actually began training in San Francisco at the age of 5. I've done martial arts my whole life, but I never really looked at it as a viable business. I see the majority of our industry, I don't know how it is there in Australia, but I would say 80-90% of the industry, maybe 100 students, the owner is the operator, he teaches, he does everything. And that's pretty much the way they exist for the entire duration of their martial arts career.

And for myself, I felt that to be a very bad business model. I didn't see this to be profitable as I believe the martial arts instructor should be. Kind of like the teachers here in America get paid so little, or politicians make so much – I think it should be the other way around. Teachers that are educating children and making an impact should make so much more money.

So I never looked at it as a business, I always thought, I was a good soldier. I taught to my father while I was running other businesses, I taught my other instructors. So it was never really a business I looked at – I have to say, though, I had a school when I was 19 years old, down in Southern California in Los Angeles. But I was a fighter, so every night was fight night – within nine months, that school was closed, so I didn't really consider that a business, it was more of a hobby that fed into my training. So I didn't succeed with that. I was a great fighter, but the school went nowhere.

GEORGE: Ok, so not to go completely off that topic, but how does a musician – and I'm a musician, this is the self-interest coming in, I play the drums very passionately in my living room. Where did the music career art come in  Asia?

BRANNON: I think originally, my father managed this guy that was the Elvis Presley of the Philippines. So when he was here in America doing his shows and his tours, I was a young child. My father being a single father, I would tag along by default. So I already, at a young age developed a kinship for music. Then I started playing in bands and I did that well into my 20s.

I wasn't landing a record deal here and I got tired of being married to five guys – not to be discriminatory, but drummers are the artist! We're always turning over those drummers, right? All the time we're replacing a drummer. So we never developed the music because we're always trying to break in a new musician. I went solo, taught myself to play well enough on any one given instrument. Kept plugging along and eventually, I wasn't getting a record deal here and I landed one with Warner Brothers in Asia.

Had a top ten album, three-time ten hits. I did that for a number of years and the lifestyle was just too decadent for me. If I could just be on the stage every minute, I would be fine, but the rest of it wasn't something that really appealed to me.

So I gave it up and came back here and put out a very popular, my version of Tae Bo at the time. I liked it because it had music, it was martial arts, it was all sort of rolled up in one. So I put out of my own version that's still at Amazon, it sold quite well. And then eventually from that, I opened up my first school.

But you need to know, I think the thing with my platform or the message that I communicate with people George is, I don't believe in most of the philosophies that the martial arts industry offers us today: the contracts, the upgrades, the belt testing fees, the enrollment fees. They're always nickel-and-diming you.

When I hear that perception associated with the martial arts at all, that makes my heart very sad, when you can look into Wikipedia and you see a term McDojo, or black belt factory – that was very unappealing for me, that hurt my heart, having grown up in a martial arts school, because we actually lived above my father's martial arts school, so martial arts is a life for me. And I would never associate it with something like a used car salesman or McDonald's.

So what I set about doing George is, I created a service-based business model. And that's a huge movement. If you look at companies like Zappos, companies like Amazon, everything is working towards being more sales-based, getting rid of the sales scripts and service space, getting rid of the sales scripts  – all those things are going to the side. And you look at people's social media, like Gary Vee, Vaynerchuck would say the same thing: content is king, people don't care what you know until they know that you care.

So I created this business model which is very service based. And what we've done with that, which is very unique: both my schools, collectively, the first school, we broke our first million in year seven. That grosses a million a year, that's a 30% net – that's pretty phenomenal for a school in 3700 square ft. The new school that we have, which is only 18 months old, has 330 students and is on a path to do $700,000 this year. So people are very intrigued that there is actually data now because we're replicating it, and the people that I consult also feel that way.

Because at heart level, I don't believe a martial artist who wants to sit somebody down in an office and sell them a contract. And if you ask any mom what would she prefer: a month-to-month, or a long-term contract? I think any mom's going to tell you, I would prefer month-to-month. So if we look at it from that perspective, as an industry that we want to serve our clients at a higher level, George, then we're in a whole different realm. And from that, I've created this very unique business model. I lead the movement, I would say I'm one of the only successful people doing it this way. A lot of people are doing it with no contracts, things like that, but are not very profitable and they're not very successful.

GEORGE: it’s interesting, because at the end of the day, if you follow the service based business model, if you just put your focus on delivering, if you deliver, you're going to keep a happy client, rather than keep them there under this mess of contract that keeps them there unwillingly as such. But beyond the contracts, where do you think school owners are going wrong?

14075190_10204914864509733_127820860_oBRANNON: Well,  I think it's, number one, really defining your values and what your purpose is in this world. I learned at a very young age, sweeping in my grandmother's restaurant, you know these little coffee shops: I love service. I love serving people, whether I'm being paid, or not being paid. I love serving people. You come to my house, I'm the first one to cook dinner for you, and I just love to serve. So at a heart level, I understand very clearly what my purpose is in this world.

Now, to turn that into a profitable business was really the goal and loving martial arts, it went hand-in-hand. So I think that's the first thing. In martial arts, normally you buy your teacher's school or you get a black belt, you love the martial arts, so you 14074563_10204914852229426_2103477239_o14074563_10204914852229426_2103477239_othink you're going to throw down some mats and open a school: you need to have a very clear vision and vision is based upon purpose. Once you understand what your purpose is, then you create the vision to facilitate that. Does that make sense?

GEORGE: Definitely so, definitely so.

BRANNON: Yeah. So for me, that was really important. Once I knew my vision was about service, and I wasn't going to be this guy, that sat you in an office and tried to sell you a contract. And then six months later, I'm going to upgrade you to a black belt club or a master's club or a super ninja club. Once I was clear about that, then it really had to go about creating a business model that didn't exist. There was no data in our industry because all the data is contracts, upgrades,black belt fees, retail, equipment etc. So there was no data. So I had to look outside our industry for that, but I was able to do that because my vision was very clear.

So going back to that question, where are martial arts school owners going wrong: first of all, understand your values and purpose. Second, define that clearly into vision. Then once you have a vision, then you develop an action plan and then you develop the team to facilitate that. Then you execute it on a daily basis. Because we're living in a dual purpose: I have here and I have there. Here George is, I have got to open the door, take the money, teach the classes – that's got to happen, or I have no business. But beyond that every day, I want to move my business there: what is it going to look like in 3 to 5 years? How many students, how many team members, how much revenue am I going to generate, how many locations? If that's even in your vision. Some people are perfectly content: I want 100 students, that's all I ever need, that's my vision of success.

be-a-master-of-sustained-passion-2And that's the other part about that: if you're very clear on your values, you're very clear on your vision, then who, but you, can define what is success for you? And that's the big thing with the consultants and staff. I'm going to step up and stand toe to toe with any of them: I'm tired of consultants telling you, this is what success should be for you. So what do we do? Out of fear George, what do we do? We chase these guys, we want their cars and we want their success and what they have when it may not even be your vision, to begin with.

This year, my business will do about 1.7 million – that'll work. I mean, I'm very content with that. It’s not as much as other people, but for my lifestyle, it works really, really well. Really well. So based upon that, you have to decide that. If I would make a dollar and I spend $.50, I have $.50 in the bank. I make $1 million and I spent 2 million – I'm in debt. So it’s also the lifestyle you want to create and what you determine a value, versus what isn't a value. And for me, service is just that.

And that's the first thing: be clear about your values, be clear about your purpose, make that vision, make the action plan, develop the team to facilitate it and then execute that on a daily basis. And then I think what everyone should understand: when you open up a martial arts school because you love to teach – teaching is probably the smaller part of what you're going to be doing.

Here's a great example: I love to bake, so I open up a bakery. Guess what? I'm not only baking: I'm hiring, I'm firing, I'm marketing, I'm doing payroll, I'm doing books, I have to do customer service – probably have to clean the place on my own in the beginning too, and the band played on. So recognize it's not martial arts by itself: it's the martial arts business. And I cannot just be a black belt on the mat – I have to be a black belt in advertising, Facebook ads, customer service, hiring, firing, motivating a team – I mean, there're so many facets.

And you need to know enough of each so that you can speak to an accountant in an educated, professional manner and know what you need and what to get from it. Just like if I speak to a janitor: I want to be able to know how to facilitate that best. So you need to kind of wear many hats in your business and be great at wearing those hats.

GEORGE: Excellent. I want to know more about where that there and that vision is for you. But I want to go back just one step again: as you mentioned, and as it’s known, as it is here: most martial arts business owners are not that successful. And I guess, if you take the flow of how that happens, there's a passion for martial arts, obviously there's this burning desire inside, like, I feel like I could make a better difference, I could do things better, I want to show my way of doing things. And that progresses into going for the business.

But do you think it’s hard for martial arts business owners to ask for help? Just because of the nature of martial arts, because you achieve so much going through our belts and achieving a success level in martial arts, that it’s hard to go and face the music and say, well look, I actually need help with this, instead of just being stubborn about it almost, and not asking for help? And due to that, maybe that being the cause that martial arts business owners are not that successful?

BRANNON: Well, I think we should go back to establishing the mindset, to begin with, and I'm very passionate about creating a success mindset. And that success mindset is rooted in learning. 14060089_10204914862829691_480199071_oSo everyday I wake up, I put on a white belt and I'm the first person to raise my hand at a seminar, I'm the guy sitting up in the front row, taking the best notes: I just want to be successful and to be successful, you have to learn, because if I'm not learning, I'm not growing. And if I'm not growing, I'm not living.

And you're right: they become a black belt and they put that black belt around their waist and it's almost like, I can't show that I'm weak. I can't show that I don't know. And it's so detrimental because I'm my own best friend, I'm my own worst enemy. And if I wake up every day and I'm my own best friend, I'm going to recognize. To be successful, I must live from a learning or a growth mindset. Because how else is my business, not only going to sustain but be growth oriented if I don't live from that place?

GEORGE: Right.

BRANNON: So it’s accepting that. Humbly accepting that every day, the oldest white belt is the one who woke up the earliest today, and that's it. And you're right, because they wrap too many degrees around, and then they're the master, or the grand master, the super great grand master – I don't know when that happened, because when I grew  up, we had 2 things: there was Sensei, which was Japanese for teacher and there was Shīfu, which was Chinese for teacher.

And then somewhere in the 80s, I don't know what happened, all of a sudden there was a master. And then there was a grand master, then there was a great grand master and then suddenly, these guys get 50 different black belts and it just became this thing of insecurity and everybody trying to one up another one. It should be the actual opposite direction: the higher I get in the martial arts, the less I know.

I'm not afraid of what I don't know: I'm afraid of what I do know George because that's what limits my thinking, that's what narrows my vision, and that's when ego and insecurity dominate that and then I'm at a loss. So if I can wake up every day, strap on that white belt, and live from a humble learning mindset, I don't believe I can't be successful. It's impossible.

GEORGE: All right, excellent. Brannon, you were heading in the direction of the “ there“ and the vision, the vision that you have – do you mind sharing a bit more about your vision?

BRANNON: Yeah, my vision is to change the world. That's it. And I'm going to start with the martial arts industry and work my way out. I love the martial arts, I was born on the mat and I'll die on the mat. I love being a martial artist. So I want to change the  industry and that first part is recognizing one: you don't have to suffer for your art, and two, you don't have to be a McDojo and be a terrible martial artist and a great businessman. I don't believe that I think that's old thinking and it needs to be eliminated.

I think you can have quality martial arts and be extremely profitable. It's like a fine restaurant and I really promote that vision. So that vision today as part of that is recognizing. Number one is the food in the restaurant, and that is the curriculum we deliver. It's the same thing. Food = curriculum. You want to put a bad restaurant out a business – give them great marketing. And that's what bothers me with the consultants, that's what bothers me with the majority that's out there. Everything's marketing, marketing, marketing. Marketing, marketing, marketing, but they never get into what's the quality of the product and how to improve that product.

So curriculum is the food in the restaurant. Second is the staff. The waiter, the busboy, the hostess – well, that's your teaching staff and are they delivering that food, or in this case the curriculum at the highest level. I spend a lot of money on curriculum development, I spend a lot of money on staff training. Those two things are very, very important to me. Then three, fulfilling our purpose of service. So we develop systems and teachings to teach people to serve better. So really, first it’s that vision and then I want to reach a bigger audience and that's where the one merit badge comes in, soon to be kids love life skills.

I don't know if I'm just getting older, but I see the challenge for children today with iPads and technology and everything. There's a huge disconnect – respect is not a bad word, self-discipline is not a bad word, we should not be afraid to be parents. We should not be afraid to challenge our kids, we need to stop pacifying them, we need to hold them accountable, we need to give them the tools to be successful. And so my vision on a bigger stage is to facilitate learning for parents, for coaches for educators, for instructors on how to teach life skills. Cause life skills aren't taught anywhere. Maybe in church on a very small way, but it's not taught in everyday life, which it needs to be, even in martial art schools.

I think for the majority, we need to do a better job. You wouldn't go to the football coach and say, Hey, teach my son focus and discipline, but you would walk into a martial arts school and demand that. And if we don't have some type of written, proven system in place, then we're just spinning our wheels with life skills. So I think that needs to change too.

And then lastly, my vision on a bigger platform is to speak, to travel, which I'm doing so much more and affecting every business. Any type of business that believes in service, believes in people before profits, that believes in raising that bar and developing a culture, developing a tribe where their team wins, where their clients win, where everybody can prosper – that to me is the future. Fortunately, being here in San Francisco George, I have right in my backyard, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Google, Youtube – everybody's here. Everybody's here, so this movement of being in a service-based business, where everything is month-to-month and where we aspire to serve you, is really something I get to be immersed in on a daily basis. So I’d like to spread that further too.

GEORGE: That's awesome, yes, you're definitely at the heart, the foundation of where all the top startups of the world are positioned. I’d imagine you'd almost feel that when you wake up, just that buzz of business and passion on a day-to-day basis.

BRANNON: Yeah, absolutely! We have Tesla here! We get Elon Musk right here my backyard, and want to talk about an artist! Creating all the time, and what I learned from him is you don't have to know to go. He knew nothing about space travel or anything. He decides he wants to colonize in space – boom! Developed a new wing. This guy developed PayPal, I mean, it’s incredible just to see that type of inspiration here.

And of course, Apple’s in my own backyard with Steve Jobs, God bless his soul, so just to see that. Creating balance is the other thing that I see, the work-life balance. Zuckerberg fights for that in Facebook with his people. And I'm striving to create that with my team, I don't want to burn people out, I want them to love to come to work, I want them to love to live their life outside of work. So it’s supporting that in every way possible, so yeah, I wake up to that buzz every day. Every day and I'm very grateful for that.

GEORGE: I want to get back to the one merit badges that are now changing over to kids love life skills – how did this come about and if you can just give a bit of a background for those that are not familiar with the program?

BRANNON: Absolutely. I walked in a guy's school and I say, well how do you teach discipline? He says it's up there on the wall. What do you mean it's up there on the wall? Anyone can hang a sign that says discipline, how do you teach it? Well, if you do 5000 kicks, you have discipline. I said, no you don't, you have a really good kick. Again – teach me how you teach discipline? So I saw that huge disconnect and I knew as far as being a premium service, being able to fulfill that client's needs, going back to everybody's walking in the martial arts school, demanding you teach focus and discipline. I felt a huge gap, a huge disconnect. And the other thing I saw out there was every life skill system that was available is very task driven. And why don't tasks work?

I’ll give you my example. I was judging at a tournament in forms. Kid step into the ring, had a black belt, right? Black belt kid, perfect respect, perfect eye contact, perfect focus, perfect form discipline – everything. First place trophy. I looked over 10 minutes later, that same kid had his black belt tied around his head and he was kicking and punching his friend. So does he really possess those life skills, or was he simply dancing for the prize? I believe he was simply dancing for the prize and that's the problem in our culture as a whole. I want people to love to learn, not appear smart. I believe if you love to learn, you're learning, you will be smart.

But they put the cart before the horse, it's the same thing here. They say yes to your face, and then they turn their back and they're dropping the F-bomb. Or on the flipside, in our industry you've got leaders dropping the F bomb left and right.And I think it’s just so backward now. And of course we have the election coming up and we know we've got Trump on one side, who has no problem saying anything about anyone.

I think that's wrong, I just think it's wrong. I think we as the leaders need to teach. Going back several years before that, I really decided I wanted to develop a life skill system that was more organic. People say, what do you mean by that? You're from San Francisco, OK, I get it, you're organic. No, no, no – what I meant by that is, where people learn a life skill like focus, they practice a life skill, like focus. Then it becomes a habit through that practice, and it becomes part of their nature. So instead of saying, you have to do these 10 things to get a focus badge, we look for signs by planting seeds, by creating opportunities, environments, exercises where people organically are experiencing focus, not just simply learning it.

It’s like when you took a history class, remember that? Memorize a bunch of useless information, got a great grade in the class and as soon as that history class was over, we forgot all of it. It had zero impact on our life, zero. And I recognize that too,  I watched all the students doing these pages and pages of these life skill systems that are out there, and I'm going, it’s much like as a fighter: when I step into the ring, I used three or four techniques. So I had to learn discipline.

If I can't write a match in one short page, I better go back and rewrite it again. I'm either being very repetitive, I'm adding a bunch of fodder that's useless, so I had that discipline. Every document at the student-parent handout, which we give to the parents to utilize, but we don't tell them what they have to do: we simply say, read this.

Apply it to the dynamics in your house and you choose how they earn this badge at home. So again, holding the parent accountable, involving the community – all those different elements. And it is a little, as we say, kum ba yah, cause people, I want them to become critical thinkers, not sheep. No, tell me the 10 things I must do to get this… No, no, no, no, no, no – you tell me the 10 things you want your student to do to get that focus badge.

GEORGE: Excellent.

BRANNON: See, we live in this instant gratification, quick fix society where people want it all done for them. I think that what's lacking, because now again – I'm going to date myself George. I grew up when there were no computers, right? There was none of that. Nowadays, if I don't know something, I just Google it. Look at a video on Youtube. So that critical thinking is being bred out of people methodically, because of technology. And there needs to be that balance, where we're critically thinking through every challenge that we have. Because at the end of that critical thinking and solving a challenge you might have in your life, is self-esteem, is self-confidence, is a self-worth you feel from figuring something out. So one merit badges basically assimilate those different philosophies.

GEORGE: Great. What I like about it is it’s covering all modalities: it’s kinesthetic , so it’s physical because the kids are earning it and they’re working for it. Then it’s verbal, they get it from their instructor, well done, you get the focus badge. it’s visual, audio, and kinesthetic . I remember my son, his last martial arts gi was kind of unbalanced because he had all these badges on the one side. But the pride that the kids feel when they earn that, and they really earn it because they put the hard work into it to get it, and they wear it with pride, definitely.

BRANNON: Well, that's why it’s called a badge. It's not a patch, it’s like a badge of honor, they're earning this. And that's the key thing that you picked up right away as a parent George: sitting there in the audience, watching your child in the martial arts school, is that they learn to earn things. Because we are earning our whole life. We're earning our personal self-respect, we're earning our wages, we're earning for building a business, we're earning the respect of our team – we're constantly learning things. And I think the quick fix, give your kid everything, where they believe they're entitled, is a huge mistake and a huge injustice that we're giving our children. They should learn to earn things, that is very crucial to their development. I believe that.

GEORGE: I had a conversation about this a few days ago, that I think we're going to see the repercussions of this way of teaching. Everybody gets a reward, everybody gets participation awards, nobody has to earn anything – and I hate to be negative, I'm certain there's going to be some repercussions in the next few decades of this whole lack of education and getting people to earn what they learn basically.

BRANNON: Well yes, because they believe they're entitled. With minimal effort, they have this misconception that they're great at something when they're not. It started that way here, you see 3-4 years old, my son was playing baseball – they never kept score, everybody got the same trophy and everybody got on base. And I went, what? That doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever because you know what? Some people win, some people lose. There is first place, there is second-place, there is third – that's life. And if you can't handle disappointment or process disappointment – I do some of my best learning lying flat on my face George. Flat on my face! I don't learn to be comfortable and complacent: I learn when things are challenging, I learn when life asks me to step up and swing that bat when there's nothing left.

That's a huge difference. We're already witnessing it, we had it here a while back, where a young man who is very pretty well off at one of the colleges, wanted to date a certain ethnicity of women and the girls wouldn't date him. So he was so bummed out, he killed his three roommates, went over to the sorority house, killed a couple of them, then drove his $70,000 Beamer to a downtown area hitting people till he shot himself. Because he simply couldn't handle the disappointment and the rejection that came with that.

Rejection is necessary for life. We need to learn to process rejection, disappointment, failure – that's just part of life. And if you can embrace it and learn to embrace it as a positive and make it work for you, that's very important. I've had parents come up to me, I really think my child should have earned a badge. They didn't earn a badge in class, and that kid has. I hear you there ma'am: here you go. Here's a student-parent handout, I will give you the badge and you can choose how you want them to earn it. And then they go, wow – OK. And then they're even tougher on their kid then we were in class.

So I think that it's just an awakening and I agree with you George, we need to awaken people to that. Children simply mimic what we teach them and that's the truth. Of course, they have their own individuality, their own expression, but when the day is done, we as educators must recognize. If I take a seed and I stick it in the dark and I never water it and leave it on a paper towel, it will not grow. I give it fertile soil and fertilizers, and good water and I play Mozart to it, and I stick it in the sunlight every day, it's got a better chance of growing strong, right?

GEORGE: Definitely.

BRANNON: So yeah, I'm very passionate about that as you can hear. Cause I have children myself, right now, I have a five and a seven-year-old. And I see that. And my children learn things and they do have more than I ever had growing up as a child, but they will never walk around as if they're entitled. I'll be the first one to check them on that.

GEORGE: Excellent. Brannon, just a  few more questions, I want to touch on the TED talk and how that came about. And for the people that aren't familiar with TED, how would you describe TED?

BRANNON: I think TED is a very unique culture. Their demands are very high, very stringent. I speak all over the world, I teach all over the world – haven't been to Australia yet, but I know they're going to bring me out there soon. It'd be a great thing to go to Australia. It really is, TED is a movement, TED is a culture and it's about critical thinking. And it could be a highschool kid, it could be a philosophy professor, to a scientist, to a fireman – anybody that's a critical thinker that's trying to make a difference, trying to impact the world – TED will definitely look at you.

So I submitted a tape, I submitted my philosophy, who I am to TED. And a local TED event contacted me. And I've never had to do this: I had to submit a full written 18-minute speech what I was going to present on. They countered it, crossed it out, edited a bunch of stuff. I had to go to a rehearsal, two rehearsals, and a dress rehearsal – it was intense. But it taught me to be a better speaker, it tested my conviction on what I believe and mine was being happy on purpose.

And I spoke about happiness as a choice and what it takes to facilitate that choice of wanting to be happy. Because we live in a very cynical, negative world and I think it takes a lot to be happy. When you are happy, people want to pull you down and there's negativity, so it's really about what it takes to be happy, so it was called happy on purpose. And it's out there, I think they pulled it down because I wasn't happy with the edits. It was shot very poorly, it needed work. I had one of my people clean it up as much as possible, it will be back up at the TED site soon enough I believe.

GEORGE: Ok, well as soon as it’s up, we will link to that here in the show notes, or actually include it in the post right below here. Brannon, thank you very much for your time. There's a lot of points that you hit that I can hear you're so passionate about. I’m not fond of asking this question, but I have to ask it to you: is there anything that you'd like to share that I didn't ask you and that I didn't lead into?

BRANNON: I think we're at real crossroads in the martial arts industry. I think people believe they have to suffer for their art, and if they're in any shape, way or form profitable, they feel guilty, almost ashamed of it and I think that needs to change. I think we, as true martial artists, need to take back our industry from these salesmen. We need to take it back from these consultants, that every slick oil salesman that's trying to sell you, I’ll get you 1000 students in six months – all that needs to be done away with. I think we need to become a culture based business that's rooted deeply in service and values – and we need to be clear about our purpose and responsibly and transparently market to people and believe in our product at the highest level.

I used the Disneyland experience: you don't walk into Disneyland and they make you sign a contract to pay for next year. You walk into Disneyland, you go for that one day, they create a memorable experience and guess what: you come back again and again. And people do that from decade to decade, from the time they were a child until they become an old person. And I think it's really, really important.

We're at a crossroads and I see people are just throwing up their hands in desperation, they're giving their last penny to these guys. And I'm a consultant, so I know I'm shooting myself in the foot with this, but you really need to know who you are. You really need to spend that time. Go on a walkabout as you say there. Go on a walkabout and really understand why you're here in this world, what your purpose is. Because once you can truly understand that and your vision is clear, guess what? The law of attraction.

The right mentors will come to you. You will see them, they will gravitate. And those type of unities will happen. It needs to happen, cause I'm feeling it here. I feel like it's the dark side against the Jedi knights. And we're fighting, because people are desperate, they're giving up and they're just falling in line with the fitness industry and their marketing practices and I don't think we should be doing that. I think it's short-term, it's shortsighted and long-term, we're going to end up hurting our industry more by doing that.

GEORGE: I love it! Brannon, thank you so much. If anybody wants to get in touch for you, where’s the best place to get in touch with you?

BRANNON: Oh yeah, of course. At several places, you'll find me on Facebook as Brannon Beliso, you'll find me at Instagram, Pinterest. You'll find me on Snapchat as well. But you can go to brannonbeliso.com, all my services are there as well. You can go to my Youtube channel, there're tons of motivational videos, I post tons of free content. People call me the robin hood of the industry because I'm out there.

Also, what people are actually telling me is, don't post so much, you're hurting us. You're posting too much free content, how are we supposed to sell any of this? Well, I think you can only keep what you have by giving it away. And when the day is done, if I can make a huge difference – so be it. But my services themselves, my online videos you can purchase, different things like that are at brannonbeliso.com, and you'll find me on every social media outlet.

GEORGE: Excellent, thank you very much for your time, Brannon.

BRANNON: Thank you, sir, thank you, George, for having me. All the people there in Australia – thank you for supporting one merit badges, thank you for supporting my vision. I know I see a lot of you at the super show and the different places I speak. I know that we're kicking around the idea of me coming to Australia: don't let that one go, I would love to come out there and share this and give it a new sense of hope and possibilities of what we can do as true martial artists, who are a great businessman and be externally profitable. So thank you George.

GEORGE: Thank you very much.

And there you have it – thank you very much for listening. So: how did you like the interview? Did you get value from it? Is there something that stood out for you? How do you feel about Brannon's philosophy and perspective of delivering service and everything else that he discussed? Please let us know, head over to martialartsmedia.com/9 and leave us a comment below the show notes and transcriptions.

Thanks again for tuning in – I’ll catch you next week. Cheers.


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

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

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

Any other disputes will be resolved as follows:

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

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

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

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

Privacy Policy

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

Use of Cookies

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

IP Addresses

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

Email Information

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

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

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

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

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

Email Policies

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

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

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

CAN-SPAM Compliance

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

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


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.


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

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

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