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!


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

You can find all the show notes on martialartsmedia.com/8 and all the transcriptions are available from this interview. If you get any value out of this episode or any of the others, please head over to iTunes, you can find the link below this episode. Head over there and just leave us a review. Five-star reviews help us get up in the rankings, but an honest review is much appreciated. With that, I want to leave you, and I’d like to welcome to the show Sean Allen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEAN: Yep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GEORGE: Thanks, Sean, cheers.

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

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

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


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7 – The Smarter Way To Go About Martial Arts School Student Retention With Paul Veldman

Paul Veldman from Kando Martial Arts shares how to improve martial arts school student retention by spotting the ‘quitting signs'.


  • Knowing your demographic without being everything for everyone
  • Market for a season or a reason
  • Growing young confident students through Leadership Programs
  • Who your real competition is
  • The real reason why your students leave
  • The one thing you need before your martial arts business will flourish
  • And more

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



Personal development is a big thing. And as you know, as most martial artist instructors know – the bigger you get, the less trouble you seem to get into.

GEORGE: Hey, it’s George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the martial arts media podcast, episode number 7. Today, I chat to Paul Veldman from Kando Martial Arts. Another great chat, very inspirational. I’m getting a lot out of these podcasts. My focus is always to start with something martial arts related, but I see it evolving, with all the chats that I'm having and all these great martial artists and business owners that I'm speaking to. It always evolves to the deeper stuff behind the business, what makes the business work, the message behind it and so forth. And that's what you're going to discover in today's podcast as well, so more about that in a minute.

I have a few excellent interviews coming in the next couple of weeks, and I'm going to continue with this week by week, interviewing top martial artists, top martial arts top business owners, top business owners, top motivational people, coaches – you name it. Anything that relates to martial arts in a way and can help you build your martial arts business. From my side, I am preparing to do a series of martial arts podcast with a few live pieces of training, about different aspects of online marketing. How you can grow your business through online media. And the more I speak to martial arts business owners; I see there's a lot of confusion out there on what is the right thing to do, what they should be doing.

Some people that have gone down the journey spent a lot of money on somebody to do their SEO or something stupid. They forked out thousands of dollars and pretty much wasted their money and came away none the better. And I see there's a lot of distrust because of people out there that give advice; that shouldn't be giving advice. Old school methods and just taking a chance to provide real crappy services. It’s something that drives me nuts, but it’s unfortunately out there. And I can see the frustration that people have by going down these avenues and not doing the right things first, which is very, very costly.

So I'm going to embark on a bit of a journey and do a few live training. I've got a few things in mind that I want to teach that I know the essentials. If you've downloaded our martial arts business plan for online media, you will get an idea about what those essentials are, and I'm going to shift a few of those things around and elaborate on them. But I would like to know from you: what would you like to learn, what would you like to know about? Obviously, I'm not going to teach about anything that I'm not qualified to do.

If it’s something that is pressing, that everybody is requesting, I will get an expert to help with that. Or if not, I will do the research and make sure I do my homework before I offer any advice. But anything else that we talk about, that I talk about, I’ll make sure that it’s tried and tested, that it’s been done before, that's it’s not a thumb suck idea. I would like you to get in touch with me. My email – I'm going to say it on the show: george at martial arts media dot com. Very easy, george at martial arts media dot com. Email me directly, tell me what you would like to learn about, what you're struggling with, what your biggest obstacle is in your business now, and I would like to focus on that and give a few training.

So that's it for now, that's what's coming up in the next few weeks, but we still have a few interviews to go before we get to that point. Ok – show notes is at martialartsmedia.com/7.  Show notes; you can also download the transcript from there. And that's it for me for now; please welcome to the show – Paul Veldman.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have with me Paul Veldman, all the way from Victoria. You're based in Melbourne, is that correct?

PAUL: Based in Melbourne, yes.

GEORGE: Based in Melbourne. And Paul is from Kando Martial Arts, and Paul has been in the industry a long time, and it’s funny enough, as I was researching for people I can interview, a lot of people said, “I've been mentored by Paul Veldman.” And that's kind of how I got knocking on Paul's door, and I thought I’d like to get him on the show and get him to share all his industry experience and knowledge with us. So welcome to the show, Paul.

PAUL: Thanks, George, good to be here.

GEORGE: Awesome! So, I guess to start right at the beginning, how did you get into martial arts and what's your background story?

PAUL: Martial arts training, I probably started when I was around 13 years old. And there was no real reason, I wasn't bullied, I had a nice stable house, a home. It was just something I thought I might like to do. Spoke to mom – mom said, you can do martial arts, and I’ll pay the fees, but you've got to find somewhere you can walk to, because I'm working, and these are the jobs you've got to do around the house to make up for your fees. So back then, 30 years ago, there was a judo club or a freestyle karate club in walking distance, that was the choice. So I went with freestyle karate, and I've been training ever since.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. You were also in the police force, weren't you?

PAUL: Yeah, and that was the tipping point as to why. So I trained as a kid in the freestyle karate, I went into traditional karate in the Shukokai stream. And training with my instructor, as we were all young and fit and having a great time and training two or three classes a day, a few days a week, then in conjunction with that, I was going to have a crack at our special operations group on the police force. And in training, I blew my knee up. So I had a full knee reconstruction, and I went from training five or six days a week with my instructor, training at my workplace, training at the gym, to answering phones in a room with no windows.

And as you can understand, it drove me crazy. So I went down to my sensei, and said, I am going nuts here, can I come and help out on the mats? And he said, yeah sure, come on down, help the kids classes. So there I am, in my knee brace, with my crutches, hobbling around. I got off the crutches, and he says to me one day, why don't you open up a club, there's a place down the road? And I went, oh yeah? How hard can it be to run a business in a martial arts club? So for the next ten years, we ran it very, very, very badly as far as the business side went. We taught what we knew. We didn't market; we didn't advertise, we didn't know anything of that.  I worked full time in the police force; I worked six days a week in the club.

We had a young family, and we went through burnout phases regularly. And then, maybe ten years ago now, the first martial arts SuperShow was running Queensland and the first martial arts business seminar I ever went to was with a local Roland Osborne. And the first thing he said to the class was, everybody will leave you in your school. Everybody who's in there now will leave you. They might leave in thirty years time when they've fallen off the perch, or they may turn and quit tomorrow.

So enjoy it, make the most of the time you have with them, but don't let it become personal when they go. And that resonated with me, cause I just lost one guy who was helping me out, and he got a promotion at work, and he left. So I was back to running the club by myself after eight years of running, and I was just in total burnout stage. And so it was then I realized – you know what, there's so much more to the industry than just learning to how to throw a punch or a kick. We might be black belts in what we're doing on the mats in whatever style we're doing it, but boy, we're a white belt or less in the administration, business owner things.

And so that's when we discovered, if we're going to do this, let’s do it properly. Let’s reach more people, let’s do it well. Let’s give people the same goals and career opportunities that we had. So we started getting some business mentoring, we started looking into the subscriptions around, which back in those days were very American, but it was the turning point, it was a real tipping point for us.

GEORGE: Ok. So two things I want to get back to the American vs. Australian systems, and how you adapted that. But going back: you said your first ten years, you guys sort of run it badly. What were the core mistakes that you were making at that time?

PAUL: I think, especially in the first couple of years, you try to be everything to everyone. We were a Shukokai karate base, but with what I was doing in the police force, we were just starting to blend some Brazilian jiu-jitsu, some Filipino martial arts. So you have somebody come in and say, do you guys do Cato, and we say, yeah absolutely, we do Cato, we're Shukokai. And you have someone else come in and say, I want to do sparring, but I am a bit scared, do you do it no contact? And we say we can do non-contact.

Next bloke comes in and goes; I want to get on the mats and punch on, and do full contact. And we go, we can do full contact. And you make a little note to yourself, looks like I'm sparring with this guy most of the time. So we didn't know what our demographic target was. We ran classes that we enjoyed, and to be honest, that's still the basis of our club today. I enjoy the traditional karate, the values, the strength, the style. I enjoy, although I'm not very good at it, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I enjoy the Filipino martial arts, so that's what our styles evolved into.

But we're a lot clearer now on who we want training with us. We don't want the knuckle-dragger who's going to come in and hurt people, who want a professional fighter because we can't cater to them. So identifying who our ideal customer was looking at who do I want to train with? Who's my perfect training buddy? And that evolved into, well – who's the best customer for what we offer?

And so when someone comes in, who's wants don't suit what we have, then we're really happy to recommend a couple of clubs nearby, there's a couple of really good mixed martial arts clubs, there's a couple of smaller clubs that are maybe a little bit cheaper than us and a bit less full time. And to be honest, I'm more than happy: as long as someone's training, I think that's great. If they're training with me, that's fantastic, but I would rather have someone not join me, and go to another martial arts club, than not train at all.

GEORGE: For sure. Ok, so that solved a lot of problems, when you defined exactly who that audience is that you can zone in with your market, and it’s something that comes up in the interview yesterday as well. So, moving on from that: you mentioned you learned from the American systems. I've worked in America for a long time, and I had a shell shock when I came to South Africa, and going to America, coming to Australia – I was adapting myself to those different styles. Now, you've mentioned that you've learned a lot from the American way of doing things: how did you take that and applied it to the Australian market, without becoming too Americanized as such?

PAUL: Our first package we joined up was a Mayer package. And what it gave us, it started giving us structure. It started to say – have a plan. Because I think I've run my club for nearly two years and nearly closed the doors, before I put the pamphlet out. You know, the old adage – if you build it, they will come – build it and they will come if they know about you! So we found with the American Marketing, one – it was all there was. There was nothing local back then. And so, it gave us a structure; it gave us things like marketing for a season or reason.

So when father's day came around, the father's day workout, New Years, Spring specials. And tying it with all that makes sense. Their senses might be opposite ours, so the package we're getting is no good for now, but it gave us an idea. It gave us an idea of making things colorful, and not just putting a sign in the window. But then, the artwork was never for the Australian market. They don't look like Australians. We're relatively similar on the outside, but the artwork looked very American, the Mother's Day or thank you, mom, M-O-M – never translated. But it gave us a start; it gave us a bit of an idea of what was happening.

The first guy, a mentor I know, was a chap called Keith Scott. A fantastic little Texan, he's just a wealth of knowledge, a guy who shared everything. And he came to Australia a couple of times, and we started to bring him around to the Australian way a little bit, and he would help tweak things. He came and did a two-day assessment of a school, where he stayed with us for two days. He came to the school, sat through all the classes, all the instructor meetings, etc., to feel the difference.

We made those mistakes through trial and error – some ads worked, some ads didn't work. It was a little bit of a shotgun effect, where we'd throw everything out there and the ones that came back, we'd go with them more. So we gradually fine-tuned things. Nowadays with Facebook and social media, that's a massive part of it that we're still getting our head around.

GEORGE: Yeah. Well, one thing you brought up, and this is something key that we try and teach: if you're doing social media and stuff yourself, the easiest way to do things and to get traction is just pay attention. You had a name for it, season or reason I think it was?

PAUL: Yeah, the market for a season or reason.

GEORGE: Yes, and that's such an easy way to get traction in social media because, when you're talking about what's already been talked about and you can tie that into your marketing, people are automatically paying attention. They're already paying attention to the Father's Day, so piggyback on that promotion that's already happening and then make that your marketing.

PAUL: Yes.

GEORGE: Ok, cool. So, how many locations do you have at this point?

PAUL: We have three locations, the main one is in a place called Hughesdale. We run… I think we're seeing around 670-680 students out of that one. We've got another one that's two years old as of yesterday, they're seeing around 250 students, and we've got one that's six months old, and there are about 80 students.

GEORGE: Ok, so let’s go back to how did this all evolve? At what point did you decide you were ready to branch out and go for that number two?

PAUL: I guess, with working through the police force as well, I got out of police force about 6- 7 years ago. Not because I didn't love what I was doing, but the time just came to jump, one way or the other. I was finding I wasn't doing anything properly, I was half doing the club, half doing the police force. And so, when I went full time with the club, it gave me so much more opportunity to develop. Not just the style or the students, but the instructors. That was one of the key points, after that first mentoring was to understand that you can't do everything by yourself.

You've got to build your team. And your team might be your guys on the mats, your guys on the desk, it might be your accountant, your solicitor, but your team has to be there. I’m very lucky that I've got still with me now some really good young guys, kids, that are now in their mid-twenties. And I always earmarked an area, that demographic. I lived here; I thought this would be a great club one day. And a couple of young guys that talked about running clubs, and one day, James came in and said, I know you've always said you'll do this area, but I wouldn't mind starting something – what do you think?

And I said, look, I'm not in a position to do it, so, we could do that – what do you think we do a partnership? And he said, well what does that involve, and I said I have no idea at all! So, we formed this idea of a partnership, which is an interesting demographic. Like I said, James has been with me since he's been five years old, and he's now an extremely competent 23-year-old instructor practitioner. So we went – let’s just do it. And the stars aligned to a certain extent, and I think it’s like anything: if you've gotten things on your checklist that you want to have happened before you proceed to something, good luck if you get 6 or 7. So do we prepped in some areas? Yeah, absolutely.

James is a fantastic instructor. The premises came up quickly, which was unusual down there, so we thought let’s just jump at that. Areas we could have worked more on if we had more time, was the admin side of things, the business side of the club. But we're up and running. We had some teething problems, we fixed things that we needed to go, and as long as the face of what was happening, to the students, to the customers, was OK, and then the behind the scene stuff – we scrambled where we had to scramble. So it wasn't an expansion plan as such, it’s just that we had such great success here.

And the guys who helped me make this place so successful by taking classes and being such great instructors saw it as a genuine lifestyle choice. And so, we thought why not? It’s not your traditional career path, but we know that financially it can be rewarding, and even more so rewarding in the way that you interact with people through what you can do. So the plan to expand was never “I think I want to open up two or three clubs.”

And one of our mentors, Fred DePalma, says, “When you think about opening your second or third club – don't.” Headaches do come, things get to a certain critical mass, then things start to come together. The clubs support each other; you bounce ideas off each other. So yeah, I guess to answer that – I never planned on opening multiple schools, but we a have a really good instructor development program, where we almost develop the instructors to the point where, if we don't let them go at it under us, they're going on their own anyway.

GEORGE: So what does that involve? I’ll probably skip this step as well. Were you balancing your full-time job and then the school part time?

PAUL: Yes.

GEORGE: So you went full-time with the school first and then opened the second one?

PAUL: No, I’d run the school six days a week from the day I opened it, this was just, again, not knowing what to do. My instructor ran his school six days a week, so I did the same, I ran my school six days a week. But I was also working a full-time job – he wasn't. So that was probably mistake number one, it was too much. And doing that for multiple years, where every working week was 80 hours +, was just crazy. The kids paid the price; the family paid the price; we don't do that anymore. Even the new schools on their full time only run four days a week. And we won't run more than four days a week until we create a critical mass. So there was that.

GEORGE: Ok, so you have this program then where you sort of groom the instructors. Can you elaborate a bit more on that?

PAUL: Yeah. There's a very solid element of self-defense involved in martial arts. And my background, my street background with policing and so forth, has helped with that, what works and 14365348_10208838587554765_1464196218_n1what doesn't work. But in this day and age, especially the demographic we live in, our area – 14365348_10208838587554765_1464196218_n1personal development is a big thing. And as you know, as most martial artist instructors know – the bigger you get, the less trouble you seem to get into physically. You don't have that need to get into a confrontation, you've got nothing to prove.

Your awareness of what can happen, both to you and from you is there, so we work very much in developing the kids and their confidence. We start off with what we call a leadership program, and kids can join that at ten years old. And simply, that involves them coming down to help one class a week and then once a month we do a leadership training hour. We'll cover things like public speaking, how to break down teaching.

And I’ll tell you what George: these kids are amazing. They might be 10 or 11 years old; they're like sponges. They will get up and explain to you the three attributes of teaching, what a good instructor should be like. So, from there, when they hit 14 years old, if they're really good, we put them on what we call a traineeship. It’s like an internship, so we're looking at how can this person get. So they come along for one night a week, and we want to see if they can maintain that balance of training because that's first and foremost – they've got to be a student.

If they can do that one night a week, they can maintain their homework. Because we have to work with parents into this. At 15, if they've gone through that pretty well, we’ll put them on as part-time instructor. And then they'd stay with us really, up until most of them finish university.

GEORGE: Oh wow, awesome.

PAUL: In my main club, we've got in the vicinity of 50 to 60 leadership team, and we run at about 15 staff. We've got three full-timers, and the rest of them are part-timers or casuals or students.

GEORGE: Awesome. I see the value in that. Where my son trains, they have the similar type leadership program, and he's been talking about it for a few years and very much is what you've explained, the whole progression, like you say, the public speaking and things like that. I’d almost argue that they get more value out of that from going to school because you see these kids in martial arts, they're at this maturity level that you can't compare with when you look at anybody else in their age group.

PAUL: And where do you get an 11-year-old these days, who can stand up in front of a class of 20 kids, take charge and give clear instructions? It just doesn't happen.

GEORGE: Yeah, it’s invaluable. I think it’s probably the most underrated skill, that confidence to be able just to present something. They say public speaking is what most people fear more than death.

download3PAUL: And I think you've touched on it there, when you say it’s underrated, I think if people knew the value of martial arts and not just the punching and kicking, they'd be lining up around the block to join clubs. I think as an industry, this is what we need to push across. It is the inherent value of what we do, and I know this sounds cliche, but I believe it: our competition's not the bloke down the street with the different martial arts club. I don't lose students to other clubs: I lose students to basketball or football or cricket or whatever that team activity is. But as martial arts instructors, if we can teach parents especially – look, this is what your kids get out of this it’s not about making them become thugs in our industry.

GEORGE: Do you use that in your marketing? You've hit the key point there; I guess that's the ultimate thing: it’s not the kicking, it’s not the punching. That's really what the kid is getting out of this martial arts training. Is there a way that you use that to communicate it to a parent?

PAUL: Yeah. And I guess I look at it in two ways: one, what I talk to parents, and two, what I talk about people that I mentor. To the parents, I say it straight up: we will teach your kid self-defense, and we teach age specific and school appropriate.We also give them tips on how to avoid bullies etc., like a lot of clubs, do. As I said to the parent, what we're going to give to your kid is more valuable than just being able to defend themselves.

If they're in a fight – initially, we're going to teach them how not to get into a fight. We're going to teach them environmental awareness, we're going to teach them verbal skills, we've got some download1fantastic instructors, who work with the young kids, and they're just guns, but the message they deliver is not just about punching and kicking, there are life skills there.

We've got a great book, where every week there's a lesson. Now, the lesson might be on good manners, or it might be when day comes up, a bit of history. So we're trying to make these kids more than kids. And as I say to the parents, think about the last time your kid had a real fight. And they go, well he hasn't yet. And we say great; we want to maintain that track records, with a few skills to back it up if need be. We talk a lot about kids, but it’s the same as with adults.

When you sit down, especially in our area, I say to the adults – when's the last time you had a real fight? Knock them down, stomp them in the head, poke them in the eye fight? And most adults, 95% of them will go – never. I say good, so who the enemy here? It’s cholesterol and stress and not having something to do for yourself. So these are the triggers we use for our marketing because they're true.

I’m 45 years old and to find something for me, when I'm not busy at work, I'm not busy with my kids or spending time at home, working around the house, finding something that's my outlet, is gold. And that's why, in our adult class, probably half of them are parents. And when we talk to business owners, we say, we'll put a value on your punching and kicking, and again, you've got to find your demographic we talked about at the start. Find your perfect market. If you're a fight school, and you want to groom fighters, then you're looking at a different market.

But I say, punching and kicking – man, that's worth $50-60 a month, I can get that anywhere. You add in nice venues at that, where the parents who are your customers, can come in, sit down, there's a coffee machine, it’s maybe a bit warm in the winter, a bit cooler in the summer – add another $30-40 a month on. Then you show the parents how you're going to develop their kids as people, and you've got a  good match-up program or life skills program – add another $30-40 a month again.

So you're constantly building value in what you're doing. And, when you think about it, the worst quit you have is the email from the parent – little Johnny is quitting, please cancel our fees. The best quit you have is the parent ringing up and saying, little Johnny wants to quit – how can we stop him from doing that, what can we do?

GEORGE: And how do you handle that? If a parent says, look – this is the situation, he wants to quit. What can you do?

PAUL: We try to be proactive before. So, what we look at, we look at training patterns. When the kids or even adults come in to train, they have a card, like the old punch card. And they take it out of the rack during the class, and they hand it to the instructor. Now, it’s old fashion; we have databases and things as well, but what that does is, it gives us a point of contact at the very start of the class.

We run a rule of three: that every student at every student at every class has to be encouraged and acknowledged at least three times. So the first one is: good day George, how's it going? I have a look at your card, I flip it over, and I can see your training pattern. And I saw you were doing great at the start of the of year, mid-year you've dropped off, and the last two months I've barely seen you.

So that's the indicator for the instructor to flag up with the parents before it happens before they stop coming. The instructors are OK to give out free private classes. So maybe he's having a bit of a problem with him picking up a kata or form, or maybe he's taken a knock in sparring, and his self-confidence is down. So we try to schedule just a quick chat with the parents and/or the student to say, hey – you're not training as much, what's going on? Is it something we can help with?

If we don't catch them before that, and they do cancel out – now, I should say, we don't run contracts. I have nothing against contracts; we just don't do it because if you don't want to train with me, I don't want to keep you here. We do have a 30-day cancellation policy. They can train in those 30 days, in those 30 days what can we do to reverse it? The biggest thing is finding why and the bottom line is, students leave because they're bored. Sometimes they leave because they don't feel like they're making progress, but they leave because they're bored. So we have to look for patterns in classes. We have to look at is it a certain class, a certain belt level, a certain instructor, and then we need to pay our due diligence there.

GEORGE: Ok, excellent. So this is going to lead in great with retention, because I think you're addressing this right now, it’s a question of really paying attention to what's happening with your students. It’s not like they just come in, and then you're in shock when a cancellation letter comes. You're actually in tune with that and watching for the patterns that might arise to address them. So, expanding on that, what do you guys do to manage retention within the club?

PAUL: Now, here is that piece of string and how long is it!


PAUL: People want to be part of a tribe, I think. People like to be part of a group, and organization, where they feel valued. So I guess we have two parts: on the mats and off the mats. On the mats, your staff has got to be good at highlighting the hotspot. Highlighting on the go, recognizing someone saying something well and just making a comment along the way. Or spotlighting, where you stop the class and go, hey, show me that again, that was fantastic.

So people feel recognized for the class they do. Something as simple as a high five or a fist bump for a kid, and again, if you've got a class of 40 people, you can't do it yourself, your staff have to be able to do this. So the system, being acknowledged in class. They need to see progress; this is why we have a belt system. But then again, as you know, it’s self-sourcing. If they're not training and not progressing – not progressing, they're frustrated and won't come to training.

So you need to have a belt system with the goals that are tangible for them. We have Good Joe cards. Every kid in our club gets a Good Joe card every turn. And again, there's a spreadsheet where the instructors need to find something they've done well. And it might be he mastered a kick, it might be his consistency in training; it might be his general effort. But every shift, the instructors have to have the Good Joe cards before they go on. And they write them like, and some of the Good Joe cards are amazing! They're almost like pieces of art. The instructors believe what they say, which is important. You and I, we get a letter in the mail, and we go, how much is this going to cost me?

A kid who is anywhere from 4 to 11 years old, gets a letter, and they're excited! My instructors recognize I did well in class, and they've acknowledged it! My three kids train, they've all been training since they were four years old. And even last year, my boys will get a Good Joe card, and it will go up in the mirror, even after all these years. So there is that acknowledgment. We have birthday cards go out when it’s your birthday or birthday week. We have little events, retention events, where we'll do pizza and DVD nights, we'll run in-house tournaments.

There's just a lot of things, and I think what you've got to realize is that there's no one quick fix. You've got to have a system of retention. And interestingly, if you do some math, say an average $130 a month student: if you can save two students a month, just by showing some extra attention, working some retention strategies, over two years, you're setting yourself to $70,000. So it’s not we're talking about here. Plus, that student who's left, he's not saying fantastic things about your club necessarily, they're not referring people. They're not with you; you don't want to lose students because some of the students you lose are fantastic people, and it hurts when you lose some of them.

GEORGE: Yeah. Alright, excellent. Awesome, I'm sure I could keep you going for hours, but I've got two more questions for you. One: taking all this experience that you have, where you're at now, what would you do differently, starting all over again?

PAUL: Wow! I didn't have a “Why.” I didn't have a “Why I want to open up my club,” and these days this is my main thing with someone who's an instructor, it’s having a why. So I opened up my club because I was frustrated and bored – that's not a good enough why. I didn't have a goal of, I want to help people, I want to generate income, I want this to take over my full-time job. So I would make my why a lot more solid because that would make it easier to focus on through the harder times. And it would just keep me in tune.

The second thing I would do is say, get educated. Especially these days, there's so much marketing around. When I started off, there was not the Internet. There were no packages, no one was allowed to cross train, to find different skills, it was very tabooed, not to go to another club. So get educated. Acknowledge the fact that you might be the most fantastic martial artist in the world, you might be a fantastic instructor, but if you don't know a Facebook boosted post from a  newspaper ad, you've got no hope in building your club, not in this day and age, there's too much competition.

So treat yourself like a white belt. I can't tell you how much the industry frustrates me, that I will get people who will spend $300 on a seminar, to learn a sparring technique or a new kata, but won't spend a $150 to go to a weekend business summit, where they could put 20 new students down in the next month. So what I would do differently, I would start off slower. I would educate myself on the marketing and business side of things. And if you're not running a business, if you're in a school hall, and you're charging $10 a class per person, then you're just not running your business very well.

So that would be my two big things: focus on the why, get educated earlier with the business and administration side.

GEORGE: Excellent! Paul, thanks a lot for your time, just lastly, you've got the vast knowledge to share and so forth: if people want to learn more about you or from you, is there anywhere they can go or find out more?

PAUL: Yeah, absolutely. I’m very excited; a lady called Michelle Hext, and I are launching an online mentoring program, Martial Arts Business Success. That launches in October. So if you jump into Facebook and look for Michelle or me – Michelle is an absolute whiz on Facebook and in IT. I’m dysfunctional with IT, but the strengths I have, we work very, very well with our staff, our growing schools, our retention. So it’s going to be a great little partnership there.

But have a look at that, talk to people more successful than you, talk to people who have made the mistakes. This is like training: we're training martial arts, so we don't have to go through the mistakes that the early guys made. Same with martial arts business: walk into the Facebook works, go to the summit weekends and just get educated and start to build up your network of guys that share the same goals that you do. Because as you know, you get energy from those guys. You look at what they're doing, and you're like, man, that a good idea!

And I’ll let you in on a little secret, you and your couple thousand of people that are going to watch this: all my best ideas are not my best ideas! Out of the hundred great ideas I've had in twenty years, probably three of them are original. And the other 97 I've gone – that's good, I'm going to do that. I might tweak it, but, yeah. So get invested in your industry and get to know people who are like you and just enjoy your journey.

GEORGE: Excellent, that's awesome. Thanks a lot, Paul, and what I’ll do is, once your program is out for those people that are listening to this later, I’ll make sure that the links are all in the show notes so that they can get access to you.

PAUL: Alright, great, thanks, George.

GEORGE: Awesome, thanks a lot. I’ll talk to you soon.

GEORGE:  And there you have it, a great way to end off. And thanks again Paul Veldman from Kando Martial Arts. Transcripts of the show, show notes is at martialartsmedia.com/7, the number 7. And I liked the last message there from Paul – having your why. Having your why it’s so important. Why are you doing this?

Is it just to earn a paycheck, is it just that's what you're doing – what's the real why, what's the real motive behind building your business and doing all this? And the clearer you are with the why – it’s funny enough, everything else falls into place. We tend to look for the solutions and strategies and everything, but when you get clear on where it is that you want to be, everything else tends to fall into place.

All right – thanks again for listening. Tune in again next week, I have an excellent interview with you, going real, real deep on the why. Looking forward to getting that interview up to you, and as I've mentioned before – if you'd like to get in touch with me, george at martial arts media dot com, and let me know what you'd like to learn about and what you would like to listen to more on the show. Thanks again, I’ll chat with you next week – cheers!


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6 – Michelle Hext: How To Run A Niche Martial Arts School (And Mind-Bending Transformations)

Michelle Hext, author of The Art Of Kicking Ass Elegantly, shares her niche martial arts school secrets and mind-bending transformations.


  • How a niche martial arts school improves your marketing
  • The martial arts stepping stones that led to confidence and success
  • When ‘not knowing what to do' becomes your biggest business asset
  • The emotional motivator of changing lives
  • The power of vision and backwards planning
  • How to deal with the constant push-pull of self belief systems
  • And more

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


GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media podcast, episode number 6. Today I have another great interview with Michelle Hext. Now, I have to tell you: I'm not a big one on planning questions for my interviews. And I've had this turmoil with myself that I should be more prepared, and I should structure my questions. But the reverse side of that is, then the conversation is structured, and because I don't know the person I'm interviewing very well, I don't always know what questions to prepare.

So I try and play it very off the cuff, which can be risky, but I try and not prepare it all because I know that the person I'm interviewing is going to say something that's just gold, and then I'm going to go down that path and dig deep into it. And today, after my interview, I've got to tell you that I'm really glad that I didn't have a structured interview, because if I've had a structured interview, it wouldn't have gone down the path that it did, and I wouldn't have gotten the golden information that came out from this interview with Michelle Hext.

Now, I don't have any intention in mind. The intention was to focus on the niche side on having a martial arts school, having a martial arts business that focuses on a niche category, in Michelle's case, focusing on a women's only taekwondo school. And that was the focus, but the conversation just became much bigger, about the mindset stuff and her deep transformations, and it’s true gold. From a business perspective, you are going to get a lot out of this interview.

For the show notes and the full transcripts, you can go to martialartsmedia.com/6, so that's the number 6. And all the details are there for you. No reviews to read out today – unfortunately, but we would love your feedback, we'd love your comments. Bare in mind, every podcast show, you can leave comments right below the post, also ask questions. If you do ask the questions for the guests I have, I’ll make sure that they stop and answer them for you. If you'd like to leave us a review, 5-star reviews are awesome, because they help push our show up the rankings, but hey – an honest review is more than appreciated of course. You can just follow the link on iTunes, which is at martialartsmedia.com/6.

That's it from me; please welcome to the show Michelle Hext from the Art of Kicking Ass Elegantly.

GEORGE: Good day everyone, today I have with me, Michelle Hext. Now, Michelle has a vast spectrum of experience that I really want to tap into here today, starting of course with the 5th Dan Taekwondo master and her very niche based martial arts school, which is something we really want to dig into today, and then also, the author of the book The Art of Kicking Ass elegantly. I like how the elegantly part falls in there. So welcome to the show Michelle!

MICHELLE: Thank you, thank you for having me.

GEORGE: Cool. I guess we've got everyone, so let's start at the beginning: who is Michelle Hext?

MICHELLE: That's a big question, put me on the spot. So right now, I guess my main focus is, I have a business that's thriving, I love that. But I'm giving myself the gift of being a student in my martial art again at the moment. I've trained Taekwondo for 25 years and recently found an amazing instructor, and I'm feeling very spoiled having good instruction, it’s been many years since I've had an instructor that I felt was getting the best from me.  

I'm getting my 6th degree next year, so I'm focused on that, I'm enjoying that training, so that's one part of my life. And I'm also mom to a son who's 21 this month, and I have an 18-year-old daughter as well, but they moved out of the home, so I'm an empty nester at 47, which I did not think was going to happen. But the house is a lot tidier, and I have a lot more time on my hands. I'm an also an author of four books; one's about to be released. And I'm an entrepreneur.

GEORGE: Awesome. So the fourth book: is that in line with your previous one or is it in a different direction?

MICHELLE: It's really interesting actually: the course of my books, they way the evolved, has kind of mirrored my life really, over the last few years. And the first book I wrote in 2012 I think, didn't get released until early 2014, or something like that, end of 2013. But that book was Bulletproof Confidence & a Kickass Body through martial arts training and principles. And I had my women's only Taekwondo school, so it was the first of it’s kind, it was an adult, women only martial arts school.

We had pink walls, and our benches were pink, and our belts had pink embroidery, so it was much a niche school. And I wrote that book because I loved being in that space of teaching adult women, and obviously, I couldn't reach everybody, so that book was a way to let women know that they can be empowered through martial arts, and if they couldn't physically get to classes, then they could practice those principles.  So I was very much in that space.

And then, the next book was the Honorable Martial Arts Entrepreneur, and that was me saying: every instructor should do this. Their niche doesn't necessarily need to be adult women, but who are they most passionate about, where is that type of student on the map, what is it that lights them up, who is it that they love to teach more than anybody else? Because you can build a brand around that, and it means that not having generic advertising that advertises to all ages and all genders and just looks the same as every other martial arts flyer in town.

I've cut through that by having a specific niche, so that book was all about how to do that. And then the third book, The Art of Kicking Ass Elegantly was me stepping back into working with female entrepreneurs,  not just martial arts school owners, and it was a bigger conversation. It was written for women, for female entrepreneurs who were struggling in their business, but also didn't have much life balance. And I'm the first one to say it’s not easy to have it all and have it all at the same time, but I think you can do it. I think if we simplify and we scale,  there are ways that we can have everything that we want in our lives.

So that book was about that, there are a lot of mindsets in here, there's also strategy around how to grow your business as a female entrepreneur in a service based business. And this next book is, even more, mindset driven because I know that many of the women that I work with in my current business, the biggest hurdle they have is themselves. So what I've said pretty regularly is that success isn't about necessarily the things you need to do, but the crap you need to remove that's standing in the way between you and success. So that book is focused towards that.

GEORGE: Okay, so this whole author journey, what I'm hearing is, it’s stepping the stones in personal growth for you as such. From the confidence and then teaching only to female students with your martial arts school, and then going to the bigger audience and almost coming full circle with the biggest obstacle being yourself and the whole mind thing. So going back to the first book, where you talk about confidence: how did your martial arts journey play a role in that confidence in the early days?

MICHELLE: Oh, it was everything for me! I think I've always been very strong willed. I've always definitely been very strong willed, in a big way. But I grew up with domestic violence and sexual abuse; it holds you back a  little bit in life until you figure out how you're going to deal with it. And I think I did a pretty good job of dealing with that and moving forward. I was always ambitious, always driven, and I left school at 14.

I was told that my parents weren't paying for me to go back to school the next year. So, you can imagine, it's like I'm looking at this situation thinking, I'm going to be a statistic unless I do something. So I didn't know what I was going to do, I thought perhaps I would be a keyboard player for pseudo records – that was on the list. But I wasn't disciplined enough to keep practicing, but I knew I had to do something, I knew I had to hustle and be determined if I didn't want to be a statistic.

GEORGE: Was that the exact turning point for you? At a young age? It’s a bad thing that happened, but it was a real wake up call, sort of a turning point for you, where you took everything upon yourself with you own ambition?

MICHELLE: I didn't consider it, it was just the way I rolled. It was just the way that I dealt with things, but I think when I started my martial arts training, and there were structure and discipline, and I could see a way forward. You start as a white belt, and the next thing, there's a yellow belt. And then from there, there's another yellow belt, and there was such clear direction. And I knew that with this path open ahead of me, and I knew what I needed to do, I knew I could do the work. And I just got my head down and my bum up and I did the work.

Through that process, it was safe enough for me to look at my life and the things that had happened to me and be able to say, Wow, I'm thankful for that, because this is who I've become as a person. And before that, I've done big things. I've traveled over to the US on my own when I was 20, no one in my family had done that. I was doing my pilots license; I'd been solo for about 20 hours or something like that. So I had tackled some big things, but it was kind of all random and all over the place. Not really understanding the gift that those life challenges had given me regarding the strength that it gave me and the way that I'm able to help people. And Taekwondo opened all of that up. The way that I was able to help people, it was incredible.

GEORGE: Wow, that's awesome. How did that thing progress into deciding, OK: I want to open my first school. How did all that come about?

MICHELLE: Well, I started dating my instructor, as happens sometimes. And I stepped into instructing very early on. This club that I was at, the instructor had opened a school, and all of us that were training were white belts. So he was the only one ahead of us. He was 3rd Dan at the time I think, and everybody else was white. And I double graded very quickly. And I double graded all the way through pretty much. So I had a strong role in the club from the beginning, and I loved it. I just thrived under that. I was ambitious, very, very ambitious, and it frustrated the hell out of him I'm sure, because I just wanted to run before I could walk the whole time.

I look back now, and I'm mortified. It’s not what it’s about, but I was very ambitious, and I just wanted to learn more, wanted to do more, thought I knew everything the minute I got my black belt, all that sort of stuff. But I knew that's what I needed; I knew that's where I wanted to go, so I was able to open my club. And I think, even in the early days, it wasn't even happening back then, we're talking early 90s, I ran female only classes even then in the mornings and things like that. So for me, it was always going to be that direction, it was always going to be instruction. I was very ambitious, so I had my first school when I was 1st Dan.


MICHELLE: If I've been training 25 years, I would have had schools for 22 and a half of them.

GEORGE: Wow! So I guess it was a natural progression for you if you were already doing just women's classes to open a women's only school. Were you afraid of going so niche? It’s a big step, it’s a really big step to open a school, and you've got to get as many students as you can, but what sort of inspired the whole going down that niche and just sticking to women's only?

MICHELLE: Well luckily, I've had the experience of running a couple of online fitness businesses, and I only targeted women. And for me what I found so easy is, when you only have one market to target, the message is so clear! And it speaks to that market. So I hadn't had schools for a number of years, and I was training at somebody else's club, and I think I was grading for my 4th Dan, I was getting ready to grow for my 4th. And I just thought, I need to do this again, but I'm not going to do it the way that I did it before. I want to do it differently, and I'm going to test it. It didn't feel like a big step; it just felt like this is absolutely what I need to. And I always do what I want to do; I'm not ever bowed by pressure or what is supposed to be the right thing to do. When I think that, with the child I had and left school so young and all the rest of it, I've never known what the right thing is supposed to be, so I've always just made up my rules.

So that was it, I was just 100% convinced that that's what I was going to do, and so I did it. And the only regret I had is that, when I opened, I decided that I would teach adult women and girls, but my passion for teaching kids had long gone. I love kids, and I see them around Taekwondo schools, I love that they're there. But for me it wasn't about teaching martial arts, it was about the impact that I was having, and I was having a big impact on these women. The confidence that was growing, the fact that they were leaving abusive relationships, the fact that they were going out and starting businesses and all that sort of stuff that they hadn't done before they started training with me – that's what it was all about for me.

I had three kids' classes running, and I didn't want to teach them anymore. I was running out of instructors, and I didn't want to deal with instructors as well, that were calling in sick at the last minute and things like that. It took all the fun out of it for me, and for me to have another school because I had another online business running as well, it needed to be a passion project and something I was passionate about. So I had to let the kid classes fade away, I continued to teach those kids until the natural course of events occurred, and they either went off or went into the adult class, and then it was all about the adult women, and that was so powerful, that club was so, so powerful.

GEORGE: Ok, so it sounds like it wasn't a business you were passionate to scale because the whole satisfaction of the business was coming from you being able to have this positive impact on all these women. Is that about right?

MICHELLE: Well, I had visions to scale it in the beginning. I had visions of push schools all around the place, and we'd have our own push Olympics, and we'd have training camps around the place. I had a vision for that, but I outgrew bricks and mortar business quickly, and I just was doing so many exciting things in my online business, in my other consulting business, that I just felt tied to it.

I wasn't getting instruction myself as well, and I was dying as a martial artist. And every time I was on the mat, I was an instructor, and I wasn't a student. And I wanted that for me; I wanted to be a student. And I also wanted to do bigger and better things. And it was a very sad day for sure, to let that go. Sorry! Because it was a beautiful school and the women were so amazing. Obviously it still (inaudible 00:18:14). But I haven't regretted the decision because I'm still impacting women, and I'm still empowering women, and I'm leading by example.

GEORGE: For sure. That's impressive; it’s not like you've lost any of your impacts. I know it’s probably different, but then again, even you that you have an online business, it sounds like your coaching is very personal, and your public speaking and so forth. But having that impact with people face-to-face and so forth, it meant a lot to you. But then again, you've evolved, and although I interview about the martial arts aspect, there's so much more to it. And I want to get to that level. Because even if we take this conversation away from the martial arts aspect, the mindset and things that you've evolved, is something that can be applied all the way down.

MICHELLE: Oh, absolutely, yeah. It’s a bigger conversation, it is. I'm not on the mat sweating with them anymore, which is the part that I miss, but I'm loving being student, I like that. And as you're saying, it’s the mindset stuff and the lessons that I've learned through martial arts filter through everything I do. And it has an impact; it definitely has an impact.

Sharing my story as well helps people to see that it doesn't matter where you start: if you've got the will and you're willing to do the work, and you've got the vision above anything else because you can work and not get anywhere. But you've got to have such a strong vision and such conviction, that you're able to achieve it. And if you can get those things together you can achieve anything. It doesn't matter where you start.

GEORGE: You've mentioned a few things here, like structure and so forth. But is there sort of one thing that, when you look at martial arts, how it is impacting a life and how it transforms your life to shape things and move onto other things as such?

MICHELLE: The discipline of showing up day after day after day, training sessions after training session after training sessions. When you're hurt, you're banged up; you have to spar that person that you don't even want to have to deal with, all that sort of stuff. And that stuff just shapes you. At the time it feels like hell, but when you look back on that stuff. I've trained seven days a week. I remember going down to train under Mr. Chung, who was our head instructor. And Saturday morning classes, it was a black belt class, I was a blue belt.

I've been training 12 months. And it was just hell; I never slept the night before. We used to have to drive an hour and a half to get there, and it started at 8 in the morning. That was on a Saturday, and then Sunday, I was training with the state squad – same deal. The girls in my division are trying to take my legs out every session if they weren't trying to knock my head off. And I remember thinking – I've signed up for this thing to help me deal with my stress, and now I've got more of it!

Michelle HextYou just rise to every challenge, and it doesn't always feel like you're winning because you're filled with fear sometimes. For me, the fear of losing was massive: could not lose, couldn't lose a point. I was just like that about winning, so you never really feel like you're winning, you feel like you're always behind the eight ball, because that person got that point, or you lost that five. Or you weren't as switched on, or you didn't have the amount of energy that you wanted for that sparring session, or you went into that with a fearful thought.

So you never feel like you're winning. It’s only when you look back on it, and you think – wow! I'm so glad that I had that experience because it shaped me, and when I had my girls school, one time, some of them wanted to compete, so I took them along to a big Melbourne club, where they had an open mat sparring class. And I just had hip surgery so that I couldn't participate. But the girls that were on the mat – the look of pure fear on their face! We used to spar in class; it was pretty hard, but it’s not the same as when you go into an environment that's filled with competitors who are getting ready for the next nationals or whatever.

And I'm like, just get your ass on the mat and just do what you came here to do. And afterward there were tears, and everybody was like, I can't believe how hard that was! And I was like; I used to do that every week, twice a week, as well as the sparring in class. And that's why I had the mentor fortitude that I have and the internal strength. And those women, some of them I think were in shock when they were coming out of it. And they all just valued that experience so much, because it showed them that they had to do it, there was no way out. They all valued that experience, I felt very guilty actually at the time, because I thought I prepared them enough, but I don't think anything prepares you for that. I'm glad they did it in the end.

GEORGE: Awesome! You've mentioned something, and I might put you on the spot with this.

MICHELLE: Go for it! I've already cried, what else could happen?

GEORGE: All right, perfect! You've mentioned the fear of losing: now, this is the opposite of that, the fear of winning, as ludicrous as that sounds, a lot of people have a fear of winning. And I know for me, it’s a personal hurdle that I've always had to deal with. I’ll agree to point, and I would almost destruct what I've created, for the actual fear of winning. Now, you do high coaching and high-level coaching, and you're big on the mindset stuff: how do you deal with that?

MICHELLE: Yeah, I'm not convinced that it’s a fear of winning: I think it’s two things. One of my clients that I was coaching today, she was very excited about a business taking over but then she said, but I also don't want to be a bad mom. Because if it gets busy, then it means this. And so what she failed to recognize is that she gets to write the rules. It doesn't have to mean one or the other, so it's not clear about the fact that you get to write the rules and do it your way. It’s a push and pull a lot of the time. The fear isn't the fear of being successful, because that doesn't make sense.

It’s like, what do I have to give up to achieve that success? So it’s working out that bit in the middle, it’s working out what am I fearful of because there's nothing to fear from success. Is it because you feel like you're going to lose your anonymity if it means you're going to be famous or whatever? Does it feel like you're going to lose the time that you have with your family? So, it’s not about his success; it’s about the stuff that you're going to have to sacrifice. And then there's another side to that, which is not so much the fear of success, but the fear of not giving it a 100%.

What that means is, if you give something that you're so passionate about, and it means so much to you, if you give it a 100%, and you fail – what's left? So we say, oh, I could've done more. But it just didn't work out. If you give it 80%, you can be like, oh well. But if I gave it everything – then I’ll succeed. And you've got that up your sleeve a little bit, sort if. So – if I give it everything. But if you give it everything, there's a lot to lose. So it’s getting to the point where you have to create that win-win situation with that.

GEORGE: For sure. Interesting, because on the other side as well, you could have both. You could still be a great mom, and you could still have the success you want. You don't always have to sacrifice one; I guess it’s more the internal conversation that you have that you can't be both. I can't be successful and be a good mom.

a (4)MICHELLE: People have so much crap, rules that they've created for themselves, that they don't even realize that they've created for themselves. For me, I don't have any eating issues, but it was like, if I'm going to train I have to eat this, and I can't eat that before this, and I can't… And years later, I'm not training to that same extent, and I still had a lot of these rules around my meals. And one day I went, this makes no sense anymore. And then I pulled it apart, and I realized that it’s just a leftover habit. It doesn't need to be there anymore.

And also, in building my business and the way that I help the women that I work with building their businesses, it’s really about working out what you want. Because you get to write the script here. For me, I remember I had coaching clients Monday through Friday. And I might have two on a Monday morning, and then one on a Monday afternoon, and one on a Tuesday lunchtime – it was just random. And I realized one day, this is not who I wanted to be, and then I remember asking myself the question, well, how do you want it to be?

And I was like, I only want to do two days of coaching. I've only coached two days for the last 18 months. And it’s like, but what if people can't – they'll just work it out. It was just getting clear on what I wanted, and everybody else fell in, it’s just the way that it worked. And so, setting the attention about what you want and removing any rules. Sometimes rules are OK, but they've got to be still relevant, and they've got to fit still. So, for her to say, success means this, we had to pull that apart and say, well – does it? Does it mean that? So let's just work out if this is reality or something you've made up in your head. And we worked out it wasn't reality. It was just an old habit leftover and it happens with us all the time.

GEORGE: So what are those first steps you take? Because if somebody comes to you and they are – I wouldn't say messed up, that might sound wrong. But you have whatever obstacle you have that you're facing: what are the first steps that you take to break through those barriers?

MICHELLE: I put things into perspective pretty quickly, because you've said it: people come in, and they think they're messed up. “I'm so messed up, and I can't do this…” “I'm messed up, and this a (2)is what's holding me back.” And a lot of the times, it’s one sentence that I’ll say, and they'll be like, “Oh my god, I never thought of it like that.” And it’s just because I have the perspective that they don't. We're all so close to our stuff and someone shining a light on it and looking at it from a completely different perspective is often all they need to get them thinking in a different way.

So the first step is me hearing and listening to what's going on underneath the conversation and often when someone's talking to me about the challenge, it’s usually a justification for something, and it’s fear based, it’s usually fear based. So I'm trying to work out where's the fear, cause that's what we've got to get to the bottom of. So I’ll let them talk, and I’ll let them talk and observe what's going on but listening to those undertones. Having done this for so long now and I've dealt with my stuff, I can see things pretty clearly.

So it’s having the courage to have those tough conversations with people because sometimes I think – why do I have to be the one that has to have these conversations? Because you know it’s going to make someone uncomfortable, but it’s necessary because without that they don't grow. Without it, they stay stuck.

GEORGE: Do you feel a sense of relief when people address it head-on and say, OK, I've got to think of that?

MICHELLE: Yes, definitely.

GEORGE: Or is it more painful?

MICHELLE: Never more painful, it’s never more painful. I haven't had an experience where it’s been more painful; it’s more relief.

GEORGE: Ok. And then, what would the next step be? You've addressed the obstacle, the problem, the fear base, the gender, or whatever it is – now, what's your next step for a person to be ready to discover where it is they want to go and how they're going to get there?

MICHELLE: The next question is always, how do you want it to be? And then, normally, with any clients that I speak with, I send them a visioning tool, I've created this visioning tool where it helps with a number of coaching questions. It gets them to, at the end of it, creates a pitcher of what their ideal day looks like. And then from there, we build it out. Because, if they can't see it in their mind first, they're never going to be able to achieve it. So I help them create a strong vision, and sometimes those visions will come back, and I'm like, so you're thinking this big – I need you to be thinking this big.

Because they're so limited by their self-belief that they can't even think bigger, so sometimes it does take a couple of goes. With the visioning tool, I have them write it into the future. Today is the 1st of September, so if I was coaching someone today, I'd have them write it with the date of 1st September 2017, like it’s already happened. Some people can't get their head around that, and I tell them, write about your ideal day. And I'm like, well, that sounds like the day you've already got. Well, yeah, it is, it would be perfect if this happened. And I'm like, no, no, no, no. So sometimes they can't even think big enough, they're so restricted by their limitations, that they can't even think bigger than that, so sometimes it’s a matter of asking the right questions to try and get them to open up and see what's possible.

GEORGE: Does that almost create more discomfort in a way?

MICHELLE: It creates excitement!


MICHELLE: I've experienced it myself recently. I have my vision that I read every day. And I was reading this thing, and I'm just skimming through it, and then it just hit me: you've been living this for 12 months, so this is hardly a compelling vision anymore. It’s a nice story, but it’s happened. So I was like, oh crap, OK. This is why I'm feeling a bit bored. So I had to go big – big, big, big. I just put my rules, what do I want my life to look like.

If I woke up this morning and had the choice to do anything that I wanted to do and be anywhere that I wanted to be, where would that be and what would that look like? And I start from there, and then I build back. And that's emotion at the moment, and the vision stuff is so important. It’s so important, because, without it, you're not going anywhere. And if it’s not a big enough stretch, you become bored. There are so many people I know that say, oh yeah, I forgot I set that goal! The way that I talk about setting goals is, the stretch has to be that it’s so big that you may not have been able to achieve it before, but you know that if you do all the things that you know you're supposed to do and if the cards all fall the right way, it’s doable, it can happen.

So that's a stretch goal. It’s not so big that it’s never going to happen. It’s not like; I'm taking my business from 2000 and up to 2 million by the end of the month. I'm not saying it can't happen, but if you don't think that's realistic, you'll never take the first step towards it. So it’s making sure that it feels doable. And then, if you can stay there, and you can get that balance right, then that time, it will work out.

GEORGE: Excellent, OK. And that process will be a lot of, obviously, dealing with our self-beliefs, because it’s easier to put yourself out there and then just gradually pull yourself back, is that possible, is it not.

a (1)MICHELLE: Yeah, like I said, it’s that constant push-pull. So you've constantly got to be alert for the pull when it’s dragging you back. You've got to be on alert constantly. I always say, the biggest tool any entrepreneur can have, or any martial arts school owner can have, or any martial artist can have is self-awareness.

If you're aware of your crap, you've got to be alert to it, because it’s always there. It doesn't matter who you are, or how evolved you are,  or how awesome your life is – it’s still there. New level, new devil. And it’s so true, I've had a business where I was struggling. I struggled for many, many years. And then in 12 months, it went to multiple six figures. And the same stuff is still there. It’s not any different; it’s just bigger.

GEORGE: So what do you do on a day to day basis, to keep you motivated and keep yourself on track?

MICHELLE: I have a process that I do every single morning. So the first thing I do when I wake up, I jump on social a little bit. My business is built around social media. So I'm on there, and I'm chatting with people from overseas and stuff like that. A bit of play for about half an hour. And then I start to journal. And the journaling is just how I want the day to be, anything that's bothering me, I sort of work through that stuff and then I read my vision, and then I create my daily actions based on that.

So I read my vision, check in with my goals and then my action is inspired by that. Then I write my to-do list, and I'm excited before the day has even started. I'm up at 5 o'clock, and that's all done by 7. I take my time, there's no rush, I take my time in the morning, have a cup of coffee and just really give myself that time. It’s just getting aligned. The biggest tip I can give is: if someone doesn't feel like doing something if you don't feel like exercising, there's no point forcing yourself to do exercise when you don't feel like it. So you have to get yourself in the mindset where you feel like it.

Listen to something, look at some stuff on Instagram or whatever the hell it is that inspires you, get excited about it, and then do it. Don't try and force yourself to do things if you're not inspired. And writing's a good example as well: if I'm sitting there and I'm not inspired to write, it’s not going to be a pleasant experience. But if I read what I'd written already, or I go back and read the first chapter of one of my first books, I get excited about that. So get inspired before you take the action. If you're not feeling motivated, don't try and make yourself do it from that space. Do whatever it takes to get aligned and motivated and then do the work.

GEORGE: All right, excellent. Michelle, it’s been an awesome conversation, and I'm glad it went where it did. My intention obviously, was talking martial arts, and then we took on a path that I just couldn't ignore. And it was inspiring to me, and I'm sure for anybody listening, it’s going to be awesome as well.

MICHELLE: Thank you.

GEORGE: Before we wrap things up: you've got a program, your coaching program: can you tell us a little bit more about that, what it is that you do and offer?

MICHELLE: The Art of Kicking Ass Elegantly, I've got an online program. I have a live mastermind program as well. Each of those programs run for 12 months and it takes business owners from the struggling, they can't quite get traction, they're still a little bit unclear, and it takes them through the 12-month step-by-step process to create a six-figure business for service-based businesses.

So there's that, and that's really for female entrepreneurs. I do have female martial arts school owners and fitness professionals in that program, because it fits perfectly for them. But I'm working in partnership with an awesome man called Paul Veldman. He has Kando Martial Arts, and we're partnering together now to release a new product in October called Martial Arts Business Success. And it’s all of the stuff I teach I my programs and more, plus Paul brings a whole other side to it. It’s every month; a new martial arts business tool will be released.

My specialty is in branding and marketing and positioning, creating, campaigns and it’s all that side of things, whereas Paul is very great at retention and business systems and all that sort of stuff. So he's great at all the stuff I'm crap at, and I'm good at stuff that he's probably good at too. But this is my bread and butter, this is what I do,  it’s how to get leverage on social media, how to position yourself in the market, all the branding sort of stuff.

So we're launching that in October, and what I'm excited about with that program is, we’re launching at the introductory price of $67 a month. And if people lock in that price, the price never goes up, it never changes or anything like that. And then there's also my program The Honorable Martial Arts Entrepreneur program. It’s going to be a bonus; it’s something that I was selling for $200, so that's going to be the bonus as well. Part of this membership, every month – there's no contracts or anything, we want people to stay because they love what we're doing.

But every month, we're going to release a new packet, we're calling it. Sort of the whole module on one particular subject that's going to help them grow or manage their business, and then we'll run a couple of live calls within that as well, so they have access to a Facebook group. So that's Martial Arts Business Success – we don't have a website just yet, it’s being built as we speak, but we have a Facebook group, which is Martial Arts Business Success.

GEORGE: Ok, great. So once that's released, we'll update the show notes, and make sure it’s live. But for the meantime, if somebody wants to get hold of you, what's the best way to do that?

MICHELLE: They can go to the theartofkickingasselegantly.com.

GEORGE: Awesome. All right – Michelle, it’s been great chatting to you, I hope to chat with you soon.

MICHELLE: Thank you very much.

GEORGE: Thanks.


GEORGE: And there you have it – thanks again Michelle Hext for coming on the show. How good was that? From going one point and discussing, trying to go down the route of discussing the martial arts journey, and it just went onto a whole other deeper level I didn't expect – thanks again to Michelle for opening up and really sharing her passion with true emotion and sharing all the obstacles she went through and transformations that came as a result, through applying what she learned in her martial arts training.

That's it for me; we'll tune back again next week with another show. Remember, the show notes are at martialartsmedia.com/6. And if you'd like to get in touch with us, any questions about what it is that we talk about, any questions about our services for martial arts school owners, or any suggestions for interviews, anybody that you would like to hear from on the show – please get in touch. You can go to martialartsmedia.com and just click on the contact form, get in touch with me and we'll take it from there. Thanks again, have an awesome week, I’ll chat with you soon.


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

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5 – How To Use Facebook For Martial Arts School Marketing

George Fourie speaks to Rod Darling about using the power of Facebook for Martial Arts School Marketing.



  • What you must have before you start advertising on Facebook
  • A tried and tested ‘irresistible offer’ that you can model for your first campaign
  • 3 steps to follow when creating your irresistible offer
  • The power of strategic targeting that no flyers and papers can match
  • A sneaky cheat you can use with Facebook to discover what your target market is all about
  • One vital change that you can do to your martial arts website right now to boost your conversions
  • And more

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


GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie, and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 5. In this episode, we're going to change gears again a little bit. And today, I have on this show Rod Darling. And Rod Darling has been doing a few interesting things and strategies worth Facebook marketing. And we're going to go down to the real basics of Facebook marketing, and really how any martial arts business owner can jump on and start playing around, and getting your message out, getting your offers out to specific audiences, by doing simple strategies. So we're going to be talking about that.

First up – I do want to acknowledge a few reviews that we have on the podcast. Now, when you go the actual podcast episode, we number it according to the episode so that this one would be martialartsmedia.com/5 and on that, you'll find a link that goes to iTunes. And very much appreciated of course, when we get reviews, especially when they're 5-star reviews. But hey – an honest review is all that matters.

So I've got two reviews here and one from Robbie – apologies if I butcher any names because it can happen – Robbie Castellano. So Robbie says, “Great inside to the martial arts business schools with successful school owners – highly recommended.” So thanks for that Robbie. And then, “Great podcast on two inspiring martial artists,” by Shawn Allan. I'm going to tell you who Shawn Allan is in a second, but let me first read the reviews.

So, “George, great interview with Graham and Phil from WAIMA. I enjoyed the attitude that the boys have in challenging themselves over and over. They do provide us with an inside into their work ethic, professionalism, and ideas. Especially rewarding for me, as I was their employer/instructor back in the day. I clearly remember the reasons behind my decision to employ Graham above all others and that move has been the start of a journey that has benefited the martial arts industry. Then my decision to combine Phil with Graham has been a joy to follow. As an instructor, I've made many mistakes: choosing Graham as a young green belt to groom as an instructor has been a good choice. Helping Phil move into my old school as an instructor; then the owner has been equally beneficial. Of note is the reaction by the boys when I occasionally pass across. They always show me the heartfelt respect and genuine interest in my life journey. My response to them is reciprocated. It seems the WAIMA story is only just starting.  I'm sure you can appreciate this as a dad sitting on the sidelines, watching classes. Anyway, great interview, regards, Shawn Allan.”

So, if you didn't get that from the actual comment, Shawn Allan originally started the WA Institute of Martial Arts, before Graham and Phil took it over. And Graham and Phil was the interview that I did. It was broken up into three episodes, so episodes 1, 2 and 3, which you can get of course at martialartsmedia.com/1, /2 and /3. So there you go, two great interviews and very much appreciate when you leave a review, of course, because that's going to help us get up in the rankings and get the podcast out to all the other martial arts business owners out there.

Alright. So, that's it from me. We're going to jump into this episode. In this episode, we're going to dig over to the Facebook marketing. And Facebook is the prime hangout spot for everybody in the world; everybody's on Facebook. And doing a few things, when you've got your Facebook page up there, doing a few things strategically to get your message out, is not that hard to do. Now, obviously, you can get somebody to do that for you, that's something we specialize in, here at Martial Arts Media. Or, if you're just starting out, and you want to take it on yourself, Rod also offers his help and has a great few strategies to share on how you can get going by yourself. So that's it from me, let me welcome you to the interview, Mr. Rod darling from International Goju Karate Schools.

GEORGE: Cool, so are you ready to rock n roll?

ROD: Let’s do it mate!

GEORGE: All right! Good day everyone, today I have with me Rod Darling and we're going to be talking about Facebook marketing, how you can use your Facebook, or how you can promote your martial arts school through Facebook marketing. How are you doing today Rod?

ROD: Yeah, good, thanks mate, how are you?

GEORGE: Good, good. So just before we get into all the meaty stuff, just a bit of a background, who's Rod Darling?

ROD: Me, pretty much, I've been in the martial arts industry for… I think we started our club in 2002. And we used to do all the normal marketing methods, flyers and school newsletters and stuff like that. And we grew our school to a pretty big size; we're up to about 7-800 active now. Mainly in Perth and I've just moved over to Newcastle, 18 months ago, to get things happening over here as well, moved back home. Got tired of the slow pace of Perth. And we've also got kickboxing fitness studios, which we started up a couple of years ago, and it’s just going gangbusters, obviously cause the fitness industry is a massive market, compared to martial arts. So it’s much easier to grow, to get growth that way.

GEORGE: Ok, so you've got the location in Perth – come on, Perth isn't that bad! I mean, you're stuck, you have to stay there. So, and then how many locations have you got over East?

ROD: I have it here, in Newcastle office, just got one full-time location.


ROD: And I've got a couple of, I've got three, four satellite locations where we run kids karate. And in Perth, we've got four, five full-time location now. One's a stand alone fitness kickboxing studio, the rest karate dojos, with fitness kickboxing in them as well.

GEORGE: Ok, excellent.

ROD: We've got about satellite locations started throughout Perth as well.

GEORGE: Ok, great. Ok so, the meaty stuff would be Facebook marketing. Now, a lot of people talk about. I guess there a lot of confusion about Facebook, how to go about it, what you should be doing. So I guess just for, to sort of backtrack before we get anywhere, with how to go about the advertising and so forth, how would you define the difference? If we talked just about social media stuff and the Facebook marketing?

ROD: Yeah, I don't do Instagram or anything else, so I don't know about that. My theory is that it’s the same as with my martial arts – just do one thing and do it well. So, Facebook as far as marketing, is the go right now. It will probably change in a few years time or so, and something else will come along. But right now, Facebook is the best way, as far as I'm concerned, to get students in, and to grow any business for that matter.

GEORGE: Ok, so let’s go to the start. Now, where should you begin? You've got a business, you've got a martial arts school, and you want to start promoting it on Facebook: what would be sort of the first steps to where to start?

ROD: Make sure you've got a fan page, obviously, cause you can't run boosted posts or ads unless you have a fan page or a business page, is what they call it now I think. But also, the trouble I see with the most martial artist, is that they don't know they market. They don't know their target market. And so we niche it down to, we have a kids karate program called Kanga Karate, so we'll have a business page for that program in that suburb as well.

So we niche it right down, and then we'll have a fan page for fitness kickboxing as well, and we'll have a fan page for junior karate also. We haven't hit the adult market for karate that hard, we just mainly focus on kids and then get the parents training. But that's a good start, just know your downloadmarket and do a lot of research on your market. And niche it down, so my Facebook coach said to me just the other day, “If you try and get everyone, you'll get no one.” So just niche it right down, just target.

At the moment, I'm just targeting fitness kickboxing; I'm just working on that. My karate grows with referrals, so I’ll just target just the normal fitness kickboxing, and then we'll also target moms and dads as a separate, cause they're a completely different anima. They think differently, they've got different wants and needs, so you can make your ads much more effective if you do it that way.

GEORGE: Ok, so that brings up something interesting because most martial arts schools will have several programs, all under the one roof. They'll offer Jiu Jitsu; they'll offer maybe, they'll offer Muay Thai. And then, of course, the kid's programs. With all of those segments, you're talking a different language, as you would when you see them face to face. So you go and create separate pages for those markets?

ROD: Yeah, for instance, in Perth, my main focus is Kanga karate, our kid's karate program. So we have a fan page for each location, even the little satellite locations. And that way, if you do an ad for that location, they can see through Google maps and with the addresses of your location, it comes up on the fan page as well. And you can target people in those suburbs a lot easier. And you know, it’s local.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's a good point. I guess there could be a way to go about that, a different way if you just had the one fan page. And then, that'll probably be a conversation way beyond this call, which you would be specific about your ads, on how you're going to target the market. Which is probably, I think we're probably going to go way beyond that conversation at this point.

ROD: Yeah, yeah. You could have a fan page for each program, and have all your locations included on that fan page. It’s just the way we do it because we're like franchise setup and we leave the fan page up to control to that franchise, run his ads. The biggest drama I see with having the one fan page with all the different programs is the content. Because you want to be putting out content to the people, and you're not going to put out, like krav maga, self-defense style content to a 4-6 years old kids program for karate. It’s a different type of content.

GEORGE: Very cool. Ok, that was a good learning point for me as well, cause we are also kind of try and put everything into one roof a lot of the times. But then, the only way to get people to the different segments would be with content promotion and so forth.

ROD: Yeah.

GEORGE: So, ok. So moving on, when you do your ads, what are you exactly doing? Are you putting up something on your website and promoting that? Are you promoting events, or are you creating a specific offer on Facebook – what's been working for you?

ROD: Yeah, we have what we call an irresistible offer. So we do a paid trial, and for most of our karate locations, our biggest offer that we sell is, we do 5 classes and a uniform for $29.99, and we have websites and landing pages where people can buy that, and we're just directing them to the website to buy that offer.

GEORGE: Ok, so, first and foremost: you're building your audience, so you've got your different page, and then you're putting up a specific page for the offer.

ROD: Yeah.

GEORGE: Right. And do you vary those offers, or do you sort of run with that, and then chop and change, or?

ROD: We've been running with that offer for a few years now, and we're too scared to change it because it works pretty good. We do have a formula to come up with our offers, and we do the same with kickboxing, we do three classes and a pair of gloves for $26.99. And I've also done different offers, just playing around over here, where I've done a six-week kickboxing program for a $127.

And I've been selling them straight off the bat, straight off Facebook. Cause I've always tried to keep it a low barrier offer, which is usually below $49, cause they'll buy it straight off the bat off the internet then. But I'm doing it for a $127 now, and we've done $169 as well, an absolute beginner course for adult karate as well. We've just done that recently, had over 60 people take that offer. As we get more confidence, we try bigger and bolder offers.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's it. Ok, I don't want you to give away all your secrets obviously, but do you mind sharing what's that formula that you take to create your offers?

ROD: There are 15 steps, but the main steps are: it needs to be unique, it needs to be different from everyone else, it needs to have lots of value. So free –  there's no value in two weeks free, there's nothing in it. What we do is, we try to give away a tangible product, which for kids karate would be a uniform, or adult karate would be a uniform, or for fitness, kickboxing would be gloves. And whatever the retail value is of that product, we keep the offer at 50% that retail value. Say if your uniform were worth $80, you'd keep your offer at $40, but I'd make it an oddball number and say $39. So the five classes in uniform for $39 and I’ll always put the value of the uniform in that offer. A uniform is usually valued at $80, or whatever your uniform's worth. And that works every time.

GEORGE: Ok, interesting. And I just want to clarify that: so you're basing the value also on something psychical, so not just the class, because two weeks free can be very, sort of “Great – what am I getting?”

ROD: Yeah. And that's another point, I try and do it as a specific number of classes, rather than four weeks and a uniform, or 2 weeks and a uniform, because then there's still a gray area – how many classes does that get me? So we try and keep it specific, so then there are fewer questions that're going through their head. So, two weeks – how many classes do that equal? Is that one class a week, or is it three classes a week – what does that get me? So we keep it specific, so they know what they're getting.

GEORGE: Yeah, really good point. Cause you don't want the prospect to be answering questions in their head, or give them hard work to try and figure out what is this offer. You want to make it easy for them just to make the decision and go with it.

ROD: Yeah. And once you have that offer, like we've been running with our offer for I don't know how many years know. It was the biggest change we ever did; it made a massive difference to us. Once you have that, that would do most of the heavy lifting in your marketing for you. Most of the work is done, once you have that irresistible offer, you just have to put it in front of the right people, and that's easy on Facebook.

GEORGE: OK, right, so I guess that's the crunch of it: if you're going to have a bad offer, it doesn't matter who the audience is: your offer is not going to work, and nobody's going to respond to your ad. So the first step is going to be, obliviously create your fan page. Get that if you're using profile for your martial arts school, it’s not going to work. Then create a good offer, so something that's going to work. And then start running the ads. Now, what are you doing to expand the fan base? Cause obviously, if you're running the ads just from your Facebook, is there anything that you're doing in particular that you can get more people to the fan page, or you're just doing that with the boosted type posts that's attracting friends, or friends of people in your club?

ROD: When I run my boosted posts – so I find boosted posts work better then a Facebook ad for martial arts. The ads will still work, but boosted posts just seems to work better every time we do it. So we don't target people that liked our page: we create an audience and so, if it’s kids karate, I’ll target moms, cause they make the buying decision most of the time. And I’ll just pick the suburbs in the surrounding area; it’s as simple as that. See, what happens is, this is another mistake that a lot of the guys make, cause I see ads – when I lived in Perth, I used to see ads from martial artists in Melbourne, popping up on my news feed.

It's either their targeting was crappy, or they're targeting people who liked their page and their friends. And this is another mistake they make: they invite all their martial arts friends to like their page. So, we get likes just from running those boosted posts, people will like your page anyway. And what you can do, once they've liked your post, or commented on your post, you can go through and invite them to like your page, so we're getting likes like that. So I don't run posts to get likes, I just do it sell more web special.

GEORGE: Right, interesting. And a good point to mention there, it’s still good to build their fan base, because your ads will be a lot cheaper. So you'll get more. But hang on, that doesn't apply to a boosted post.

ROD: I don't run ads to those people, I run ads to new people. And the people that do like my page will most probably see it anyway, cause they're in my target audience.

GEORGE: Right, OK. So you're not that concerned about running ads just to do your fan base: you want to expand it and get the message out to new people.

ROD: I’ll just run it, cause it’s so good on Facebook now, you can run a boosted post, and you can target women between 25 and 45 who live in your suburbs, who have kids between 3 and eight years old, you know? And you can't do that with flyers or a newspaper.

GEORGE: Exactly! And that right there is gold, that's what makes this direct response type marketing gold because it gives you this, Facebook has got all the data of everybody. Everything that you do on Facebook, I mean, you are literally the product on Facebook. You are the free user, you give them the data, and that data is obviously a way for you to customize ads and present an offer to those people. And you bring a point there is, again, how specific it is, if you're targeting somebody that's 25-45 and you know you're targeting women, then what is the conversation in your ad? What are the pictures that you're going to put in that ad? Do you get a woman to create that ad for you?

Rod DarlingROD: We do a whole exercise now. And we've only just learned this recently, but it’s making a massive difference, where for instance, I've just done that for fitness kickboxing, and I've spent three weeks going into my target. And there's a whole process that we go through; it’s called taking a stop. And we try and get into their head of that person and so, what are their problems, what are the causes of their problems, what behaviors are they doing because of these problems that they have in their life? And then you can speak their language. And when you start doing that – I forget who it was, but somebody said “If you can describe somebody's problem to them better than they can put it into words, they'll always run with you.” they'll always come to you to solve it, and that's what we do, pretty much. But I can't explain how we do that here! It takes ages to learn it!

GEORGE: For sure. I guess for someone that doesn't have access to those type of resources, the quickest way to make that discovery is I guess, really pay attention to what people are telling you that walk through your doors. The people that are coming through the doors and the people that are joining, and if you can get down to the reason why they're joining and what they are trying to achieve through their martial arts, not just kicking and punching stuff. But the real hidden benefit, the real REAL benefit – what are they going to get out of it? What type of transformation they are after?

ROD: And it’s a really good point, but be careful who you pick, because you want to pick your favorite clients. Because you want to attract more of those clients. So I pick my favorite ones, with my fitness kickboxing, there were a couple of ladies I asked questions to, and I modeled it on them, cause I want more of them. And now when ladies come in here,  it’s like they've been here for 12 months already on their first night. They just click with everyone. But there is a cheating way that you can use Facebook to do your market research. Once you have your fan page, and you now have people give you reviews, I’ll go through all the reviews on my fan page, and I’ll look at the wording that they're using.

So, for instance, when I did it for my kickboxing fitness studio, everyone said it was a great workout, and they had fun. And fun was the theme that kept coming through. So then I started to use those words in my ads as well, and I got better results. The other thing that you can do to get better targeting is, I go through those people that have given me a five-star review, and I’ll stalk their Facebook profile, and I’ll have a look at their interests, what pages they've liked. And you'll find a theme in there. It’s a bit harder with kids karate, but with fitness, it was easy. The pages that popped up all the time were Lorna Jane and the Biggest Loser and Michelle Bridges and things like that. So now I can target ads to those people. So it's a bit of a cheat way on Facebook to do it quickly.

GEORGE: OK, cool. And that brings up a good point, and I don't know if it’s going a little more advanced, but Facebook has other features, where you can create a lookalike audience. So it’s taking people that you have, and then Facebook uses their data to create a lookalike audience, which is mimicking all those features that you're talking about. The similarities and so forth, they try and base an audience on that, which expands on that. Have you used any of those features?

ROD: No I haven't, cause I just have my audiences saved, and I just keep hitting the same audience unless I'm doing a different campaign or a different offer. Then I’ll change it up a little bit. Or if I find I'm getting people starting to come from a different suburb, a little bit further away, I might expand the data a little bit further. But that's it. Just keep it simple, that's what it means to have a great offer if you have it articulated in a  way that they understand you and target the people who you want.

You can also target income now. I don't target people that can't afford me anymore. Cause when you have an irresistible offer, it’s like Groupon. We've done Groupon before, and there's a lot of bargain hunts out there. They'll just come and, you know.We did it for karate years ago, and we had like 60 kids come in, but none of them could afford us. It was a way to get uniforms.

GEORGE: And they've got the uniform hanging out the pub.

ROD: Yeah, for their dress ups.

GEORGE: Dress up party uniforms. Alright, cool. Anything else that I haven't asked you that you feel is important? What I like about this conversation is, it’s all about the basics. We're talking about getting your Facebook campaign sorted and really just keeping it simple, making sure that your audiences are well segmented through your pages, so that you can target accurately, that you're not talking about Muay Thai  fights to the mom who's trying to sign up her kids and sharing that type of content, so you can have a relevant conversation with your target audience. Is there anything that you feel, any other tips that you feel we should cover?

ROD: The basics are knowing your target, have a great offer and put it in front of them. That's all you need to know and do. But one problem that most businesses have and martial artists are really bad at this, is, your product is an obstacle to what they want. So for fitness, for example, they want to lose weight, but they don't necessarily want to go to the gym and sweat and workout hard. So your product is actually the obstacle, so you gotta talk to them about what they actually want, so don't talk about yourself on your website, cause I see martial artists, oh, we've been around for x amount of years, and we've won all these world titles, and we've done this and done that – they don't care. They don't care; that's not going to help them give their kid confidence. They just want to know how you're going to do that.

GEORGE: That opens a whole other interview. Cause that is the biggest mistake that I see on any martial arts website is, being us-centric and not you-centric. It’s all about we, and everything is we. We, us, we believe. And nobody cares, and nobody cares what you believe because…

ROD: You're weeing all over yourself!

GEORGE: Alright, that will be the tagline for this episode – don't wee all over yourself! Alright, awesome. So, Rod, I believe you also have a course that is in the making, and by the time that you listen to this interview – for anyone listening, it will probably be available. But for anybody that needs help with this and wants to take on this challenge, and they don't have the confidence, or they don't have someone that can do this for, do you have a website that they can go to?

ROD: I will have for this soon, I’ll have a landing page. But the best thing to do is contact me through Facebook. I've put together this course because I've been getting contacted every day by people wanting to ask all this stuff. And I help them, no worries at all, but I'm like, I need to put it together in a course. And it'll be a short course that'll get them results. After a week or so, they'll be generating page rise.

GEORGE: All right, awesome. So just contact Rod Darling through Facebook. And once the course is live, we will have it in the show notes so that it will be available in this episode. That will be at martialartsmedia.com/5. So that's it. Thanks a lot, Rod, I've learned a great deal and I'm sure everyone else did as well, and I hope to connect with you soon.

ROD: Yeah, cool!

GEORGE: Alright, thanks.

ROD: Thanks, bye.

GEORGE: Alright, there you have it – thanks again Rod for the great tips and we're going to follow this episode up. I'm going to be talking about a few different strategies and things that can add to what you're doing. And there's something that they came up with, the way Rod is approaching it, which is awesome and working well for them, how they are splitting their target markets through various pages. And I got thinking after the interview: there's a lot of brands, it would be very hard for them to restructure that format. So it would be very hard to go and, if you've got your brand and you've got a few locations out there, and you're serving a few target markets, you might get stuck with that approach. In a future episode, we'll get on and discuss a few alternative options that you can go about doing.

Rod, thanks a lot for the interview. Shared some great tips and some great things about the offers – if you just picked that up, the way they structure the offer and the value – there's some gold in there. Little things, but little things is what counts and what makes offers convert. And if you need Rod's help, you can just contact Rod, so rod, R-O-D Darling, just search for him on Facebook and connect with him on there, he'll be happy to help you with anything you need.

Coming up next week: I've got so many cool interviews lined up, so I'm very excited about that. There's a few topics that I'll also be discussing solo, so it's exciting to see this podcast evolving and I'm just going to continue interviewing people from all aspects of martial arts, maybe even get guests on board not from martial arts which we can learn from, obviously talking about the marketing aspect and so forth. But anything that can help build a better martial arts school, a better martial arts business at the end of the day.

Alright, that's it from me. For the show notes on this episode, you can go to martialartsmedia.com/5.  So, martialartsmedia.com/5 and I will catch you on the next show. Thanks a lot for tuning in, chat soon. Cheers!


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4 – Should You Have Your Prices Listed On Your Martial Arts Website?

Is there a benefit having your prices listed on your martial arts website, or how much business is this really costing you?


  • What happens when prospects see prices on your martial arts website
  • The war you don't want to create with your prospect
  • The key conversion elements to have on your website

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In this video, I'm going to talk about whether or not it's a good idea to have your prices, your club prices, listed on your martial arts website. And if it's not, what else should you be doing instead of that.

Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and today, I'm going to talk about whether you should have your prices listed on your martial arts website, or not. And if not, what can you do instead. So, the short answer – no. You should not have your prices listed on your website. Now, let's get the longer answer. The longer answer is that, if you list your prices on your website – now, let's take one step back. Your prospect is sitting in front of their computer, or their mobile phone.

And they're looking for a martial arts program. They know nothing about you, nothing about your school, nothing about the benefits. They've got this idea in the back of their mind, that they want to start training martial arts. Or it's a mom, sitting and looking for a school, after school program, for her kid. So, there's no relationship in this – not even a transaction yet. It's simply somebody that's searching for more information about your school.

Now they find your website and as people, do they see a link that says price. So what is the first thing they're going to do? Of course, they click on the price. And now they've got their point of reference. Their point of reference on how they're going to be comparing your club to other clubs, to other schools.

a (78)And that's going to be their point of differentiation. Now, bear in mind: this person has never spoken to you, never met you, never walked into your environment and felt what that experience is like, the culture, was it warm and friendly, did they like the instructors -there's none of that, there's no relationship whatsoever. So you've now completely kind of ruined your chances, and I guess you've gone down to the point of, you're playing the price war, right? You are playing the price war with everybody else, and a war against price is the price of course, to the bottom. So, never a good idea to have your prices on your website.

What about specials? Well, that's a completely different story, because if you've got a very attractive special, something that people can buy, without inquiring much, without having to find out much information, something that they can try before they commit, then yes, why not? Have something that people can take, which has got a good restriction on the timeframe. So, put a special in a place that's attractive and appealing, but that has a deadline, OK?

Deadlines are key. Now, if you want to go down this whole price track, most websites are just not constructed in a way that is driving people to a form of action. And your website might be great; it might tell great information about you, but it's more. Most websites are structured with information. Information about the club, who the club is and who the people are. And unless your copy – your copy, I'm referring to the words on your website, has been designed by somebody professionally, that actually has structured it for the prospect, all their paying points, and their desires and what they want to achieve and what's really bugging them, why they're actually searching for a martial arts program, then it's best to avoid that whole price scenario and so forth.

quotescover-JPG-63But I'm jumping around, so I want to move along: what should you be doing instead? So what you should be doing instead is focus on conversion elements. At the end of the day, you want to get a prospect through the door, into your dojo, into your school, on the mat, and you want them training. So you want to remove as much barrier there is to entry, but also, you want to make that first connection. You want to be able to get them in the door, and be able to make that face to face connection, speak to them, build that relationship and then get them into training.

So on your website, the most powerful way to get in touch with someone is, once they've obviously made a connection, the phone would always be better – well, that of course, second to face to face would be a phone, and then online inquiry, if you have to. But of course, the quicker you can talk to them live, whether that's over the phone or face to face, there's going to be a bit of a relationship forming right there. So what should you have on your website? You should have your phone number, very visible, right on the top. If you have multiple locations, then maybe have a drop down or something, that people can select the location and call from the website basically. Also, if you look at mobile searches, most people are searching on mobile lately, I think statistically it's about 60%, so you wanna have a clickable phone number, for the person that's on their mobile device, they're on Google, they find you, they click, and they make that call.

All right. Second would be an online inquiry form. So also, above the fold – when we say above the fold, it means that people don't have to scroll down, so everything is visible at the top. This is not always possible, but if you've got a sort of way to test this kind of things, which I know a lot of people don't, but preferably, it's always a good idea to test what's working best on your website. But having that online inquiry form, where people can type in their name, number and e-mail address and get in touch with you right there, that's advisable.

And in the last bit, if people aren't committed to that yet, it's good to have a free give away. Something like the seven best strategies, seven best things to consider before choosing a martial arts school. Something of a free giveaway, that's going to educate your buyer – educate your prospect rather, to what it is that you offer with martial arts and that way, you're going to be building a bit of trust, and building that relationship before you get to speak to them.

All right, so that's it. I hope you got benefits from these tips. If you want to learn anything more, go to our website martialartsmedia.com, and I'll see you in the next episode. Cheers!


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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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