67 – And Still… The No.1 Martial Arts Marketing Mistake

How to avoid the biggest marketing mistake that martial arts school owners make when advertising online.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Matching your message for the right platform.
  • If this one thing doesn’t work, your ads won’t work.
  • The ‘kitchen sink’.
  • The real reason why you need to simplify your sales funnel.
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

The first thing that you really, really need to get down to is, how do you structure the offer, how do you get an offer to convert? Because if the offer converts, everything else is going to work.

Hey, this is George. And I quickly want to talk about how to avoid the one biggest marketing mistake that comes up quite often when I speak to martial arts school owners.

So just a bit of context: I'm in New Zealand right now, just on a bit of a family vacation. And we've got this awesome view and the weather’s been up and down, but today it's just such a perfect day on the lake here in Hamilton, so I just wanted to get that on video.

So here's what happens, right? So we've got a program in the Martial Arts Media Academy, where we help school owners with all areas of marketing. When it comes to emailing, Facebook, Google, etc. And where the problem came, was trying to mix too many of the same strategies.

So, here's what happened: one of our members had been trying to get their Facebook ad to really work. And we've got an email structure that sends out… basically, we structure emails that go out to your prospects. They're structured over about two weeks and it basically helps build a relationship with your prospects while you're not there.

And so when doing email, you follow certain…there's certain things you can do, right? There's a certain way you can speak, there's a certain way that you can format your message. And the first message that goes out, we call it ““the kitchen sink,”” because it's everything in the kitchen sink, right? It's telling the prospect everything they need to know about you.

And so where the confusion came in, was trying to actually use this strategy, because our member got such good results with this one email, he decided it would be a good idea to put that on a Facebook ad. But the problem was that the email, it sends people to… it's in a whole different position, right?

The person is already a lead, they're already a prospect, the relationship has already started, and now they get this email that sends them to YouTube, that sends them to everything that they can learn and know about them and then martial arts school, right?

So when you use this on a Facebook ad, of course, that's kind of suicidal, because you're sending people to all these different locations. And by sending them to all these different locations, you’ve got no way to ever know if it works, or not. And my exact answer was, let’s say this ad works – awesome. You get a good result. That would be great, but let’s say you run it again and it doesn't work?

Then there's no way for you to know why, because there were just too many variables, right? People went to YouTube, people went here, people went here, people went here… so that creates a lot of confusion and……not a confusion so much, but there's no way for you to actually scale and improve that type of ad.

So here's what the biggest mistake is: the biggest mistake is trying to do too many things too soon and sending people to too many directions too soon. So when you create an ad and-  it's a very common thing, but just have people do the one, simplest thing that's going to start the conversation with them. How can you make it easy for them to raise their hand and do something?

And sometimes that's just a comment, sometimes that's sending a message. Because here's the thing, right: if you’’ve never run a Facebook ad and you’’ve never gotten anybody to respond, so you never got a conversion on your Facebook ad, then nothing else is going to work, right?

So the first thing that you really, really need to get down to is, how do you structure the offer, how do you get an offer to convert? Because if the offer converts, everything else is going to work. So if the person is going to respond to your offer, then you can start looking at, OK: how do I make this landing page better? How do I make this message better? But on the frontend, you’’ve got to get the offer to convert.

I hope that helps. If it helps in some way, then leave me a comment below, or yeah – I’ll see you in the next video. Cheers!

 

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

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66 – The Hard Way Vs The Easy(re) Way

Every martial arts business has its challenges. If there was one ‘shortcut' to success, this would be it.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The real ‘shortcut’ to martial arts business success
  • The easy and hard ways of marketing your martial arts school
  • Why you should invest in these marketing strategies
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

If you're struggling with something and need help, then why don't you just get help from someone who has done it before, made all the mistakes and shortcut all that learning? All the mistakes that they made, you can bypass that and get the result faster.

Hey, George here. Just walking back from a trip, we were just at Mount Ruapehu, if I've said that right. You can probably see it, it's sort of in the background there. Yeah, the snowy mountains, pretty awesome scenery here in New Zealand. Pretty cold, when you're used to the hot weather in Perth.

I was reminded today, there's the easy way to do things and a hard way. So today was the first day I took up snowboarding and because I’ve surfed before, I always thought, oh, this is going to be so easy. So I thought, you know what, why not give it a shot? Why not I go and try snowboarding, without lessons and just go do it, right? And the outcome was pretty… interesting.

So, yeah, I ate a lot of snow, falling down and, yeah, it was an interesting affair. And it reminded me that there's always the easy way to do things or the hard way. Just like before I started helping martial arts school owners with digital marketing stuff. I took the hard way, I tried to learn everything myself, without any help.

So just going by mistake, mistake, mistake, mistake, spending a lot of money, wasting a lot of money and it's just a long process, which can be really frustrating, right?

If you're trying to learn something and you don’t have any help, then you try everything, you do everything. It doesn't make sense and you think you’re going to save money by not spending money on a  course or trying to get advice or coaching. So you go the long road, the long route.

And you try and fumble through things by yourself. And it can be really frustrating and it can take a long time and I guess that’s why a lot of people also stop doing what it is they were trying to achieve because it's just too hard.

So, yeah, when you go that route, it's always, it just takes a lot longer and it's a lot more frustrating. And I guess that’s just with everything, right? Like, with your marketing, marketing your business with your martial arts, you can try to fumble through things, try and take shortcuts, or just get help.

Get help from someone who’s done it before, who’s tried things, who has invested in some knowledge and gotten good results, obviously. You can’t just follow someone that invested in good marketing, or good coaching or something, because if they didn't get results yet themselves, then how can they teach you to get a result?

So I guess I just thought I’d shoot this video, the real message I want to get across is: if you're struggling with something and need help, then why don't you just get help from someone who has done it before, made all the mistakes and shortcut all that learning. All the mistakes that they made, you can bypass that and get the result faster.

Hope that helps in some way. I’m going to go into that spot over there, which is nice and warm and get myself a nice drink. Cheers!

 

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

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65 – How To Stop Bullying In Schools With Martial Arts – Terrence Fernandez

The fight against bullying is an ongoing topic in the martial arts community. Terrence Fernandez shares how martial arts helped him go from a bullying victim to Commonwealth Championships and successfully running 6 martial arts schools.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How martial arts can help kids deal with bullying.
  • The anti-bullying efforts in martial arts schools.
  • The psychological and societal effects of bullying.
  • Martial arts vs. team sports.
  • The skills that martial arts teach you.
  • And more.

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

TRANSCRIPTION

I've been pushed around and grabbed before, but I never did anything. This was the first time I stopped and fought back. So it got to the point where I was in front of the canteen and I got put against the wall and exchanges happened and I don't know any boxing, so pretty much got bashed a bit first. And then I responded with a roundhouse kick to the head. And after that, the fight stopped. The person I was fighting, after the roundhouse kick to the head, stopped. And it was just a big shock, it was a shock to everyone around me, but more importantly, it was a shock to me. It was a shock to me that I finally overcame that choking feeling.

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. So I have a guest with me today, Terrence Fernandez and I was at The Main Event in Sydney, just a couple of weeks back and we sparked this conversation about the topic of bullying. And something I really wanted to speak to Terrence about, something he’s really passionate about, something he went through as a child, but then there's also things that I don't want to neglect, as a Martial Arts Media business podcast, that he's got six locations, just opened his first location internationally and opening another three next year.

So there's lots of value to this share on the business side, but we’re probably going to start more and talk about the bullying aspect, a topic that's always hot within the martial arts community. And, yeah, as always, we’re going to see where this conversation goes. So welcome to the show, Terrence.

TERRENCE: Yeah, thank you, thank you for having me.

GEORGE: Alright, awesome. So as always, let's just start from the beginning; a bit of background from you, who is Terrence?

TERRENCE: Yeah, I'm from Sydney Australia, and the sport that I do is Taekwondo. And my club is called Martial Arts Spirit, but basically, I was your average martial arts student, I was just trying to find a place to belong. And you know I tried that through group sports, like soccer and basketball and things like that, before I got enrolled into Taekwondo. And I didn’t quite find it in group sports I think, with group sports, there's a bit of pressure involved, and you're expected to perform, to achieve the goal of the team, whether it’s winning a match, or whatnot, winning the season.

And because I already lacked in confidence and I wasn’t really good at any skills or coordination, being put into that team environment, I felt like I was letting the team down. And through that, I experienced some bullying in the team as well. Remember, I was playing for a soccer team, and I didn't know anything about soccer. Don't know the rules, my family doesn't’ know anything about soccer, soccer was just running around a field, kicking a ball. And you know, I think I was probably about 7 or 8 and I still remember the Saturday game, when I was constantly offside and not knowing the rules.

The team were getting really angry with me, and their parents, the parents on the sidelines, were getting really frustrated with me, because I didn't’ know what I was doing and I started getting names. I was the only Asian person on the team. And it got to the point where I’d come to training and just really be outcasted and isolated and I used to get spat on by my own team. As a kid, it's quite a lot to deal with, especially when the first reason of trying to do a sport is to actually find a place to belong. So after that, I just got scarred from team sports and that's when my parents enrolled me into martial arts.

GEORGE: And how old were you when this was happening Terrence?

TERRENCE: About 6 years old, and I got enrolled into martial arts when I was about 7. Yeah, so I think something very, very important that everyone needs to be aware of is, bullying, it doesn’t really matter how small or how big the scale is, the end of it, you know, psychologically, can impact long term. So you know, there are quite a few things that I remember as a kid in primary school and in high school, that I think about constantly.

And even though I'm a completely different person, there are still memories and I still remember the feeling of what it felt like to be in those scenarios. And that's why we’re here today, because there are so many people, so many kids, and so many people in the workforce. Bullying is just a massive thing that isn't slowing down. And I think it’s really important that we get the message out there, as to how to deal with these situations.

GEORGE: For sure, it's kind of counterintuitive right? Because, when you think about it, a team sport is there to build that team camaraderie and unity and everything. But then obviously, there's going to be a point where not everybody is going to be at that unit. So where it’s super beneficial for people that are in the crowd and trying to do that, but I mean, what do you do when that's not your personality perhaps? Or that's not your skillset? So you tried, you might have kids, and especially in a school environment, you’ve got kids that are maybe super passionate about the sport and trying it and here you re, and you're trying to trick your way into this group. And you’ve got this thing, I want to be as cool as them, but then you just get shut out.

TERRENCE: And I think that's the beautiful thing about martial arts as a sport – not being biased at all. But with team sports, you automatically get put into that competition side of the sport, where you're preparing for a competition, the outcome of the competition is to have fun – yes, it is to have fun, but the end result of that competition is to win the game. The point of, say for example, soccer, is to score more goals than the other team. That's the goal and that's what you're trying to achieve as a team, right?

With martial arts, the beautiful thing about martial arts is, there are so many different avenues. For example, Taekwondo – you can come in as a white belt and… you’re… why I related so well to martial arts was, it’s an individual sport, so I can focus on my own pace, building up the skills needed to achieve the next level. I can go at my own pace and I'm not expected to be going as fast as everyone else. All right? You still get the support of a team, which is your club, you build up the social skills, you have support from your other belts at a beginner level, you do it together and the support of your instructor, and as we all know, a martial arts instructor is completely different to a volunteer coach in a sports team, you know?

Martial arts instructor goes well beyond their service of just teaching a kid how to punch or kick. They're a role model, they help them build up that confidence to get through life, you know? And that’s our role as instructors, not just teach martial arts, but to help shape them into a good leader in society. So with martial arts, with Taekwondo, you’ve got that option to just do the traditional side, where you can go at your own pace and focus on building yourself up. And then, if you are that competitive person, like you have in basketball or soccer, where they want to take that next step, all martial arts offer that.

They have their traditional side and they have their sports side, where you go into competitions, whether it’s pattern, or sparring, or XMA – you’ve got that whole side and there something for everyone. So for some kids that like to do sparring, they’ve got that sparring side. For kids that love to just concentrate and have that perfection type of mindset, they’ve got their forms. And for the kids that love to be fancy and really test their body to the limits, you’ve got that XMA. So that's the beautiful thing about martial arts: it covers everything. It covers that personal growth that they might just want to focus on. Or if they really want to challenge themselves, they can go as far as the Olympic Games.

So for me, how that related to me was, I didn't like the pressure from team sports and I just loved the traditional side of martial arts. But then, as I gained more confidence and I started to realize more about myself, learned more about what I sought from, like I actually have skills, I have something in me, some drive. I started pursuing the sport Taekwondo side and tried to represent my country in the commonwealth games. And just wanted to learn more about myself. And through that, through that journey of discovering myself and realizing the drive and motivation I actually have in me, that mindset, that strong mindset that martial arts taught me, then transmitted to business. So, you know, and that's a beautiful thing. The skills that martial arts teach you, the perseverance, the concentration – all of those are transferable into everyday life.

So, I'm not being biased to martial arts, but compared to other sports, martial arts is just awesome, especially for those kids who are really trying to find themselves and that might lack in confidence, because they don't feel like they're up to everyone else’s standard – martial arts is just beautiful for that.

GEORGE: So let's go back to, you were 6-7 years old. Being bullied, I guess we should ask: why do you think people are bullies?

TERRENCE: That's a very good question and something that I think the answer needs to be educated more to parents. So for me, we've been teaching martial arts a lot now and we've also got a program that is implemented in a lot of preschools around New South Wales and South Australia. It's a preschool program where we teach kids martial arts in preschool. The reason why we stared that was because I found that bullying starts as early as preschool. So we see it every day in preschools and the more preschools we started teaching and then talking to my kids that are in primary school and in high school and in the workforce, kind of see similar traits across all ages, as to the bully, why they bully, and the target, why they target it. So before we go on to the target, let’s talk about the bully, OK?

A bully, why do they bully? They bully because they feel that they need to have that superiority over someone that makes them feel safe, makes them feel that they can’t be touched, OK? So the bully, the reason why they bully is because of a lot of insecurities that they may have, which could have been caused through their own life journey. You find a lot of people that used to get bullied; they then become a bully if they're not guided in the right way, OK? For example, if a kid is abused at home and they've got all of this anger and frustration, they need an outlet and they feel that that outlet is to put others down so that they can feel better about themselves. So yeah, they have a lot of insecurities and they want to feel like they belong.

So how they do that is, they try to humiliate someone else to show everyone else that they're tough, that they're powerful. But really, deep down inside, they're actually just trying to belong and trying to make them still feel equal or better than everyone else. And unfortunately, for them to feel that, they need to find a target.

Now, when they look for a target, they look for someone who they know isn't going to challenge them, that they know they can psychologically defeat, to avoid anything physical, so they know that they can defeat them psychologically and they know they're not even going to challenge them physically and it’s someone that they know they can isolate. So someone that they know doesn't have a strong support network around them, so friends for example, who aren't going to stand up for that person. And when they find that target, that's when they pounce.

So you ask why do people get bullied? They get bullied because they get found as a target, they lack in confidence, they don't know how to voice their opinion, they don't have a support network around them, so a good, solemn friendship base, or a network of people. And slowly, as their targeted to get bullied, these low attributes that they have, then start spiraling into other things, like their confidence drops even more, if they didn't know how to express something before, when they get bullied, they dive into a shell and they start holding everything inside even more.

So they don't speak about their problems to their parents, or to their friends, or to their school counselor or anything like that, because they already had that weak attribute to begin with, you know? Of not being able to express themselves. When someone is bullying them, it really kills me inside, because usually the targets that are getting bullied, they're such beautiful people, who don't want to bother people, who don't want to put any burden on other people. And because of this beautiful heart that they have, they take it upon them to hold it to themselves and to just bury it inside. And slowly, slowly, the more that they do this, it kills them. It kills them, slowly, slowly, and then sometimes, unfortunately, it gets too much for them, and they break.

And you know, I know I'm being very straightforward with delivering this message, but, when it comes to bullying, we can’t really just put it under the rug and think that it’s going to go away, like what school teachers or bosses at the workforce do, they think, yeah, it will be alright, they will tell the kid to stop doing it. They say they're sorry, shake hands, and then they forget about it. But it doesn't happen like that. The more that the situation goes on, the target, the more that these problems keep hitting them in the face.

Two things will happen: one, they will either snap and really deal with their problem front on and say, enough is enough, or two, they're just going to keep burying it inside and it will destroy them as a person. And we’ve seen countless times how many people take their life because of bullying. And this is just because they’ve reached the end of their road and they haven’t been able to express themselves and it just built up, built up, built up and because they don't have the knowledge of what to do or they don't have the support network around them, they give up. And this is something that we don't want, for anyone. So that's why we’re here today, to try to educate people more about bullying.

GEORGE: Yes. I've got a few questions, just from that. Firstly, I just want to mention, I've recently gone through, I guess I’m a lot more attentive to it now, because, my son is 12 years old at this point in time. Recently got into the same type of situation, a bullying situation at school. And he’s been doing martial arts for 7 years, he’s a smaller kid, really, as you say, just a beautiful heart, nice kid. And although he can put me down when he wants to, even in a play situation, he can take me down. But in a bullying situation, he was almost crippled. He didn't’ want to defend himself, he got caught in a headlock and he was almost more fearful of the consequences of getting suspended in school, which put me in a bit of a situation and we've got a business group for martial arts school owners on Facebook.

And I posted a question; does martial art really help against bullying? Obviously just, the question was more spurred with frustration, but it did spark a really, really good conversation and martial arts school owners chipping in and really talking about their experiences with it, frustration with the system of how you go about combating the bullying. Because it's almost like the bully is more protected than the victim.

And that's something I said to the teacher as well, hang on, there's a bit of a double standard here. My son is fearful of the fact that, if he had to defend himself, he’’ll get suspended, but you’ve got a bully that's allowed to bully and I'm getting these vague messages, there's consequences. And I'm like, but what are those consequences? Is it a slap on the wrist, because if I had to do this in workspace and if I had to go do this in public, that's a criminal offense. And I’d get charged for that. So how come that's not… where's the consequences in school? Where do you actually combat that at such a high level?

TERRENCE: Yeah well, I can relate to that story really well. In primary school, because of my lack in confidence and not knowing who I am, I had not friends. I was a kid in school, this is around year 8, OK? So picture primary school, walk around the playground trying to kill time, because for lunch, I know my routine, just walk around the school to kill time and the thing about being a victim is, you always care what people think of you. So when I’d walk and be cautious about how I walk, do I look funny when I walk and so on. So I was really outcasted, right?

In high school, I tried to make that change of, I need to make it a point to hang out with the popular kids. And I made it a point to hang out with the popular kids and then, when it came to lunchtime, they would be walking around school, picking on targets to bully. So then when that happened, I was like, no way. This is not me, I can’t be this. So I hanged out, I felt sorry for the kids they were bullying and I told them to back off and leave them alone. And I started hanging out with those kids, which later, I will tell you about later, they were my first students. But yeah, I hanged out with those kids and it made me the biggest target.

So even in high school, I was walking around and my usual high school lunch then became walking around the school again, like it was in primary school. And I became the biggest target. When I say the biggest target, the bullies stopped focusing on anyone else and would just focus on me. And it was things from, come to my locker, my locker is being broken into, or, my books are in the bin, dumb texts on my chair. I was just walking around the school feeling so much anxiety and having to know that, next period I have English. I have this bully, this bully, this bully in the class. As soon as I get out of the class, I've got to find out where they're sitting and think about where I'm going to sit to avoid that situation. It got to the point where you have to really gather up so much energy just to get yourself to school.

So the point I'm trying to make is, I dealt with all of this buildup inside for so long and even though I knew I was a black belt in Taekwondo, because I didn't’ have that confidence it gave them more reason to put it on me, because they knew I wasn't’ going to challenge them. And the reason why I didn't’ challenge is lacking confidence, even though I could just spiral and kick their head and all this type of stuff, you have that choking feeling, when you're confronted outside of your dojo premises. Because in a dojo, you understand the rules of the game, you understand that it’s a safe environment that nothing is going to go wrong.

But then when you take out yourself, and you put yourself in a public environment and you've got everyone looking and challenging you, you're trying to battle with your own insecurities and the pressure again. You know that pressure that I was talking about before? You're then faced with that again in a school environment and thinking of what everyone thinks of you and you’ve just got these bullies in your face and you're constantly having to deal with psychologically, every day, you know? It’s all those different factors that get in your face, you choke. You don't remember what you're taught in the dojo, you don't remember the skills. All you remember are your insecurities. All you remember is how much you just don't want to be there, how you just want to run and how you just want to avoid and that's what it comes back to. And that's what causes the victim to just choke and bury themselves.

And I remember one specific scenario which led to the next turning point in my life, complete turning point in my life, which relates to your question: I went on a music excursion, going to the city. And these bullies were at the back of the bus. And when I came into the bus, there were no seats, except at the back. So I had to sit there and minded my own business. And then, someone had a whole bunch of lollies. And they just started throwing lollies at each other around the bus, right? And then suddenly, I was the target, so six of those guys at the back and they were just all throwing, one by one, lollies at me.

And you know, me being the kid I am, I just tried to pretend that the problem was going to go away and just hope that it’s going to go away, which the victims will think. It didn't’, so that bully behind me had chewing gum and he put chewing gum in my hair without me realizing. I knew he was doing something, but I just didn't’ want to aggravate the situation. So I just left it, but I didn't know it was actual chewing gum he was putting in my hair. And then when I found out, and I touched my hair, I broke down. And as a boy in high school, breaking down, just completely breaking down, tears and everything, it’s destroying, it destroys you, OK? Because you’re trying to hold on to some dignity and at that point, you just know that it just killed you. You're just lost.

So I tried to get it out of my hair when I went back home, but I couldn't. So I had to go to the hairdresser and I had to shave my head. So after that, my brothers were a lot younger, so I had no one to really talk to at that point. And I didn't talk to my parents, they didn't know anything that was happening and it just got too much for me. And that point was breaking point for me. I wanted to end life and I just had no more energy to build up to go to school. I was already facing this thing of having to go to school and face them and now I have to go to school again and everyone laugh at me, because I got my head shaved and they know what happened to me and I just didn't want to face that.

So before I actually executed what I planned, my parents knew that I was acting weird and they came in my room and out of frustration I told them what I wanted to do. And from there, they knew that something was wrong. So they took me to counselors and with counseling, I didn't’ quite get anything out of it, because as I started to speak up, as I got comfortable and spoke up and broke down, I think it was the first time that I realized that my problems weren't just at school; it was at home as well, I had a very negative relationship with my dad and all of that pressure that he was putting on me and psychological damage that I was getting at home as well, was adding a lot to my stress and to my anxiety. So obviously, when I started to open up about that, my dad stopped sending me to the counselor. So that avenue got cut from me and I had to deal with it again.

So about two weeks later, I went back to school and I had the courage to go back to school, and like usual at lunch time, if they found me, they would go at me. And I snapped, it got to the point where I reached the end of my road. I had no more options and I snapped. So I had a physical fight for the first time in my life. You know, I've been pushed around and grabbed before, but I never did anything. This was the first time I stepped and fought back. So it got to the point where I was in front of the canteen and I got put against the wall and exchanges happened and I don't know any boxing so pretty much got bashed a bit first. And then I responded with a roundhouse kick to the head. And after that, the fight stopped. The person I was fighting, after the roundhouse kick to the head, stopped.

And there was just a big shock. It was a shock to everyone around me, but more importantly, it was a shock to me. It was a shock to me that I finally overcame that choking feeling. I finally overcame that feeling of being suppressed, you know? Just the pressure and all the problems just being suppressed and I finally just let go. And my training – I was already representing Australia at that time, all that training just suddenly turned into that environment where I felt relaxed and I felt responsive and I knew the surroundings around me, all that training that you do, that suddenly came into play. After that roundhouse, I was like, hang on a second, this is just like sparring. This is just like the gym; this is just like that game.

And after I kicked him and the fight stopped, funny enough, I got suspended. I got suspended from school and that family tried to charge me with assault. So the good thing was, that I already had a track record at the school. I always reported when I was getting bullied. My parents always stepped in, which didn't help the matter. It made things worse sometimes. But the school had a record; the school had a record of all the times I was being victimized. And when it came to this where I actually did defend myself, because of that record, the parents… they didn't congratulate me, but they were proud of me. And everyone was, I was surprised to come home and my parents were actually proud of me that I kicked someone in the face. Like, and I couldn't understand that, I'm like, I was so scared to come home and tell them that I got suspended. I got in trouble, but they actually high-fived me, not because I kicked someone in the head, but because I was able to face my fears, you know? And overcome that obstacle.

And from that day, from that day onwards, my life changed completely, completely. The next day I went to school and I went from being no one, from walking around the school, trying to avoid people, to people coming up to me and saying, oh, I heard about the fight, what not. And it was just a sign of relief for me that it was all over. From that point on, it was all over. That group, they didn't come after me again, because they knew that I would challenge now, that I will stand my ground and that I had confidence in myself now and I realized the abilities I have. And that if I'm pushed into a corner, I won’t bark, I will bite. So it stopped from there, if one of them started, another one would tease the bully, they would say, oh don, he’ll kick you in the head. So from there, it just changed. It was a domino effect that changed my whole life, that one day.

GEORGE: And how old were you then?

TERRENCE: Where?

GEORGE: At that time, how old were you then, when that incident happened?

TERRENCE: I was in year 8, it was term two in year 8, so probably about 13-14 maybe. So a little bit younger than your own son.

GEORGE: Yeah. So seven years so, that's a fascinating story.

TERRENCE: It takes a long time, it takes a long time. It’s not… the matter can be changed (snaps fingers) like that, the bullying situation can be changed like that, but the journey to get there takes a long time. It’s about finding yourself, it’s about being comfortable with who you are, believing in yourself and in a situation of self-defense, learning the skills on how to defend yourself. And martial art does help against bullying in all those ways. Your confidence gets built up, you as a person, your character and how to deliver your message.

They give you all the skills, they give you the skill of how to defend yourself and they give you all that character development; but, just like a coach would tell their student, they can tell you what to do, but unless they do it for themselves, you don't get the result that you want. And that journey of learning how to believe in yourself and how to defend yourself in that scenario, that's an individual process and depending on the individual, it can take years like it did with me, 7 years, or it could take a month. So it’s just about the individual and how fast that person sees or discovers who they are.

GEORGE: Yeah, it’s so interesting for me, because I'm always about the mind and how the mind works. And things that you said earlier of how things have affected you from being a kid to later, and you sometimes, as you evolve as a person, you start questioning things that you're doing, but I get angry at this, or I get frustrated with this. And when you peel the layers back, it’s belief systems that you've set up, it’s either just out of a habit, or out of fear of a situation and that sort of shapes the way you go through life.

And you know, you're talking about the time it took; I think, something I heard this week on a training, talking about:  motivation runs out, but if you have the habit and the discipline, the discipline will keep you going. No matter, where the motivation is, because you're going to find that training sucks, and you're going to find that this sucks, but if you've got the discipline to push through, then that's what's going to keep you going.

And I think that's so important, because like you've said and like I've seen with my son as well, he's got all the world’s training and he can’t use it. It’s just, it’s crossing that line of, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to be this person. I've got my insecurities about all that, to that point of, I snap and – that's it. I’m not putting up with it anymore, I'm crossing that line.

And that was really what my question was about in the martial arts group. Does martial art really help in bullying, because it gives you all the tools and everything, but then, that real life situation is something you cannot really prepare for. Because, I mean, you can have 5 or 10 of your instructors pin you down in a corner, they're still an element of trust in your mind, whereas, I know my first bullying situation, and growing up in South Africa, it was probably completely different, because I was with a friend on a jetty, fishing and I had an older kid look at me and said, you – and this is the type of people they were, he said, “I'm going to cut your throat and I'm waiting.”

And he stood waiting. And I remember that element of fear like, this is someone that would do it. He would do it, just because he didn't like me or whatever, whatever the case was. But I just remember that element of fear that there's this realness of a situation, where you can’t prepare for that. Because even in the dojo, you can prepare physically, but that mental pressure of, I'm really in danger, like, this is life or death. How do you prepare for that?

TERRENCE: So, it’s interesting that you say that. You use that example of that guy; could you actually try to understand the upbringing person of that kid? I mean, for him to have that type of person, can you imagine what that person has actually gone through to get to that stage? So, I think, with us, if we learn how to deal with that situation right there, if you take a step back and as a parent, or as an instructor, or a friend, you can kind of see a lot of flags before that even happens, you know? How old were you when that happened?

GEORGE: I was probably about… I think I was about 8 years old, 8-9 years old.

TERRENCE: And how old was he?

GEORGE: He was probably in his early teens. The funny thing is, I had… a kid that used to hang out at the jetty, and was probably the scummiest, roughest kid ever. And he looked at me, and he said, don't worry, I've got you. And he walked with me off the jetty, walked past that guy, he got on his bike, and he cycled home with me. It was a big lesson in life, you know, I looked at this one kid that I thought was just the scruffiest, scummiest kid ever and he walked with me and cycled home with me. It was just, now that I think back on it; it was a multifaceted experience in that way.

TERRENCE: Isn't it crazy how you still remember it and how it still damages you psychologically? You still remember that fear, you still remember that isolation, you still remember that choking feeling. And that's what I was talking about before. To go back to your question, if you look at that teenager, it expands what I was saying before, about the need to feel superior, to dominate over someone to make them feel better, and you being old as you are, 8, and him, just a teenager, he knew that you're an easy target. And unfortunately, something like that, it’s a very difficult thing to deal with.

Lucky for you, you weren't alone, so I think you not being alone definitely helped. And your friend, that scruffy friend you were talking about – that's what we want to build in society, people like that. People like that, that will help build that support network, you know? Having that strong link next to you, whether it is yourself that is the strong link, your friend, you know? And that's what we want to build in our martial arts students, to be that leader. To be that leader in society, to create that change. And thankfully, you had one of those leaders next to you that pulled you out of that scenario.

But the actual bully himself, there's a lot of things that could have been done before, that could have helped change that person. And that’s one other attribute that martial arts gives you, which could help prevent someone from being a bully. So when someone has these life experiences that can either change them to doing negative outlets, like putting out the aggression on someone, or stealing, or doing things to cry out that they need help: if martial art is that thing, it will provide a positive outlet. So a positive outlet that they can channel all of their negative energy, which was for me, all of these feeling from home and from school, all of this negativity, and my outlet was training. Just continuous training and it was my serenity, it was my place where I’d come and just belong, by myself. Be peaceful with myself and just focus on myself and just train, you know?

So I think there's many things you can do on, that can avoid these situations altogether. A bully finding a place where they can have a support network, like a martial arts studio and have a good outlet to take out their negativity on. And for your friend, for example or even yourself, building up those characteristics on how to be a good leader. How to stop that scenario from happening. Building that link system, to be the strong link, or to have a strong link with you. And that's a beautiful thing about martial arts, it helps both sides. So in terms of the actual scenario, obviously not being isolated, not being by yourself and finding a safe environment. Finding other people to see.

GEORGE: Awesome. Terrence, I've got one more question for you. I actually have two, but then we might go on a whole new tangent. I might just stick to the one, for now. And it will be a good way to actually wrap up our chat here. With everything you went through with bullying and what happened at school, knowing what you've experienced through martial arts and what you've learned, discipline and everything, what would you say to your 6 year old self, in that situation, in that bullying situation if you had to go back in time?

TERRENCE: That's a good question. I think that, not just my 6-year-old self, but anyone who is dealing with bullying at the moment, no matter what age they are, whether they're an adult, teenager, or in primary school; they need to remember that life is a journey. Life is just a journey, where you’re continuously learning about yourself and in life, you'll always be tested. There will be many tests that come your way, whether it’s financial, whether it’s being bullied, whether it’s relationship crisis, or anything like that. There are many, many challenges in life. OK?

And each challenge is an experience. An experience that you can learn from to better yourself and to make yourself a stronger person. And as life goes on, as you get through each obstacle each day, you learn from it. And by the end, you'll come to a certain point in your life, where through those experiences, you become confident and comfortable with who you are, whether it’s being alone, whether you find it hard to make friends. You gain confidence and you become comfortable with being in that scenario.

So, if you look at all the successful – not all, but most of the successful people in this world, they've all gone through many, many experiences, and often you'll find that they had to defeat it alone. But through that hardship, they're now able to face any obstacle and being independent, being comfortable with who they are and what they can do, and knowing that they can overcome anything, any obstacle on their path, they can overcome it now. And they don't need help, they're so strong, their character is so strong.

So I think anyone who's in this situation needs to understand that it’s a learning experience that will shape you and it’s always important to be mindful of the direction that you're going, whether you're going towards a negative way, realizing that that's a negative path and a negative way about dealing with your situation. And trying to find a positive outlet, a positive way to learn from it, to deal with it and how to turn that negativity into a positive experience that's going to help you in your future, being a better version of yourself.

So for me, that whole bullying experience, it shaped the way I am today, it’s given me everything that I have today. My business, the skills I have of talking with people. I couldn't pick up a friend before or talk to someone. I had that much anxiety. Now you can put me in front of 2000 people and I’ll just talk. Because nothing is going to be as bad as what the past has been. I've overcome everything and it doesn't matter what I get put today, the mindset applies. The same principles apply with, this is a learning experience – what can I learn from this? How is this going to make me a better person in the future? That's it.

GEORGE: Thanks a lot. Terrence, it’s been great speaking to you. And just before we wrap up, it makes me think: everybody fears public speaking; people fear public speaking more than death. And my thinking is, well, maybe you haven't been in a situation where you've got to fear death.

TERRENCE: Yeah.

GEORGE: Because what you're really saying is, perspective, right? Because of perspective and that can almost be the good thing about it. Yes, you had a bad experience and unfortunately, it was horrific and it sucked, but when people are able to navigate through that, you build up this resilience, I guess confidence in life that you can just take on bigger things and better things for the future.

TERRENCE: You just said it there. You were talking about that mindset of resilience and how to use that to tackle the future; in its plainest form, resilience in the martial arts dojo – isn't that what martial art teaches you? Just on a basic level? Not to give up when you're feeling sore, not to give up when you're losing on points or anything like that, to keep pushing through if you can't get a pattern to keep trying and to keep at it. Martial arts instill the platform and then you build off that platform, as to how to apply these principles in your everyday life.

So that's how martial arts and the journey of life really benefit each other. So back to that question you were asking, does martial arts really help with bullying – yes, it does. It’s up to the individual on when they choose to apply it in their everyday life.

GEORGE: That's what we learned.

TERRENCE: Yeah.

GEORGE: Awesome tips. Thank you for your time. Great topic and I'm definitely having you on again for round 2, if we can maybe expand on this topic, or talk about the business side of things. So if anybody wants to get in touch with you, learn more about you, where can they do that?

TERRENCE: I’m actually going to start a YouTube platform pretty shortly. Everything to do with martial arts and topics like this, bullying. I am very, very passionate about the fight against bullying. So you can search us up on YouTube, I believe George has got a link, easy for you to follow.

Otherwise, you can just follow us on Instagram, just coach_terrence and I'm passionate about martial arts, business and the fight against bullying. So if you have any questions, just hit us up and I'm happy to share whatever knowledge I have.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Thanks a lot Terrence, speak to you soon.

TERRENCE: Thank you, see you later.

 

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64 – Google Search Vs. Social Media For Martial Arts Schools (And Goldfish Have Surpassed Us!)

The subtle difference you need to know when creating content for Google search vs social media for martial arts schools.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The difference between search engine marketing and social media marketing for martial arts schools
  • How goldfish have surpassed us
  • Leveraging your content creation
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

Hey, this is George. Just here in Perth City and I was at an event from Google, Google Garage. And pretty basic information but some interesting stats, which was a good refresher on just how things work in the digital world, so I thought I’d share with you something that you could use when you create content for your martial arts school.

Before I get to that, one of the most interesting stats that I thought was interesting was that goldfish have officially surpassed us, meaning attention span. So where goldfish used to have a shorter attention span than human beings, according to their stats, Google stats, we are now… human beings attention span is 8 seconds and goldfish have 9 seconds. So they have the one up.

So here's something that I found interesting, was the difference between your strategy with Google search and social media. So it's one of those things that… When you kind of know it and we’ve been really trying to be deliberate about it, but when you really realize the big difference, it's kind of an aha moment about how you go about it.

So, when you look at social media, social media… a big thing about social media, which is a pet peeve is, the longevity of your content, right?

Because you can create social media posts today and you’ve got about 24-48 hours before they have completely lost their reach, ok? So unless you're doing something else with it, like using it for an ad or something like that, that's going to be the lifespan of the content for you.

So when you look at Google, so again, social media – very positive and generally positive, right? I mean, obviously, when you create content, you want to create positive content. Some people just create complaining posts, right? I mean if that's your thing – awesome, but I wouldn’t recommend it for your martial arts school, right? So that's the one side. You’ve got the social media content that you create.

Now, Google on the flipside, is not so much of a… dare I say it, like a fake facade, right? It's not all “Everybody’s happy” moments; it's people going to Google and really typing in real life problems, ok? Real things that are going on in their life, that they're trying to solve in a martial art school’s case, self-defense, or its activities for the kids and that can also just be the super, the first level of the problem, right? Because it could be a few layers deep.

So that is the real difference, the difference being, one is being created for more of a positive and friendly and happy vibe and at Google, people are typing in real-world problems. And then obviously, finding results for that and that's how you find articles, videos and so forth. So I guess the key thing is always, how do you bridge the gap, right? How can you create content that leverages both platforms?

Because if you're only investing in social media, then it's ongoing and you’ve always got to do it. But if you create the content with the purpose of how can it be leveraged and how can people find it later on your website, then you're playing a whole new different game.

A little tool we use in the Martial Arts Media Academy, which I’m revamping now for our new modules, is a content multiplier. Content duplicator like a cloning type tool. So you create one piece of content and then you model it and clone it for different platforms.

So that's one side of it, but then the really cool thing about it is, how to take one piece of content and then making sure that it's relevant on all platforms. So I won’t go into all the details and that but I want you to really think about it; when you're creating content, how can you create your content so that it could be used, obviously on social media, how can it be used so that it can be found afterwards, so if people are doing a Google search and they can find it on your website. And then even better, how can you use it on social media for an ad and how can you use that to really broaden your audience.

And if you want a few more details on that, I’m happy to shoot another video, perhaps even share the tool that we use for this, but I'll leave that for now.

Speak soon – until the next video. Cheers!

 

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55 – Bogdan Rosu – Personal Development Through Martial Arts

When you combine personal development through martial arts, the goals achieved become tangible. Bogdan Rosu's vehicle for this is Wing Chun.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • What led Bogdan Rosu to use martial arts in reaching out people.
  • The potential of martial arts for personal development combined with hand-to-hand combat.
  • Using concepts of Wing Chun to improve your life.
  • Being selective about the students you can and cannot help.  
  • BONUS PDF DOWNLOAD: 11 Goal Setting Questions to ask your students to reveal their real emotional reasons for starting martial arts.

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

TRANSCRIPTION

The problem with just doing personal development, for example, is that you just don’t get keeping it in your head. Imagine just reading books, or doing courses or attending seminars – that's great, that information eventually trickles down into your body. However, if you do a concept with your body and you're not just repeating it over and over again. You do it and you integrate it into every cell of your body, that’s totally different.

GEORGE: This podcast episode is the audio version of a video interview that took place on martialartsmedia.com. For the full video interview and to access the questions that we discussed: we discussed questions with Bogdan Rosu, we discussed questions that you can ask your prospect in regards to personal development, but what this does for you? It really helps you get a clear idea of what your prospects’ goals are. And if you know what their goals are, you can tailor make your presentation about your martial arts program based on what their needs are and not just about what your program delivers – big distinction. It will make more sense in the interview.

So to download those questions and the transcript, please go to martilartsmedia.com/55. Here's the interview – enjoy!

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. Today, I have with me – and I’m 100% confident I’m going to say this 100% right: Bogdan Rosu.

BOGDAN: That was actually pretty good.

GEORGE: Bogdan Rosu – did I get the “R” right?

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, actually the -su was like, it’s a bit unusual. Hi everyone, thanks for the invite.

GEORGE: Awesome. So quick introduction – and while I’m going to let Bogdan do most of the introduction, but Bogdan invited me to his podcast a couple of weeks back, Personal Development Through Martial Arts. And you can find that on addicted2wingchun.com. And it’s addicted with the number 2. So we’re going to touch a bit of that, on the personal development side within martial arts, within martial arts training as well, and just going to really have a chat, have some fun and learn more about Bogdan and what happens in the wonderful world of Romania? So officially – welcome!

BOGDAN: Thanks for the invite and like I mentioned earlier, it’s very nice to see you again. I’m excited to sit down and talk martial arts, personal development and marketing. Yeah.

GEORGE: Sounds good, all right. So first and foremost – who is Bogdan Rosu?

BOGDAN: I’m just a guy, you know, I’ve been doing martial arts since I was like 13 and the primary reason was because I just wanted to be a bit more self-confident and learn a bit more about people, I was horrible with people. Because for example, in the 5th grade, I was voted as being the most annoying, obnoxious kid in class and that was a bit weird for me because I love people so much and I just didn't understand why this stuff was happening.

But somehow I felt that it was because of me feeling really insecure. So I started my martial arts journey when I was 13 and in my 2nd year of college, I discovered personal development and I noticed that there was a really interesting connection between the two, in the sense that, what one was missing, the other can provide. So that's how this thing got started.

GEORGE: So – on personal development, right? So what actually led you to personal development? I mean, you're saying that you were feeling labelled most annoying kid in the class, although you're thinking you were probably just trying to reach out and connect. And then you said you discovered personal development, so, is that what sort of was the path to get you to say, well, there are some things I need to improve myself.

BOGDAN: Somehow, I mean, when I discover personal development, I had been doing martial arts for seven years. I started with this acrobatic style of martial arts and it was funny because the flyer said, “Learn karate, ninjutsu, judo, aikido…” and three or four other styles of martial arts and they were all taught by the same guy. And you can imagine the level of expertise. But he was good, he was a really good fighter. We ended up doing a lot of ground fighting, which was fun and a lot of flex, you know, a lot of acrobatic stuff. But I still don't know how to defend myself and I was so scared of the idea of confrontation, of physical confrontation, especially in the street.

And three years later, I switched to Shotokan karate and that's where I learned the values of working really, really hard. And reaching that point where you say, OK, I can’t do it anymore, I just need to go beyond that. And after three years of doing that, I felt a lot stronger. My posture changed, but I still felt very insecure. I still felt that my self-worth was close to nothing, I was still comparing myself to other people. And personal development came in the form of network marketing. A friend said, dude, you need to do this, you need to start doing this and I did it more for just having a side income, just to make a bit more money. Which did not happen of course. But I really got passionate about personal development when I started reading these books and these concepts, these ideas, really shaped me in the following years.

GEORGE: Interesting that you say that because network marketing was my stepping stone into the online business world.

BOGDAN: Really?

GEORGE: Yeah, that's what got me started. I know there are many perceptions about it: it’s a scam and it’s this and this, and there’s definitely a lot of that, and especially now that the bitcoin phase is happening and cryptocurrency, it really sticks out and it’s annoying. But I was part of the network marketing industry for a long time and what I find is – and this is what happens with a lot of people that get into that is, it is their first stepping stone into business. They normally try it, achieve a little success, or nothing, but it opens the mind to, Hang on – I can provide for myself, I can create this business. So it does leave a good groundwork for business skills, the start of business, being in business.

BOGDAN: Absolutely.

GEORGE: And then, of course, the personal development that goes with it.

BOGDAN: Absolutely, absolutely. And this whole idea of sitting down with someone and making an offer is hugely intimidating for a lot of people and yeah, you know, the problem was back then that I wasn't really aware of the fact that when you're making an offer, you shouldn't really be pushy. I was super pushy with people. But now we know better.

GEORGE: Cool, so let’s define, OK? I get to the personal development with martial arts. But let’s fill that gap in between that first. So you got into personal development – what exactly did you start doing that had the biggest impact on your life?

BOGDAN: From personal development or from martial arts?

GEORGE: Personal development, yeah. Because you were already in martial arts, right? So martial arts was there and your next thing was to start developing yourself, so how did that sort of transition I guess and then what did you actually do?

BOGDAN: To be honest, it actually started making more sense years later, because you're getting all these books, you're getting the information, but until you have also the experiences to use that information and consolidate them, it’s really not worth much. So I didn't see any kind of change in terms of my self-confidence, until I started teaching it, to be honest. And that's… it may sound weird to a lot of people, why do you teach stuff that you don't 100% own? Well, that was exactly the reason why, because I wanted to learn these concepts and own them, so I felt that by teaching them, it would really help me do that and it did. And that's when all of these concepts made sense. I’m still teaching stuff that I want to learn and master, or at least get better at it.

GEORGE: Yeah, for sure. Because that's the progression of life, right? I think it’s always important to pay credit where credit is due, there's nothing more frustrating or me when intellectual property just gets passed around like… you learn something and then you pass it on as your own, but I think for the most, people can see through that. But I mean, content creation like what we’re doing here with podcasts, a lot of that is actually educating yourself on the go. Sometimes it’s from experience, but as you say, the other part of it is, it’s something you want to be better at. So the minute you start articulating it into words, you actually start getting the better understanding of what it is that you do.

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I absolutely agree. And a huge turning point in my life was actually learning… I started teaching, I started teaching Wing Chun. That was actually my third martial arts style, I discovered Wing Chun when I moved to Greece to study. And I got my instructor certificate and started teaching. And you probably know, like, working with your clients, the challenges of opening a school when you know nothing about marketing and you're handing out flyers and you're just dealing with all this frustration.

And I sat down with the person who would become my marketing mentor and he asked me about what I was doing. And I told him, look, we do teach martial arts, but we focus a lot on the mindset and on the tools that you can use to better your relationships, to actually have a better relationship with yourself. And he's like, yeah, but you're not just teaching martial arts, are you? You're also teaching personal development. And that was like, that actually makes so much sense. So he was like, why don't you just be open with that in your marketing efforts? And yeah, that made a huge difference. I just put myself out there the way I was and the way that I wanted to help people out.

GEORGE: So can you give an example? I mean, if you're doing a personal development within your martial arts teaching, how do you go about that?

BOGDAN: Mhm. Well, usually we have 5-10 minute discussions every training session. And what I've learned to do now is to allow everyone to speak and I speak at the end. I offer my opinion at the end. And then I ask them, what concepts did you use, or did you find in the Wing Chun training today? What idea is it that you feel you can apply in your life directly? Wing Chun is interesting, because it’s not a technique based on martial art, in the sense of, OK, you do step one, you do step two and you do step three. It’s based on ideas; it’s based on concepts.

So in Wing Chun, we say that you can do an idea with your hand, you can do the same idea with a stick, you can do it with your car, you can apply it in your life, in terms of your relationships, in terms of your work, in terms of business development. One example would be, we use the straight punch, right? When we do the first film, we do a straight punch. For us, it’s not just a straight punch, it’s a way of thinking. Instead of going around, right, to get to my target, I choose the fastest way, all right?

Sometimes the straight line is not always the best solution, sometimes you do need to go around, right? But if you can go straight to the point, just do that, right? So you're learning to be a bit more direct, you're learning to be more assertive with your way of thinking and with who you are as a person. So we normally do that, I get my students thinking of how they can apply these ideas, these concepts to better, not just their lives, but also to share them with other people.

So that's how we basically include the whole personal development. And then in the end, I share some of the stuff that I've learned, some of the books that I've read, the videos that I post on my YouTube channel, there's, the Wing Chun, the specific way we focused on the martial arts and there is the mindset and personal development aspect of the channel.

GEORGE: So if you say you're sharing the same stuff on your social media channels and so forth, is that sort of your leading theme as everything… you tie it in with your marketing, you tie it in with the whole concept of how you deliver everything. Would you promote yourself as a martial arts school or a martial arts school focused on personal development, or vice versa?

BOGDAN: Personal Development Through Martial Arts school.

GEORGE: Right, of course – as you wrote it. So now, bringing it back to… in the class, you say you get people really involved: do you find that it creates some discomfort, or that it presents some confidence issues, I've really got to step this up, that type of thing?

BOGDAN: Are you asking for the students or for the instructors?

GEORGE: The student.

BOGDAN: For the student? Mhm, mhm, that's a great question. Well, they kind of expect it in the sense when they walk in because it’s a whole new concept. So they would expect something a bit different from a traditional martial arts training program, so the people that usually come to the school, actually, they do feel a bit uncomfortable at the beginning, sharing their experiences and talking with the group. But slowly, slowly… the school is very welcoming to new people. So slowly but surely, they get out of a state of a, What should I say, or What if I say something silly. And we just start having a conversation. Usually everyone in the group contributes, says something.

GEORGE: Cool, something silly like swapping martial arts for personal development, instead of personal development for martial arts.

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, that's it.

GEORGE: Alright, awesome. Ok, cool, so anything else that you can add with the personal development side and how it’s sort of working for you and I guess results that the students are getting that they might have not expected. You know, the whole thing of, sell them what they want and give them what they need.

BOGDAN: Indeed, mhm.

GEORGE: There we go.

BOGDAN: Well, I personally think that all martial arts schools should include a personal development curriculum in their teachings, in their training. And if you love martial arts and you don't know where to start, a great aspect would be just to have a personal development specialist come once in a while in your school and holds an event, holds a workshop. Maybe somebody who specializes in communication skills, somebody who specializes in performance and productivity. Somebody who specializes in psychology, or something like that right? Or motivation.

I feel that martial arts are like when you're doing martial arts, you're really building a very, very powerful engine, upgrading your engine from, I don't know, an old car with a very powerful Ferrari. And I'm referring to your willpower, you’re really tapping into that, you know, I'm actually stronger than I thought and I can actually take on more than I thought. You're learning hard work.

However, you're not really learning what to do with that engine once you've got it. So by learning about personal development and what are the actual techniques, or how to communicate a lot better or more efficiently with people, you're getting the best of both. The problem with just doing personal development, for example, is that you're just doing it, or you're keeping it in your head. Imagine just reading books or doing courses or attending seminars – that's great, that information eventually trickles down into your body. However, if you do a concept with your body and you're not just repeating it over and over again; you do it and you integrate it into every cell of your body, that's totally different.

For example, confidence: you might learn about confidence, you might hear a very inspirational YouTube video about believing in yourself, but unless you do something with your body and change the way you use it, change the way you use your hands, change the way you use your spine, and the way you use your face, right? He's not really going to understand it.

So, in my crazy opinion, I think all personal development programs should include a physical aspect, more of a physical aspect, be it martial arts, be it fitness, be it, Tai Chi, be it, you know I'm saying that as if Tai Chi were not a martial art – sorry all the Tai Chi instructors listening in. Yeah, so, at the same time, all martial arts programs I think would benefit very much from including a personal development program. And yeah.

GEORGE: I think you hit it there in a huge way because that's really what it is, right? And I mean, you've got your different learning styles, you've got someone might be visual, someone might be auditory and then kinesthetic. So the movements, when you tie it into martial arts, then you're tapping into all the senses. So by turning your, and it could be really subtle, but I guess you've got to have, as an instructor, you've got to have that personal development goal in mind, or a syllabus or something that you follow with that in mind. And then you can apply it in a way that it sinks in and it really becomes part of your body. Body really, as in, yeah.

BOGDAN: Yes, yes.

GEORGE: And I think that's probably, that's the biggest failure in most personal development things, because as you talk about, I think it’s Tony Robbins that actually drew out the statistic, that if – and this is why they've got it, I mean, he's really the guru of gurus when it comes to personal development and they've also got the process down to knowing, obviously when people fall off in their behaviors and when they don't follow through. There's a statistic, and don't quote me on this because I might get it wrong, but I think it’s 21 days, if someone doesn't take action, enforce the habit in 21 days, it’s pretty much gone. And then I think it takes 21 days to actually enforce a habit of day to day before it’s an actual habit. But that's the biggest danger, if it’s not physically applied, then the habit is just easy to let go.

BOGDAN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's actually the biggest job of any personal development seminar, workshop or whatever you say. You do it once – if you just do it once, you're never going to integrate all the lessons that you got, right? You might have a notebook full of facts and ideas, but if you just put it somewhere and forget about it in your drawer, it’s not going to work. And I'm saying that to remind myself as well because I attend UBW two years ago, I still have the notebook. But if you don't have the environment, if you don't have a group of people who are all together striving for the same goal, or reinforcing those specific habits, it’s going to be very difficult for you to do so.

GEORGE: So for me when I started martial arts – and this was really like, if I dig down to the deeper things of why I started, this was a big thing, because I've always been striving for that self-improvement thing, doing personal development and then, for me it was really backwards. When I started martial arts training, I immediately made the link, which is what hooked me, because I've been studying, doing all this personal development stuff and now I'm applying things in a physical manner, and now it’s like aaa! This is great, this is coming together for me.

BOGDAN: Yes, yes.

GEORGE: But what happens when the mind is not ready? Because a lot of people aren't open to personal development. Do you just not hammer it in, but you just subtly actually apply it in the way you go about your teaching?

BOGDAN: You know, usually, the people who say that they don't need personal development are the people who need it the most. So I tend not to work with people who don't see the value of personal development. I did that in the past and it just felt weird for me, because I felt I couldn't give my all in the interactions with my students and I actually chose to say, you know, maybe this is not a good fit and let’s find a different solution.

So yeah, not everybody will need or want what you have and that's great, but the people who do see the value, you tend to see like a very, very interesting evolution. Not just in terms of their self-confidence, you see it in your lives, yeah. Yeah, some people became… Since they started training with us, they became their team leaders, they got promoted at their jobs, people are making more money. People who were not in relationships actually, they're happily married now. People who were in miserable relationships have cleaned that out of their lives, so these are some of the results that people are getting through the program.

GEORGE: So would you, you were mentioning that you don’t work with people that aren't on that mindset, that don't want to go down that route, which is obviously a good thing, saves you a lot of time down the line – how do you go about filtering people out before they get started?

BOGDAN: So people usually fill in a form. It’s a pretty long form, it’s like a 12 question form. And they're very personal, very deep questions, like, what do you need and why do you need that? What's holding you back? What would your life look like if you keep doing the same things that you’re doing and that's a filtering process in itself? And people go through this form and then we call them up for a phone interview. If we feel that they're a good fit and we do and we can help them out, we schedule them for a trial period for a week, where they can see the whole training sessions, we can get to meet them. And then, at the end of the trial period, we decide if we want to take that person on and work together.

GEORGE: So I'm going to put you on the spot.

BOGDAN: Mhm?

GEORGE: Which means I might have to end this podcast. If you're still listening, then… Bogdan said yes.  So are we able to take your questions and actually include them in this podcast? As part of a download, with the transcription?

BOGDAN: You could, but I would have to translate them into English. It’s not a secret or anything, you can find this process anywhere. You can use this process for selling very high tech procedures as well or programs as well, it’s the same thing. Yeah, yeah, sure, you can include it as a PDF.

GEORGE: Awesome. And if you are listening to this and you are not focused on personal development, the reason I want you to have something like this is because, whether personal development or not, if you tap into your persons’ real – let’s take the martial arts out of it, we've talked about this. Martial arts is the vehicle to get them where they want.

BOGDAN: Yes.

GEORGE: You're not selling the martial arts training; you're selling the result that martial arts deliver.

BOGDAN: Yes.

GEORGE: So if your questions are provoking their thoughts of understanding what people really want, even if personal development is not your focus at all, but understanding what the real motives are for what this person wants to achieve, could be something that you could use in your own school and really benefit from the way you go about customizing your presentation, or your introduction. Because if you talk about a person's’ needs, then they're going to be more likely to respond than the logistics of, “We have a class Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday – 20 pushups, 30 push ups, fitness…

BOGDAN: Yeah. Most people go about this the wrong way, in the sense, they start talking about themselves. Oh boy, you know, our school is the only one that teaches breaking bricks and my teacher was the world champion in China – nobody cares. If you start focusing on your potential clients, or just the people who are interested in what you're doing and you're talking about what they need and really being honest whether you can help them or not in that sense. And if you cannot help them, to recommend something else, or someone else.

For example, I remember someone filling in the form and saying, I need help with my money, with my financials, because I can't find a job. I got on the phone with that person and recommended someone who teaches personal finance. I recommended finding a mentor because I can’t help them. It wasn't the right time, and this is also important: if somebody can't really afford your program, don't give it to them. All right? Give them the tools that they need to be better off, but don't push to sell if it’s not the right time.

GEORGE: For sure. But I guess there's a flipside to that as well, right? Because sometimes – and obviously, what I'm about to say depends on the context of when this happens, if you’ve gone out of your way and you presented something to them and they can't afford it – by all means, at that level, yeah. Don't push the sale.

BOGDAN: Mhm, mhm.

GEORGE: But I think it’s important to not confuse that with the smokescreen of, “I can't afford this.”

BOGDAN: Ah, yes.

GEORGE: Because it’s very surprising what people could afford when you tell them that this is going to deliver the result that they want.

BOGDAN: Yes.

GEORGE: People make changes. People cancel stuff, they'll cancel their satellite networks or whatever they need, and if something is going to give them the result and the confidence and change everything about them, they will afford it.

BOGDAN: They'll find a way.

GEORGE: They find a way, yes.

BOGDAN: Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. I feel that people tend to say that, “I can't afford it,” when you're talking too much about your school and about Wing Chun and you're like, you're being pushy again. But if they fill in the form and they're looking for you and you're taking them through this filtering process, just like you would for a job interview, they're already qualified, right? So they kind of expect to invest in themselves in that way.

GEORGE: Good point. And it takes me back to olden days’ sales training. I can see now how hard it might be for a martial arts school if you started a martial arts school and you haven't been in that type of training of sales training. When people say, when people tell you they can't afford stuff, it’s easy to just accept that as true. But what we’re always taught in sales is that it’s more than likely just a smokescreen.

BOGDAN: Yeah.

GEORGE: I mean, if they're engaging, if they're actually in your school, talking about martial arts and they tell you they can't afford it, then what were they doing there in the first place? I mean, they knew it was going to cost them money, they knew it was not going to be free. So I think it’s the hardest part of communication is, I guess looking in the mirror, and I know I'm going a bit off topic, but I think it adds context to what we're talking about.

If you're having that conversation – and that's something that everybody tells you, then maybe, unfortunately, you've got to be able to look in the mirror. And it’s the hardest thing to do, you've got to look at, what is it that you're saying that is causing that? Because you're missing a point here maybe, like what you were saying, you're talking too much about yourself and you're not focused on what their actual needs are.

BOGDAN: Yes, yes, absolutely agree on that. I think we’re very conflicted as martial arts teachers in this aspect of charging what we’re worth and what most people teaching martial arts don't realize are that the same person that says, ‘I can't afford you, pays a therapist more than they will ever pay you for therapy. But you need to realize that you're not just teaching martial arts; you're giving people a chance to live healthier and happier. Why should somebody who is helping them cure the problem be paid more than you who are helping them prevent the problem, right?

So I'm not saying, OK, raise your glasses so that nobody will come to your school anymore, but just be aware of the value that you're really giving. You're not teaching people to punch other people in the face, like less than 1% of the people that you teach will get into an actual fight. You're teaching people to know themselves. By knowing themselves, they learn to say yes to more of what makes them happy and say no to what doesn’t make them happy and doesn't bring more of that satisfaction in their lives. So you're cancelling their medical bills, you're cancelling their psychotherapy pills and you know, you're just helping them thrive.

GEORGE: Definitely so. Hey Bogdan, this has been a very insightful conversation. I want to ask you, if you're new to this personal development thing, I mean, I probably have a few preferences myself, but for you as a martial arts instructor and you run a school and you do this: if I want to get into personal development, what do you think is the best place to start?

BOGDAN: Well the internet! The internet, it’s full of personal development quotes…

GEORGE: Facebook?

BOGDAN: Videos… Facebook, yeah, as well. The problem that internet, the advantage of the internet is the huge quantity of information. The disadvantage is the huge quantity of information. So whatever we recommend, if you're teaching martial arts and you want to tap into personal development, it’s actually to start listening to the Personal Development Through Martial Arts podcast. There you go. There's a plug for you.

GEORGE: Yeah!

BOGDAN: And absolutely, go ahead and check the interview with George. We talked a lot about marketing and growing your school, that was a lot of fun. Yeah, yeah, I basically recommend the podcast, because we’re having very, very powerful inspiration from people who are experts in this field of fitness, personal development, communication. I’m interviewing Florin who is a personal finance expert who teaches that. And also, of course, martial arts masters that you can learn and get insights from. Yeah.

GEORGE: Fantastic. And so, your podcast is for direct access, that's addicted2wingchun.com.

BOGDAN: I think the best would be just to Google Personal Development through Martial Arts podcast. You can find it on iTunes for now, Google play is not available in Romania yet, but I'm still looking into that and making it available on Google play as well. But yeah, the fastest way would be just to Google the title.

GEORGE: Sounds good. Bogdan – it’s been great speaking to you, and I'm going to round this up with one last question.

BOGDAN: Sure.

GEORGE: And that is, what is the one biggest reason that I would want to come and visit Romania?

BOGDAN: Uh, well, to come to our school. That would be the number one! Romania is awesome. You know, we’re very welcoming people. I think that if you came to Romania you would immediately feel like you're at home. And the people, the people, 100%. And you know, you can check out the mountains as well, the sea, there's a lot of stuff to do and a lot of fun, but 100% the people.

GEORGE: And your school, of course.

BOGDAN: And my school.

GEORGE: That's a given!

BOGDAN: Awesome.

GEORGE: Awesome. Bogdan, thanks, thanks again. Great chatting with you and it was great being featured on your Personal Development podcast as well. Personal Development for Martial Arts and I look forward to catching up again soon.

BOGDAN: Awesome, thank you so much for the invitation guys, thanks so much for listening in.

GEORGE: Awesome – cheers!

 

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54 – Damien Martin – Risk Management Planning in Martial Arts

George Fourie speaks with Damien Martin about Risk Management planning in martial arts, training in Japan and instructing children with special needs.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How risk management applies to martial arts marketing.
  • The risk factors in martial arts schools that some school owners overlook.
  • The necessary steps in identifying, assessing and controlling threats in your school.
  • How Damien changes a prospect’s perception about his school.
  • Working with students with special needs and autism.
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

Well, I learnt very early on that you don't have one advertising method that tries to bring you 20 students a month. You have 20 that try and bring you one. That way if one fails or one changes, you've still got the other 19 acting as a redundancy. Again, it comes back to risk management.

GEORGE: This podcast is the audio version of a video interview that was done on martialartsmedia.com. For the full interview with video and to download the transcript, please go to martialartsmedia.com/54. That's the number five, four.

Good day. George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com, and welcome to the Martial Arts Media business podcast. I have an awesome guest with me today. Damien Martin, all the way from Brisbane. How are you doing, Damien?

DAMIEN: Gold Coast, actually. But…

GEORGE: All right. Well, got that. It's close.

DAMIEN: Yeah, yeah. It's close enough.

GEORGE: It's close enough. All right. Well, that's a good way to start the podcast interview. So let's adjust from here on. Awesome. So we've got Damien on today and Damien is a wealth of knowledge in the industry. We're going to touch on perhaps some sensitive topics in regards to risk management and a few things.

And I met Damien quite a while back, officially face-to-face, at The Main Event in Sydney. That was last year. And we'd just finished building his website as well, which looks pretty cool, southerncrossmartialarts.com. So you can check that out.

So we're going to get started. So welcome to the call, Damien.

DAMIEN: Thank you and thanks for having me.

GEORGE: Cool. So to start right at the beginning, who is Damien Martin?

DAMIEN: Well, that depends on who you ask. But I've been training since 1982 when I started judo as a 12-year-old. Have been continuously training ever since. Been running teaching since 1987 and currently running the Southern Cross Martial Arts Association on the Gold Coast with my wife, Hannah. So we're a full-time center in Helensvale.

Primary focus these days is Okinawan Goju-Ryu and Okinawan Kobudo. So weaponry. As well as just the practical self-defense applications and things that spring from that and the other training that I've done over the years.

GEORGE: And when did you get started with Southern Cross Martial Arts?

DAMIEN: We started that in 2008. In 2008 I left the organization I'd been with since 1984, which was Zen Do Kai. We left there after some disagreements on future direction and not wishing to take advice on how to run a full-time school from people that don't run a full-time school.

At that point we were also running an RTO, delivering training to a bunch of government departments on risk management, self-defense and those sorts of things.

GEORGE: Alright, cool. So risk management, that's a topic that we've discussed in brief. What do you see, how do you see risk management and what do you see the effects of, I guess, the dangers of running a martial arts school?

DAMIEN: Well, just to back up where I'm coming from, I'm an OH&S consultant and have an advanced diploma in security and risk management. I worked in that particular space for well over 20 years. So most people tend to look at risk management from a physical point of view and think of risk as, you know, someone falls over and you get sued or one student beats another student up and you get sued.

And that's certainly an element of that but other risk factors that people don't tend to take into account in our industry is a risk to reputation. And I'm not just talking about social media and how many reviews you get and all those sorts of things. But, for example, if there's an accusation made of inappropriate behavior within your school that goes to the media, your school is destroyed.

Whether that allegation is baseless or based in fact. There are several instances in the recent past where similar things have happened to people in the entertainment industry who were later exonerated but they've lost their job, they've lost their marriage, they've lost their reputation. Now can't work in the industry based on, you know, false accusations.

And to be sure, there have been instances in the past where the accusations have not been baseless. And schools have been found and reported to be lacking in the recent Royal Commission into Child Abuse in Institutions where abuse happened within organizations and yet there was no child protection policy, there was no policy of checking when working with children or any of those sorts of things.

So those are some of the other issues. Then you've got your risks related to untruthful advertising and prosecution from the ACCC or Fair Trading in individual states. Like, for example, I've seen schools claim that they can cure autism. That's a pretty big claim and that is one that is likely to result in negative media attention. That negative media attention can destroy your own school but it can also negatively impact all of the other schools in the industry.

GEORGE: Okay. So, I mean, because I haven't really seen anything big in the media. Is this something that's sort of it's covered up before it sort of blows up type of thing? Or are there things going on in the underground that are just it's going to cause some obstacles and problems down the line?

DAMIEN: Sometimes things don't come to public light because there's out of court settlements with gag orders attached. So things like defamation or if someone sues for something. If there's a pre-trial settlement, the details are not made public.

Whereas if it goes to trial, the details can be found, for example, on the AustLII website, which is the Australian Law Library Index which catalogs all of the various cases that have gone to trial and come to a conclusion.

What insurance companies will often do is settle out of court. So if they settle out of court, that's usually based on there's a confidentiality agreement that you, you know, can't say what happened or what the accusation was or those sorts of things. You just take your money and shut up.

If you look at the AustLII library for things in relation to martial arts, there's a lot of disputes over contracts, there's a lot of disputes over trademarks. But a lot of stuff doesn't make public light that way. The other way that it can become public is if it goes to criminal trial. So like an instructor has perhaps, as has happened in a number of cases over the years, sexually assaulted students.

Other ways it happens is if it ends up on A Current Affair, and I can think of a couple of big instances over the last few years. One, in fact, in Melbourne actually led to a change in legislation relating to knives and martial arts weapons. A Current Affair ran a big story. It was a beat-up about a particular school and the particular instructor who focused particularly on knife fighting. And the next thing you know, the Victorian Government has changed the legislation based on that particular story.

The White Paper that was released on that, rather than a regulatory impact statement, gave the specifics of why the legislation came into being and how that was influenced by certain members of the industry who perhaps overstepped their authority to represent.

GEORGE: So where does the problem really start? You know, 'cause I guess the first thing I always … Like when I stepped into helping martial arts school owners with the marketing and so forth, I guess a big attraction to me was the ethical side of it. You know, like if this is what you practice as in an art, then I'd assume that's the way you live your life as well. Which I'm kind of shocked to see sometimes is completely not the case. But-

DAMIEN: Yeah. And I found that there's a direct relationship between the number of times an instructor mentions ethics and the amount of ethics they actually demonstrate themselves. Particularly some of the instructors I've met and worked with over the last sort of 35 years. There's been a lot of them go on and on and on about concepts like Bushido and loyalty and honor and justice and courage and these sorts of things, and yet that's lacking in their own lives in every way, shape or form.

They use the martial arts to feed their own egos. Now, there's a lot of those but it's a huge industry. I mean, the martial arts industry in Australia, nobody can really put a finger on how big it is. The Australia Bureau of Statistics varies, depending on which question is asked. And the Australian Sports Commission only looks at sporting bodies. It doesn't cover all of those martial arts organizations, some of which are quite large, that don't participate in Australian Sports Commission approved sporting activities.

So, you know, if you're not doing sport taekwondo or sport karate or sport jujitsu or sport judo, if you're doing recreational karate in a school hall somewhere, you're not in the figures. So, you know, no one really knows how big the industry is.

So it's broken up. Some people are really, really good. Some people are really, really bad and they tend to color it for the good people. But most people are just pretty much happy amateurs stumbling along, not deliberately meaning to injure anybody or cause anybody any grief. But they do so out of ignorance.

Martial artists tend to be quite credulous so they believe what their teacher told them without fact-checking and those sorts of things as a general rule. So if someone's teacher told them that a particular technique is invincible, then they've got no reason to check. That is the way a lot of people think.

Likewise, you know, I had a person who ran in the 1970s a large martial arts organization in Australia, probably the largest for about 20 years in this country, tell me that direct debit would never work because nobody would give you their bank account details. He was talking from a position of ignorance rather than being a professional business owner in the 21st century. That level of credulity, it just is a problem.

GEORGE: All right. So even if your instructor does these, what is it, these, what's it, yellow bamboo? I think it's called yellow bamboo. You must have seen that video. I think it's yellow bamboo, yeah.

DAMIEN: Yeah. Look, there's an awful lot of martial arts schools out there where the instructor's built up this reputation for being awesome at what they do because they only ever do it against non-resisting students. The real world is a different thing altogether.

So if they're not constantly testing the techniques against a resisting opponent, which is not the same thing as sparring. Sparring is, generally speaking, quite well-mannered and predictable. If they're not constantly pressure testing through scenarios and those sorts of things, or even combat sports application, then any claim that a technique is invincible is probably not true.

There are no absolutes. You know, martial arts instructors often tell their students, you know, if someone pulls a knife you run away. But you can't always run away and what if you can't run as good as the other guy? Again, the absolute of just run away is not true in all of that. You know, you can't always run away.

GEORGE: Yeah. So, I mean, what's the solution here? Because, I mean, if we look at the sort of evolution of this path, right? So let's say I'm an instructor and I'm training martial arts and I get this urge that I've got to create a school. You know, maybe it starts in my backyard and I get a few students, and then that sort of, you know, builds on itself. And then I'm like, “All right, I've got to get into premises.”

So where's the big gap and how do you fix the gap of where all these problems occur with risk management?

DAMIEN: Well, the same thing happens in a lot of other industries. You know, you get a lot of people, like they might be a very good craftsman at what they do. They might be a very good carpenter. They make wonderful chairs and tables and their things are well sought after. So they go out and they start and they set up a little shop, a little factory, to try and sell their wares.

That shop might not be zoned correctly. So they might set it up, you know, in an area where it's too noisy and finds themselves in trouble with the council. So martial arts schools, same sort of thing. They might not be insured for manufacturing things. Somebody sits on one of the chairs or does something with one of the chairs that they've built and it causes an injury, they might suddenly find that they needed insurance.

You know, it's no different really with the martial arts sector except that the martial arts sector is selling services based on, in a lot of cases, fantasy from what people have seen on TV. So there is no central body. Various countries and organizations have tried over the years, from the Dai Nippon Butokukai back in Japan pre-war and post war trying to coordinate all Japanese martial arts. That didn't work.

The Japan Karate Federation, the World Karate Federation. There have been so many organizations over the years try and bring all martial artists together, but martial artists are as diverse as language groups and cultures. You know, it's like saying that everybody's the same. And they're not. The martial arts themselves are not homogenous. They're very diverse.

People practice martial arts for different reasons. Some people want self-defense, or they think they do. Some want to get fit. Some for cultural reasons. Some do it because their friends do it. There's no one reason why people do martial arts.

So, you know, we're not all covered by the sporting bodies, for example. We're not all covered by international organizations and bodies because of the politics that are associated with those. It's a hugely diverse industry. And that's one of its strengths but it's also its biggest weakness.

GEORGE: So let's say I was a school owner and I'm not covered in any way. What do you think are the first steps that need to happen?

DAMIEN: Usually Google to start with, and do a basic business plan. You know, most small businesses fail in the first five years. They fail 'cause they fail to plan. You need to do a basic business plan. That basic business plan will ask the questions that you need to look at and address in relation to planning, zoning, insurance, accounting.

Like, you know, what's the best business structure for you? Are you going to be a sole trader, are you going to be part of a club or an incorporated not-for-profit association? Are you going to be a company? Is a family trust required? You know, you need advice from experts in the martial arts and the martial arts business sector, like you do in any business sector.

So I'd start with Google and a business plan. The business plan will set you on the right track for asking those questions.

GEORGE: Sounds good. So let's just touch on advertising. And I actually want to, you mentioned Japan and I know you've done some extensive traveling there the last couple of months. But let's talk about advertising because, you know, you mentioned that there's misleading advertising. And right now, at the time of recording this, there's a big shuffle on Facebook. A big change in structure in valuing more one-to-one interaction, valuing more local news.

So there's a lot of changes happening. And the first thing that marketers always do is they shut. Do they? This is the end? And marketers destroy everything. It's normally marketing becoming easier and people pushing boundaries, doing advertising and just it's becoming too easy. And because it becomes too easy there's not enough control.

And, I mean, I've seen this over the years in different platforms. Google being number one, known as the Big Google Slap where everybody lost all their AdWords accounts. Search engines being slapped. I mean, it's just a trend. It's a trend of the platform gets popular, there are eyeballs. Too many advertisers come onto the platform, make silly errors, it devalues the actual platform. And because the platform gets devalued, peoples' eyeballs go elsewhere and they've got to protect what they obviously own. Like with Facebook and such.

So, I mean, that's the things I'm seeing like in what's relevant right now with advertising, is there's a big cleanup happening. And I would suspect that if a lot of school owners had to lose their Facebook accounts, which happens, ad accounts get suspended on a day-to-day basis, their business will go with it. Because that's their one lead generation source. So your take on advertising and being within the boundaries?

DAMIEN: Well, I learnt very early on that you don't have one advertising method that tries to bring you 20 students a month. You have 20 that try and bring you one. That way if one fails or one changes, you've still got the other 19 acting as a redundancy. Again, it comes back to risk management.

To have all of your eggs in the Facebook market or the Facebook basket, so to speak, is a bit short sighted. You need to have those other methods out there. You've still got things like referrals, signage, people just knowing where you are. You know, there's a lot of other methods.

Some things don't work anymore. Yellow Pages, for example, doesn't work for us at all. Because we test and measure just about everything. Flyers in the letterbox don't work anymore. Again, we know that because we test and measure. We used to do the first four weeks of every year we'd do 10,000 flyers a week around our local area and then watch the associated web hits go up as people type in the web address and looked at our website and everything. That just stopped. It's not like it dwindled. It's one year it worked, the next year it did not. Or the year after.

So if we were putting all of our eggs in that particular basket, that would have been disastrous for us as an organization. You've just got to be somewhat diversified while staying on trend for the more current ways that people shop and think. You know, maybe Instagram will work for you in your area. Maybe it won't. Maybe Facebook is good in your area. Maybe it's not. Maybe Google AdWords works better.

Maybe you're in a country town and the newspaper advertising still works. You know, there's a lot of variables. You've got to know your own marketplace, your own client base and who comes to your school and who buys your services. A lot of people don't. They try and take a cookie-cutter approach. And, you know, for years everyone was buying their ads from organizations in America. MASuccess, those sorts of things.

And one thing I found early on in the '90s was that if there's an American flag on a uniform in an ad, that ad doesn't work in Australia. It might work in America but it doesn't work here. So you learn what your individual market requirements are and you've always got to be testing and measuring.

GEORGE: Yeah, so true. I mean, we've seen that with the same franchise, same marketing, same everything. Two different locations, two different results. Everything the same. And, you know, we always talk about, in my presentation I talk about five levels of awareness. I call it The Five Stages of the Student’s Signup Cycle. You know, there's your marketing but there's always the message that was received before and leading up to actually seeing your marketing. And that's going to also affect the actual response at the end of the day.

So, Damien, tell me about Japan. Tell me about your trip. Just to change gears here. Tell me about your trip to Japan and what did you get out of that experience?

DAMIEN: Well, we go to Okinawa, which obviously is part of Japan, every year to train with our Goju Sensei and with our Kobudo Sensei. Two different organizations but closely related. We just love the place, we love the people, we love the training. And we like, or I particularly like, those lightbulb moments that you get where practices within the martial arts that are remnants of where it came from, suddenly their purpose becomes apparent.

So, for example, a lot of the stories and things that are passed down, in martial arts schools in Australia at least, come from publications from the 1960s that were written by people that actually had very limited exposure to what they were writing about.

So these stories took on a life of their own. So there was, you know, the old Okinawan practice, for example, of practicing their training or their martial arts at the tombs of their family. So family tombs are a big thing in Okinawa and it was an even bigger thing pre-World War II.

And the theory was that they were, you know, spiritually connecting with their ancestors and all those sorts of things. And when we spoke to the Okinawans about it, apart from the sort of raised eyebrows to work out whether we were taking the piss, it was, “Well, the grass is cut short there. There are no snakes.” Everywhere else you could get bitten by a snake. And it's like, “Oh, that's very pragmatic.”

There's a lot of those sorts of things and, being a bit of a karate nerd and amateur historian, I really appreciate those moments. But the people are the main thing.

GEORGE: The people. So what are the sort of key things that you learn that you come back and you take a different approach in your school?

DAMIEN: Well, our journey with the Okinawan karate deal, like I was doing Zen Do Kai up until 2008. But in 1999 I started with Okinawan Goju as well. And my idea was to refine the Kata. Make them better, make them more practical, make them more understandable. Because if we've been doing this particular template of movements for the last 100, 150 years, it must have had a purpose.

So trying to find the purpose, trying to find the applications, was what sort of drove me down that path. So this year, on the way to Okinawa, we also went to China. To Fuzhou, which is where Kanryo Higashionna, who was Chōjun Miyagi, the founder of Goju's teacher, trained. And we found the or had found through a couple of years of research, the school where he trained.

And we wanted to go there and see what they were doing and why they were doing it, and how closely related it was to what we were doing. And I was pleasantly surprised that what they were doing was not that far removed from what we were doing. Some of it looked different but the applications were the same. The hip movement, the arm movement, the actual applications in different forms was the same.

Which for me, as a martial arts teacher, was good. I quite enjoyed that connection. So we're still fact-checking some of the things that they told us and we'll hopefully be publishing some information. It's a little bit of a historical addition, if you will, to the current sort of communal knowledge on origins of karate in Okinawa and the origins of Goju-Ryu in particular.

GEORGE: It sounds like you have a book coming out.

DAMIEN: I wouldn't say a book. Maybe a couple of articles but, I don't know, I don't think it's exciting enough for most people to justify the costs of publishing.

GEORGE: I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

DAMIEN: Well, based on the reaction I've had from some quarters on the Blitz article that was done about this for the December/January issue, what I found is by saying certain things it challenges people's beliefs to the core. And people's beliefs about their martial arts is very akin to people's beliefs about their religion. So we need to make sure that all our ducks are in a row.

GEORGE: Yeah. Yeah, I could see it opening a big can of worms. Yeah, especially if you touch on things, like you mentioned, with the tombstones and just things that people base their entire martial arts career upon, and now it sort of gets challenged. Yeah.

DAMIEN: Yeah, I think the Kung Fu TV series in the 1970s and then, you know, the later, the Ninja phase and all of those things that have been trends through the martial arts over the years have all left their little remnants in popular culture and the way people perceive martial arts and what they can be.

You know, like there's this common perception that karate is an antique and is not street effective. And if you're not doing Krav Maga then, you know, you're not doing the right thing. Or even in the MMA circles. But the core of a lot of Krav Maga technique came from karate. Krav Maga is a mixed martial art or a hybrid martial art. It forgets where some of its core techniques come from.

The MMA people that talk about, you know, the dominance of MMA fighters or this, that and the other forget that guys like Georges St-Pierre or Lyoto Machida and those guys were karate practitioners primarily. You know, everything has its place. So it's just another trend.

GEORGE: Yeah, so how do you … I mean, let's say I'm a prospect and I walk into Southern Cross Martial Arts and that's my thinking. My thinking is I've come from, you know, I'm looking at UFC and I've got this certain perception and that's sort of what I see as what I want. Or maybe what I don't want. How do you have that conversation?

DAMIEN: As much as possible, we put them on the floor and they start to train. And it's more about feeling and moving than it is about talking. The only way to change people's perceptions is to show them. You can tell them till you're blue in the face but people are so used to marketers lying to them now that they don't believe you.

So we get 'em on the floor and show them why we do what we do. We don't beat anybody up or anything like that, don't get me wrong. But get them on the floor to train, to feel their body moving and take it from there. And, look, what we do is not for everybody. Some people, some younger people want to spar more, for example. I did when I was in my 20s.

Now we're fully cognizant of the fact that people have jobs to go to and an income to make. They don't all want to live like, you know, karate hobos like we did with broken bits and pieces all the time. It's a different world. And we know more as well.

GEORGE: Awesome. Damien, I'm going to ask you one more question and now that I think of it, this could actually probably spur on a whole different episode, as such. But you mentioned that you work with kids with autism.

DAMIEN: Yep.

GEORGE: Now, this could probably be a much longer conversation but I just wanted to touch on it. What advice would you have for people that work with kids with autism or special needs?

DAMIEN: Well, we have a saying in the world of those that work with kids with autism. Basically, once you've met one autistic kid you've met one autistic kid. Meaning basically that they're all different. While there are stereotypical behaviors, each child is different, is motivated differently, works differently, mentally, physically, and so on.

But don't make assumptions and don't jump into conclusions. And the first thing that people need to do is get educated. There's plenty of programs out there on what autism actually is. Don't rely on memes that you read on Facebook. And actually, to be blunt, get a clue.

There's a lot of people now claiming that they specialize in teaching autistic kids. And we pick up the pieces. Yelling at them, screaming at them. You know, it's ridiculous what some people are doing. And it's, “Oh, this is the tradition.” Really? You know, it's not.

GEORGE: You mean, I can't believe all the memes I see on Facebook?

DAMIEN: No. Facebook is a wonderful way of connecting the world and so on, but it can also do so much harm. And some of these memes that are floating around. You know, like there's a correlation being found between gut flora and autism. Now, correlation does not indicate causation. All right, it's just something that they need to investigate further.

But you've got people out there that are advocating parents with autistic children get them to drink bleach, for example, because it'll kill the bad microbes and so. And it's horrendously harmful. But if you've worked with some of the parents that are so desperate to help their child, some of them try it. Based on some crap they see on the internet. It just…

So, yeah, I've seen martial arts schools advertise that they can cure autism. If that's not a potential A Current Affair episode, I don't know what is. You know, martial arts is good for children on the spectrum if they're working with caring and educated instructors. Because it has its consistency. Things are done pretty much the same way each class, as in your warm ups and those sorts of things. There's a predictability about it that makes them feel comfortable.

And we've had some amazing successes with some of our autistic kids. With one of our junior black belts now, he's 12, he's been with us for eight years. You know, his whole persona has changed based on the lessons that he's learned for dealing with other people. Just out of counting out loud in class and things like that.

GEORGE: Fascinating.

DAMIEN: Yeah, so I'd say that my main advice would be to get educated and get a clue rather than getting your education by getting on, say, Facebook. And I see this on a daily basis, and I've started deleting these groups. But they'll get on a martial arts business group, for example, and say I've got an autistic kid who's just joined my class. What do I do? And you'll get all of this stuff. It will be regurgitated by people.

And it all tends to be very stereotypical. It doesn't take into account that every autistic child is just as much an individual or unique as every other child that we teach. So, you know, we need to get to know them. A lot of kids with the autism spectrum have sensory processing disorders. So the idea of kiai, or kiai-ing in class, if that child is sensitive to noise, is going to be a major barrier.

Or they might have sensory processing issues with things touching their head. So if you wear helmets in class for sparring, that might be the issue and you need to work a way around that. There are so many different things.

GEORGE: Well, yeah, it seems like really putting aside everything, your practice and your tradition of what you do, and really customizing it to what's going to be the obstacles with this child and really playing a real close ear on the ground.

DAMIEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: I mean, a close ear on the ground to really understand what their needs and what their obstacles are in how this tradition is going to affect them.

DAMIEN: Yeah. And it's not a matter of lowering your standards. It's a matter of lowering your time expectations and having more patience. But just because somebody processes information in a different way doesn't mean that they can't do a front kick the same way as everybody else. It just might take them a slightly different way to get to that point.

There's just so many variables. And we've built up somewhat of an unexpected expertise with autism. It wasn't our goal. And we've spoken to our parents on a number of occasions. Do they want separate classes for the kids on the spectrum? And the overwhelming answer is no because they need to learn to deal with regular people.

GEORGE: Definitely.

DAMIEN: So by segregating all the autistic kids into the one class, all they get to deal with is other autistic people. And to be quite honest, most autistic people don't want that.

GEORGE: Yeah. That's awesome. Damien, that can probably spark a whole new episode. And I'm happy to have you on again if anyone's got questions about that. I know, you know, for I always mention this in our Martial Arts Media Academy program. You've just got to be so careful where you get advice from. It's easier, you know, Facebook has made it easier for everybody to connect but some people should not have an opinion verbally.

It's just a fact. You know, I mean, and Joe Rogan actually says it the best. You know, if you get a million people, there's going to be a hundred thousand assholes that don't know what's going on. Out of every hundred thousand or thousand? And those are mostly the most vocal ones. So it's very easy to just take advice because every comment looks equal. But you don't know the background of that person, what they've done, their ethics, their education. So, yeah, you've got to be so careful.

DAMIEN: One of the ones that comes up regularly is the link between … No, actually I'm going to rephrase that because there is no link. But the purported link between autism and vaccinations. Now, the doctor, who's no longer a doctor because he lost his medical license, who did that study had a financial interest in another vaccination. He fabricated a report and a link to no evidence whatsoever so that he could sell his vaccination.

Now, he got caught and it was all redacted and the Lancet redacted the report and so on. But that myth, since then, since Wakefield's report, has perpetuated itself and the internet is making it worse and worse and worse and worse to the point where diseases like a polio and whooping cough and so on are making a comeback. They were all but eradicated. Because people don't want their children to catch autism. It's not something that you catch.

But there are some good organizations out there that are doing training. I'm doing a presentation, or my wife and I are doing a presentation, for the Titan's event in May on working with kids on the spectrum and would just like to get more information out there so that people are not traumatizing these kids with something that should be profoundly helpful.

GEORGE: Fascinating. Awesome stuff. For anybody, there's a … And, you know, just we'll close, probably close it off here, but there's a book, Trust Me, I'm Lying, by Ryan Holiday. If you ever want a true perspective of how media can get manipulated, he was a self-confessed media manipulator. His job was to plant rumors, spread them, create the media behind it. There would be rallies.

Until they saw the consequences of people dying because of fake news spreading in such a way that the consequences kick in. It's a brilliant read, just to get a perspective of don't get all your information from a Facebook post. Because that article was probably written with intent or paid by someone to write. And they did their own research with whatever they could find, and they wrote it and put it together. And it creates a perception where the intent was really just to disrupt. So, yeah, probably a good way to end that off.

DAMIEN: No problem.

GEORGE: Awesome. And Damien, thanks again for coming on. If anybody wants to get in touch with you and learn more about you, where should they go?

DAMIEN: The best point of contact would either be via our website, which you mentioned earlier, www.southerncrossmartialarts.com, or Facebook is probably the easiest way. I'm not good with telephones.

GEORGE: Skype video, it works.

DAMIEN: Yeah.

GEORGE: All right. Awesome. Thanks, Damien.

DAMIEN: No worries.

GEORGE: Thanks for being on. I'll speak to you soon. Cheers.

DAMIEN: Cheers. Bye.

 

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53 – [Case Study] Mike Fooks – Doubling Your Part-Time BJJ School With One Successful Campaign

Martial Arts Media Academy member Mike Fooks from Auckland is on a marketing roll! And if his new student signups stay, he's doubled his BJJ school.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How Mike Fooks has managed to balance his martial arts and corporate life
  • The benefits of online advertising services such as Facebook Ads and Google AdWords
  • How a single Facebook campaign doubled Mike’s student number
  • How the Martial Arts Media Academy program has helped Mike implement his campaign correctly
  • The one thing that Mike could have done differently before he launched his Facebook campaign
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

So already from one two-week campaign. I'm going to, if not hit my goal, I'm going to be at least halfway towards it. In effect, the only reason I've pulled back on the campaign a little bit now is because we ran out of the free uniforms, or close to it. So I've got more on order. When they head, we'll be back into it. Their goal, which I thought was, these people are audacious to try and double. I have a suspicion we're going to hit that fairly quickly.

GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast! Today I'm with Mike Fooks and we're going to do a bit of a combination here. I got to know Mike through one of the online communities that I'm part of and we've built a new website for him; which you can check out at groundcontrol.net.nz.

Mike's based in Auckland and we got started with helping him with the Martial Arts Media Academy Program where we help martial arts school owners with lead generation and so forth. Besides that, Mike's got a very interesting story with things that he does in the corporate world and how that overlaps with the martial arts school. This is going to be a fun conversation! So welcome to the podcast, Mike!

MIKE: Thanks, George! Thanks for having me on!

GEORGE: Awesome! So, based in Auckland. Probably going to come and visit you September this year. So, I guess just to start things off. Who is Mike Fooks?

MIKE: Okay, so I spend my time doing a number of different things. Obviously, I'm a martial arts school owner. We run an academy called “GroundControl” where we focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts. That's been going for about 11 years now under that name. Been training for a little bit longer than that before we named the school, but that's not my full-time gig. During the day I spend most of my time doing corporate training.

So, working with sales teams and leaders and various people. Primarily on face-to-face persuasive communication whether it's sales or influence in negotiation or even internal communication and conflict management. Those sorts of things and also a lot on mindset and resilience. I'm trained at university in Psychology and then went on and got qualified in neurolinguistics or NLP over a number of years. Then, based on that, my partner and I have a private practice where we do individual work with people one-on-one sort of coaching, counselling, therapeutic type stuff.

Obviously whether it is therapy or coaching just depends on how messed up they are when they walk in the door but hopefully, it's all the same by the time they walk out. And so that's another thing I spend my time doing.

Sometimes people say to me, wow, Mike, well that's a lot you've got going on but to me, it's actually really simple. When people ask me, “What do you do?” I'm a coach. You know? My job is to bring out the potential in others. And I just do that in various formats. Sometimes I do that in the boardroom, in the training room. Sometimes I do that in my coaching room. And of course, sometimes I do that on the martial arts mat.

GEORGE: That's an interesting philosophy. Yeah. It sounds like many things happening but as you mentioned, you're kind of trying to achieve the same result with the people that you work with, just through a different medium.

MIKE: Yeah, that's right. There's often a little bit of leakage between the two things. I get frustrated when I'm teaching corporates, for example, because I'm going, “Look, there are so many great examples of what I'm talking about if you just knew jiu-jitsu.” And certainly, on the jiu-jitsu mat, you know, there are concepts that I will teach corporates about communication or how to problem solve, which make it into our coaching sessions at GroundControl. There's a little bit of leakage involved.

GEORGE: So have you ever then cross-promoted if you feel. Do you cross promote between the corporate training that you do and jiu-jitsu?

MIKE: I have to be a little careful on that because the sponsors that get me involved too, you know, I’m with the sales team would probably take a dim view if they thought I was using that as a platform to cross-promote jiu-jitsu. Having said that, inevitably I tell a couple of jiu-jitsu stories or metaphors and it's not unusual for somebody to tap me on the shoulder afterwards and say, “Hey, have you got more information on that? I'd be keen to have a look.” So that certainly happens.

GEORGE: Alright, alright. Interesting. Now, how did you get started in jiu-jitsu, first and foremost?

MIKE: If we go all the way back, as a kid I did the standard dabbling in martial arts, I think a couple of lessons in judo when I was about six. And two lessons of karate when I was 13. But I got started, seriously in my martial arts career in another style, Aikido. Which I started in 1993. Had always been interested in martial arts, watched all the movies. But got intrigued by this idea of Aikido, based on a conversation I had with a friend of my brothers who was into judo and karate. And showed me a basic kind of immobilization arm lock. And then talked about how Aikido guys, that's what you do in anything like that, just immobilize, wow that sounds cool.

So I did some research and got involved in Aikido. Now, of course, 1993 was an interesting year to start in the martial arts because it was the same year of the first UFC. So I started in April and towards the end of that year, the first UFC came out and, of course, that just rocked the entire martial arts community as most of your listeners will be aware.

At the time, I was at university. And I was working in a video games parlor to earn some cash, part-time. So I would sit on the desk and just load myself up with five martial arts magazines every shift and just devour as much information as I could. And so I was kind of got a front-row seat. We didn't have access to any of the footage or anything like that in New Zealand but I started to read all of the stuff coming out about the UFC and what does it mean that it seems like the stand-up fighters aren't doing so well. Got curious about that.

And then I got onto Usenet. Onto the old newsgroups. You know, before we had online forums or anything like that let alone Facebook. And there were all of these debates that sprung up about my style is better than yours. And I started out 100 percent in the traditional martial artist camp. You know, “Well, a true Aikido master would never debase themselves by entering such a competition.” You know, that kind of thing.

Over time I noticed something really interesting. When people were having these debates about what works, what doesn't what I consistently noticed was the BJJ guys that were saying, well, where are you? Let's get together, let's find out.

And not necessarily in an overly aggressive way although there's always a little bit of that sometimes but for a lot of them it was just a “we can show you.” I'm completely confident that I know how this will go. And over time as I sat there, by now about I think a second degree black belt in Aikido I was thinking I'm not sure I've got that same level of, “I definitely know how this is going to go confidence that these people seem to have.” So I got really curious about that.

And then in 2001, after the first time, New Zealand showed MMA on TV. Sky TV over here ran a weekend where they played back-to-back Pride and King of the Cage events. Old ones. I was on a honeymoon that weekend. Overseas. So I had my new brother-in-law set up in my living room with a VCR player swapping tapes over. And so when I got back I just devoured it and found a BJJ school within a month or two after that. Which, at the time, was not easy in New Zealand. Because there really wasn't a lot going on. Certainly no black belts around. It was early days for sure.

GEORGE: What an awesome and interesting journey. So now you've got the school, and I guess, let's backtrack a bit. Before I met you and sort of what is the school up to at this point in time?

MIKE: Yeah. So we gave ourselves a name in 2006. Up until then, it had been, you know, the standard thing. A bunch of people train in my garage. Most of those, my Aikido students who I'd said, hey have a look at this. And then, hey, let's do more of this and come to the garage. Because I was training them consecutively at the time. That was something that we knew as my club. What we called it because we weren't supposed to talk about it outside of my club. And then over time that grew and grew and grew. We started to get more and more professional. My coach, John Will runs a competition every September called, “The Gathering.”

The first time I went to that, one of the things he had done for the school owners got a bunch of Australian school owners together, I think it was about five of them, to give us some tips. I remember, you know, Fari Salievski was there. And a few other people. Frank was there. And so I come over with like, 48 action items about how do we make this thing more professional. And then over time, we got more and more so by the time we hit kind of the end of 2017, I'm running a school which is muddling along alright. You know? It's a part-time school. I'd got to the point where I had realized that look, I'm only part-time in this, it is never going to be a huge money spinner for me. If I can, you know, break even and get a little bit of pocket money but keep the thing going, that's pretty cool.

So 30 students on contract, and then with the various people coming through, beginners trials and various sorts that we had. I was probably content to leave it sitting there. Except for a conversation that I had with a guy, Trent Rice. Who some people know as Bear in the jiu-jitsu community. He was over from Australia to do some work for his day job. And he said, yeah, I want to come train, can I come along? I said, sure.

So we met each other on the ferry from town back to where I live. And we had a chat and he was just in the process of looking at going full time into martial arts and he mentioned, you know, one of the online communities that he was involved with which is, you know, where we hooked up. And it started to occur to me that, hey look, I don't have a full-time brain to put on this.

But if I can start to connect with people that are thinking about this full time and have figured out what works and what doesn't, and just do what they say, maybe I can actually start to make some gains I'd kind of put away on the shelf. In terms of ambition, for a little while. So I started to get quite excited at that idea and over the last, even just last month or so since we've really started firing, it's really starting to get quite exciting.

GEORGE: Fantastic. And full credit to the community that's Paul Veldman's Martial Arts Business Community.

MIKE: Yeah, absolutely, yeah I've seen various things like that throughout my Facebook feed from time to time and I was always a bit suspicious about, you know, there's a lot of people out there making money off telling people how to make money. But don't usually make money any other way.

So the fact that Trent knew Paul personally and he logged in and he showed me some of the stuff that was going on gave me a lot of comfort that, hey this is going to be worthwhile. And, you know, the investments I've made around things like that community, the website, the Martial Arts Media Academy are paying themselves back very, very quickly and very, very easily.  

GEORGE: Cool. So let's have a look. We made some changes with, first and foremost, got you set up with a new website. I mean, I'm a fan, obviously, of all the websites that we create but I'm really a fan of the GroundControl website, just how it came out in the end. I mean, it took a while for us to really fine tune and get through the obstacles, but it really, for a jiu-jitsu website it really, it brings out a lot of color and I'm using it as an example within the BJJ community, for websites that we are developing.

So we got you set up with the right tools. And then you got started in the Martial Arts Media Academy. Before you got started, what type of lead generation were you doing on the internet?

MIKE: Yeah, not a lot to be honest. Most of our stuff came through word of mouth or, you know, maybe they'll find us in a Google search. I had dabbled in Facebook so I had done the odd promotion here and there. Start of the year, come at half price or come in and your friend trains for free or something like that. And they would bring in maybe four or five people two of which might hang around and we thought that was a pretty good job.

When I did those sort of promotions I wasn't throwing too much spend at it. Very conservative. Because I wasn't quite sure how much they'd pay off. So I dabbled but it hadn't really amounted to too much.

GEORGE: Alright. So you got started in the training. So what part has helped the most? And then we'll talk about what you're doing right now that's really working as well.

MIKE: I think, in terms of what part has helped the most, I mean it's all helping but I think just starting to feel like I can never get in my way through things. So when I had dabble before, you know you go into the ad manager on Facebook and there are all these different options, you know, what's the objective of your campaign, this that or the other, and so I was kind of like, click, click, click, click. That'll do.

So to be able to kind of sit down and have you kind of work me through some stuff live and go, oh, okay, so I want interaction and I know the reasons why I want interaction now. And actually being able to figure out how those consoles work and why I would make certain decisions when we have those sorts of choices that was a huge help. Because the ability to be walked through your first time is where you get your understanding from. People can throw theory at you all day, but when you actually start you know, I literally had you on one screen while I had the thing on the other screen going, “and now what? I'll click on that? Okay, now I'll click on that.”

And so and with the content creation as well in terms of, here's how you design your ad and this is what your copy should look like, all of that stuff made me much more focused, I think, in what I was doing.

GEORGE: I guess this is the biggest pain point for me or frustration. It makes me want to rant, and I don't really rant. But it makes me want to rant, is a theory without substance.

MIKE: Yup.

GEORGE: There's a lot of, this is, you should do this, but there's not “here's how to do it.” And a lot of the times, the people who are talking the ‘what’ are not actually doing the how. So you can buy into a concept of coaching where you kind of can be shown how to do it, you should get another guy to do it. Us.

MIKE: That's right. You know, when I think about it, as you talked just now, that's exactly how we teach martial arts. I don't show a bunch of beginners a move and then say, good luck, go and try it out, right? I show them the move and then I talk them through each individual step to make sure they're on the same path. So it kind of felt like that. That I was being given, hey here's what you should do and why, but now here's the bit where I'm going to talk you through each step and then I can play along. And before I know it I've got an ad campaign running.

GEORGE: Of course, it's one thing to be walked through, but then that's where, and the same as in martial arts, now you know how to do it, but now you apply it, and it doesn't work the way you were … actually experienced it. And then, that's I guess where the key part comes in. You know, what we really try and focus on in the academy is, alright, you've implemented, now let's correct. Let's see if we can fine-tune, let's see if we can fix things and get them working in the end.

MIKE: Yeah, that's right and that's where I think the value of those. We've got a lot of content about here's how to set up Facebook and here's how to develop content and AdWords and all these sorts of things but the coaching calls are really, really valuable as well. Because you know, you come along and go, well this is what I'm doing right now, that's what's relevant for me, and ask you questions and there's always really good content generated either it's from my own questions or other people's. So I think that's why coaching calls are really valuable. And really valuable to get on live. Rather than just watching the recording sometimes as because you come up with questions that you wouldn't have asked, you know, other people don't necessarily ask so that's really cool.

GEORGE: Awesome. You were having some good results with your campaigns in the beginning of the year, where are you at with your campaign?

MIKE: When I first signed up to Paul Veldman's group, you know, the first thing I saw him say is, you set some goals. I thought, well, yeah, I know about setting goals. I teach people about that so I better do one and so it's been, what on paper sounds fairly ambitious, even though we're starting from a small base is to double membership and it's been done relatively quickly.

So I have 30 people on contract, this takes that to 60. That would be good. So once the website was up and I started the Facebook campaign, I ran that campaign for about two weeks. No more than that. And at last count, I think we've got close to 35 paid trials. So over the next two to three weeks, we'll start to see how many of those paid trials tip over into full membership. But certainly the feedback I'm getting from the people on the trial is that they're loving it. So we should convert a reasonable amount of those.

Already from one, two-week campaign, I'm going to if not hit my goal, I'm going to be, you know, at least halfway towards it. And, in fact, the only reason I've pulled back on the campaign a little bit now is that we ran out of the free uniforms or got close to it so I've got more on order when they head we'll be back into it. That goal which I thought was, you know, these people are audacious to try and double, I have a suspicion we're going to hit that pretty quickly.

GEORGE: That's awesome. So you've gone from, so you started up with 30 students although you've got them in the trial so you've kind of doubled but not, obviously, proved down the line where things are at. Yeah.

MIKE: Yeah, that's right. Yeah, I'm fairly confident because our retention rate from trial into full membership tends to be pretty good. Having said that, I have redesigned how that whole thing works based on the advice I've got from you and Paul and various people like this is the first we've used paid trials. Which I think there's a lot of hesitation about for people that are used to going, hey, a free week. To go to paid trial, certainly in New Zealand, I don't see a lot of that going on. But it's worked really, really well for us.

So the fact that they've got that skin in the game and I know we can give them a really good experience over four weeks. It's going to be really interesting to kind of look back in four weeks’ time or so and go, okay, what was our conversion rate? But I'm expecting it to be pretty solid.

GEORGE: That's awesome. That's really good going. Well done. That's awesome. So, and I'm thinking, though, that the fact that you've run out of uniforms, I'm like, alright, those create perfect conversations for your marketing campaigns as well. You know.

MIKE: Yeah.

GEORGE: You've sold out, here's a waiting list. We'll let you know when the next batch comes in. And then that creates a whole new urgency campaign for your next follow-up because, yeah. People missed out, now they've got to jump on board and they've only got, you know. They missed out the last time. They better jump on.

MIKE: That's a really good point. Literally, just before we came on this call, I got a message pop-up from, because we had, like, over 200 people message us with an expression of interest so I've got all those leads that I started to go back to and say, hey, are you still interested?

But one of them popped up and said, hey, is this thing still on? So I was about to go back and say yes and just, I really hope you're not a size 5. But yeah, that's a really good point. We can go, “Well, actually we've sold out but you know, over the next two weeks we might launch it again so just look out.”

GEORGE: Yeah. Waitlist. Awesome. I like that.

MIKE: Nice.

GEORGE: Good stuff. Okay. Just a couple of things. And just for, you know, as part of the case study of course, of the Martial Arts Media Academy program, who would you recommend it to? And why?

MIKE: Pretty broad. Martial arts school owners that want to grow. Because I think there's a lot of people. So my school, for example, we've tried this on adults, I notice a lot of the schools around have got real kids focus. But that hasn't made any difference to me in terms of the quality of the content, it's all completely applicable.

By the standards of some schools, we are relatively small so I know a lot of people look at the initial outlay and go, oh, that must for really big professional schools. But that's not us. In some ways, I think it's even more useful for people our size because, you know, I don't have time to really think about this stuff and figure it out so I was kind of groping in the dark a little bit. And in terms of, you know, what it costs to get on the program, you know, you make that back with a couple students pretty quickly.

So I'm really interested, as I look around the New Zealand scene, there's not a lot of people taking a sophisticated approach to this. When I look at the results that I've had, part of that may be that my competitors just aren't doing it this way. So I think anyone that really wants to grow and stay up with the game or enter the game, it's really worthwhile. You do have to put some time commitment into it. You know, the financial investment is probably the easier thing. The time investment is the really important thing. There's so much great content in there that you're going to have to go through it a few times you know, I've got notes scrawled everywhere and then go back to the recording as I'm doing a particular campaign.

So as long as people are free to put the time investment in, I struggle to think of a school that wouldn't benefit from it unless the person themselves is already pretty sophisticated in not just marketing, but specifically online marketing. But I don't see a lot of that it martial arts.

GEORGE: Yeah, thanks, Mike. And you bring up a good point on time because there's time spent and then there's time well spent. I mean, either way, you're going to have to spend the time. You're going to have to spend the time to do the marketing and I mean, you can take an hour to do an okay or really mediocre job at your marketing, get frustrated, not a way to ask for help. The biggest danger of that is reaching a level of frustration where you just, this online stuff is crap or, you know, just, I don't have time to deal with this. I'm not going to do it. And you abandon the whole thing. And your business suffers.

Or, what's worse is, you know, people get a call from a company that says, hey, we can get you on the first page of Google and they have no sense of an actual overall strategy that you need for your school and again, it could be the easy way out, because you can just pay money, but if they don't know their overall strategy, they're just catering for one touch point. Which is search? The search engines. When you've got to cover for all six to eight interactions that are going to happen before conversion.

So you've got to be covering all the steps. If you get educated, get a bit of a strategy, it's easy to spend money on getting the hands to get people to do stuff, as long as you actually know what to do and what to look out for at the end of the day.

MIKE: I think that's really right. I think, if I had decided, look, I really want to put some focus into growing the school, I'm going really spend some time over generally to do that but I want to do it myself. What probably would have happened if I would have sat down with my partner Carleen and we would have spent, maybe even as much time, maybe even more time. But we would have spent it on completely the wrong stuff.

You know, there's design, there are ads, and you have to get really finicky over how the image looks and really kind of tweak that to the nth degree. Within actual fact it was much better just to go, let's just blast out five images, three for BJJ, two for MMA, split test them, see what works. And after a couple of days, we know what the winner is. And as you had indicated, it's always the one that surprises you. You know? It's not the one I would have picked. So a lot of those sorts of things but sort of sacked a lot of our time trying to finesse stuff that could have been done a lot more simply and then that time spent put back to more things.

What I like about the academy is, as you just kind of alluded to, is the comprehensiveness of it. What I'm excited about is, we've got these results already just from one Facebook campaign. Now, we've got some professional videos that have been done which are going to land sometime this week so I'm already excited about how we're going to introduce them, let alone through email campaigns and content strategy and AdWords working properly. We've got this much growth but we've really just scratched the tip of the iceberg.

GEORGE: That's exciting. Yeah, I look forward to seeing the videos and really looking at a few things that we're trialling right now with all the new changes within Facebook and how to really get that message out. Hey, Mike, it's been great having you on, is there anything I should have asked you? That I haven't covered?

MIKE: Is there anything that you shouldn't have asked me?

GEORGE: I know, it's sort of that question that people ask when they think they haven't asked enough questions.

MIKE: The only thing I guess I would add, thinking about the most recent campaign that we've done, it comes back a little bit to the commitment thing, is it's one thing to throw up an ad, and I kind of came into both Paul's group and your group hoping for, look, you can tell me how to automate everything so I can just press go and walk away and the club will just go boom. And of course it doesn't work that way so you know, we aim for interaction which means that I was, every day, once or twice a day, sometimes three times a day, having to log in and go, oh look, there are another 30 responses here, I've got to go back and respond to each one.

Now the response was pretty easy, ones I cut and paste into a PM but just be really disciplined about that. Because it's one thing to put up a shop front and say, this is a really great shop, come and look in the window but if you're not providing something quality in terms of experience when they get there, then it's all for nought.

So, the Machado brothers had an expression in jiu-jitsu, “Swim, swim, swim, die on the beach.” You know, you don't want to have to do all that work and then just follow over the last hurdle through, not doing you're follow through and your responsiveness and those sorts of things really well.

Probably the one thing that I would have done differently if I went back, and even though I had heard warnings about this from yourself and Paul, I don't think I had got my admin geared up well enough to handle the sudden influx of people. So we've given them a pretty good experience signing in but there are just a couple little things I've seen fall through the cracks. Only one's got their membership card or they haven't all been given the beginner's manual for some reason. So, looking forward, next time my site's running campaigns I'm really going to make sure that all that stuff's locked in and ready to go. Because it kind of caught me by surprise how many people signed up so quickly.

GEORGE: Very good point on a few things. The messaging, I see a lot of people want to automate too quickly and I hear, I see in communities, people get frustrated about the mundane responses that they've got to give but there's a big lesson in those mundane responses and yeah, look, sometimes people are just ignorant but you always got to look at your marketing and your message and say, alright, why's this coming up all the time? If everybody is asking what your location is, hey then just put at the end, “Conveniently located in the suburb.” That might just cover it.

o you've got to pay attention to what people are asking and those are the objections that you can turn into better marketing next time. It's all about learning and I see people too quick to want to automate it. And I always say, you can't automate something that's not working manually. If you can't sell your membership face to face or in a text message then no chatbot or anything is going to do that magically for you.

Your conversion is going to go down. So master that first, and then you can go and add all the automation but you've got to get the conversion right first. And I mean, if the … when the offer converts, everything else works. You know? You can go and you can go tweak everything else, but getting that offer to convert first, that's the real art. And that's the real work. And if you can focus just on that, then you can get fancy. And then you can start taking your campaigns to a higher level if that's really what you want to do. And really scale it up. For the next school, opening multiple schools and so forth.

MIKE: Absolutely.

GEORGE: Awesome. Hey, Mike, it's been great chatting with you. So people can find out more about you at groundcontrol.net.nz and anywhere else people can find more info about you?

MIKE: There's a little bit about my corporate stuff on my other website which is kineticpotential.co.nz. So the stuff about the individual coaching and the corporate work I do there is on there. So, yeah, those are the two places to find me.

GEORGE: Awesome. I think we could probably do a round two and go really, really deep into some psychology stuff and things that you do in your day job and how that connects with your martial arts. And if you are interested in the Martial Arts Media Academy where you watch this you can just send us a message or you can go to martialartsmedia.academy and find out more about that. Mike, great speaking to you face to face for the first time. And I will see you in Auckland this year.

MIKE: Looking forward to it. Thanks, George.

GEORGE: Awesome. Thanks, Mike.

 

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The testimonials are never intended to make claims that our products and/or services can be used to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease. Any such claims, implicit or explicit, in any shape or form, have not been clinically tested or evaluated.

How Do We Protect Your Information and Secure Information Transmissions?

Email is not recognized as a secure medium of communication. For this reason, we request that you do not send private information to us by email. However, doing so is allowed, but at your own risk. Some of the information you may enter on our website may be transmitted securely via a secure medium known as Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. Credit Card information and other sensitive information is never transmitted via email.

may use software programs to create summary statistics, which are used for such purposes as assessing the number of visitors to the different sections of our site, what information is of most and least interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas.

For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy, currency or completeness of the content contain on this website or any sites linked to this site.

All the materials on this site are provided “as is” without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of merchantability, noninfringement of intellectual property or fitness for any particular purpose. In no event shall or its agents or associates be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, damages for loss of profits, business interruption, loss of information, injury or death) arising out of the use of or inability to use the materials, even if has been advised of the possibility of such loss or damages.

Policy Changes

We reserve the right to amend this privacy policy at any time with or without notice. However, please be assured that if the privacy policy changes in the future, we will not use the personal information you have submitted to us under this privacy policy in a manner that is materially inconsistent with this privacy policy, without your prior consent.

We are committed to conducting our business in accordance with these principles in order to ensure that the confidentiality of personal information is protected and maintained.

Contact

If you have any questions regarding this policy, or your dealings with our website, please contact us here:

Martial Arts Media™
Suite 218
5/115 Grand Boulevard
Joondalup WA
6027
Australia

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

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