126 – Ed Carr: How To Rise Above Bullying Through Martial Arts And Live An Empowered Life

Edward Carr shares how he’s built 2 thriving clubs through word of mouth, while helping his community combat cyberbullying and live an empowered life.


IN THIS EPISODE:

  • How to harness the power of word of mouth
  • Tips to boost martial arts community engagement 
  • How to encourage bullied children to share their experiences
  • Edward’s book against bullying, Lift Them Up: How to Rise Above Bullying and Live an Empowered Life
  • Effective ways to build a strong online presence
  • And more

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

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: Hey, George Fourie here. Welcome to the Martial Arts Media™ business podcast. So today, I have a special guest with me: Edward Carr from New Hampshire in the United States. And so, Edward owns two locations, Tokyo Joe Studios and Team Link MMA, both at the same actual location, in the same facility, on two separate floors.

So, we chat a bit about that divide, and also how he's built a thriving business. 320-330 plus students, mostly on word of mouth. And, look, always when someone says word of mouth, I'm always curious, because it always means there's a strong program, a strong product, and much more to it, right?

And so we chat a lot about things that they've done in the community, their community promotions, also his book against anti-bullying, that positions him as an authority. And all this, how it helped them thrive through the pandemic, and almost not losing any students after being locked down for a full year. So, we're going to jump into that.

If you are new to the podcast, do check out on this page martialartsmedia.com/126, depending where you're listening or watching, and be sure to download our ebook, ‘The Ultimate Facebook™ Guide for Martial Arts Schools', that will help you create your next winning ad campaign. And of course, wherever you're listening or watching, make sure you hit that subscribe button, so that you get notified when we release our next episode.

Alright, let's get into it. So, Edward, over the last couple of months, or just in general, what's been the top marketing strategy and lead generator for you?

EDWARD: It would be a lot of word of mouth, a lot of word of mouth and online. You know, some online advertising definitely helped out, but the word of mouth has been incredible-  with all the students promoting, you know, the school and, you know, me being involved in the schools a lot, also has helped out quite a bit, you know.

Just like I said, just promoting and having fun, and, you know, going from there. And just letting the kids know, you know, letting everyone know, you know, what we're doing, what we're about, promoting safety, you know. Letting them know, like, even though the pandemic, you know, people are still nervous, you know, having all the safety stations everywhere, and all that.

Just making everyone feel comfortable, and then having them go out and telling all their friends, “This is a place to go to exercise and have fun”, and, you know, how do kids learn.

GEORGE: So, if you've got great word of mouth, it's always a sign that you've got a great product, right, and great training and good program. But other than that, how do you feel you kind of orchestrate a lot of word of mouth? And what do you think? What do you think escalates it?

EDWARD: Every time someone competes or does something. Well, we've had a few big name fighters, you know, fight for us. That always brings in a lot of students, people see it, they watch it on UFC Fight Pass, you know, they go from there. We've had a lot of kids… Muay Thai tournaments, grappling tournaments, and karate tournaments – they're starting to do them again and that's always been great.

You know, kids want a medal, a trophy, they're all happy, they tell their friends, you know, and that's the type of word of mouth stuff that's happening. I wrote a book, and it was on bullying, and I got that involved in the schools. So, you know, they're, you know, me being involved in the schools and helping out and talking to the children, you know, about bullying and this and that, it's also been huge.

So, it's a good word of mouth, you know, think, you know, for me, you know, to do all that. Like I said, there's been a little bit of online, you know, stuff, I've done some, you know, contests here and there, you know, for everything, get the students involved, you know, and just try to work it, make it a grind.

GEORGE: What's the book called?

EDWARD: Lift Them Up.

GEORGE: And it's available on Amazon?

EDWARD: Yeah, it's available on Amazon. Yeah, Amazon, the book is called Lift Them Up: How to Rise Above Bullying and Live an Empowered Life. You know, just as in deal with this typical boy who deals with cyber bullying, you know, it goes through the whole… You know, everyone thinks bullying, you just, you know, pick on someone.

But, you know, a lot of people don't realize there's a whole cyber bullying, internet bullying, texting bullying and all this. There's so much out there that people don't understand or realize. So, you know, I mean, it's done well. I've sold like 400, 500 books, I can't complain.

GEORGE: That's perfect. Well, I hope you sell 4000, 5000 more after we do this podcast, right?

EDWARD: Absolutely!

GEORGE: If you don't mind sharing a little bit of insight, because I mean, it's a whole different planet, just like you saying, you know, it used to be bullying, face to face. But, you know, if I look at kids today, I think they're dealing with this whole – a whole different form of bullying, that's, it's pretty intense. And I don't know, I sometimes wonder how kids have actually got to deal with that, right?

If there's, especially if there's a group of people that are bullying you, or doing cyber attacks and just being nasty kids, what's your advice to kids on how to deal with that?

EDWARD: Communication. A lot of kids tend to hide things, you know, and I have a lot of kids that feel very comfortable coming to talk to me, and not even their own parents, or teachers, because they're afraid or scared. And it's just communication, I'm trying to, you know, when I talk to them, I want them to feel comfortable.

I want them to realize it's okay to talk to the teachers, it's okay to talk to your, especially your parents. Let them know what's going on. Too many kids out there just bottle it up, and unfortunately, you know, bad things do happen. And you know, a lot of times they'll bottle that up and hold that negative energy inside, and they explode, and something negative can happen off of that, you know.

And that's all, the key, you know, is communication. Letting them know, you know, that people are out there that, you know, these people in these positions care for them and want the best for them – and want to help them out.

GEORGE: And so, is that something you do on the mats, like mat chats and things like that?

EDWARD: Yeah, we talk a lot about that, you know, on the mats. At the end of every class, I usually have, like, a little, you know, 2 – 3 minute mat chat with them. And we're always talking about bullying, you know, certain situations, you know, just how to train, you know, how to deal with it, you know, how to use your words first, you know.

Everyone thinks, a lot of kids think too, you know, how to deal with things they don't understand either, gotta make them aware. Like, they think, “Okay, I know karate and martial arts, I'm just gonna go beat the bully up.” That's not what it's all about, you know, trying to get them to realize you go talk to them, try and make them – be their friends or walk away.

If there is a self defense situation there, then of course, you know, deal with it in the proper way. But definitely learn how to use your words first, and your brain. I always tell them to use your brain first, speech smart.

GEORGE: That's awesome. Cool. So, talking about online, moving through the pandemic, and you mentioned earlier that you managed to maintain almost a full student base, how long were you locked down for? Just curious.

EDWARD: About a year. It was about a good year, you know, and, you know, you weren't allowed to have any, I could do one-on-one classes. I had a couple people, you know, that would, I would make sure at 12 o'clock, they could come in, it was just them, no one else could be around.

I'd have to give a half hour's worth of time in between, so I could clean and sanitize and then could have another private – but that was it. No group classes. I could do family classes, but I'd have to do them outside. So, thank goodness, a lot of this was during the summer. So, it worked out pretty good.

GEORGE: Yeah. 

Martial Arts

EDWARD: And so I'd do a lot of group classes, you know, with families outside in the parking lot, which, another way in which pretty good advertising too, because then people driving by, seeing us working out and exercising and doing something, so it was good advertising in that way. So, you know, it was rough. But it was a learning experience for me, because trying to develop a system that keeps everyone happy on Zoom.

You know, I've never taught, I mean, I've done a lot of seminars and this and that, but I've never taught on Zoom, you know, pretty much eight hours a day, standing in front of a camera, trying to teach forms. You know, trying to teach, you know, a kickboxing combination and make sure they got proper footwork. It was a learning experience for me too.

But it worked and kept everyone happy. And, you know, like I said, we just always have a contest, I always had something going on just to keep them, you know, feeling good about themselves.

GEORGE: What do you think you've taken from that?

EDWARD: It's made me definitely a better instructor off of that. You know, it definitely opened up my eyes a little bit. I definitely became better – just made me practice a little… You know, we kind of get into, I don't want to say a rut in a bad way, but we get in a rut and a daily routine of coming into the school, four o'clock class, five o'clock class, six o'clock class.

And what it made me do is step out of the box a little bit – I hadn't done that for a while, because I got a successful school. I'm happy, I'm always wanting to grow, do what it takes, but I was, you know, doing well. So, I was like, okay… But this made me step out of the box a little bit, made me realize, you know, “Okay, start training, you got to start training, you've got to start using your mind, come up with these ideas, you know.”

You know, make these kids happy. Let these kids know you care, let the parents know you care. You know, BJJ, MMA make them happy, make sure, you know, and be a coach. And so it made me step out of the box and become a better person for sure.

GEORGE: Were there any, like, specific obstacles that you faced with the kids having to show up online and getting involved and engaging?

EDWARD: Yeah, it was interesting because I'd have to mute a lot of stuff. Like, they could hear me, but I couldn't hear them, because, you know, we'd have 30, 40 people online. Sometimes you can't have everyone, you know, they're still at home. So, they still have their home life.

So, you have dogs in the background or brothers and sisters poking their brothers online. So, at times it was a horror show. It was like, “Whoah, what's going on?!” But, I mean, that was the biggest obstacle, the biggest thing was just like, you know, trying to overcome all that at first, but once, you know, after a week or so, it smoothed out pretty well.

And it wasn't really that bad. You know, just trying to engage them, to let them know that they could do martial arts on the computer and not just play video games was rough, because I would have some students that would blank the screen, but forget to mute it, and I could hear them playing video games in the background.

So, then the parents would ask me how they're doing. I'm like, I don't know, you need to ask him, he's been playing video games. So, you know, stuff like that would happen on and off. But overall, it was, you know, it was definitely tough keeping them engaged – because just staring at a computer screen, even my own daughter would do karate in her bedroom. And, you know, I'd have to tell her to stop jumping on the bed, like, “Listen, you're in class, stop jumping on the bed.” Trying to keep them engaged was definitely a learning experience.

GEORGE: So, what did you do to have that constant state change? You know, because I mean, you can't let them do one thing too long to get in – yeah, boredom kicks in.

EDWARD: I just constantly kept them moving as much as I could. You know, sometimes in a normal class, you know, you take your time, you go over form more, there's more of a pause, more of a… So, you couldn't do that online.

I almost taught it like a cardio kickboxing class, you know, where I just kept moving and moving and moving and moving and moving. Class is only 30 minutes long, but it was, like, just keep them moving. Don't give them that time to stop. You know, don't give them that time to think.

We would do a form to warm up and right from that form we'd go right into some kicking, some punching, and then we'd go into some, you know, self defense techniques, and I'd make it a game and just keep them moving. So, they didn't have that time to go look around to see who's playing outside or stuff like that.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And then jiu jitsu – and how did you handle the BJJ side, and the adults, and so forth?

EDWARD: That was the tough part. Like teaching Thai kickboxing or MMA wasn't so bad, because you could teach them some combinations. So, sprawls, double legs, you can teach transitions, and stuff, that was okay.

But the BJJ was tough, you know, like I had, when – Everyone would make their own dummy, grappling dummy, or they could buy one from me, you know, but, and, you know, whoever made the best dummy won a free gift, you know, stuff like that. So, we had, like, 15 people make their own grappling dummies. So, that's part of getting them involved and engaged, a few people bought some off for me.

And then basically, it was just teaching them transitions and moves and talking to them about, you know, the connecting points, you know, always have points of control and hip pressure and where your hips should be, where your shoulders should be, where your grip should be. And it was more of a, you know, just teaching the technical side of things, you know.

There were some drills out there – you could do, you know, switching back and forth, knee on belly, switch and go into mount, going into, you know, back to knee on belly, to arm bars, north south, all that you could do all that stuff too. But that was, actually trying to teach them actual moves was, you know, definitely interesting.

GEORGE: It's something that is – obviously working with school owners, we've got a group we call Partners, and we've got gi school owners from around the world, but different styles.

And so, it's always conversations that have come up, obviously, with the pandemic. And interesting as well, because everyone was always at a different stage of; we're going into lockdown, we're coming out, what do we do, but it was a good opportunity to cross pollinate ideas, but…

EDWARD: Yeah.

GEORGE: We had one of our members, Carl just talk about, they were just in a two month lockdown in New Zealand, and – 100% jiu jitsu school – and managed to keep all his students going, but the main focus was just movement.

EDWARD: Yeah, 100%.

GEORGE: Movement, and keeping the community going. So, you know, a big thing that we've spoken about was the community, the content and then the coaching. So, how do you do those things? How do you create the community going?

I mean, that's the big thing, and how do you keep the coaching going? And we came up with some creative ideas, right? So, he bought the John Danaher set, and then we just, he would just go through a video, or they would post, you know, a clip from an instruction from someone else, and then they would study it, and they would analyze it, so the whole… Use even someone else's content, but then create the conversation around it to keep the community…

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EDWARD: Yeah, we did the same thing. We actually, one day, myself, would do a jiu jitsu video with my student, he's, I've known him forever, and it was him and I. We'd do a jiu jitsu video, then the next day would use a video of something from someone else.

We used a lot of John Danaher, Gordon Ryan, stuff like that. And then the next day, I would do, like, a karate video for everyone, and then the next day, my student would do a kickboxing MMA video for them.

So, everyday we'll put out a video for the students, also to give them some content to study. And so, not only could you do classes, I would send these videos and post them to everyone, and they could go at home and practice those same combinations, three or four combi- you know, five different ways on how to do an overhand right, you know. How to do two pins in the proper way, you know, a form, you know, and so that worked out pretty well, too.

GEORGE: Sounds good. So, give us a bit of a background about your school and your location. And I know you've got a massive facility, and you've got two floors, and just give us a bit of an overview on the infrastructure and how things operate.

EDWARD: I've been here since 1999. I pretty much have always done martial arts since I was 14. And I just turned 50, so I've been doing it for a while. I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to do my job anymore, and so then I'm gonna open up a school. Let's try it.

GEORGE: How long have you been… 

EDWARD: So, 1999. Yeah. And so I found this, I found a location. And at first it was only, we only had about 2000 square feet, but I liked this location because it always had an opportunity to grow.

So, I started off with traditional karate, I always studied grappling and wrestling on my own on the side, and had already had a couple fights on the side, but I didn't really promote that too much.

Yeah. And then as we grew, we grew fast. For six months, we grew pretty quick. So, I got to open up another 1400 square feet or so in the back, and we used that room for a while. And then what I did is, I always had the basement downstairs, and it's a giant, like, two big garage, you know, basement. 

And one day my landlord's, “Like, you know, if you want the space, I'll charge you this much for it. And, you know, just take it over and do what you want, you do the work. I'll give it to you cheap, and it's cheap.” And I was like, “Alright!” So, I did all the work, and then like I said, we got two open floors upstairs, bathrooms, office, all that stuff. 

Downstairs is a couple different ways you can go in, it's got showers, a couple of locker rooms downstairs, a bag room, it's got a ring, a cage, and probably about a 1800 square foot, like, weight room too. So, I did the weight room originally for the parents, a lot of parents don't have time to go to the gym. So, I allow the parents for free at first to, while the kids are in class, go downstairs and run on the treadmill, lift some weights to do something.

That way they won't have to worry about their kids, they know they're doing class. But that took off, and you know, that was taking off pretty good. So, now I hired a personal trainer, you know, so he comes in – he does personal classes, you know, for the parents and you know, it's a little bit extra income off of that.

And stuff like that, you know, they scheduled privates for the kids, a lot of them they'll come down here and work with them during the kids class and get in shape.

So, you know, we got a little bit of everything. You know, kids are martial – all the kids' classes are fresh. We got kids BJJ, kids Muay Thai, kids kempo karate, and then usually at night time, it's a, you know, depending on the day, gi, the adult Muay Thai, adult MMA, adult BJJ, gi or no gi on the day, and then cardio kickboxing too.

And then we do stuff on the weekend – Saturday is a full day of classes, Sunday is kind of my day, I invite either the black belts in and we do like a black belt workout or I'll just invite some fighters in and we'll just train, so it's like a training day on Sundays for us. So, you know, it's a full time job. Like I said, it's like 8000 square feet, full time job, I have about – maybe now 330 students.

And yeah, you know, it has its moments. But, you know, I've been blessed throughout this whole pandemic, so I can't complain.

GEORGE: That's cool. So, you've got two names, right? Tokyo Joe's? 

EDWARD: Yes.

GEORGE: Tokyo Joe's Studios and TeamLink MMA.

EDWARD: Yeah.

GEORGE: Curious on two names, but also Tokyo Joe's?

EDWARD: Well, my instructor, who was 14, was playing football, and he was in karate, and he's from East Boston, and he was doing some karate, was a football practice. And they just named him Tokyo Joe, you know, that was his nickname.

So, as he progressed and opened up his own school – he met me at – that was always his nickname. He called it Tokyo Joe's Studios. He named the downstairs his nickname.

And then I was at the Canadian Open as a karate tournament. And he had met me, he said, “Hey, you fought really well, why don't you come train with me?” And he goes, you know, “I'm like, alright.” And he was close by, so I started training with him, and, you know, competed under him, you know, in all these karate tournaments all over the place.

Also, I got a chance to train with like Johnny Tension, and Reggie Perry, who were part of the team, Paul Mitchell, who, you know, are World Champions too. So, it opened up some doors and ideas. And then one day, he's like, “You know, you should think about opening up a school, you're a great instructor, a great motivator, you're a good leader,” and I didn't really put much thought into it.

And then he kept bugging me and bugging me, and then one day, I'm out doing my job – construction – I was doing construction, driving some equipment. I'm like, “You know, yeah, it's time. I don't feel like doing this.” So, I went into the office and gave my notice and went back to him and said, “I guess we'll open up a school. Let's try it.”

So, that was the karate side of things.

GEORGE: Right. 

EDWARD: I'd always done MMA on the side, I was part of Miletich Fighting Systems with Pat Miletich. And when I trained there with them, it was, you know, they had three out of the five UFC champions, it was one of the best gyms around, we did a lot of fighting and training there. But as they all got older and branched off, opened up their own gyms, and everything kind of disbanded. 

I was just left with, like, no direction in my life; my BJJ program was only a purple belt at the time. And really know, you know, didn't know how to, you know, what to do. So, like I said, Michael Alvin, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Alexander Marino all came to me one day, because I trained with them, helped them out with fights and worked with them. 

And they're like, “Why don't you just join us, you know, it'd be a great marketing thing for your BJJ program.” It's a little confusing for some people, but once they get in here, they realize, I kind of keep it separate, and I like keeping them separate, because I like the younger kids… 

I think, you know, even though we do BJJ, we still teach a little bit of focus and concentration in that class, like a karate thing. I like them to learn about the focus and concentration side of things, you don't need to necessarily see all the hard work and training that goes into MMA.

Plus, parents, you know, sometimes they get the wrong opinion, they see the fights on TV, and they think that's what it's all about, and I don't want to give the parents that impression. So, that's why I have an upstairs and downstairs and stuff.

But it's actually become a great tool, because parents realize all the hard work and all the dedication that goes into that, that's their martial art, you know, that's their form, you know, while the kids are learning this stuff, they see the adults or the teenagers doing this, and they realize it's a lot of hard work if it's taught the right way. 

So now, you know, like, whenever we have someone fight, you know, a tough fight passes, I gotta open up the school, we'll have a school full of people watching it on the TV, you know what I mean? Becomes a school party sort of, brings them all together, you know. Like you said, you try to try to create a good, you know, good atmosphere, you know, for everyone – good environment – and it brings them all together, the watch, the fights, and stuff like that.

So, it's kind of cool.

GEORGE: Because that would be my next question – how do you balance the two cultures? Do you find that they are divided or they sort of come together?

EDWARD: It's actually come together- at first, it was pretty divided. You know, when it first – the sport was starting to grow, it was pretty divided. 

You know, people thought, you know, brutality, this, that and you know, and you can definitely understand that. But over the years, as time has gone on, people see it, you know, they've seen the fights, you know, parents have asked, you know, we've, like I said, they've, you know, they got, you know, a lot of kids would do karate competitions, you know.

So then, you know, now they have kids Muay Thai, very controlled, but kids Muay Thai and then, you know, they get kids BJJ. So, because of all these classes that we have, you know, kids getting involved in all these other smaller competitions, the parents are wanting to see what the adults and teens are doing and how that's evolved. So, it's actually brought it all kind of together.

You know, and everyone's, you know, everyone's… it's pretty cool to see everyone, like, you know, support. Everyone gets together, supports everyone and have fun, too. You have a lot of parents that will just come down on Wednesday nights, our sparring night, they'll just come down and just watch, you know, they get to – they bring their, you know, 10 year old kid and you know, “Is there sparring on Wednesday?” “Yeah.” “Can we come watch?” “Yeah, come on in!”

You know, you have a whole group that will just sit on the side to just watch, you know. This is awesome, you know, because they get a chance to see, you know, kicks, punches and stuff and blocks and wrestling, they're into – actual, you know. You get a lot of kids that don't compete, we don't force them to compete. If you want to compete, we can get them ready.

But it gets to see them, you know, put it in practical use, kind of, you know. So, they like watching it.

GEORGE: Perfect. So, just to change gears a little bit – back to the marketing aspect. You got a successful school, 300+ students. You mentioned word of mouth is good. What else contributes to the growth?

EDWARD: Community involvement. Like I said, but everything's changing now. The whole world's changing. I mean, you know what I mean.

When I first opened up, you know, you had to advertise in the yellow pages, you know, big giant ads in the yellow pages, you know, that was a thing. You had to – who had the biggest ad, you know, the big best looking ad in the Yellow Pages, then as time went on…

GEORGE: And your name's gonna start with ‘A', right? So, that you, like, at the front of the book.

EDWARD: Yeah, exactly! Yeah.

Then as time went on, you know, the Internet became more, it was, like, you know, websites were huge. You know, websites are still very important, and they're still a useful tool. But, you know, that was important then, you know, now social media, you know, the whole advertising world has changed so much over the 20+ years, you know.

So now, I'm just trying to stay on top of things. I do a lot of social media, I do a lot of posts, and I do a lot of contests, you know, within the schools. I do a lot of, like I said, I'm involved in the community, the schools, you know, certain fairs, certainly, you know, town fairs, this and that. Those are all advertising avenues for me, you know, when they have town fairs.

I do a community fair myself every – well, I haven't done the last couple years, because of the pandemic – but I rent all kinds of bouncy houses, obstacle courses, this and that, dunk tanks, and at the end of every summer, I do, like, a community thing, you know, everyone's welcome. We'll do a little open house, some demonstrations, and have a huge cookout for everyone.

And you know, it's just, advertising like that is big. I'm always looking though, like, you know, I know right now, you know, I got, I'm looking to step up on the digital side of things, pick up the digital side of things on marketing, some online, make my online presence a little bit better, is my goal for this year.

GEORGE: Perfect. So, I love the aspect of community. I mean, that's, I think that's just gold, right?

Because being involved in the community, it makes you stand out. It also builds your authority, you know, way behind just the martial arts you offer, but you mention, things are changing; what are you noticing that's changing the most, especially with just the world and online that's impacting your marketing the most?

EDWARD: Really, it's just the online presence, you know, having a great online presence is very important now.

You know, before, it wasn't, but now, you know, a lot of you see a lot of the biggest school, you see ads all the time, you see this all the time, and, you know, these schools aren't spending that amount of money, if it's not working. You know, there's certain things out there, you know, and I know these school owners very well. 

And I know that they're not putting these ads out there if it's not working. And I just noticed a huge online presence and how important it's becoming, you know what I mean? And, you know, before you had a whole script on the phone, you know, very rarely do I get phone calls now.

Now it's all emails, or sometimes even text messages. “Oh, my friend gave me your number, my son's in…” You know, it's emails, it's text messages. It's all online. “We've been to your Whatsapp, we've been to your Facebook page, you know, what about this…” So, just the online presence is becoming very important.

And just making sure, you know, your name's out there, and making sure you know, you promote your product, or whatever it may be – your services out there. There's what I think is the best, you know, is what's changing the most.

Before, you know, you're right. Fortunately, I have a great word of mouth. And that's great. I mean, like you said, you got great service, you got great products, you got it. But, you know, you can always do better. So, I definitely want to do the online presence thing.

GEORGE: I think school owners like yourself, where you benefit is you built this whole foundation without that. Fine tune the product, the delivery, the programs, the community aspect. When you elevate your online presence, it's really just fuel on the fire, because you've got all the foundations right here.

I mean, we like to really, especially now, in the work that we do with school owners, we really just try to think of the simplicity of it. And like you were saying, people don't really call anymore. So, when you look at that it's not, you know, the message is still the same. It's just the medium of communication is …

EDWARD: Exactly.

GEORGE: So, people, you know, you’ve got to ask permission before you call.

EDWARD: Yeah, yeah.

GEORGE: The world's just gotten like that. I always text someone and say, “Hey, is it okay to call you?” “Yeah, we just picked up the phone.” Right? But yeah, exactly. Messenger and, you know, Messenger, I mean, we find ads to Messenger is still the best thing ever, because of course, you've got the process to sign people up and work through the process.

There's so many things that we are seeing changing and, and like you said, I mean, I'm a web developer, from you know, way back and my first advice was always just get the spanky awesome website, and get it up on Google and you're good. Now I don't give that advice anymore.

You know, I would say, right, let's get your offer, right? And let's get your ad up, you know, let's get your message out there and find a simple way to follow up. And if you can get those things right, websites are good to have for the people that will go Google and check you out. But you can build a big organization just without that.

EDWARD: Exactly.

GEORGE: The only thing that always scares me is the control factor of putting all your eggs into a basket like Facebook. And you know, that's the one thing that drives your business, and if it's not there, well, I mean, I think it's still going to be there for a long time, right? But especially when you see things shuffle, and people change the different platforms, it's good to be tabs and be a bit omnipresent in that way that you can do without.

EDWARD: Exactly, I mean, it's definitely been interesting noticing the changes, that's for sure. Like you said, you know, everything.

I always tell everyone this, you know, I've helped a few people open up schools, and I just, you know, that's what I – get your online presence going, you know, well, what about this ad? No, you don't need that ad. It's not like the old days, you know, you don't need yellow pages, you don't need this, you don't need that.

Get your online presence up and going. You need a website, of course, you know, people still visit it and go on, you know, make sure you have this in your website. And like you said, the right content on the website that's going to attract the people that go to it. The right ads, the right deals and stuff like that. 

Online presence is, you know, definitely one point for sure.

GEORGE: So, what's next for you, Edward? Like where are you guys going? Are you opening up more locations?

EDWARD: I don't know. Honestly, what's next for me is I've been really, I've been doing this for a long time. Just really been toying with the idea of doing another smaller location.

I don't know if I, you know, but before I've done that, I've been really trying to develop a good strong, solid staff here. I'm one of the few instructors, like, I enjoy teaching. And like some instructors enjoy running this school, you know, and then they have instructors teach for them.

I like still being on the floor, you know, with the kids and teaching, and I still like teaching them on the mat. I still teach BJJ, and people think I'm crazy, but I still teach up to 40+ classes a week. And, and I love it, but I'm also 50 now, so now I'm developing the staff, and the know-how, you know, really developing, like, I got some really good fighters that still have a few years left in them, but know that, you know, the end's coming… but unbelievable instructors.

So, I'm getting them involved, you know, developing a really solid foundation in the BJJ group of instructors, working on getting them, I got some unbelievable teens, getting them involved in them karate side of things and showing them and teaching them, you know, so that way, when that second location opportunity does come, I know that I'll be able to leave for the day and leave this place in good hands.

You know, staff training, and you know, picking the right people to find out. I want to be part of the team and make sure we share the same vision, you know what I mean? 

And so that second location, within, you know, I got a goal – I set goals, but within a couple of years, I want to definitely have something up, the second one up and going, you know, like, you know, this school is all set. So, that's, that's really what I've been working on now.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And I guess lastly, what are you most excited about? For the next couple of years?

EDWARD: Just growing. You know, I love it. There's, like, you know, we had, you know, already since January. It's, you know, what's today? The seventh. We've had, you know, it's always the New Year rush, but we had 14 new people sign up. So, it's been great.

I love getting the new people going, you know, I just love teaching. I just love growing and, you know, and just helping people out. You know, I can't complain. I got a – I have a great job – and so I mean, what's next is just to keep growing, keep having fun, and keep sharing what I love to do.

And, you know, hopefully the second location will come in a few years and go from there.

GEORGE: Sounds good. Hey, Ed, thanks so much for jumping on. Been great to chat, and just the title of your book again?

EDWARD: Lift Them Up.

GEORGE: Lift Them Up.

EDWARD: Yeah, definitely on Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles, it's also on Barnes and Nobles website too. So, if they want to check it out, please check it out. It's a great book on bullying. You know, all the different types of bullying that are out in the world today. So, definitely check it out.

GEORGE: Perfect. We'll link it up in the show notes. So, wherever you're watching or listening, it will be https://martialartsmedia.com/126, numbers one-two-six. That'll take you there. And just lastly, any shout-outs you want to give or any way that people can connect with you, if you're open to that?

EDWARD: Yeah, you can always, you know, we just talked about it, you could always hit me up, you know, of course, my email is at tokyojoeshooksit@comcast.net.

You can always hit me up on Facebook, under Ed Carr, or you can visit the school webpage, Tokyo Joe's Studios, Instagram, I'm on Instagram – @tokyojoesstudios – and on Twitter. So, those are the best ways, like I said, we're talking about social media and stuff. You know, that's what people use.

The best way to hit me up, send me a message. Ask me any questions. You know, you can call the school, 603-641-3444, if you want. Ask me any questions you want. I'm always here and always willing to help.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Ed, thanks so much. I'll chat to you soon.

EDWARD: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

GEORGE: You're welcome.

 

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

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

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

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

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

TRANSCRIPTION

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

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

DARREN: Hey George.

GEORGE: Hi.

DARREN: How are you?

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

DARREN: No worries George. Thanks for having me.

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

darren reece muay thai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

darren reece muay thai

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

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

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

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

darren reece muay thai

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

darren reece muay thai

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

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

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

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

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

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

darren reece muay thai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GEORGE: What's changed?

darren reece muay thai

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

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

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

GEORGE: Yeah.

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

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

DARREN: Yeah.

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

DARREN: Yeah, yep.

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

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

GEORGE: Yeah.

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

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

darren reece muay thai

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

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

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

GEORGE: Right.

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

GEORGE: Totally.

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

GEORGE: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

DARREN: That would be hard to accept.

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

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

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

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

DARREN: Thanks very much, George. Thanks everyone.

GEORGE: Speak soon. Cheers.

DARREN: Cheers. Thank you.

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

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

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

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


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

3. Work with me and my team privately.

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

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

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

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN: 

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

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

TRANSCRIPTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAVE: That's right.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAVE: Sure.

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

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

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

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

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

Self-Defence Courses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAVE: It's correct.

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

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

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

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

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

GEORGE: Yeah, please.

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

Self-Defence Courses

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAVE: Yeah, that's great.

GEORGE: That's correct, yeah?

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

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

GEORGE: Love you, mother-in-law.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Self-Defence Courses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAVE: George, appreciate you having me.

GEORGE: Yeah, you're welcome.

DAVE: Thanks, George, appreciate it.

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

DAVE: Yeah, absolutely. I've got-

GEORGE: It means a lot.

DAVE: I could be at home.

GEORGE: Exactly. Awesome. Speak soon.

DAVE: Great. Thanks, George.

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

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

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

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


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37 – Ross Cameron from Lockdown: How To Host Martial Arts Events & Tournaments

Ross Cameron shares how to run martial arts events and details about their exciting grappling tournament, Lockdown.

Martial Arts Events

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How to manage remote employees and martial arts school effectively
  • The importance of having established business systems and processes across your martial arts schools
  • The prerequisites to running a successful martial arts event
  • When and why you need an event insurance
  • What makes Lockdown a big attraction compared to other grappling tournaments
  • And more

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

If you're putting on an event, at the end of the day, you don’t want to be turning around and saying, sorry about it, but I can't afford to pay you. You don't want to be standing around the official, saying, sorry, we can't afford to pay you.

Hi, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast, episode number 37. Today I speak to another gentleman, with multiple hats, which is Ross Cameron. And Ross, a former engineer, I’d say a serial martial arts entrepreneur, who is the owner of Aftershock, Fightcross gyms, multiple Fightcross gyms across Australia and an exciting new grappling tournament event called Lockdown. And we talk a bit about that, we also go into detail about hosting events, how you can host your own events, and everything that goes with it and doesn't sound like an easy process, but obviously doable. So lots to chat about, lots to discover in this episode.

So if you need help with your martial arts marketing, the digital side of things: Facebook, Google, email, converting, having a website that converts: we just created a Facebook group, which is a support group for a lot of the information that we are putting out, so I've been doing a series of online web classes, which you can find more about at martialartsmedia.com/workshop and we pretty much over-deliver in giving away the strategies and methods that we use for top martial arts schools around the country and America and so forth.

So the Facebook group is sort of a support group for that and we share bits of information and I'm starting to upload snippets of videos, things that really help you build your business. So if you want in, it’s a closed group, all that you've got to do is go to martialartsmedia.group, so martialartsmedia.group and request to join. And if you're nice, I’ll let you in – which, I'm sure you're nice. I've had to remove a few people that want to spam this service, that service, and funny stuff so yeah, I'm very on to keeping it clean and keeping it of value and not being one of those groups where people harass you and spam you and just use it for the purpose of marketing. I go with value first, marketing if you need it.

So that's what we're up to. I would like to see you in the group, that would be awesome, log in, say hi, introduce yourself. It would be great to see you and connect with you there. For this episode, the show notes will be on martialartsmedia.com/37, the number 37. And that's it for now – enjoy the episode, lots of great value to share. Please welcome to the show, Ross Cameron.

GEORGE: Good day everyone. Today I'm with Ross Cameron, all the way from Brisbane, how are you, Ross?

ROSS: Excellent. Thanks for having me on George!

GEORGE: Awesome, I look forward to chatting with you about a few things that… how I came across Ross initially was speaking to Stuart Grant from Westside MMA and he was telling me about the Lockdown events, which they were having at their location. So we're going to be talking about Lockdown and we're also going to be talking about events in general and Ross is a man with multiple hats, so this is going to be an exciting conversation. Welcome, Ross!

ROSS: Thanks. We've got lots of events that I'm involved with, I'm the promoter for Aftershock MMA, I'm the promoter for Lockdown, especially the grappling series. I run a fight night with boxing and kickboxing, and then I'm involved in Mixed Martial Arts Australasia, which is a sanctioning body as well so…

GEORGE: All right, cool, so lots of hats. Let’s take all the hats off and take a step back: how did you get into the martial arts game, how did this all evolve to where it is now?

ROSS: I started off doing judo when I was four, fought internationally back in the 80's when Karate Kid first came out, so I've been around the game for a long time. I've got traditional schools and a lot of traditional background and MMA is just where the sports hit it and where my passion's sort of been. I've been a ground fighter in the strike and fight and I just thought, it puts it all together, so…

GEORGE: You're originally from Auckland, did this start… I guess the business side of martial arts, did that side start in New Zealand, moving across Australia, or…?

ROSS: I started in Brisbane because I was over here as a student under Grandmaster Young Ku Yun for about five years. Then I went back to New Zealand and opened some martial arts schools over there, then I came back to Brisbane and then started off in my garage with training my daughter and suddenly I had too many people and had to take it out of the garage, so I started a school. And I grew and grew and grew, so now I've got four schools around Australia and I keep promoting the events to back up what we do in the gym.

GEORGE: Ok, cool. So that's Fightcross, correct?

ROSS: Yes, that's Fightcross, yep.

GEORGE: All right, cool. And you said around Australia, so you're not just in Brisbane?

ROSS: No, we have one in Perth, and three in Brisbane.

GEORGE: So a quick question on that: how do you manage a location that's not in close reach, that's pretty much right across, as far from the country as you can be?

ROSS: A lot of it is, you've got to trust the people that you put in the place, you've got to spend time training them and making sure they have all their systems in place and do it properly and then you have to have your checks and balances in place, so you've got to be able to drill down into their systems and see what they're doing. It’s hard work, everyone thinks it’s easy though, to open another center, but it never is.

GEORGE: Ok. So you guys are very tight on the following the exact same structure and same systems in all locations?

ROSS: Yeah, yeah. I’m an engineer by background; when an engineer, everything has to be systematized.

GEORGE: So there’s Fightcross and then it started the events, I guess, afterward. How did that all get started for you initially?

ROSS: All right: I was looking for events for my fighters that were the first step up to a fight to jump in and I couldn't find anything that sort of fitted what I wanted my guys doing. They could either do BJJ, or they could do kickboxing, or they were going to pro-MMA fights, there was no amateur MMA really around the scene at the time. So I started Aftershock as an amateur MMA, what's now considered C class rules, so: padded, no hit strikes on the ground, and limited striking standing up, so no knees to the face, but knees to the body, no elbows.

So it gets them a good start, they can get a feel for what's the sport like before they actually jump in and get an A class and get elbowed in the face – just stepping stones. And that's another reason we started our Lockdown events: we needed another stepping stone to develop the grappling and wrestling side of the sport. We don't have collegiate wrestling in Australia, so we're sort of behind the 8 ball, trying to catch up with the Americans, the Turkish guys, Russians and suddenly, we're struggling a bit.

GEORGE: So just for everyone listening, could you give a breakdown of what is a Lockdown event exactly?

ROSS: A Lockdown is a double elimination submission grappling comp, judged on dominance and submission. You're not scoring points; you're there to submit and finish the person. It's run on a five-minute round and if there's no winner in that five-minute round, they'll do a three-minute round and we're looking for a submission. And the way it works is basically, if you lose, you get put down in the loser's bracket and then you work your way back up into the draw, so you get at least two rolls, compared to the BJJ comps where you're getting one roll or round robin where you are having to roll everybody and carry the injuries.

GEORGE: So there's no striking?

ROSS: It’s done in a cage, so you get to practice your cage wrestling, you get to work cage work, your cage take downs, pressure, cage control – very, very MMA orientated, so we're allowed double leg takedowns to the slams – as long as you're not slamming on the back of the head naturally.

GEORGE: All right. So who has this really been beneficial for as a… I guess, let’s start as a student: would it be for someone who's transitioning to MMA, or would it be for like a BJJ student?

ROSS: We get a huge mix of guys that come in. We get guys that are pure BJJ guys, we get guys that are wrestlers, we get guys that are MMA, Japanese jiu-jitsu guys jump in there as well. Because the rules are not just ground or not just stand-up, we get a huge mix. We get a judo, we get Olympic judo guys in there as well, so it’s a great mix for the students to get in there and actually test their skills. We run different divisions, so we have MMA weight divisions, but we also have beginners, intermediate and advanced.

GEORGE: This has attracted a different crowd of people, so if you host an event, how would it be different to a straight up BJJ tournament, or judo, or so forth?

ROSS: Again, it’s the mix. If you're a classical BJJ guy – and I go to BJJ comps and watch it all the time, and the guys are pulling guard and all the rest of it. And suddenly, they're up against a guy who's a judo guy, who's going to throw them. They start to pull guard and mixing up their throw and they're losing position, so the mix is very interesting. Then you get, say, a BJJ guy up against a wrestler. The wrestler's going to have a dominant body position on top, BJJ guy is going to want to play the bottom game and suddenly you're getting another dynamic in it. It’s really interesting to watch how they play the game and the styles against each other.

GEORGE: Let’s say, Eddie Bravo type tournaments: is this a comparison with that? What would you say the differences are?

ROSS: Not really, that tends to be a very classical BJJ type with 20-minute rounds, they can stall, they can take their time to play the hard card game, they can just inch things out. You've got five minutes and you've got to go, so the pressure is on from the start.

GEORGE: Ok. And then you were saying, submission or dominance: how would you actually score the dominance, based on…

ROSS: Ok, so it's scored very much like MMA. So in MMA, a dominant body position is side control, so dominant body position – the guard is not dominant. Ok? In BJJ, they score guard as being a good position – it’s not dominant in an MMA fight, so we score that the other way around.

GEORGE: Right.

ROSS: It’s just those little things, we're looking at it, scoring it as if striking was involved, but without the striking.

GEORGE: I guess the flipside of that is, what is the downside of it? For a student that wants to go into tournaments and so forth, what would you say is the downside?

ROSS: Downside? The downside is just having another rule set to play with. And I've got a very successful young fella who goes into BJJ comps and Lockdown BJJ comps, because he will do a kneebar and he’ll go, whoops, sorry, that's not allowed in that division – ah, OK. So that's the thing. It’s just about those, keeping that school basis within the rule sets that they're actually working on.

GEORGE: Anything else about the Lockdown events?

ROSS: We’re expanding a lot down around Australia and we're running them sort of in each state and now the idea is that we'll have… over the year, we run points, but not only for fighters, but we also run points for the gyms. So we have the top ten ranked gyms in each state and then we have the top ten ranked fighters for each state for each weight division. And then, later on, this year, we’re having a Grand Prix, where we're actually going to have the best from each of the state rolling into each other for a price and were going to stream that live.

GEORGE: All right. And the price? Any…?

ROSS: Cash!

GEORGE: Cash! Alright, awesome, it sounds like an exciting tournament. Now, for… let’s say martial arts school owners, how would school owners get involved with something like this? How would it be beneficial for them?

ROSS: Ok, they can look on lockdownsubmissiongrapplingseries.com and the benefit to them is, one, it’s a team building exercise. Two, it helps them teach their guys how to corner their fighters. Three, they get involved in growing a sport and developing the skill basics of their crew in an area where we’re lacking. So there's good reason to be involved.

GEORGE: Let’s talk a bit more about events. Let’s say, what's your advice to a school owner that wants to get started in running an event? You laugh!

ROSS: It sounds silly, but everyone looks at events and goes, they're very easy, look what you just have to do. They don't see the hours of work that goes behind it. I have a full-time crew that run my events. We put on… maybe 14 Lockdowns this year. There are 4 aftershocks and there are three HAMMA fight nights that I have got planned this year.

So there are events on just about every weekend that we're involved in. The plan and the preparation to make an event run smoothly is huge! The funding behind it is so important. The understanding that you've got to have insurances. I get phone calls from other promoters constantly asking me how do we get insurance for this and that and I'm like going, you're actually on your 10th or 12 or 13th event and you haven't had insurance? You guys are crazy! And event insurance is not cheap: looking after you fighters, looking after your staff, making sure everything’s good – it’s not as easy as people think it is and there's a lot more to it than is perceived.

So it’s worthwhile for your local martial arts school to run events; it’s at what level they want to run their events. I would suggest that most of them look at something local that they can support, that will help grow their team and get their name out into the community as marketing, develop their social media as their team is involved in different events – that's the smart way to play it.

GEORGE: If you break it down into components, I've had a few guests on board, like a few things that have come up: using their event psychology actually for marketing, I know Darryl Thornton in Melbourne had a good strategy for actually, his open day is an hour event and it’s great for just getting people in an hour, being able to… I guess that confined time of having people in one area for one hour and then giving people a good, irresistible offer, in the end, to join in and he gets about 70+ sign ups on the day by having this whole strategy. So I guess school owners can learn a lot from that component, but going from your knowledge and what you do with events, and being an engineer of course: how do you break it down into components? What's the first thing that you've got to get down first and then move from that point?

ROSS: Ok, really the biggest thing is funding, OK? If you're putting on an event, at the end of the day, you don't want to be turning around to a fighter and saying, sorry, but I can't afford to pay you. You don't want to be standing around the officials saying, sorry, we can't afford to pay you, you know? You need to have your funding, your sponsors, your venue, your day confirmed and then your main card and start working backward. The biggest issues that I find in Australia with events for MMA events is keeping that card together.

Being a Kiwi, and I have a joke with a lot of Kiwi guys together and we keep it down is that Australians don't like to fight, where the Kiwis love to fight. It’s not too hard to get Kiwi boys that will stick on a card, it’s a lot harder to get some of the Australians to stick on a card. And one of the biggest issue we have in Australia is pull outs to go fight in another card. So they'll come up with an excuse like, I hurt my toes, I can't fight this week, but I'm fighting the next week, is this OK then?

GEORGE: The core part of the event then is who's the main card, because that's got to be the attraction, right?

ROSS: Yep, correct, yep. And a good venue – and it sounds silly, lots of people think going to a pub is the way to go. Most fighters don't want to fight in a pub show. Most fighters want to fight on an event and there's a big difference between a pub show and an event. So if you're running an event, you've got to have good sponsors, you've got to have entertainment, you've got to have good lighting, you've got to have good access, so there's a lot of little bits that go together. And then you've got to have a good team to make it work.

GEORGE: All right, cool, so a lot of components then. How do you go about the marketing? Where does the marketing start? Do you typically go through different clubs?

ROSS: Yeah, your marketing is broad based, so you've actually got to go through, you've got to do a lot of social media stuff, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You've got to go through the clubs and get clubs involved behind you, newspaper and-  it sounds silly, it’s not actually the fact that you're in the newspaper that's going to get you the explosion that you want; it’s the fact that then you can release that to social media.

GEORGE: Yes.

ROSS: There's a lot to it that marketing wise, the average person doesn't get, so it’s knocking on the doors, it’s the hours, it’s going out late at night, putting flyers up through club areas and just drumming up interest.

GEORGE: It sounds like there's a lot of work in just the infrastructure. I actually read once that event organizing was the most stressful job in the world.

ROSS: I would believe it, a lot of greys here!

GEORGE: Ross, I feel were sort of touching the surface, I think there's still a lot that we can talk about here. Anything else in the event spectrum that we can cover, especially thinking about the martial arts school owner here? How can martial arts school owners really get involved, what's the best way to get something from events?

ROSS: As a school owner myself, I really pick the events I put my guys on. I pick the events I put my guys on for two reasons: one, I want to make sure that they're sanctioned and they're well run, controlled events, for the safety of my guys. Two, it means that my men are associated with good brands, OK? I won’t put my fighters on a few shows just because of the fact that their reputation precedes them – in a bad way. I don't want my guys being put in a bad spot, I don't want my guys to chase their money, I don't want all those things. Have you heard of Nitro?

 

GEORGE: Yeah.

ROSS: So my guys fight on Nitro, they fight on Aftershock, they'll fight on Fightworld Cup, they'll fight on Eternal – they'll fight in good, reputable brands just to make sure that that's the way it is – well controlled. And don't get me wrong, over the years I've learned this, so I've turned up there for a fight and gone, where's the doctor? Well, we don't have a doctor. Oh, OK, so… I guess I'm a one-minute man, am I? And I say, over the years you learn that there are certain things that have to fall into place to make a good event.

And those are the things: I want to make sure that my fighters are looked after by having medical, making sure that they're looked after by having financial backing, making sure that there's insurance in place, making sure that the event is not going to fall over, making sure that there's no criminal element involved, you know? It’s all those little things that have to be in line before I’ll put a guy on a show.

GEORGE: Now how would you – because you've had all this experience and you know the event scene. But how would you as a school owner, if you're entering into this arena, how would you go by assessing the risk elements of entering?

ROSS: I’d be talking to other coaches and other reputable gyms around the area. Like you talked about Stuart Grant: Stuart is a great guy and he knows what he's doing. Stuart and I talk, we can discuss what's going on in the industry, we can discuss what shows are happening, he gets it. If people want to talk to people, that's how you build awareness in the game. I've seen it where you've got a guy who walks up to an event, his coach doesn't actually know what he's doing, the fighter’s got no idea what he's doing, and you go, OK, so have you talked to anybody in the industry? Nah Nah, I've just come from Shukokai Karate, or I've come from a traditional school and I've thought of going into an MMA event, a fight.

Do you know how to wrap hands? No, I don’t know how to wrap hands. Do you know how to do this; do you know what you're supposed to be doing? So the best I can do is get on the phone and talk to them, talk to other people. Either that: when I first got involved in MMA, I started ringing other coaches, talking to them, discussing what was going on and now those guys ring me back and we’re still having conversations about where the sport is going, what's going on with people, is this gym any good, do they have the right mentality behind it – all those things.

GEORGE: Cool Ross. It’s been awesome chatting to you. If people want to – because you've got Lockdown and you've got access to a lot of type of events. If school owners want to get you involved, and I don't know at which level you're available to be involved with events, but what's the process they would take?

ROSS: Basically, they can just shoot me an email on my website, so aftershockmma.com, lockdownsubmissiongrapplingseries.com, fightcross.com – they can shoot me an email, I’ll pick it up somewhere. If I don't, someone will get them to me. And the other thing that I'm involved with that'll help all these guys is the fact that Mixed Martial Arts Australasia is a governing sanctioning body, set up by Chris Haseman and Peter Hickmott and myself – if they don't know who Chris Haseman is, just Google him.

Peter Hickmott referees in the UFC, and he's involved in training with the DSR, trains sports combat in Tasmania as well, so he's well known within the governing bodies throughout Australia. We run courses, we run courses on Cornerman courses, Cutman courses, we run officials courses, we run how to wrap hands courses, so we cover the lot and we’re here to help train these guys that want to get involved as well.

GEORGE: Good stuff. Ross – great chatting to you and I hope to be seeing you at a Lockdown event pretty soon.

ROSS: Of course, cheers George, thanks!

GEORGE: All right, cheers, thanks.

There you have it – thank you, Ross Cameron. Don't those Lockdown events sound awesome? I know they do for me – look, obviously, it depends on what martial arts you specialize in. I think it’s exciting, it’s got lots of potentials and I really hope that it all goes well for Ross and they'll be able to grow this into something substantial, which it definitely looks like they are.

So that's it from me, again, if you want to join us in the Facebook group, martialartsmedia.group, so come and connect with us there, come and say hi. We look forward to seeing you there, having a chat and see how we can possibly help your business. Awesome – have a great week, I’ll be back here next week with an awesome episode and chat with you then. Cheers!

 

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Privacy Policy

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

Use of Cookies

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

IP Addresses

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

Email Information

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

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

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

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

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

Email Policies

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

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

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

CAN-SPAM Compliance

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

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

Choice/Opt-Out

Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving communications from us and our partners by reading the unsubscribe instructions located at the bottom of any e-mail they receive from us at anytime. Users who no longer wish to receive our newsletter or promotional materials may opt-out of receiving these communications by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Use of External Links

All copyrights, trademarks, patents and other intellectual property rights in and on our website and all content and software located on the site shall remain the sole property of or its licensors. The use of our trademarks, content and intellectual property is forbidden without the express written consent from .

You must not:

Acceptable Use

You agree to use our website only for lawful purposes, and in a way that does not infringe the rights of, restrict or inhibit anyone else”s use and enjoyment of the website. Prohibited behavior includes harassing or causing distress or inconvenience to any other user, transmitting obscene or offensive content or disrupting the normal flow of dialogue within our website.

You must not use our website to send unsolicited commercial communications. You must not use the content on our website for any marketing related purpose without our express written consent.

Restricted Access

We may in the future need to restrict access to parts (or all) of our website and reserve full rights to do so. If, at any point, we provide you with a username and password for you to access restricted areas of our website, you must ensure that both your username and password are kept confidential.

Use of Testimonials

In accordance to with the FTC guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising, please be aware of the following:

Testimonials that appear on this site are actually received via text, audio or video submission. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who have used our products and/or services in some way. They are individual results and results do vary. We do not claim that they are typical results. The testimonials are not necessarily representative of all of those who will use our products and/or services.

The testimonials displayed in any form on this site (text, audio, video or other) are reproduced verbatim, except for correction of grammatical or typing errors. Some may have been shortened. In other words, not the whole message received by the testimonial writer is displayed when it seems too lengthy or not the whole statement seems relevant for the general public.

is not responsible for any of the opinions or comments posted on https://martialartsmedia.com. is not a forum for testimonials, however provides testimonials as a means for customers to share their experiences with one another. To protect against abuse, all testimonials appear after they have been reviewed by management of . doe not share the opinions, views or commentary of any testimonials on https://martialartsmedia.com – the opinions are strictly the views of the testimonial source.

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

How Do We Protect Your Information and Secure Information Transmissions?

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

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

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

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

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

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

Policy Changes

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

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

Contact

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

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

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

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