76 – Practical Tips On How To Grow Your Martial Arts School

Robbie Castellano from IMC Australia shares practical tips on how to grow your martial arts school.

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How creating a 5-year plan grew Robbie Castellano’s school from 135 to 500 students
  • How local and international martial arts tournaments improve their student retention
  • The ultimate test for turning over your school
  • The importance of having an effective leadership program
  • How finding a strategic school location completes half of your marketing
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

GEORGE: G'day, this is George Fourie and welcome to another Martial Arts Media business podcast. I have today with me Robbie Castellano who is actually a returning guest. We won't get into the details why. He'll probably be a returning guest again, but this is the first actual official podcast we're doing together. So, welcome to the show Robbie.

ROBBIE: Thanks George. Glad to be here.

GEORGE: Awesome. So, just a bit of introduction. So, Robbie's based in Sydney. They run IMC Australia. And also looking at the website now, I'm seeing number one rated martial arts center in Australia as rated by ISKA. So, yeah, we're going to have a bit of a chat and hear what Robbie's up to. So, welcome to the show Robbie.

ROBBIE: Thank you George.

GEORGE: Cool. So, just give us a couple of minutes intro, just your background, what you've got going on, etc.

ROBBIE: Yeah. So, basically started as a kid. Went to a local karate school which is in Western Sydney. Started at the age of four, five. Trained up until I was a teenager and then started working part time for my instructor, teaching. Always loved teaching. So, it was always good to teach the kids and then eventually teaching adults. And then got to my twenties and decided I wanted to go and see the world, so I went traveling around the world for about seven years and I still came back home every now and then to teach a little bit, travel again before eventually settling and managing the school for my instructor and then eventually buying it out 100%.

GEORGE: Excellent. So, in the travels, were you actually instructing as well?

ROBBIE: Na, not really. I was always training, like I was in Thailand and Belarus and England and Colombia. I eventually stayed in Colombia for a few years where I eventually met my wife, but it was always just training, it's hard to teach in a different language.

GEORGE: Got you. I've always wondered if that's an opportunity for young kids if they are learning martial arts and they can instruct if there's an opportunity for them to actually travel abroad and just plug into different schools and instruct for a while.

ROBBIE: Yeah. I'm sure there would be, but I didn't do it, no.

GEORGE: Okay. So, from teaching to owning the school, how did that journey evolve?

ROBBIE: Yeah. So, basically I was in Thailand to do a bit of training with my wife and my instructor had a … he gave me a call saying that he's had a few problems with his current manager and basically asked me if I want to take the reins and manage the school for him. So, I did. I got on the first plane back and started managing the school. We sat down and had a chat, worked out a five year plan. So, I would manage it for five years and then eventually buying it out which I now own. Yeah. So, when we took over, it was up to about 135 students when I managed it and we built it up to about 500 mark now. So, it's going well.

GEORGE: Got you. So, how do you feel that helped, as in having that five year plan and having a good structure and sort of knowing, alright, this is where you're going and I guess, maybe easier to make the purchase as well, sort of.

ROBBIE: That's it. I'm pretty fortunate that I had an instructor, Paul Zadro, as a good mentor. He already did all the hard work of going to the conferences overseas and learning the dos and don'ts. So, we basically sat down and it was like an apprenticeship. The five year plan was to learn the ropes, how to run the floor, run the business side and yeah, to help me eventually to buy it out. So, without that five year plan, I probably wouldn't have been able to do it. So, we've designed that now in our whole IMC organization for the rest of the generation to come through and do the same thing.

GEORGE: Okay, fantastic. So, how does that look then? So, you've got the sort of five year structure where you know how to groom and educate and train people to take over location. How does that look? Do you … are you looking for that within instructors who can take that role or are you looking at that as more sort of an expansion type …

ROBBIE: Yeah. Look, a bit of both. We've got our leadership program and those youngsters that want to come through to eventually open up their own school, we tell them, this is what you have to do. They've got to go through all the reins of being an instructor and then floor manager, program director and then a school manager and then and then the system is to buy out, if they want. We pay our managers fairly highly. So, if they’re happy to just keep their wage and that's fine. If they want to go bigger and more responsibility, we've got a plan to buy it out as well, for them to buy it out.

GEORGE: Got you. How many instructors have taken up that role, taken that path?

ROBBIE: Yeah. At the moment, myself has done it. We've got another instructor Mitchel who runs the IMC Wetherill park school. He's doing it at the moment. He's on the five year journey. We're about to open up another school in the West of Sydney, a young girl and she's going to start the five year journey as well.

GEORGE: On the five year mark, so, does that take 100% ownership or do you still sort of run under a type of franchise model or?

ROBBIE: Yeah. Look, the deal that I had was, I'll take over 100%. Okay? That was always the plan. My instructor always wanted that for me. I've been with him since I was a kid. So, he helped me out. I would want the same for my juniors that have been with me forever too. So, yeah, I was to buy it out 100%. It was still under the IMC organization, but our schools are separately owned.

GEORGE: Got you. Okay. So, when it comes to … so, you have … you mentioned how many locations again?

ROBBIE: We now have four.

GEORGE: Four locations, all Sydney based?

ROBBIE: All Sydney based, yep.

GEORGE: All Sydney based. Okay. So, when it comes to things like marketing and the bigger picture, how do you guys go about that? Is that a team effort or do you still operate individually?

ROBBIE: Yeah definitely. Look, we're big on our organization with team effort. Be individually owned but we all work together. So, every Monday we'll come in, do a team meeting and we all throw out all our different ideas, marketing strategies, statistics, everything, and I think it's … it works in our favor because we've got a lot more heads together, create different ideas and to grow our schools all together. We swap and change instructors sometimes too. I'll send one of my junior instructors over to a different school for a week so they can pick up some new stuff and vice versa.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's super powerful. So, you almost have this whole mastermind group within your own organization and everybody can come from different angles and different perspectives.

ROBBIE: That's right. 100%. Yep. 100%.

GEORGE: So, how do you then take those … let's say, if we had to walk through it, you guys have your Monday meeting, somebody comes up with an idea, then what sort of a process of rolling it out within the schools? Would you trial something first at one school or would you just roll it out and run with it and access the results after?

ROBBIE: Yep. Look, every Monday we'll come through statistics, that's usually the first thing on the agenda, where we've lost, where we've gained and then we'll do our marketing for the month, what we're doing and then we always close the meeting with an idea. If someone's got an idea, we'll get that person to try it in their school, see how it goes and if it's successful, then we'll try it in the other schools. If it fails, then the other schools don't do it obviously.

GEORGE: Got you. So, can you say a bit more just about sort of that structure of that Monday meeting? So, you mentioned you've got statistics, you talk marketing, etc, is there anything else that you cover within moving the organization forward?

ROBBIE: So, we always talk about what we're doing that month. So, whether it's a life skill project or something like that, gradings or if we're doing seminars, how to organize that. But pretty basic standard meeting. Nothing too drastic. But it works. Everyone turns up and everyone is on the same page. That's important. If one ball drops, then the rest will crumble in the end. So, it's important to keep it all together.

GEORGE: Got you. Okay. So, let's talk a bit more about … so, you're based in Liverpool right?

ROBBIE: Yes. Western Sydney. Yep.

GEORGE: Western Sydney, got you. I believe that now that we're talking about it, Paul Zadro, I did see him on the news taking on the political role. Is that right?

ROBBIE: Yeah. I think he's got to that stage in his life where he needs another challenge. He's a very successful man, so I think he wanted that next challenge. So, he worked for the local Liverpool seat. Unfortunately he didn't win, but I'm sure he had a good experience. He made a lot of contacts as well. It was actually good for us to watch it so it all works.

GEORGE: Got you. Actually, I did another podcast interview yesterday with Jim Morrison in Canada and he was mentioning their 15th birthday this year and the mayor’s coming along. I was like, hang on, you can't let that story just rest. How do you get the mayor to attend your birthday?

He said, no, okay, they actually train together, but it was interesting that he mentioned how much community evolvement that creates, because of having the … obviously having the mayor and the kids train there, but just getting really involved with projects that they do with kids with autism and sort of being on the forefront. Would that open different avenues for you within the martial arts school with having Paul in that position?

ROBBIE: Oh yeah, for sure. Look, it's just another way to get your name out there. You know what I mean? We had the New South Wales Sports Minister come to our school with this campaign and he came to see what we do in school, how do kids train. We did a couple of demonstrations for him and that goes all over social media as well. So, it's just another avenue of marketing and getting your brand out there again. So, yeah, it definitely helps.

GEORGE: Got you. Okay. So, let's talk about Liverpool. So, we were just chatting about it earlier just … IMC Australia number one rated martial arts center as rated by ISKA. So, what's a big focus for you? Is it just … I guess let's start from the beginning. What styles do you teach?

ROBBIE: Yeah. So, basically we're a multi-style school. We teach karate, kickboxing, MMA, jiu jitsu. Our main clientele is kid's karate. Probably makes up 70% of our school. MMA, jiu jitsu is just sort of an extra thing for people to come and kickboxing program is pretty big as well, but our basic main focus is kid's karate.

GEORGE: Got you. And then the competition component with that is?

ROBBIE: Yeah. ISKA a good organization that has multi-styles, so you can do from kickboxing to middle ninjas, five year old kids competing. So, we always start on the ISKA circuit. It's probably the biggest in Australia as well, covering all the different states and we've always had a strong tournament team going into these martial arts tournaments and most of the years, we always rate number one. That helps our students with retention as well. Sometimes kids get bored in their normal training, so they want an extra bit of push, so they join the tournament team and they'll compete.

GEORGE: Got you. Okay. So, is that tournaments and things happening locally? Do you give students the opportunity to travel abroad?

ROBBIE: Yeah, pretty much. There's always a tournament nearly every month. Some are in Sydney, some are in the country. There's tournaments in Queensland, Melbourne, even in Perth where you are. I think Graham MacDonald runs the ISKA in WA. Every couple of years we take a team over to the US Open, compete over there. Last year we actually went to Jamaica for ISKA World Championships there which was awesome. I love traveling and when martial arts and traveling come together, I'm very happy with my life. Any opportunity to go overseas and take a team, we're onto it.

GEORGE: So, how did that help the team? When they go to a place like Jamaica. I spent a lot of time in Jamaica when I was in my young travel days when I was working on cruise ships. Crazy place, but it was always good fun. Just beautiful beaches and friendly people. So, when a team goes and they travel to a place like that, how does … what's the effect on just the culture and the team when they get back?

ROBBIE: Yeah. Well, you know yourself. If you're traveling and you go overseas, it's a whole new experience, you know what I mean? They get to see people from different countries, different styles, different ways of life. So, any type of traveling is good for anybody. You always come back a different person and I think it brings a team together as well. You spend a couple of weeks with somebody overseas on those tours, and it brings back a closer relationship too. So, it always works well. There's never a negative experience on these trips.

GEORGE: Got you. So, where are you guys headed as a … and you personally, you're part of the IMC group, what's the path forward for you?

ROBBIE: Yeah. So, look, we've designed our leadership program to keep growing. All that school was of course anyone's goal is to also keep growing. My personal goal is to open up another school which we're in the frame of doing hopefully this year and then, yeah, just keep going. Do as much as possible and the sky's the limit.

GEORGE: You mentioned your wife trains as well. So, is it just you in the business? Is it family business or?

ROBBIE: Yeah. It's just me and my wife. She mainly does all the admin for the school which I'm pretty lucky because that's what she studied in university. So, it all planned out and worked together. She stays at home, I pretty much run the school. I've got my manager of the school, so I don't have to always be there. I try to have at least a couple of days off in the week to spend with my family, but it's all about the system. You've got to design those systems, then you've got to stick to them and make sure they work. As soon as one of those systems kicks out, it all falls apart. So, I think it's so important that you have those right and stick to it.

GEORGE: I'd love to ask you about that. So, you're mentioning, obviously you're preparing to go for a second school, so yes, your systems have to be in place and you mentioned, okay, you've got your wife involved, but you mentioned she doesn't really come to the dojos, just working at home.

ROBBIE: Behind the scenes, yep. She's not behind the scenes.

GEORGE: You've got family, you've got kids, right?

ROBBIE: Yeah, I've got two little kids, five and two. My son who's five, he trains and he's one of those karate kids that pretty much lives at the school and he loves it. So, I'm very grateful for.

GEORGE: So, how do you manage this and moving forward? So, you mentioned you're really clear about your systems and then your family time. So, how do you create that balance and especially knowing that you've got the new location coming as well?

ROBBIE: Yeah. Well, it all comes down to the right person, right? If you can open up another school, you wouldn't do it unless you had someone that you believe in that could do it. So, that's where our leadership program comes into place. So, we have a person now that's ready to step up, she's pretty much been managing my school for the last couple of years. I sort of stood back a bit to see how she runs it all by herself and she's proven that she can do it easily. So, we sat her down and asked her if she wants to move forward and open up another school and run that one and she agreed. So, she's in the process now of training somebody to replace her which is awesome. All about the systems.

GEORGE: So, let's say you're starting the systems, what are the core systems that you have to have in place before you feel that you're ready to open that extra location?

ROBBIE: I think, well, my instructor always told me as a test, if you go on holidays for a month and your school grows by that person that you've left in charge, then they're capable of running the school on their own. If it fails and you lose students while you're away, then maybe that person isn't. So, that's one little test we do. We make sure everyone's trained up.

Okay. So, we've got our leadership program like I said and we have different levels in that leadership program and if someone isn't up to standard in a certain area, we make sure that they need more training. We do our staff training once every couple of months, a big staff training or we make sure everyone's up to speed because there's always new casuals and new leadership members. We just make sure our standard's high and up to date.

GEORGE: And sort of the core system? Like the system of systems that the … the one thing that kind of steers everything and puts everything in place, what would you say that is?

ROBBIE: Yeah. Look, it's pretty straight forward like every other school. You know what I mean? There's so much information out there now. You can go on Facebook and see a whole lot of stuff even for free. It's funny because, like I go to the ISKA tournaments and I speak to so many school owners that are trying to do martial arts full time and I tell them all the different stuff, they like to go to an EFC conference for example.

I tell them they should go if they want to grow. And then they don't do it. You know what I mean? It's simple stuff that you can follow and they just don't do it and then they wonder why they don't grow. You know what I mean? So, yeah, just all the basic normal stuff that's out there. Follow the system that everyone has created. There's plenty of information out there.

GEORGE: Okay, cool. So, Robbie, you're well established, you guys have got … you tick all the boxes, you've got the systems, you've done your ten thousand hours and beyond in business. So, if you had to break it down, what advice would you give to someone going from zero to a hundred, a hundred to two hundred, two hundred to three hundred students, etc?

ROBBIE: Yeah. Look, first of all, if I was … first thing I'd do is find the right location. All our schools and even our future schools, we open up on a main road. So, that's half of our marketing already done for us. You can try to beat the rent and get something a little bit cheaper in the back alleys, but you're going to pay more in marketing. So, all our schools must be on a main road. So, that's one thing I'd be looking at. The next thing is, is I'll be trying to find the first person that walks into my dojo with leadership skills and I'd be starting to train that person to help and eventually put them on staff. That would be my first things.

GEORGE: So, location, super important, and then really identifying that leader from the get go. Anything else from that point?

ROBBIE: From there, if I started to grow my school, the next thing I would a hundred percent put in would be a leadership program, whether it's kids or teenagers, because that's going to be your core of your school of who can run your school for you while you can concentrate on other things to grow. So, I'll be a hundred per cent be all for leadership programs straight away.

GEORGE: That's gold right there. Good location, half your marketing's done, find your right leader and start focusing on the team building.

ROBBIE: Straight away. Yep.

GEORGE: Anything else you would add to that?

ROBBIE: From there, the school would grow because you would've trained your staff to how you want it, to follow the systems, I'll probably sign up with, if I didn't have an organization like I do, I'd probably sign up with … I mean, there's plenty of companies out there that help you, I'd kind of like to stick with the Aussie groups. I'd be signing up for that straight away as well because that's going to help you grow your school. These guys have got it all in place for you.

That's what I keep saying to these guys that I was talking about. It's already done for them. They've just got to sign up and follow it. They don't do that. That's why they don't grow. So, if you're serious about going to school, find a good mentor that's done it before and follow the system. It's not rocket science.

GEORGE: Do the work, right? Okay, awesome. So, one or two more questions. You mentioned your location in Liverpool, right? So, you're on a main road. It's also probably, on a wild guess, reckon that Liverpool has the most martial arts schools per square meter in the whole of Australia. So, what's your take on that, on the competition?

ROBBIE: It's true, there's so many martial arts schools right where I am in … I remember telling my instructor about it when he offered me the job. I said, oh, but there's so many schools around here, how are we going to compete? He pretty much said if you do the things that I tell you to do, you'll be the biggest and you won't worry about them. That's what we did and now we are the biggest. I've got a school that's 200 meters down the road from me and he's still successful. He's got I think about 400 students and I've got 500 students. It doesn't matter.

Would I be bigger? Probably. I probably wouldn't be able to fit everyone in if he wasn't there, but it doesn't affect this really any way. As long as you keep your school professional and provide a good service, people always come. Know what I mean? So, it hasn't bothered us, no.

GEORGE: Thanks for being … I'm going to ask one question and I've been contemplating whether I should ask this question, but I think it's worth talking about it, because it's a … I've got my take on this word and question and a lot of people do. I'm going to keep my appointment back, my appointment, my opinion for now and I'm going to ask this question on a few podcasts and see how it goes. So, here it is. McDojo. The word McDojo. What does that mean to you?

ROBBIE: What is a McDojo? What even is a McDojo? I've heard the concept before. People say if you're big and you're charging quite high fees that you're a McDojo, I reckon it's all crap to be honest. Okay? Because, I mean our standard hasn't dropped and I challenge anyone who hasn't got a big score or has a smaller score and think that their standard is higher, then bring that student in, and see if they can keep some of our students. I'll bet you they can't.

So, just because we're large and we charge a higher fee, doesn't mean our standards drop. If anything, I think our standards rise because if we don't provide a good service and keep a higher standard, then they'll leave and they can go down to the road to the $10 a week school, that's fine. So, I think it's a load of crap to be honest.

GEORGE: Love it. Awesome. Robbie, it's been great having you on. Where can people go to connect with you or find more about you?

ROBBIE: Yeah, you can see our website, www.prestonskarate.com.au or you can add me on Facebook at Robbie Castellano. You should find me on friends of all the high profile martial arts in the country. So, yeah, add me, I'll be happy to help you if you have any questions.

GEORGE: Fantastic. Thanks a lot Robbie.

ROBBIE: Thanks George, really appreciate it mate. You're a legend and it's awesome what you're doing, I love it.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other 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. 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 Community and an easy way to access it is if you just go to the domain name martialartsmedia.group. So martialartsmedia.group. G-r-o-u-p. There's not dot or anything. Martialartsmedia.group. Then we'll 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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75 – Growing Your School With Video & Teaching Martial Arts For Special Needs (From A Wheelchair)

Jim Morrison talks about contributing to the community, creating content & teaching martial arts to kids with autism and special needs.

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The surprising benefits of giving back to your community
  • How Jim Morrison teaches Taekwondo in a wheelchair to students with special needs
  • The importance of being genuine about your martial arts business
  • How to communicate effectively to your target ‘avatar’
  • Useful techniques in creating awesome martial arts videos
  • And more

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

 

TRANSCRIPTION

You know, just like martial arts, we all start as white belts, right. Every single one of us, the greatest martial artists to ever walk the Earth, started on their first day and they sucked. And you know, we have to really embrace the suck, right, that's what it is. We know how hard martial arts are, right, if you can't embrace the suck, then you're never going anywhere from there.

GEORGE: Good day, this is George Fourie, and welcome to another Martial Arts Media Business Podcast episode. So today I'm speaking with Jim Morrison, all the way from Barrie, Ontario. How are you doing, Jim?

JIM: Awesome, how are you?

GEORGE: Very good, very good. Great to speak with you. This is the first time we've just been chatting before the show, and Jim's been going for about 15 years in his martial arts school, Champs Academy. And yeah, we're just going to have a conversation and add some value for you as the school owner. So let's jump in.

JIM: Awesome.

GEORGE: First up, Jim, just to … just give us a couple of minutes, who you are, what type of styles you teach, all the rest.

JIM: Awesome. We're a martial arts academy that primarily focuses on Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We've had our studio in place here in Barrie for about 15 years. Before that I was in the martial arts industry teaching for my instructor for many, many years. I think since I was 17, I was teaching. And then I started martial arts when I was about eight years old, so it's a long time ago.

And yeah, we've grown and grown. We started as a small school out of a community center that expanded to a small unit and then that unit grew, and now we're in a 10000 square foot space, yeah, and we're looking to open another two schools in the next two years, so yeah. We're programmed for growth.

GEORGE: Awesome, so 15 years, break that down a bit. So you got started with the same business that you've got now, 15 years ago?

JIM: Yes. So we've been, Champs Academy has been in business for 15 years, this is our 15 year anniversary, so we're actually going to have a big anniversary party this year, mayor's coming and everything so it should be really fun. But we started 15 years ago, it was a small school, we were just teaching out of a community center.

I always had aspirations to make this a full time career, at the time I was working construction during the day, and teaching at night. But you know it was always a big thing for me to be able to make the plunge, and make myself a career martial artist.

And it was just, I'm a growth minded person, and over the years the industry's changed a lot, but I've been able to try and stay on top of all the growth and all the changes over the years. And yeah, I think we've done a good job of staying on top of the pulse of our community, and it's helped us kind of grow.

GEORGE: Hang on, you're not going to let that off so quickly. You've got your 15th birthday party, but the mayor is coming. How did you do that?

JIM: So actually, the mayor is, his family's training with us now, too, but before that we'd also made contact because what we do in our community, we do a lot of outreach stuff in our community. I think that's really important, because if you want to be the go-to location in your area, you need to make sure that you're present in everything you can possibly be in your community.

So we do a lot of work in the schools, we offer free bully prevention courses that we go into schools and teach. We go in and do self defense courses, stranger danger courses, things like that. We do Cub Scout groups, anything like that we do big group areas.

We also work with a lot of special needs in our community. So the word of our club gets out in so many different avenues, even outside our own marketing. We're so well known in the community by now that when I approach the mayor, the mayor's office knows who we are, so it's easier for us to get our foot in the door and put our name on his schedule, right?

So that's something we've always tried to work at is that easy way to start our marketing, to start to open up to the community, and give back, and it's something that gives you back in return. So it's helped us a lot.

GEORGE: That's fantastic. So you got … so you used that a lot as in a … I mean you probably can't use it as in the front of your marketing that you're taking the mayor along, can you?

JIM: Of course, you have to be respectful of the fact that he's going to fit in a job, and you're not the only thing he's dealing with every day. But I think whether it's the mayor, or we've got in contact with our local politicians in many different levels, and the big thing we try to do is be respectful of them, but we also encourage them to be part of what we do.

Even on small ways, whether it's sometimes we teach an autism group. And for example, autism in Ontario right now is, there's an issue with funding and things like that. So there's an opportunity there for us to a part of that, a voice in that community, because we work with a lot of autism groups, and that means we're on the page of the news as well.

So it helps both ways, obviously we're genuine about getting back to our community and helping these different groups, but at the same time, I'd be lying if I say it didn't help us in some way, because it does give us a voice outside of our club.

GEORGE: Yeah, it's such an underrated marketing strategy to just actually care and give, and if you do that, you can actually be surprised what comes your way. Instead of just thinking about, how do we get? How do you give, and things start to shape up for you.

JIM: Yeah, I think the ethics of what we teach, we always know that giving back is a part of that. We've all been taught that since day one in martial arts, but somewhere along the way when we start a business, we kind of want to put those ethics on a shelf or those ideas on a shelf. And I think if we explore them a little more, I think really there's a lot of benefit for our own club from giving back to our community, and doing anything we can, because it spreads the word of what we do.

And if that's the message of what we do, well, people connect with that. That's a passion that people connect with. And in this day and age, when people are inundated with marketing, and advertising, and flyers and media and commercials on TV, they have choices that they never had before, and when they hear somebody who's genuine and passionate about what they teach, and they see that they're somebody that cares about their community, I think that speaks volumes for what the product we sell is, and that's helping people get that message, too, right.

So I think we want to always expand in that general direction. It keeps in touch with my family's ethics, but as well as what I teach in the martial arts club.

GEORGE: Yeah, for sure. I'd like to talk a little more on that. I mean I work with a group of martial arts school owners called Partners, and a bit of our focus with marketing is … a lot of what you're saying is, how do you become an authority in your space? How do you stand out? And a lot about standing out is not by leading with the marketing of the offer, and how do you join, and how do you get a member in?

But rather, how do you give? How do you go that layer up, and how do you create content that provides value that connects with people that maybe they're a good prospect for martial arts, but they don't know it yet, or they have their problems that you can solve, but they don't know it yet.

Like you speak about autism, and I think most parents that have kids that have autism aren't thinking that martial art is the solution. So there's so much in your marketing that you can do, that is not about the offer, but it's about speaking to people on a higher level. So if you don't mind sharing, how do you go about speaking to groups that are potential prospects for your school, and how do you work within the community to get them through the doors?

JIM: Yeah, well that's a great question, because it's not an easy thing, because a lot of times it's even hard to find these specialty groups, even if you have the best of intentions. I think if we all started, the first time I ever started teaching any specialty groups is I was teaching Taekwondo, and I was approached by a parent that I was teaching the one son Taekwondo, and the other son was in a wheelchair. And she said something along the lines of, and I'm paraphrasing, “It's too bad there's nothing he can do like this, because it's helped my other son so much.”

 

And I said, “Well, if I had a group of kids like this, I'd be happy to do that,” and she said, “Well watch what you say, because I'm going to help you do that.” And the next thing I know, I'm in a rented wheelchair, teaching Taekwondo classes from a wheelchair, I don't actually have to use a wheelchair, thank god, but I'm teaching classes from a wheelchair to a group full of kids in wheelchairs. And it was such a great experience for me that I wanted to make sure that we continued to spread that message.

So then, when I had students that had autism, or I had a student that was in a wheelchair or something like that, we would highlight them. And what I mean by that is, any chance we got, not an advertisement, just to put something in the local newspaper, put on our website, put on our Facebook page, we're so proud of this student, and how far they've come. They are a leader in our school, and we're so proud of them, and to see how far they've come in their training.

And what we found was, a lot of people responded to that because just seeing that, hey, you know what, this is not something that is elitist just to the athletic kid from school. This is not just a … you know, martial arts, we have a horrible reputation. We have the worst … outside of our clubs, the marketing is horrendous. Most people think we, as people, are thugs, and we're tough guys, and we're all those other things, when the reality is we're almost the exact opposite of those things. Because the ethics of what we grew up with taught us to be so much more than that.

So I think it's up to us to break that wall down, and show people that everybody can do it. And that was kind of where we went with it, and right now we have three or four different special needs groups that we teach, specialty classes only for each of them, on top of the kids that we teach in our regular program that are special needs as well. It's become a niche for us, not intentionally, just because we're trying to reach out to the community that we serve.

GEORGE: That's fantastic. So do you actually then teach in a wheelchair?

JIM: Yes. I actually sit in a wheelchair, and like I say, I don't use it, and if you want to be humbled … If you ever want to feel humble, try and teach kids that actually sit in a wheelchair all day how to do things from a wheelchair. And muscles in your arms that you're not aware of, and your shoulders, will start to hurt in a way that you have not had any experience with, because they're so much stronger than we are at using their arms in different ways that we haven't had to use them in. So it's actually very humbling experience, but it's also very … I don't know, I guess it's something that I love doing. Something passionate for me.

GEORGE: That's fantastic. So tell me a bit more about that. So how do you then adapt, adjust your whole class structure, and like, what kind of strains does it put on you, and how do you prepare for that? How do you go about teaching a class from a wheelchair?

JIM: Well, whether it's from a wheelchair or any other special needs group, the first thing we always do is we have a system that our instructors use, and it's basically, it's our own self-assessment more than it is theirs. And what we look at is, we say, okay, what is the highest functioning action we can expect from this group, and it's usually higher than they actually think they're capable of.

So what do we think that is, and we have to draw a picture of what that specifically looks like for whatever group we're looking at. And then we look at the lowest functioning factor, and we say, okay, we have to meet them here, but we want to get them there. So we have to start to look at the physicality, very often the communication is a big factor, because like I say, we have a Down's Syndrome group as well, you know, they're not going to pick up on the same gestures and movements that you and I would in a class. Even the specifics of how you're holding your hand, things can be different depending on the physicality and the mental capabilities of the group that you're teaching.

 

And that's not to diminish where they're going to be going; it's just to say where the starting point is. So we always have a little chart, we do that, and that way any of the instructors that are, if another instructor's going to teach that, they can look at that chart and decide where on that chart they're going to focus that day. And of course, it can vary day to day, too, 'cause as any instructor knows, teaching any group of kids, there's days they come in ready to learn, and then there are days they come in, and I don't know who gave sugar to all these kids before they walked in here, but they washed it down with coffee. So on those days you going to do what you going to do, right?

GEORGE: Yeah. Definitely. Okay, so now … And just to clarify, so this is teaching Taekwondo classes, or Jujitsu, from the wheelchair? Or both?

JIM: The wheelchair classes are all done for Taekwondo specifically, it just lends itself a little easier to the techniques we teach. We see that the kids get a quicker grasp of the movement, and therefore they're encouraged. Of course, most physical situations that a kid is facing if they're in a wheelchair, they're very aware that they're working from a deficit of some kind, so one of the first things we have to do for all these kids, and this is the same for any kid, is build their confidence.

So they need to see some progress. Just like any kid would, right, so we just have to look at it from that same standpoint we would be teaching any kid off the street, and just say, hey, we need to build their confidence, so they know they can do this journey.

And then from there you can lead them down the journey you want, but if they don't believe in it, they're going to give up pretty quickly, regardless of whether they're in a wheelchair or special needs, or they're fine, and they just need to get started in martial arts, right? So we need to build that confidence before we step anywhere.

JIM: Sorry, that's why we find some of the Taekwondo techniques lend themselves a little easier to that.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And that was actually my next question, and I think you've probably answered it, with how does the mind-set differ? The mind-set of someone that has the special needs versus a normal child, and do you have to change the process of how you get them to instil that confidence in themselves?

JIM: Very often, yes. Because like I say, they face more challenges. I mean that's … things that we don't even think about, you know. When you pull up to a building, you and I don't have to figure out what part of the curb we have to get to, to get in a building. Something that simple, and those kind of things weigh on a person, you know, just think about all the things that weigh on us when we hit traffic, and it's slow, or things like that. Well you know, they're facing that plus when they get to the plaza they're going to, they can get in the door because they don't have a dip in the curb big enough for the wheelchair.

So you have to take into consideration what you're facing, so I think a lot of times, for us that's the biggest piece. For kids that are facing any more challenges than the average kid, whatever it is, like I say, start with that confidence piece and build from there, because the more success they could feel, there's nothing like seeing a kid break a board, right, but if you see a kid break a board who didn't think he could possibly break a board, there's something that changes inside you as a person when you see that, right, you get to be a part of something special.

And that's something, I think, that they experience, but also you as an instructor experience. So there is a mind-set we have to get past, and I can't attitude that we have to get past, because they really can't do a lot of the things that everybody else takes for granted. So we've going to get past that and give them some confidence, and give them some successes.

GEORGE: Yeah. I mean think about that next time you're stuck in traffic, you know? How tough life is.

JIM: Yeah. You know, we think about that with all our students. We try to … One of the things, getting back to the point we were saying is teaching from a passionate place, I think we try and talk to our instructors, and our staff and we say, look, you can't fake this thing we do. We don't have the kind of job we can call in, whether we're teaching anybody, an adult, a kid, we don't know what these people face in their daily life, and we could be the best thing that happened to them today. So we can't bring half an effort. We have to bring the best effort, and I think if we do that, it translates.

And like I say, in this day and age, people have choices they never had before. I started in the 80s, and my parents put me in the martial arts club that was closest to my house. That was it. That was their precursor for hiring a martial arts instructor for me. And it worked out great, I was very happy with it, but it could have easily worked out horribly, 'cause now that I know the industry a little bit better I know there's good and bad in everything. And our industry's no different, right?

GEORGE: That's it. So Jim, what's been the biggest shift for you over the last 15 years, from where you started up to now?

JIM: Well I think the biggest thing is to go to the idea of marketing. I think marketing, when we first started, first of all, like I say, they didn't have … people didn't have as many choices. There was one or two martial arts clubs in town, and even if the martial arts were something that the parent couldn't pronounce, if it was the closest thing to what they thought it was going to be, they just signed the kids up.

Nowadays, with the internet, it's a great thing but it's a curse, and it's a great thing because people have more choice, they have more variety, they can test drive things before they do it, they can go and look inside your facility before they get there. But it's a hard thing, because if you don't quite know how to communicate that to people, I think that you're missing out on clientele that they should be in your facility, they should be training with you.

And I think that's probably the biggest change in marketing, is getting a hand on what happens on the internet, whether it's your website, or social media, or specifically Google Analytics, and all the details. Getting content out there so people can taste test what you're doing, and they have an awareness of what you do. And the more we can do those things; those things I think are the big change over the last 15 years.

It used to be me and my students with flyers going door to door, nowadays, if I get a flyer I do what everybody else does, and I put it right in the recycling bin, and that's about the end of that. But we get so many clicks per video we've put out, and so much interest off Facebook, and our website, Instagram … That's the wave of the future. If you can't … You really have to get professionals on your side as far as what kind of web presence you're having, and that'll make a huge difference.

GEORGE: Definitely so. So do you have a … I guess when I hear the things that you have going on, you've got this big pool of ideas just sitting there to create content from. Do you have a specific strategy that you follow? To create content for your school?

JIM: Yes, well first of all we look at … The biggest thing is, we communicate what we do. So again, it's about being honest. Stick to the virtues that we teach every day. If we want to be honest about what we do, and what we don't do, I don't create MMA fighters. There are great clubs for that and I think it's fantastic, I fought MMA for a few years, but I don't want my kids to do it, so I don't teach it in my school, 'cause my kids are a very big part of my school now.

So I want to communicate exactly what we teach, so what we teach I want to show people the quality of what I teach, I want to give them a taste of what the class looks like, or feels like. I want them to see whatever my strengths are, I want to make sure I magnify those, and I want to make sure that I'm reaching the people that are looking for me. So again, that's about knowing you’re … I don't know if you guys use the same term, but we call it an avatar, which is your ideal customer.

So we always keep the ideal customer in mind and try and keep our content specific to reaching them as well. So it's two sided, it's making sure we're honest about what we're putting out there, but we're also making sure that we're targeting our avatar, so we're not wasting energy and money pretending we're something we're not.

GEORGE: Gotcha. Now I know that for a lot of schools, I know it's a bit of a … people get stuck when they want to create video, and I think even though martial arts school owners and instructors are super confident and know how to run and teach a class, there's something that just, there's this barrier that gets stuck when it comes to creating video and getting confident with that process. What was it like for you getting started with video, and how did you venture through any obstacles to get it in motion?

JIM: Yeah, well that's a great question 'cause I really sucked at it at first, so that's a great question. When we first started doing content and things like that, I really didn't know what to videotape, and I would just take my phone and videotape part of a class, and post it. And do the kind of things like that.

And it got mixed reviews, sometimes I'd get people saying, “Oh, that's a great thing,” or sometimes I'd videotape a class, and didn't realize that it looked a little hectic, 'cause I was taking a video of the part where they were having some free time. And so somebody else, they're like, “Wow, that doesn't look formatted or structured at all,” and now they get a bad taste of what we do.

So I didn't really know what to do. So I have to give credit where credit's due, my son, I have a … So I have a big family, I'm the proud dad of seven little kids, so.

GEORGE: Awesome.

JIM: I have seven kids, yeah, and my oldest son is 19, and he's now running our head office, and he's of course a little more in touch with technology than I am at 44. So he started getting really involved in what we videotape, and he's really good at researching what works out there. He started following some industry leaders, which I always recommend. Look for people that you know, whether you teach Jiu Jitsu, or you teach Taekwondo, or whatever you teach. Look for people anywhere in the world that are, who's got the most views, and who's popular for other people to watch.

Go and watch your heroes, the people you see who win tournaments and things like that, why are they getting views? You know and sometimes, we as martial artists want to give it the quick answer, “Well that's easy for that guy, he's Chuck Norris's student,” or something silly like that. Or, “That's easy for that guy, he's a world famous Jiu Jitsu fighter, it's Kit Dale,” or somebody like that. But it's not just the big name, right, it's making sure what people are really watching Kit Dale's site for is going to be those great Jujitsu tutorials, or those little pieces where they get a taste of something they want to learn.

So if you can mimic what they greats do, you don't have to know how to do the great content, you're just going to find your own niche inside that. And then I think, really, like I said to go back to, is being honest about what you offer. If you're not a Jiu Jitsu program, you know, don't model yourself after one, model yourself after what you really are targeting. And then you can specify to your avatar a lot easier.

GEORGE: Gotcha. And I'll probably add to that, because that also, and what I see is creating an obstacle. Because sometimes you look at your peers, and you look at the guys that you aspire to, but they're already at such a high level, and now you're entering this video realm and your expectations are to be exactly like they already are. And I think that puts a bit of a big roadblock in, because you want to get started, and just be perfect at it, but you've going to run the reps, right?

JIM: You know, just like martial arts, we all start as white belts, right. Every single one of us, the greatest martial artists to ever walk the Earth, started on their first day and they sucked. And you know, we have to really embrace the suck, right, that's what it is. We know how hard martial arts are, right. If you can't embrace the suck, then you're never going anywhere from there. If you could ever take a video of what it looked like your first day of martial arts, how proud would you be looking at that based on your current knowledge of martial arts? Well, you'd be almost embarrassed instantly, right?

Well it's the same thing with your first video. It's going to suck, but that's where you start. That's your starting point, and if you're not willing to take those steps and make those efforts, and try something new, try this, because if you haven't done social media marketing, and you haven't done it well, then you're not going to be able to go anywhere. But in that same breath, there is market leaders that can direct people, there are professionals out there that are really great, making sure you have a good website. Go to people, they're specific to our market in martial arts, and they design great websites that already attract great Google traffic.

There are people that already know how to use Facebook, and they can give you guys, anybody tips out there on how to find those little niches that they can target. You know, there's a lot of different resources out there, but just like martial arts, if you're not willing to go out and try these things, if you're not willing to go out and learn from somebody that's maybe a little further ahead than you, then you're going to stay a white belt, right, just like you would in a martial art.

GEORGE: Yeah, that's so true. I love that saying, and I heard that the first time in High Performance Habits, from Brennan Bechard. Embrace the suck.

JIM: Yeah, I read the same book. That's another thing I think is very important too, is martial artists, we're designed for growth. We have to realize, as martial artists, you and I, we should be constantly reading and listening to podcasts, and if you're not growing, you're dying. We have to really start to look for more things out there that can inspire and encourage us to grow, and become better at what we do. ‘Cause that's what we're doing here, that's what we're selling, so it's a lie if you're not doing it yourself.

You don't want to stand up there and tell everybody, “Growth is important, prove yourself, do these things,” and then you're going home to watch the same TV program and fall asleep in bed doing the same thing you did for the last five days.

I try and do something each day, just to grow, I don't think it's too hard, I think you can find some podcasts, or watch some videos online, or whatever you need to do to feel like you're making steps forward. And that kind of thing too can give you a little bit of confidence to take another step too, 'cause you can find people that are doing those things out there that you want to follow.

GEORGE: I love that, and I'll just add, one thing I'm noticing about you is, you're just doing what … you're just being true to yourself. And it's a big component of the things that we teach in our Partners program, we always talk about how do you create content? Well, just do what you do. If you have yourself in check, and you are growing, and you are being true to yourself, and you've got integrity, and you've got all these attributes that martial arts teaches, talks about, and you are living that, then just live it. Just live it, be it, and let that become your marketing. Let that become the way you spread your message.

JIM: Yeah, and then it just comes down to communication. And then it's just finding the avenues for communicating what you do. And then being honest with that, and putting it out there, right, like we just … I just spend the entire afternoon with my son, we were videoing different content for social media, we should have enough now for the next six months off of today's. Tiring day.

GEORGE: Awesome.

JIM: But yeah, great stuff, and but the thing was, I make a point like, because we don't teach high end MMA, for example. I'm using that as an example, but if you do, I mean, great, that's what you should focus on, and you should make sure you're communicating that. So there's no judgment on it, I just say that that's not what I sell. So because I don't sell that, I try to make sure each thing that I put out there is directly representative of what you would see when you walked into my club. So that means that when you walk into my club, you're already qualified to yourself as a customer.

So by the time I'm reaching these fingers out into the community to bring in people into our club, people that walk through my door, people that call me, people that email me, people that send us Facebook messages, which happens all the time, daily, all that stuff is already qualified as genuine leads because they know what we do. I've already given them a sample of what I do, so, and it's easy to find if you search me up, you'll find me everywhere. Instagram, Facebook, all over YouTube, everything, and that's purposeful. Because it's not, I'm not bragging, it's not something that I'm better than the next person, it's a window.

It's not about how good I am, it's a window into my club. So when you see that window, you can look in, and if it's not for you, you can decide that too, but if it is, you've already qualified yourself as somebody that would be interested in what we do. So we're not selling cars here, we're selling martial arts. If somebody walks through the door, if they make the effort to do that part, and we've done the advertising right, you should have 80 to 90% sign up rate minimum.

I mean that's a given, because if you've done a great job of your marketing, they're coming in for that, what you're selling. So they're already almost buying. They've got their wallet in their hand, they want to buy your product, so it should be an easy conversion at that point.

GEORGE: Just don't stand in their way.

JIM: Yeah. And make sure you know when to shut up, and you know when to talk, and you know when to answer questions, and you know when to listen, right?

GEORGE: That's it. Love it. Hey, so Jim it's been great speaking to you, and it sounds like we could speak another couple of hours, but we might do that on another one. What I do want to ask you though is, what would you do different? Going back over the years, what you've done, what's the one thing that you would tweak or look at differently in a way, moving forward, if you had to start all over?

JIM: I think what was really intimidating for me was a lot of the stepping my marketing to different angles, doing things that I hadn't done before. Because just like you're saying, I was intimidated at first, and when I first stepped into it I knew I sucked. I could watch other people do a much better job, and I didn't really understand that. I think I would just be a little gutsier with the going for that stuff, especially social media stuff. It's almost free. It's so cheap compared to any other marketing.

So I think what I would do if I could go back is spend more focus on those kind of things, and just do that, get that message out there more. I think I was a little bit too silent for too long with that, and now that we've got that ball rolling, we see the results of it, and it's great.

GEORGE: Love it, yeah, it's just something you've going to nurture and be patient with, and I guess just stay clear of all the distractions. I mean there's marketers pulling you in so many directions, and so many ideas, but it always comes down to the … I always, and I can't recall who mentioned this to me, but one of my coaches mentioned to me, always look at what people do, versus what they say.

JIM: Yes.

GEORGE: Which, people might be telling you to do this, but they're doing something completely different.

JIM: Yes.

GEORGE: And I think it's just important to focus, do the hard work. The hard work is creating the content, fine tuning your message, and looking after yourself. And if you can get that through, and be patient with it, you're going to build a following and it's going to start … that's where you get the whole snowball running down the mountain, and it just catches momentum. And you've got leads coming in from everywhere, and after a while you can't track where, it's just happening.

JIM: Yes. And I think that's the trick. Just get started, just go for it, just start putting your word out there. And like I say, be genuine with what you're putting out there, watch people that you trust, and watch what they're doing. And again, like you say, don't listen to what they say, watch what they do. Go follow them. Go follow them on Instagram, go follow them on Facebook, and you know what, the thing is that this day and age you can find all that information so easily, so you just have to be willing to take that next step and go for it, and follow the right people, and even make mistakes along the way. Be a white belt, embrace the suck, do your thing and just go with it, right?

GEORGE: Love it. Jim, been awesome speaking to you. If anybody wants to know more about you, and what you do, where can they go to find out?

JIM: Anybody can contact me anytime, I love helping people in my community, I love helping people in the martial arts community, so my email is direct from our website, so www.champsacademy.ca, or info@champsacademy.ca is our email. You can email me through there, I'm on Facebook as well, you can look for, I'm Jim Morrison, I know everybody's going to remember that, and I'm on Facebook, I'm on Instagram, I'm everywhere, so look for me there, and I can even put you in contact with my son, who handles a lot of this stuff as well, and he'd be happy to help. That's part of our mission.

GEORGE: Awesome. Fantastic, Jim, look forward to speaking to you again in the future.

JIM: Yeah, anytime.

GEORGE: Awesome, cheers.

JIM: Cheers.

Awesome. Thanks for listening. If you want to connect with other 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. 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 Community and an easy way to access it is if you just go to the domain name martialartsmedia.group. So martialartsmedia.group. G-r-o-u-p. There's not dot or anything. Martialartsmedia.group. Then we'll 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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14 – Hakan Manav: Martial Arts World Titles, Movies & A Thriving Business – The Ultimate Martial Arts Success

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

hakan manav

IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:

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

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

TRANSCRIPTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GEORGE: That's way back!

HAKAN: Yeah, many many years ago.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAKAN: Thanks bye.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

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

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

TRANSCRIPTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

MICHELLE: Thank you, thank you for having me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GEORGE: Ok.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MICHELLE: Yes, definitely.

GEORGE: Or is it more painful?

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

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

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

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

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

MICHELLE: It creates excitement!

GEORGE: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MICHELLE: Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MICHELLE: They can go to the theartofkickingasselegantly.com.

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

MICHELLE: Thank you very much.

GEORGE: Thanks.

MICHELLE: Bye.

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

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

 

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We have taken every effort to design our Web site to be useful, informative, helpful, honest and fun.  Hopefully we’ve accomplished that — and would ask that you let us know if you’d like to see improvements or changes that would make it even easier for you to find the information you need and want.

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Restrictions on Use of Our Online Materials

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WE ARE NOT LIABLE EVEN IF WE’VE BEEN NEGLIGENT OR IF OUR AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR BOTH.

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HOWEVER, IN ANY EVENT, OUR LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ALL LOSSES, DAMAGES, INJURIES, AND CLAIMS OF ANY AND EVERY KIND (WHETHER THE DAMAGES ARE CLAIMED UNDER THE TERMS OF A CONTRACT, OR CLAIMED TO BE CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR OTHER WRONGFUL CONDUCT, OR THEY’RE CLAIMED UNDER ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY) WILL NOT BE GREATER THAN THE AMOUNT YOU PAID IF ANYTHING TO ACCESS OUR SITE.

Links to Other Site

We sometimes provide referrals to and links to other World Wide Web sites from our site. Such a link should not be seen as an endorsement, approval or agreement with any information or resources offered at sites you can access through our site. If in doubt, always check the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) address provided in your WWW browser to see if you are still in a MartialArtsMedia.com-operated site or have moved to another site. MartialArtsMedia.com is not responsible for the content or practices of third party sites that may be linked to our site. When MartialArtsMedia.com provides links or references to other Web sites, no inference or assumption should be made and no representation should be inferred that MartialArtsMedia.com is connected with, operates or controls these Web sites. Any approved link must not represent in any way, either explicitly or by implication, that you have received the endorsement, sponsorship or support of any MartialArtsMedia.com site or endorsement, sponsorship or support of MartialArtsMedia.com, including its respective employees, agents or directors.

Termination of This Agreement

This agreement is effective until terminated by either party. You may terminate this agreement at any time, by destroying all materials obtained from all MartialArtsMedia.com Web site, along with all related documentation and all copies and installations. MartialArtsMedia.com may terminate this agreement at any time and without notice to you, if, in its sole judgment, you breach any term or condition of this agreement. Upon termination, you must destroy all materials. In addition, by providing material on our Web site, we do not in any way promise that the materials will remain available to you. And MartialArtsMedia.com is entitled to terminate all or any part of any of its Web site without notice to you.

Jurisdiction and Other Points to Consider

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

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

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

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

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

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

Privacy Policy

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

Use of Cookies

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

IP Addresses

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

Email Information

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

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

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

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

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

Email Policies

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

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

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

CAN-SPAM Compliance

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

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

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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