3 – How To Explain The Real ‘Cost’ Of Martial Arts Classes Part 3

How much should your students be paying for their martial arts classes? Or is the ‘cost' focus the wrong metric? Here's what to base your gym's value on instead…



  • What's the no. 1 attribute to consider when hiring an instructor
  • How to use a leadership program to groom young, confident instructors
  • The hard fast rule of the skill levels students need to be at before instructing
  • Cost vs Investment. Where do you focus?
  • The ‘black belt story': how to kill the price question once and for all
  • How your business approach evolves when opening school no. 3
  • and more

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



GEORGE: Hi, this is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 3.

So, in this episode, we're gonna be wrapping up the three part series of interview with Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten from the WA Institute of Martial Arts. So if you haven't listened to number one and two, I'd recommend going back. Number two has a lot of value in that. But then again, a lot of that value's gonna be missed if you didn't get the full part of the story, which is at number one. So you can access those episodes at martialartsmedia.com/1, the number one, or /2.

So that's gonna be the interview. I've already started interviewing more guests. So what's gonna be happening in this show is, we're gonna continue on this journey. I'm gonna be scoping out as many top martial arts school owners that I can find. And you know, maybe it's not a top school owner as in numbers, as in its huge turnover or its huge student base. But people that have value to share, valuable things that are working, valuable tips. And that's what we want to bring to this podcast. So I'm gonna be interviewing a lot more guests. And if you have any suggestions for guests, please go to the website martialartsmedia.com, just hit the contact form over there, get in touch and please make the introduction.

I'll also be doing a couple of solo shows, which will be a lot shorter. We'll be sharing a couple of things that, from my experience, is what will help you with marketing your school, on the digital platform of course.

So we're gonna get going with this episode. I do also want to thank you for the feedback I've been getting, just speaking to people in person and a few people online that have sent me a few messages, saying that they've been loving the show and have been getting great value from it – that's awesome. What would be really good – if you've got any positive feedback, just head over to iTunes and leave us a good review. Five stars would be awesome; it really helps our rankings. Now, iTunes does make this a little bit tricky. So, if you go to this episode, martialartsmedia.com/3, and just scroll down, you'll find the link to the iTunes platform. It will open up iTunes and then there's a section that you can click on, which will allow you to leave a review. So, anything good that you've got to say for this show, that'll help us get our rankings up, and get the word out of course.

So that's it from me for me now. And once again, I wanna introduce you to Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten from the WA Institute of Martial Arts.

GRAHAM: So, we hire on attitude, not on ability. We can teach ability all day long, but if you have the wrong attitude and the wrong spark, it doesn't work. Touching on that, this is probably, again, the vision of what we want for WAIMA. We didn't want WAIMA to be personality driven, and it's sort of, I won't say it's an oxymoron conflicting there, but we wanted the energy of the program, the school to be the drawcard, not the instructor at the front. I guess you need to have a great personality type, because, someone walks into the door, and you say hello, and this and that, but everybody does that, so you've got that whole wow experience. And again, this is something we said to our instructors, and something we also realized – we cannot promote you unless we can replace you.

And the thing is, you know, my brother in law is a phenomenal dentist, but he'll die doing what he's doing because no one can do what he can do. So he can't scale his business, he can't step out; he a (82)can't do that, because any one can do what he does. And I think, man, that is, on one hand great, you're successful, but on the other hand, you're chained to a job now, you're chained to a business that you can't leave, you can't walk away and do what we do. So, what we do with our guys is grow our staff. We grow this instructor program and this… Thinking of it now, we actually have quite a few tears and journeys, where they really do grow, to being a, as you said with your young lad, being ten – by the time he's sort of, if he goes through the program and sticks with us, by the time he gets out of school age, a starting to hit Uni, he's gonna be a very capable and confident young man, whether he's an instructor or not. But to be able to communicate in this world is a vital skill set. To be able to promote yourself and engage with people, that is gonna differentiate you from the rest of the crowd.

How we do it though is, from the ages of ten, we have them being able to start a volunteer program. There're lots of different teams of instructing. Again, the goal is being a mentor in the program, as myself and Phil found addictive when we first started was, when you are looked upon, and you're 10 years old, and you've got a six-year-old look up to you and think that you're a superstar, you're a mini Iron Man, you're a Spiderman in their eyes, you're a hero, because you show them how to do a front kick properly. You show them how to tie their belt. That is an amazing feeling. So, one, it helps them with their personal confidence, two, they get to share that energy with others. And what a great thing from a parent sitting back, having a younger child in class, and seeing another kid within four or five years age difference being a mentor, it just shows you that our program has that maturity and that depth. And having an adult who's a mentor and a leader is great. But having someone else, who's got great values and qualities, being a little bit younger around their age, that's amazing. To have that modeling behavior. And that's something as a parent myself  I look for and think; I'd love my kids to hang around with other nice, respectful kids,” cause I guarantee it's gonna rub off.

And that's the sort of value system we have with the leadership program. It's designed to have great values, but it's structured well to help with how to communicate, how to help in class, how to be proactive and productive. And then eventually, how to take warm-ups, or games of a class, and slowly as they grow in age and their confidence, how to lead particular groups, into a paid position one day. And then it goes from there. So, there're a couple of different approaches George, just very quickly – we've got our leadership program, we've have our instructor university, and then we've got the diploma. So very much like a university degree. I'm gonna break it down to be easy for the listeners; the leadership programs are like primary school. We hold your hand; we do everything for you. The instructor university is like high school, where we educate you, but again, it's a little bit of self-reliance. And the diploma is very much like a university, diplomas where you go for that Ph.D. You are on your own, within reason, but you're a leader, and it's developing your personality type. And that's something we've got extremely structured.

PHIL: Just something I wanna mention here, because Graham might not say it himself, but he's got a bit of a nickname around our school, sort of like John Appleseed, because Graham has this knack, where he can walk through a class, walk through a school, and just, you know – look at someone's ability is one thing, but look at their personality and their attitude, and literally just that one hint, “Have you ever thought of being an instructor?” And just that one thing, we don't have a belt level limit, when it comes to adults. You might have that white belt, with an amazing personality. Sure, you don't have any skill yet, but we can teach you that. And we will put you through an instructor program.

Now, we're not one of those schools, that will have green belts running schools, that's not the thing. We have the hard fast rule where you have to be two belt levels above the person that you're teaching, even at an assistant level. But we wouldn't put lower than black belts to run a school; you know what I mean? But what we're getting at is, if a white belt, a yellow belt, someone with 6 or 12 months experience has the right personality, we're gonna invite them to teach them the skills of being an instructor.

Not because we must have an instructor, but because we know that what we will teach you will send you down a path, whether it's personally, professionally, or hey if we can grab you and you'd be an instructor for us, we would love you! You know? So that's one of the key things, don't look at the black belts and the brown belts, cause if you haven't identified the personality then, it's too late. Look at your white belts, look at your yellow belts, just have a look. They're approachable; they'll say hello; they're a personality in the class. There's all those sorts of people. Put your time and money and investment in teaching them, and showing them the way. Dangle the carrot, you help here, you volunteer, then you get a paid part time, then you get this, then you get that – one day you might be a branch manager and get paid really good money, so it's definitely about planting the seed early and not letting that fizzle out.

GRAHAM: George, there's another thing that we do too. There's the benefit to our schools, which is great, but a part of our, especially the adults, is to focus on changing the community too. And I don't mean them going out, placards and billboards – it's more about just being genuine and being authentic in what they do. So, part of their challenge recently in the leadership course, we've got one guy at the moment, is to pay it forward. And some of the guys listening may think, “OK, pay forward, but I don't have money to pay for someone's coffee or this,” –  it's not about that, it's about just making something unexpected, a kind gesture, pay it forward, hold the door for somebody, let go of somebody in front of you in the line, smile and share a smile to somebody where normally they've got their head down, cause it's an amazing thing to change people's attitude by the way you hold yourself.

a (85)So if you're conscious of how you hold yourself – man, you will change those around you. And that's what have we got at the moment, we've got close to 50 adults going through this instructor program. And our 50 people go out in their community, and on a daily basis, maybe have an effect on 5-6 other people. It's a pretty good feeling to know that you're not just teaching martial arts, but you're changing your community, whether they know it or not. We're just changing people's days, and that again is what we stand for, and it goes back to that WAIMA values, that wow experience, that customer experience. And whether a customer or not, just making sure we're changing our communities. So it's a pretty cool feeling.

GEORGE: What you're saying is, you can't put a price tag on that. And that's why I want to transition to that before we talk about Dojo 3. But you guys charge a premium if there was a price comparison of martial arts rates, you guys are charging a premium above the standard. And I think for anybody listening to this, there's a lot of things that you guys have just mentioned that justifies that, but how would you answer that? How do you justify a premium service, beyond the average martial arts school?

GRAHAM: We talk a lot about cost versus investment. Again, it's the investment you make. If you think, a cost, if you think about the play on words, a cost is something that costs you, you spend money, and then you don't get anything back from it. An investment is something you obviously spend money on, but it gives you back things. And again, that's something our programs do. You'll invest with us, and we guarantee the money you invest will triple, quadruple times 10, ten times a 100 in what you get from it. So, it's then outlying; we're pretty direct and upfront how much it is for members to start at our school. And there's a lot that can't afford it. We'll do our best to try and offer some alternatives, in regards to trying to help them with our school. If we can't help them, we'll certainly send them to another school. And it's not that we don't like other schools, we certainly do, but not everybody can fly first class, dare I say. So we do hold ourselves to that standard of providing first class service. But like anything, it's making sure that we outweigh the money that they have to invest with us, to make sure they see the benefits and values. And that's sort of, in a nutshell, what it's about. I'll throw it to Phil because I know you've got a good spin on that.

PHIL: Oh yeah, my spin on this, especially as you're training instructors, program directors in particular – if you ever have to teach someone to present fees, you know, for the first time it's like, I remember the first time when we were doing program, we were like, it's $40 a months, and you're like, are they gonna sign, are they gonna sign? You know what I mean? You're scared! To be the way we are today, we definitely can't charge what we used to charge, but it's evolution. But there are two strategies that I do to help students, help instructors, program directors or school owners identify.

Now, the first thing most instructors, you've probably heard this story before, it's called the black belt story. And it's a story about approaching a mother and talking about her son, who is now a a (86)black belt. And she came in one day and talked about the fee increase for the next level. And the instructor said, “Look, how about I do this for you – what have you invested in the last four years? Let's just pick a figure and say $10,000. So you've invested $10,000  in the last four years with your child to do martial arts, and they're a black belt now. Now, if I was to give you that $10,000 in cash, but would take away all the skills, all the abilities, all the lessons that your child has, would you take that $10,000?” And she thinks for a little bit, and she says, “No, not at all.” And then he said, “Let's double it, I'll give you $20,000. But if I give you that $20,000, I'll take all of the skills, all the abilities, all the lessons your child has learned in the four years he's been at our school.” And she thinks, and you know, it's tempting, but at the end of the day, she says no. You can't put a price tag on the life skills that you learn in martial arts. And this is what you've got to forget – it's not the punches and the kicks, it's not being able to defend yourself, although that's an important part. It is the lessons that you learn, lessons that I learned that got me off this hospital bed or out of that terrorist attack.

It's the lessons that helped Graham in his life and the hard times. There is not a price tag, and when you put it into context like that for someone, like maybe a parent, they might think of it a bit differently. For my instructors, what I'm trying to teach them about why we charge what we charge – we truly believe that we change people's lives and that we're just as important here in Australia as swimming lessons. And you know, I've got three children. My children do swimming lessons, and it's like $30 a class for 30 minutes.

a (81)Now, we charge a little bit like that for our 40-minute class, if you do it once a week. So, I think we're just as valuable in someone's life, as learning to swim. I think we're way more valuable than gymnastics, or dance school or football. When I compare myself to other sports, other activities, that I believe are probably life changing as well; I see us double, triple, quadruple the value. I think we undercharge ourselves really, but there comes a point, a tipping point. And as Graham said, the difference is that, yes, some people can't afford it, and it's a bit of a shame, because people come through your door, and you'd love to help them. But to run a professional school, to have 20 full-time staff, that dedicate their lives… this isn't like a job – this is a lifestyle. And our instructors dedicate their lives. They work hard to invest in themselves as instructors, invest in themselves as people, to grow themselves – why shouldn't they get paid well for transforming someone's life?

GRAHAM: George, for your listeners listening in, you know, the martial artists – you think of a doctor, a dentist, I spoke about that before, they may have a degree, a master's degree, a PhD, whatever else – think of the time invested in them, educating themselves to get to that point. Let's say, 5 years, 6, 7, 8 years. I guarantee your listeners here, I spent 10 years, 15, 20 years crafting the skills in this discipline. They may have a first degree, second degree, third degree, fourth degree, fifth degree on their black belt. It's still a degree, so why do you see yourself any different in what you present? Because I guarantee we all wear different hats – a psychologist, a mentor, a fitness trainer, a life coach – all of these things are hats that we wear, and that's something you gotta just think about. If I coupled the income of all those guys and put it into a martial arts instructors, man, we'd be laughing. Obviously, it's something that's very unrealistic, but it's how you value yourself, how you value what you've done and the life that we've invested in education. We believe that we deliver far beyond what we charge, and that's something that, getting your head around that and believing in yourself is a key factor.

GEORGE: Great. Ok, so, quickly just on Dojo 3, and then I'm gonna ask you guys a few random questions. So, two dojos and now you open number 3. What are the key differences, after your learning experiences from the previous two – what's the key differences you did when you opened number 3?

GRAHAM: Ok, so we're gonna paint a picture just a little bit too George. We spoke about taking over a shell and rebuilding a shell in Dojo 1, our sort of headquarters. Then we thought, hmm – was that just a fluke? So, let's operate a new school, that's within the same northern code or northern area. So for the listeners listening, we've got our second school, maybe a 20 minutes drive away. But still very much, because of our branding and our marketing, people may have known about us. So, school number 3, we went completely south of the river. So, here in Perth we have… South of the river is almost like another country. So nobody knows who we were and whatnot. So, this was the big test to see, does our systems, marketing systems work, when nobody knows who you are? So you couldn't rely on word of mouth, you couldn't rely on your brand integrity, it was just your completely unknown entity. And now we're system testing to see, OK – what do we need to do to get this vision, mission, values out there? The marketing and get people through the door. And man, it was an awesome challenge, which is great. A different approach this time around Phil, what do you think?

PHIL: Definitely, third time around you get a little bit more ballsy. You're trying to get the location, you will push the lease, and you'll get free month's lease. So, finding the location – how we do that, there's art in itself. Getting to pick the location, there's a specific art around what we do.

GRAHAM: Guys, just to add to that before Phil runs on. Through the negotiation process, myself and Phil, because we were like, “Right, bugger that – we know what value we bring to a location.” We were negotiating a lease for 5 years, and we said, right – we want 10 months free rent and $50,000 fit out. And the guy was like, “Alright, we'll think about it.” Cause we knew what we were worth. We chose to go to a different location that suited the school a bit better, but I think we've still got 6 months free rent. They couldn't do a fit out for us, but again, that was compensated for the free rent period. And again, that equates close to $50,000 saved in rent. Because we knew that, if we put our roots down to that location, buying the building if they let us in due time, we'd be there for life, you know? That's sort of what we were talking about. We knew the value we were going to bring to that area. Therefore, the negotiations were pretty hardball. So, to be able to sort of turn around and go – they were willing to give 10 months free rent and $50,000 to fit out the premises, it's a pretty good starting point for a new school.

GEORGE: Definitely.

PHIL: Yeah, so, you get a bit more ballsy, you get a bit pushier. You know what you want, and you know how you want it. And at that point really, it was trust within our systems. And for example, again, the manager we chose for there, we didn't go down there, and weren't part of the school really, it just sort of happened organically. But we trusted the systems, trusted that it worked. And as an example, you know, the branch manager was like, “Oh, can we try this, try that.” I was like, “Man, I love your ideas, but no, we're doing this because it works.” Our analogy is like baking a cake: if you see an amazing cake, it tastes amazing, it looks amazing, and you wanna bake the same cake.

What do you do – you follow the recipe. If you miss out an ingredient, you will not get the same result. So we were very adamant that we would follow the same recipe that we did for the second location. And in doing that in the first 12 months, the other school was 300, versus 350. So in the first 12 months, we grew this one 50 more students than the other one. And it was just a testament to following the recipe for success. And knowing that we were doing the right thing, and we would say no to certain things and yes to these things. Trusting in our ability, trusting in what we know works. And just, again, not starting a new business at the detriment to others.


PHIL: So, that's one of the big value points I see.

GRAHAM: Look, I think George, the big thing to help with starting new schools was, it goes back to the staff training and the staff growth programs. So by being able to have instructor programs, on a consistent basis, you're forever developing these little gems, that will be your school manager one day, or your support team or staff. So, we have learned a lot. We tried it once in the early days, to hire from the outside in, get a sales guy from out to bring in, and it just bit us in the ass, very quickly.

So, the challenge with hiring or growing your staff – they take the time to mature, you know, I used the phrase the other day with somebody: it's like making a good bottle of wine. You've got all the ingredients, but you just need time for it to mature and time for it to come into its own. And the same thing goes for your staff. We forever have this system where we are continually growing and maturing the staff, so when the opportunity arises that there could be another location opening, or there's a position vacant in one of the schools, you've got the right person to step in and then be able to be effective, not just waiting and waiting and waiting. So, there're so many components to this machine that need to be working hand in hand before you can go, hey look – I can stand back, and sort of watch. But it's important, and it's fun to watch it go on.

GEORGE: Excellent. Ok, so, getting to the end, yeah – just a couple of questions: is there a number 4?

GRAHAM: There will be. The thing is, we will expand across Australia, if not the world. Something that we've done, myself and Phil being forward thinkers – when the time is right, the time is right. But we are the WA Institute of martial arts. But we own the domain names and the business for South Australia Institute, Queensland Institute, Sydney Institute, Melbourne Institute. We've got all of that already sold out, but we just haven't found the right person yet. So anybody listening, who's thinking about maybe jumping on board with one of us and our schools, you know, drop us a line.

GEORGE: All right, great. So, just going back, cause we've gone from beginning to a maturing model and system. But just going back again, what would you do differently, if you guys look back on the day you took over the Greenwood dojo, and you got started, what would you do differently from all your experience, from everything that you've learned up to now?

PHIL: I don't think I'd do anything different, because if I did, we wouldn't be here today. And I know that's cliché, I guess. But, when I look back, everything happened at the right time, at the right moment. And if I said that we should not have worked so hard at the beginning so that we could have that time with our young family, we wouldn't be here today, where Graham and I only work 4 days a week, we do school pickup and drop off, we get to go on holidays. So we wouldn't be here today. I don't think I would do anything different. If anything, we've now grown into a role where we don't have to teach, we teach when we want to. And we're pretty much managing the staff. So we manage managers. Which is an amazing thing, but again, that's a learned thing that we had to learn.

We originally started a business because we love teaching martial arts. And it evolved to a point where now we don't teach martial arts. We do, we teach it to our instructors. So we train the trainers. But we are constantly now with the big school, now we've moved into a role where it's just HR. We're managing the managers, and making sure they feel good, they're all right, they're still growing, they're inspired, they don't go down the wrong path. So we're like parents. It's like, we've both got 3 of our kids, but really with the 20 full-time staff that are our kids as well. So we gotta guide them along their journey to make sure that they get to live the lifestyle that we want for them.

GRAHAM: There's a quote George that sings out, I've always loved, I read it in the Steve Jobs book, it's “If you wanna predict the future, create it yourself.” And that goes back to us. Day one is where people go, you can't do this, and I'm like, why can't we? So you can have your cake, and eat it too. We run a successful school; we have the ability to enjoy time with our family, and we also have the chance now to travel the world and up-skill ourselves and bring it back. But also leaving a legacy for our team, that if they hit their straps, and they hit those benchmarks, they'll also get to do that. We've created a system where it's not one person has to be the manager/leader at any given moment. So we have plans in place for them to be growing to area manager, state managers, national managers if that's their dream and their passion. To travel and grow, so, you know, would I change anything? Definitely no. We always change things as we go. Looking back the past is the past, but we're gonna change what's happening currently, and it's exciting, you know? We roll with the blows, which is awesome.

GEORGE: Common theme I get is asking yourself the right questions. Just always, if something can't be done, just asking yourself why not and challenging yourselves and taking yourselves to the next level. So what do you guys do to stay on top of your game? You've talked about mentors and so forth, but what do you do to sort of stay on top, that you're always motivated and that you're influencing your staff on the right path?

GRAHAM: Well, we've got a couple of things coming up at the moment, where we're just planning a trip to the States. Education is one thing so, being alive to model and have a look at how other things have been done. Keeping a finger on the pulse with what the globe is doing. Not that we compare ourselves to anyone else, but it's always nice to just go, “Look, have things changed in the last couple of years?” I think the last time we were in the States was two years ago. So, go and have a quick look, we've got some great friends that we'll go and have a look at their organization and see is there anything we can bring back home. When we're on home soil, it's definitely putting yourself in a great headspace of education, and constantly listening to podcasts, audio books, things like that to stay positive, further your mind, because, at the end of the day, there are gonna be challenges in everyone's life, but then really trying to make sure you're surrounding yourself with the right people. And you talked about mentors and things like that – definitely.

If you've got an area that you need attention on, that needs absolute attention, find someone in that area that can resonate with you and your values and do the time. Maybe a three-month thing, a six-month thing, it could be a lifelong journey with that mentor, but continuing education is key factor. And you know, if you're pumping, the rest flows. Enthusiasm is caught, not taught. It's part of our teaching, but also it's great when Phil goes, “Hey Graham, there's an awesome podcast I listened from Tony Robbins,” which he did to me the other day, and I'm like, “Perfect man, great, thank you.” Equally, there're these books that I have, I read this Richard Branson book that was really good – Phil, here you go mate. So, continually sort of swapping and sharing and trying to stay ahead of the curve.

PHIL: I would say, never not be a student. Both in business and life, but more importantly, in martial arts. Cause if you're gonna run a martial arts school, whether you're teaching or not, and you're just managing guys, man, you've still got to train. We will always get instructors to come in and teach us and go to seminars and stuff like that. But how I try and hone my game as well, we're now at that point where we're business coaches for our own business. And that's why we created TIMA, The Institute of Martial Arts.

A way to then test again, like I said, it was another challenge, to test our skill and ability, to help other martial arts business owners as well. And then in saying that as well and taking it to the next level, now I'm also helping others businesses as well. So you know, we do a lot of speaking internationally, nationally, helping entrepreneurs, small business owners in various fields and niches. And we're testing our knowledge, our skill and our ability to be able to turn what we know, what we love to do in this environment, this niche, and help other business owners as well. So it's that constant and never ending improvement, kaizen for all those martial artists out there, that were always improving. We're never satisfied, you know, we just wanna push ourselves to be the best we can, but also share that knowledge as well.

GEORGE: Excellent. Last thing, where can people find out more about you, you mentioned The Institute of Martial Arts?

PHIL: So yeah, the best contact for us would be www.tima.com.au, or if you wanna get in contact direct with us, so that was our website, direct with us, you can just contact us at admin@tima.com.au. That's admin, as it's said, and TIMA, T-I-M-A .com.au. And you'll be able just to reach out, and just, hey guys, I've got some questions, thoughts. You know, we offer online help as well, so people can get access to all our systems and procedures online, or if they wanna talk to us direct, just reach out, we're here for everyone.

GRAHAM: Hey guys, just another one, the social media aspect, again, further education. There a ton of stuff, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and whatnot. But on a weekly basis, we have some vlogs, some podcasts that go out, so you can download them on iTunes, which is the martial arts business success. There's a ton of great material, specifically designed for martial arts schools in regards to content, and there's also the vlogs that are on the website, which will allow you to see a happy face, as well as to get some great content.

GEORGE: Excellent, well thanks a lot, Phil. Thank you, Graham.

That's it! Thank you for listening. I hope you got good value from that. That will be the last part of the interview, the three-part series with Graham Mcdonnell and Phil Britten from the WA Institute of Martial Arts. Next week, we'll be going solo, so I'll be sharing some tips that will help you with your online marketing, positioning and all good things for your martial arts business. And if you wanna get the transcripts of this interview and any other interviews and episodes that we do, you can just head over to the episode, for this one, of course, martialartsmedia.com/the number, which is number 3. So martialartsmedia.com/3, and that's it.

If you'd like to get in touch with me, if you've got any guest suggestions, just head over to the website, martialartsmedia.com, get in touch with us. And if you'd like to chat with me about your business, if there's anything that you need help with, with your marketing, or anything that you feel we can help you with, I do offer a free strategy session, which you can get on the link, the “Work with us” link on the website, and just fill out the form there. We'll get in touch with you, and you can set up a time, which is convenient for us to chat, and see if we can help you with anything with your martial arts business.

That's it! Thank you very much for listening, I'll chat with you again next week. Cheers!


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2 – How To Run A Successful Martial Arts School By Not Being The Grand Guru Part 2

Can you run a successful martial arts school without being the “Grand Guru?” Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten from the WA Institute of Martial Arts reveal how ditching their ego brought them success.

The Institute Of Martial Arts


  • Why being the grand guru that “knows it all” could be your downfall
  • What you can learn from modeling other successful businesses not related to martial arts
  • Why the only way to grow is to stop doing everything yourself
  • Have all your pictures displayed on the walls and opening up a new location? They must go!
  • The system test you must do before opening up a second school
  • What lead to almost $750,000 in 12 months with a brand new school
  • and more

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



GEORGE: It is George Fourie from martialartsmedia.com and welcome to the Martial Arts Media Business podcast, episode number 2. This episode is part 2 of the interview with Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten from the WA institute of martial arts, also The Institute of Martial Arts and a whole string of other businesses, that's probably not applicable to this podcast. And of course, this podcast is based on the success story of their martial arts school, the WA institute of martial arts.

So, this episode we just going to dig deeper – I think this is where the real meat of the interview kicks in. This is going to go deep into just different types of systems, different approaches of how you can approach your school, modeling other business models, ditching your ego, doing things a little differently, maybe not making yourself as the grand hero of your school, making the popularity of your school dependent on your systems and the actual training module, instead of you being the centre piece that holds it all together. And this is what's gonna allow you to really step away from your business and make it run like a well oiled machine as such.

If you haven't listened to part one of this interview yet, head over to martialartsmedia.com/1 – so that's the number 1, and the interview is there. You can also download the PDF transcription, or just read it on the actual page. And that'll get you up to date, before jumping into this interview. For this interview and for all others, you can go to the episode number, so martialartsmedia.com forward slash the episode number, this one will be number 2, and then we'll have all transcripts available also for you to download as a PDF.

So once again, introducing Graham McDonnell, and Phil Britten from the WA institute of martial arts.

GEORGE: OK, so – strong foundation, so you guys come in, you get a strong foundation, you put your identity and you pretty much just… What I hear is almost like the Apple of martial arts, and the whole unboxing experience, because it's an experience. Your goal is that, from when a person walks into the door, to when they leave, that there's a wow experience, it's a happening, it's not just about “I'm here to train”, which I think maybe that's a key thing that a lot of people are missing. it's the whole experience. it's walking through the door, parents that are assisting the kids, bringing them in. So it's the whole system, not just the actual class that's happening. So that's obviously a key part of your growth, but what else did you do, beyond that? So you got the foundation, you put your identity in, you've really optimized the experience for all your members – what did you do beyond that to double your membership base?

PHIL: Once again, we looked at all the stock standard type marketing, things that all the martial arts schools do, and we knew what worked and what didn't and one of the biggest things that any martial arts school owner, and if there's anyone out there who has any conflicting statistics, but I dare say they don't, one of the biggest ways that people get students in is through referral. And that's always, ever since the day that we started together till today, is always the biggest way. And that's why we said, what was the whole, the main thing, was about delivering amazing classes, wow experiences. But we needed to do this, not by modeling other martial schools, but that we looked outside our niche.

And we did look at Apple and we did look at McDonald's, how does McDonald's run staff and systems, and one adult has to be there to run the whole thing, Starbucks in America – we just looked way outside into what other businesses did and were doing to be successful, and then see how we can introduce that into our business. And that's really how we grew exponentially, with referral based type stuff. And there's an immense amount of things you can do, I mean this podcast's probably not gonna be long enough to list it all. Not neglecting the external stuff that you need to do, because you've got to open the funnel up. All the things that you need to do externally in your business, to be able to show the awareness to the wider community of your niche, your businesses, and why you do and what you do.

GRAHAM: George, there's something else that Phil sort of touched on, something we did early on – we got rid of our ego. We didn't know everything, we didn't claim we know everything and we didn't care that we didn't know everything. We'd actually probably been in a benefit that we'd started this business and realized, “Oops, we need to learn about business.” And then started to model off of different business model types and started just educating ourselves and really trying to grow and pick up on information.

So, I certainly know there's a lot of people I've dealt with, all across the world, that sometimes get stuck on the need to present an image, they need to be the grand guru of absolutely everything – look, people don't really give a rats. They like you to be real, and sometimes in business, it's all about going, “Ok, cool, that didn't work too well, we need to explore something different,” and knowing when you've made a mistake or failure or something. But it's not a failure, it's just a learning point, and cool, the next time around, I'll redo it. And I think what we did is, we tried everything. We tried it. you know, we didn't just limit ourselves to just doing the advert in the paper, or back in the day the yellow pages, which was around back then. But it was just like cool, we're gonna give it a go, why not? Why not? People go, you can't do that, it's not normal. Well, why the hell not, why can't we do that? You know, bugger that, we're gonna do it, so sit back and watch us. And we did. We've had a lot of people from the sidelines, business owners and others, sort of martial artists sort of criticize, “Ooh, you guys are selling out the system,” but really our drive was to empower our students, make them better, reach a larger audience and really transform them through our customer service and our community. One thing we knew is we had a really great environment, that when they walk in, they would be blown away. But how then do we reach a bigger audience? And we just didn't stick to doing the normal stuff, we broke the mould.

PHIL: I think just quickly, like Graham said, it comes up quite regularly, when we're dealing with our coaching clients, we all grow up in this world of being martial artists and more often than not, we have degrees in martial arts, but we don't have degrees in business. You know, you're talking to two high school dropouts here. Graham can hardly spell his name, and I can't count.

Phil BrittenSo between us, we're OK, that's why we've always worked so hard. But at the end of the day, you need to understand what Graham's saying, you don't have to be the best at everything. You just have to go, “I am who I am, now who can I learn from to get to the next level?” And that's what it's at, you might not have the business degrees, but someone else does. So go search for that environment, go search for that model, that person, who's getting that success you want, whether it's marketing or attention or whatever, and see what they're doing and model their behaviors, model their strategies, their mindsets, their beliefs, and the rewards will be amazing.

GRAHAM: George, you're gonna have to cut us off at a certain point, cause as he talks, I think of something different! But you know, we've touched on it before, we've invested a lot back into our schools, and a big part of that was education. Education for ourselves. It wasn't necessarily for the benefit of us, it was to better reach our students and be able to have a better product and whatnot. So we spent hell of a lot of time and resources investing in learning. As Phil pointed out, we certainly didn't know a lot, so we would invest in coaches to keep us accountable, we would learn this, we would learn that, and surround ourselves with people who are experts in their field.

People come to us because we're experts in martial arts. They may be an expert in something else, but we certainly went right – who can we help with our marketing or branding or vision? What about our computer systems? So that was something that we were always willing to do, instead of paying ourselves an additional income, we go, “Bugger that, that money that we've got as a surplus now is back into investing.” And, you know, I believe that the best investment you can possibly make in this world is in yourself. And if you up-skill yourself and up-skill your knowledge, it'll pay dividends down the track.

GEORGE: That's a big obstacle just in any business, the one you just addressed, where there's this whole DIY, you've got to transition from doing everything yourself, and then putting the ego aside and realizing, “OK, I obviously can't do all this, I've got to get some help with this.” And you mentioned a lot of people say that you're selling out the system and so forth- why do you think people are saying that? I mean, you do coaching for martial arts schools as well. I guess that's gotta be one of the biggest hurdles, people have got to come over, mentally and emotionally.

GRAHAM: Like I said, fear. Fear is one of those things, and you know, that's how it used to be done. Anything that's, something comes in new, is always ridiculed, it's always like, witchcraft and this and that. Look, we just didn't care, we just didn't care that they thought that was a sellout. We still have that, we still have people saying, throw the phrase around, McDojos, and so on. And I'm like, “Guys, we're a professional organization, and we can provide a professional service, therefore, we have better students- why wouldn't you want to be better?” You don't have to run yourself out of a dingy shed in a school hall and think you're a die hard martial artist.

If anything, you're doing them a disservice, by not providing the best quality possible. So we just went, “Bugger, we're gonna break the mold and test it out.” But a lot of it is ego and fear. Ego, to sort of prove to themselves that they don't know everything. And I know that, from a martial arts perspective myself – always, always enjoy going into a new class and putting on a white belt and just being that beginner. And have no issues with somebody going, “But you've done this forever and you're a white belt.” Yeah. Man, we're always learning. There's a lot of people out there that don't do that, they've stopped learning and they have a fear of being able to expose themselves and going, well I actually  don't know everything. So, fear and ego is probably the big one, and also, not knowing where to start. Who to ask, who to get the help from and, you know, that's just to cover things I've certainly noticed over the few years now that we've been consulting and coaching and helping out.

GEORGE: All good. Ok, so let's jump up a notch. Right. So, we've addressed all these obstacles and hurdles, you know, you've grown the school, the… Where we're at now, Greenwood. And so, you reached a point where, before you got the second one, before you opened the second school, how many students were you at, can you recall? Was it about 800?

GRAHAM: No, I think it was probably about the 700 mark, a 700 mark there. We thought… Honestly it was more a system check, a system test. If we do this, and we can grow the school to 700, and we were operating well, let's test our systems, let's test the model. Again, Phil mentioned that, we look at different companies, and go, right, how did they scale their business, how do they replicate this so that it can work on the other side of the world, work in a different area completely. So we thought, right, let's really start from the top down and make sure that we check every system, that if someone wants to walk into a brand new space, they could operate a WAIMA school, by just following the recipe. And that was something that we thought, right, let's make sure we've got everything locked down first and foremost. And let's give it a shot.

PHIL: I also think we got to a certain point of success in our business, right? The two of us did a great job, we had cars for the business, we had staff. And it was sort of like, well, what next? You know, we can just keep doing what we're doing and be comfortable, or we can try and push the boundaries. And I think, at a conversation that Graham and I did have at some point in that journey was something like, almost a challenge to ourselves – did we get to this point because we took over an existing business? And I was like, hmmm. let's challenge ourselves. Are we as good as we think we are, or, are our systems as good?

Have we got to this point because of us or was it because of the the kickstart we got? And it was a challenge for us, not that it's to prove anyone wrong, but it was a little bit, it was to show all the nay sayers, to guys that have been in the business for 25-30 years and still only have a 120 – 200 students, who were putting their nose up at us, and going, “They just took over a school,” and all that stuff. So we were like, nah, we're at a point, let's test our systems, let's test our knowledge, let's test our ability, let's test everything that we've got done to get to this point and then start up a brand new school. I started up a fresh school, my challenge was a hundred students in a year, we got that, and that's pretty darn good. So we challenged ourselves to double that for our new school and current one and I think we did 250 members…

GRAHAM: It was close to 300 in 12 months, and from an income value, I don't know, this is just for the guys out there, it was close to $750,000 we made in the first year.

GEORGE: Turnover.

Graham McDonnellGRAHAM: Turnover. So, the idea behind it was, we didn't just get the students in by having $10 a month fees – it was that we were charging a premium, top dollar, so quite expensive in the stock standard view of martial arts pricing. We think it's actually quite cheap, but others look at that and think otherwise. But for 300 members in 12 months, and an income at that, it really did validate, like OK, we've got something, and we certainly have, not sacrificed on being about the factory, not sacrificed on making sure it's all about the money, because money was irrelevant. It just happened to be that we focused on the client and really making sure that we surpassed their needs.

Put them first and the rest will follow. And that was a huge thing. But it was really nice to know that we were able to create this, we had a manager run a school from day one. Myself and Phil, we're guests at the school, we would walk in, it wasn't something that we had to drive ourselves and it was nice to look back after 12 months, and think, “Wow, the systems are working, the staffing is working.” You know, we definitely pressure test our systems on a regular basis to make sure that they're up to standards, because if you don't maintain things and you think they're OK, three years ago, they might have been OK, but now things may have changed. So, it's all about making sure you maintain those systems and the way you approach things.

GEORGE: What are those key systems? You keep on referring to the systems you've implemented. Can you give me a little bit more information?

PHIL: You've got hours or what?

GEORGE: I guess just briefly. Like, let's say I'm a martial arts school owner and I'm toying with the idea of how do I do what you guys did, how do I open that second job?

PHIL: I'll raise a red flag first, for any of the guys out there who are thinking of going from one school to two schools. it's tough, it's not easy, but most people fail, because as the school owner of one school wants to open up another one, they open it up and then they go back in the business and they work really really hard, it's like they're back to square one again. And they've got to build it up and it's all on their own back. And what we're getting at is, we didn't start out second school, until we had the right instructor to run it without us. So we didn't have to jump back in and be like, you know, trillion of hours a week, to get that business to operate. And we also didn't start our second school, until we worked on all the systems, as Graham was saying.

Graham's written down here a couple of things, so the systemization of your marketing, the systemization of your enrollment, from enquiry to the join up. And all the statistics that go in there, so the stats. You've got your curriculum, your lesson plans, so that theoretically, Joe off the street can come in and as long as he knows what a left hand a a right hand is, it should be described well enough so that anyone can come in and pick up where you left off. And your staff training as well.

And within those sort of things that we're talking about, were systems, systems within systems within system. And when it comes to stats in particular, we may have thousands of types of ways of reading the statistics. But actual fact – your school should probably have about a magic five. I mean, take for example flying an airplane. If anyone's seen the cockpit of a big plane, there are a lot of dolls, lot of switches. But I dare say there's probably five that are really really really important. The fuel, the altitude – I don't know, I'm not a pilot, but you get what I'm saying. And if you're gonna start a business, you wanna make sure that your magic five – we had the five, magic five that we work on, that if those statistics, if you're reading them right, if they're scaling well, if you're improving these five things, your business will consistently grow.

But, to go from one school to a second school, I would say – people might argue this, but I would say, you want to already have your instructor team ready to start that straight away. You wanna have some capital ready to go, to be able to sustain a year's’ worth of the wages and the marketing that needs to happen there. So do you need to get a loan out, do you need to remortgage your house, like you did for your first business? All those sort of things, do you have cash in the bank, I don't know. And you have to have your systems down, your one school has to be running so systematically without you, that you can then run another school without you as well.

GEORGE: So your first test is really your own school, and seeing are you able to be gone on a holiday and come back and everything still functions.

GRAHAM: Couldn't agree more George. And I know that if someone was to walk in here, or even have a helicopter view of the WAIMA organization, they would just think, “Oh my goodness, what a complex machine.” But realistically, it all started from simple systems, and then we just built up on that and built up on that and built up on that. And again, we really tried to make sure we take the guesswork out of it. We've had plenty of people in the past ask how did we get to this point. What we wanted to do was, we wanted to really think about, we need to take what's in our head and get it out and put it into a place that's digestible for our team. And that is something that's important, that it's not just from the mind of us and something that's very easy to follow.

Yes, we can review and refine as you go forward, but if your team don't know where we're heading and it's not easy to follow, it's gonna make some real challenges for you. So that's what I said,  simplistic systems can build on to being complex down the track.

PHIL: I'll just say this because George, you just brought up an actual reality fact. One of the moments we knew we had some good systems was,  Graham and I went to a trip to America for a month. And we didn't check in, we didn't know what was going on, and we came back and our school grew. And for us, that was like the tip of the hat, high five, we can leave our business for a month. And in that trip we went to America, and we saw other martial arts schools, we educated ourselves and brought some stuff back . But if our schools could grow within a month without us, we feel that our systems and procedures were fairly well nailed down, that our staff could run our ship without us.

GEORGE: Did you ever feel the need you have to check in?

PHIL: Oh look, when I say that we didn't check in, we have a system called end of day reports. So, at the end of each day, all our managers will report to us on their school, all the managers employees will report to them. So we just see the manager's’ reports. So yeah, at the end of the day, they will send their reports. So they'll all align. There were some early mornings, with the time difference in America, where we'd just flick to the end of the reports to make sure everything's alright, and got thumbs up, or hey, don't forget this, type of thing. But, essentially, we didn't have much input in four weeks, and that was really a lesson or a point in time where we went – we're ready.

GRAHAM: But George, there was a question I asked one of our, well, a couple of our sort of key managers, who run the sort of 800+ school, and ask them, you know, how did we get to this point? How do you now run a multi million dollar school? And they just go, what did we do for you that got you here? What sort of, what did we do, because sometimes we question, sometimes we do things automatically that you look back on later, how did we get to this point? And we asked them. And they said, “The fact that you trusted that we could do it. You believed that we could do it. And by the fact that you let us run your company with the belief that we can do it, and if we failed or made a mistake, it was OK.

Because it was a part of the learning lesson.” It was really powerful for them to go, “Wow, they trust in our judgment to make the right decision.” We didn't micromanage them, and therefore, as we've grown in schools, we did similar to what a parent would do when you first teach your kid to ride a bike. You let them fall a little bit, you dust them off, you pick them back up and push them on the bike again. And before you know it, they're riding by themselves, doing wheelies and having a great time. Same thing with this. You know, we're not reckless in pushing a manager forward and pushing them up to the play. We're there to support them,  but we also want them to experience both the highs, the lows, the scuffs, the injuries that go with it, and chat about how they handled it, rather than trying to run in to save the day. That was a really interesting point that they brought up, which is cool.

GEORGE: All right, cool. So trust – and I just wanna emphasize that, trust and allowing mistakes, not being with the hammer on the head every time that something goes wrong. The trust too.

GRAHAM: Yeah, yeah. Phil's got a great approach, and we do this very much as well too – whenever we deal with our team and they've got certain results, we ask the question why? Why did this happen, you know? And for them to explain their decision making process. And well offer some advice towards the end  – “Look, if it was me in that situation, I probably would have done a, b, c.” Great that you guys gave it a crack, well done, you've learned from that. If it arises again, now you've got the education sort of process, so they may make a slightly different decision, rather than jumping in and – don't get me wrong, we're not gonna let them do things that are critical, that you go bankrupt, but enough that they can learn from experience.

And really, if you think about it as a human being, what makes you a person is the experiences that you have, both the good and the bad. So if someone's there only to shield you and only give you the good, well, what happens when you get the bad happen? And I guarantee, there's gonna be ups and downs in every part of life. So as a key business owner, and a manager, someone running a school, you gotta allow them to deal with the challenges, you gotta allow them to deal with the headaches and see how they handle that, but know that they're not hung out to dry, they're not there by themselves. So we're there in the background to guide, if it's required.

GEORGE: Ok, great. So for staff – behind your instructors, who's the first person you employed behind actual, full time instructors?

GRAHAM: Oh, OK. Thinking back now, we did definitely have a… Their position has changed, but someone who was definitely more in an administration role behind the scenes. Our instructors are extremely capable in their strengths, and that is teaching awesome classes. But when it comes to processing of agreements, or dealing with creditors or stock, dealing with billing companies and all the rest, we had somebody that was really quite skilled in that area. So those were a 9-5 jobs, whereas our martial arts instructors are almost like a 12 pm start, till 9 o'clock at night sort of start.

You've got the engine room working the numbers, and the mechanic in there just dealing with that, and then you've got the guys who are at the front, having a good time, just pumping those great classes, which is really what we do. I dare say, there was probably more that full time admin person, was probably one of the first ones. It's obviously built from that, but they did certainly handle a little bit more in that role.

GEORGE: Ok. So, now I don't wanna give away all your secrets, but you guys are basically grooming instructors from the get-go, because you have a fantastic leadership program. And I know, my son just turned ten, and it's something he's been talking about for the past two years in his martial arts journey, that… Because ten years old, that's sort of the benchmark where he can enter the leadership program. So can you elaborate a little bit more on your leadership programs and how's it sort of ingrained in the system that the kids are so excited to step up their journey of becoming instructors?

PHIL: I'll let Graham talk more about that, because he's in there, doing that more. But what I will say before we get to that point is, that there was a key point in the growth of our business, where we realized that if we wanted to grow, we had to step aside. Because, even though there's two of us, there's only a certain amount of classes, a certain amount of hours in the day. And what most martial arts business owners fall into the trap is, that they become the only person that can run their classes and their school. It becomes personality driven, so people come there just for them, and if someone else taught that class, they'd probably leave. So when we first took over, we branded our school, it was the Phil and Graham show. Our faces were on the walls, you know, it was all, Phil-Graham, Phil-Graham, Phil-Graham. Which was great, but for long term growth and for us to get to the position where we are today, that had to change. So the photos went down. It wasn't then talking about Phil and Graham, it was us empowering our instructors more. It was putting them on the pedestal, and saying, “We're just a step behind them, we're pushing them going, these guys are the face of our business,” to some degree.

People will still come for our culture and our ethos and all that sort of stuff. We will still push that. But we needed to take a step back. We needed to remove ourselves from classes, little bit by little bit and put our guys out. And when we're walking through the school, talking to someone, we say, “Look at Andrew, look at Bree, look at our instructor there, haven't they grown so much, aren't they amazing? How well they're dealing with your child, how's your training grown since they've been in your class.” And it gets the client's thinking, “Yeah, they're amazing, they're amazing.” And eventually, they sort of forget about us a bit. And yes, they see us as the owners, and run the business and sort of steer the ship.

But it's that whole stepping out. But in saying that, when we did that early on and we focused on who can we have to step in, we fell into another trap that a lot of martial arts school owners have, and that's – we need instructors, let's look at the black belts. And we all know, if you haven't identified your instructors by black belt, they're probably not the right personality. And I'll let Graham talk about what we hire on, versus skill level.

GEORGE: Ok, I'm going to pause that right there. Next week, we'll continue the conversation with Phil and where Graham left off, talking about what's the one key thing that new instructors must have before they hire them. And the answer is probably gonna surprise you. We're also gonna talk about what it means to really  make a difference in your community, cost versus investment – are you charging too little? This is a topic that comes up a lot, about prices and are you charging too much, too little and are you just entering a price war, where students are shopping for price. Well, here's a great little exercise you can do with your students to justify that cost – investment rather, in their martial arts education.

So that's it for this episode. You can head over to martialartsmedia.com/2 – so that's the number 2, martialartsmedia.com/2. And we have all the transcriptions thereof the show, so if you wanna download them. And if you can, I'd very much appreciate it if you could head over to iTunes, there's a link on this episode if you go to martialartsmedia.com/2. There's a link to iTunes. If you could head over and leave us a great review, a 5 star review would be much appreciated. It helps us get our show up in the ratings and get the message out there to other martial arts school owners. So that's it for now, thanks again, I'll talk to you next week – cheers!


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1 – WA Institute Of Martial Arts’ Journey To 3 Dojos And 1600 Students With Phil Britten And Graham McDonnell Part 1

Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten from The WA Institute Of Martial Arts and The Institute Of Martial Arts (TIMA) share their journey to 3 dojos and 1600 students.

WA Institute Of Martial Arts


  • Who is George Fourie and the twist that got him started in his Martial Arts journey
  • How Graham McDonnell and Phil Britten got funding to buy their martial arts school now known as The WA Institute Of Martial Arts (WAIMA). You can use some of these resources right now to open a martial arts school
  • The one thing you must have before going full time with your martial arts business
  • Why having your back against the wall is the best place to be for your business
  • Communicating your value and identity through your brand
  • Why losing your top students is not necessarily a bad thing
  • and more

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



GEORGE: Hi this is George Fourie, and welcome to the first official martial arts media podcast. Now, this is a big adventure for me and I'm sure it's gonna be one for you, because my goal with this podcast is to be interviewing top martial arts business experts, from around the globe, and dissecting their methods, their strategies, their frameworks, their mindset – everything that it takes for them to be successful.

And I'm gonna be going from, spoil the journey, from the beginning, how they got started, how they got the money, how they made the transition from part time school owner, or just martial arts student, to a martial arts business owner, and going through that process. And this first episode is really going to set the benchmark, because I am interviewing two industry experts, that run a top school – a top organization I'd rather say, because they've expanded from one school the day I met them, to now three, worth 1600 students all up.

And whether that is a goal for you or not, to have such a large organization, I can tell you what – they share some gold within the interview, which I'm  gonna have to break up into three parts, because we're in for a good hour and a half, going back and forth and learning their journey of how they got to where they are today.

But before we get into that, I want to give you a bit of background about me and how I got started with this whole podcast journey. A little more than five years ago, I was just a parent, sitting inside the dojo, on the side of the mats, watching my son go through his martial arts journey. At that point in time, I was not involved in martial arts whatsoever, although I've always been fascinated by it, I've always been impressed by the discipline, the methodologies around martial arts. And attending all his classes, I sort of had the opportunity to work on what was important to me, which is of course my business.

Doing digital marketing, building my online business and marketing my products online, and everything that I was doing at that point in time. And spending a lot of time at the dojo, I couldn't help but notice what they were trying to do with their online marketing. Getting their message out on Facebook, and social media, and they were trying blogging strategies at the time. And having a lot of experience with this, I thought, “You know what, these guys obviously need help – let me offer my advice.” And I went to the guys and said, “Look, there's a few things I think that you could really optimize and improve.

Why don't I just come see you guys and I'll just give you free consulting and such.” I had a meeting with them, and about a half an hour in, they asked me, “Look, could you just do the stuff for us?” And it was something I never contemplated, doing my marketing stuff as a service. I already had a growing business at that time, and I wasn't really looking to take on any clients.

But after some consideration, I decided, “You know what, this is gonna be a learning experience for me as well, so why not just take it on?” And I started doing all their – well, not all, but a couple of the digital marketing activities that they needed help with. As I got more involved with doing stuff for the club, I asked myself a question – why am I not doing martial arts? I had all the objections, maybe I'm too old, and I don't know if I'm fit enough and so forth, but after some quick consideration, I decided, well, why not?

I've always looked for something that could keep me fit, keep me healthy, maybe help with a bit of confidence, and just being a bit more active with my body, while learning a few self defense skills of course. So I started to train, and I gotta tell you, my first class, I was hooked. That was it. I started training twice a week, then it was three times, four times.  And my passion for martial arts just grew and grew. Along the side with that, the martial arts club where I was training just started to grow as well. They had about 600-700 students at the time I started training there.

And then they decided to open another school, then the third. I know at this point in time, they have 1600-1700 students. So, with all this happening, their demands for marketing their school grew, and my passion for martial arts grew, and we reached a point where, this part time gig, I either had to let it go, or turn it into a business. And of course, the logical step for me was, having two passions unite to do this and see how can I help other martial arts school owners do the same. 

Now, doing all the stuff for them really discovered a few things that really worked. Some strategies that we implemented, that would generate 29-30 sign ups in a single week, and we just kept on evolving and testing things and started to form sort of real world type formulas, that we knew would work with other schools. And that's really what led it to this and made it a full time business for me, helping other martial arts school owners.

And that leads me to this interview, because this is really how it all got started for me. This was it, this was a club I started training at, this is where my martial arts journey started. I watched these guys evolve from one single school with 600-700 students, duplicate that model, more than doubling in size from the time that I was with them and witnessing what these guys have done and the strategies that they've implemented and the frameworks and systems that they have in place, is just phenomenal. And I can guarantee you, you are gonna get a lot from this interview. This is gonna be broken up into three different episodes, for easier listening, do keep a lookout for the future ones coming.

So for now, let me introduce you to Shihan Phil Britten and Shihan Graham McDonnell, from the WA Institute of Martial Arts.

All right guys, welcome to the show, the first show. I've got here with me Phil Britten.

PHIL: How are we going guys, it's all right?

GEORGE: Cool, and we've got Graham McDonnell.

GRAHAM: Hey guys, ready to rock, lets go.

GEORGE:Cool. So, first episode for me, and very appropriate of course, cause this was the start of my martial arts journey. Just being a parent, sitting on the side and watching initially and then got more involved in the club and started training myself and then thought of helping the guys with some marketing. And just seeing sort of where the guys have evolved. I'm sitting right now actually in what's called the head office, which next door was actually the dojo. So you know, when I started training here, there was one school – I can't recall, I think it was probably about 700-800 students?

GRAHAM: Maybe not even that much George, how long have you been with us now?

GEORGE: It's been about four years?

GRAHAM: Four years, so I reckon we probably would have been about, maybe 500 to 600 mark at that stage.

GEORGE: Yeah, OK. So that was sort of the beginning. And I'm sitting now with… Where you guys are at, which is three different schools, different locations, with about 1600-1700 students?

PHIL: Yep!

GEORGE: Right. And were not sitting in the dojo anymore, were actually sitting in the head office location.

PHIL: Oh yes! Forever growing and evolving mate, forever growing.

GEORGE: So, lots has happened. So, what I'm gonna try and do here today is go down the whole journey, just find out a bit more about Graham and Phil, where they sort of started, how they got going with all this and the obstacles they faced getting to where they are today, what they've done, the processes they've had to implement on the way, the changes they've had to make, their personal growth and all the rest. So, I guess, just to rewind the clock, let's start at the beginning. Phil, just a bit of background – who you are, where you started?

PHIL: Yeah. So, you know, long story, sort of short I guess, I grew up in a country town, Western Australia, Exmouth. And you know, my passions was really just sport. I wasn't  very well educated, or edumacated as they say. Definitely was not book smart or school smart, that just wasn't my thing. I was a sporty type guy. My direction in life really was just to play professional football – that was it. But at the age of 16, I was playing quite a high-level, but I wanted to get the edge.

And so I started martial arts, for two reasons: one, to get the edge, but also, what little kid didn't want to be bloody karate kid, you know? So I was trying to tick a couple of boxes there, I grew up with…You know, my mom's dressing gown, pinned around my waist as my black belt, did all that stuff, which I'm sure most of the listeners did as well. But yeah, martial arts for me was a tool to get the edge in sport.

But then I hit a bit of a road block and got injured and doctors said not to play football again. So I took up martial arts a bit more seriously and from sort of that day there, through to the year 2000, where I got my black belt, I was 20 years old. And it was at that point there, that I also… I guess, I think it happens a lot, especially now, being an instructor and a school owner, you see a whole lot of people hit that black belt level and then quit or move on, because they feel like they've achieved their goal. And I was a victim of that too, I actually did that. But I did that because my injuries got better and I was going back to play football. Two years had passed, with no martial arts and just playing football, and then, the story is that I was in the season football trip and got blown up in a terrorist attack.

I was there with nineteen of my friends, seven of them lost their lives, I got burned to 60% of my body and, needless to say, life was very, very tough. So, one thing that happened to me in my recovery was that, you know, I called upon, I guess skills that martial arts taught me, that I never knew I had.

Breathing techniques and mental strength, you know, all this sort of stuff that, as a young guy doing martial arts, it was probably never even in the forefront of my mind. But yet, I called upon it in my time of need. Then, in my recovery, I was really just trying to get back to normality, so I took up martial arts as a student. It sort of snowballed a little bit, you know, I fell back in love with training and training more and more often. And it just so happened that a staff member at the school where I was training went on holidays, so I filled in, just as a thing to help out. And it sort of kept happening and I just ended up starting teaching, and that's how I became an instructor, basically.

GEORGE: Excellent. There's a few things I'd like to go back on, but Graham – over to you.

GRAHAM: So, my martial arts experience started a little earlier in life. I was born in Ireland, and moved over to Australia, probably when I was just shy of six years old. And my very first encounter on this lovely country we have, was being punched square in the face by this other kid – for the listeners listening, I've got red hair, at the time I was a little weedy, you know, 20 kg, wet sort of kid, white skin and… Yeah, you know, funny talking accent. So I got punched in the face and pretty much knocked out four of my front teeth. And as a kid at six years old, just on, it's not too good a look when you've got your front teeth missing.

So, my dad pretty much took the active step – new country, new place, you're gonna have to learn to protect yourself. Forget the stigma, you're a redheaded little kid that needs to learn how to fight, but hey look, I did take up that journey. And for me, it just was another outlet, just another activity to do in a place where I was in a foreign land and really just became a part of a lifestyle. I very much trained consistently for ten years in that system, that first initial traditional karate system.

Unfortunately, I sort of hit a point there, where the school didn't allow me to grow any further from that. Again, being just on 17 years old just about, I had decided I wanna go explore something different, a different style. And happened to come across a school in Greenwood, the one that we now operate out of. And started just training and again, becoming addicted with something a little bit different and was fortunate enough that on my journey forward, I got an opportunity to be a part of an instructive course, never with the intention to ever be an instructor, but just something different.

And geez, wow, once I found the joy of helping others, it had become, not just a habit – it became a ritual part of me. Like breathing in and breathing out. And that's where, on that journey forward, as Phil sort of mentioned in his story, he came back and started training and our paths crossed. I was working in a part-time capacity, sort of full-time/part-time and  managed to bump into this buddy that sits beside me now. We really didn't have a hell of a lot to do with each other at the time, but as we've grown together going forward, he obviously jumped on board as an instructor and then we crowned our friendship from there. The starting of our company is a completely different story, but that's really sort of how we ended up training and starting a journey together. But it's been a while. I think I'm just pushing 30 years of training at the moment, so it's a lifelong journey, which is pretty cool.

GEORGE: That's awesome. So, both of you have mentioned that you sort of fell into this whole instructor role, accidentally. And it sounds like it wasn't really planned, but you just start doing it and then you got hooked in, sort of helping people and it evolved from this. So what is that hook that really got you stuck into… What is that satisfaction that you got from instructing?

Phil BrittenPHIL: I think for me… I was always a big believer, if you wanted to be really good at something, you've got to be able to verbalize it, you've got to be able to teach it. And that was something that I learned as an instructor, but the feeling you got from empowering or helping or teaching someone and seeing them improve – wow, that's addictive, that's like a natural drug. You know, that's just something that you can't get enough of, just seeing progression and growth in others. And in doing that, that also helps you grow as well.

And I think that's the – for me personally, that's what appealed to me is, I get to do something that I love, I'm passionate about martial arts. I stay fit and I'm healthy. I'm always growing and getting better as a martial artist and as a person. And I also get to help other people, which then, in turn, helps me again. So it's like, as I said, it's like a drug, you just can't get enough of it. Once you're hooked on teaching, and if you love doing it, you just can't get enough. And I think that's what kept coming back – for me, kept coming back as an instructor and growing from a part-time to a full-time to then wanting to jump into business.

GRAHAM: For me, I think George, initially, I had no idea of the major benefits of sharing and helping people. It was more like an extended family, that clan, that comfortable place where you're around others. And when you've done martial arts, you can just… You can do a technique for example, that somebody looks upon and goes, “Wow, that was pretty cool! Can you show me that?” and you sort of share with them, whether you like it or not, that's instructing, that's sharing things.

And the more that people ask, the more you go, “Wow, actually, this is pretty cool, you know, I quite enjoy doing this.” But then you go with learning how to communicate better. Then you really do see the penny drop, when you share something with somebody, they get it and the joy and watching them start their journey is, as Phil pointed out, it's addictive, it's something that you just really love. So, I think it's been nothing better than improving yourself internally, externally, but also sharing and helping others is an amazing thing to be able to do.

I know that…Jeepers, I've got the numbers in my head, I know them myself and Phil. But just thinking back now and even in the instructing journey, we've, together, probably had contacted and helped and shared with over a million people in our martial arts journey, we've actually had an impact in their life. And that's an epic number.

GEORGE: That's huge.


GEORGE: All right. Ok, so the friendship started and you both trained at WA. So how did it happen that you guys became the owners, how did that evolve?

PHIL: Well, when Graham and I were working together, under our instructor, Graham was always 2IC (second in charge). He was, you know, the golden child of the school, and I knew I wanted more, and at that point, and I think it was 2006, I really thought, “I don't just want to be an employee, I want to give this a crack, I want to open up my own business and give it a crack.” So, in 2006, I started toying with this idea of opening up my own school. Came across somebody who also wanted to do the same thing, his name is Mike. And we started building this ideal of opening up a school together, and we did that in 2007.

So I sort of left Graham as partners in employment, and opened up my own school with a business partner in 2007. And I dropped everything, and the stories of people opening up schools, literally – I dropped every bit of income that I could, to do this business. And my girlfriend at the time supported me. I had my own house, bills. So she said, “I'll support you in this journey, I know how much it means to you,” and I was like, “Wow, you'd do that for me?” So I had this dream, you know, within 12 months, I have to make this profitable. And in that, sort of first 6 to 7 months. I worked really really really really hard. And, you know, as time went on, like anything, and this is I guess what we'll talk about later, is partnerships are a tough thing to do. And as time went on in that year and our business, we went very well, I think we grew to a 100 students in the first 12 months.

It was profitable, so we hit all the things, but something was missing for me. And it was at that time that  Graham, and he can probably talk about that story as well, it was about that time that I was having these feelings and still training, along with Graham and catching up with him, and he was like… Our instructor and his boss was saying, “Look, it's time for me too, you know, like I cannot keep being the 2IC (second in charge), I want my turn too, so either step aside type of thing, to some degree, you know, without being too blunt, or I wanna go and pursue this passion too.

GRAHAM: Definitely. Just to sort of go on with this George, the real catalyst there was obviously, myself and Phil, we're still great mates, even though he moved on in pursuing something different. The real stickler for me that sort of forced the hand, was that my wife was pregnant with our first child and I'm like, “I'm gonna make this happen.” And at the time I think, you know, from a career perspective, there was just no room for me to go on financially, there was just no way that I was able to do this of  a lackey's wage basically.

So I sort of said to the owner at the time, it was pretty much sort of, you know, dare I say, just run down from having 25 years in the biz, and just been tied. It was probably the stars aligned, I just said, “Hey – I need to step up or I'm gonna go step out.” and he just said, “Look, did you want to buy the school?  You know, I'm willing to sell it.” And at the time I was saying, “Holy s__, I can't do this by myself. I would love to have someone there, that we could work hand-in-hand together.” So, having chatted with Phil plenty of times, I said, “Mate, there's an opportunity for us to sort of, you know, bring it back home, so to speak, and for us to break this model apart and put it back together the way that we think it should be.” And in 2008, we took over this school, which was under a previous name and WAIMA, the WA institute of martial arts was born. And my goodness, what a ride it has been since then.

GEORGE: Excellent! So just heading back to Phil quickly – you mentioned that you had support from your girlfriend financially. And I guess, for somebody starting out, that's probably the biggest barrier to cross. Because you're probably in a full time job, maybe you're part-time instructor and so now, you've got to get over this hump, financially. So, financially, and you've got to obviously make sure that, you know, if you've got a family or you've got somebody else in your life, or if you're about to have a kid, which is probably the biggest pressure point for any entrepreneurs, you know, to get your stuff together, it's gonna happen. But how did that conversation go? How was your conversation with you girlfriend at the time, to get behind you and support you?

PHIL: You know, I think the lesson here, and this is what I practice and preach to anyone in this boat, that is looking to go full time, or even part time, is: you need to actually have a plan and need to make sure that all your expenses are covered. Meaning, if you've got a house, you've got to be paying your mortgage. You've got your bills to pay, so you can't just go out on a whim and start a business and think it's gonna be great. Cause that's, you know, the statistic is, how many businesses do fail in the first year?

That wasn't an option, because, you know, I sort of burned the bridge, so to speak, the boat, you know. And I knew that, with her support, financially, that we could survive, although it was really, really tough. And then, you know, in that year as well, although the business wasn't making money, I was working tirelessly, doing PTs, private training sessions, you know. I had maybe 6,7,8 clients a week, all 60-90 minutes you know, and I was charging quite well, so I was getting some cash. I hope the tax man's not listening, but that's probably one of the ways that martial arts instructors can get a little bit of, you know, hit money, in the pocket.

And that's sort of what helped us get through that time, was just that we agreed, we'll give this a shot for a year, we're willing to battle it out. We've got enough finances to be able to cover the expenses and we're literally gonna burn the boat and just go hard. And that's really the decision that I made hit and that would be the decision I would ask others to do as well, is, if they're gonna make that jump, don't do it stupidly, don't do it uneducatedly. You've got to make the decision that, yes, my bases are covered, and I'm gonna give this a red hot go for 12, 18, 24 months, that's how much we've got, and we're gonna go hard, we're gonna burn the bridge! You know, and if that point comes, and you're not there yet, then you make another decision, you know – what's the worst thing you can say?

Live a life of regret or say, I gave it a shot and I failed, but, you know, I'm wiser and I'm more educated and I'm stronger as a person and a business person for doing that. So, there are no quick wins, there are no easy things in business or in life, but you can stack the odds in your favor and set up a plan. And then, you know, at the end of the day, my thing is, well – why not? Or, what now? We hit that point “What now,” let's make a decision now, we go left, we go right, we go straight.

GRAHAM: Just in that tune George, I know that, coming on board and creating this new company WAIMA, the unknowns, you know, I remortgaged my house. I was barely making enough to pay the repayments anyway, but to remortgage your house and take that leap of faith, having a new baby come on the scene, where your wife now no longer brings any income into the household. The unknown, whether you can pay the bills. But you've got to back yourself.

You've got to believe that you're worth it, you're good enough, having a good plan is vital, and I know that Phil was in a very similar boat, coming on board with a different partnership, you know, moving from one that he left behind, to a new one, was again another risk, you know, financially. We both had put some money, invested in, that was a good chance we would lose it, if we didn't work our butt off. And I guarantee you, there was not a waking moment in a day that we weren't both driven to make it succeed. That's a big drive, when you've got your back against the wall, you've got to fight for something, and that was something I think we found ourselves in that situation, where there was no option to go backwards.

Failure wasn't an option, you know, probably a cliche sort of there, but that's pretty much where we're at and I guarantee you, we made it happen. And, you know, we've got some great numbers and stories from how we made it happen and what we got within that first 12 months and the next 12 months. But a big part was, believe in yourself and as Phil  sort of said, you burn the boat, you can't go backwards, you can only go forwards.

GEORGE: Excellent. And I guess I just wanna go back and emphasize that, because I think, you know, every instructor has that opportunity, if they want to pursue it.


GEORGE:You know, if that's the way they want to go, you know, they've really got access to an audience to do those part-time, you know, PT instruction gigs and to help fund… I guess help cover the majority of the expenses and just push forward with the classes and go for it.

GRAHAM: It's like bungee jumping or skydiving, there's always that risk of – is it gonna open? Is the string gonna break? You know, it's that gap, that fear of, you know, the security and Phil will talk all about comfort zones and whatnot. And most people will only ever live life on the edge, not even the edge of their comfort zone, they sort of stay in that center, where, “I can't do this, I can't do that.” You know, they're in a comfortable place and not willing to take that leap of faith and give it a go. And they can be quite surprised at, you know, how close they are to succeeding. But yet, they don't take that opportunity, that chance, so, that was something we did, bugger, we go and we check if the parachutes are in the backpack once we jumped, so…

PHIL: At the end of the day, there's no reward without risk, and that's what Grahams getting at, you know. Yes, we all mortgaged our houses, yes, we had families on the way, Graham had his child, I had probably one on the way at that time. You know, we worked day in, day out, 6 days a week. And on the Sunday that we didn't work, we were still thinking about work. You know, we'd come home at 10, 11 o'clock at night, and wed be at work at 10 in the morning, 9 in the morning. So, you kind of have that pod dream that everythings gonna be rosy straight away. If you want something bad enough, you've got to do whatever it takes to make it succeed.

GEORGE: Brilliant. Can you recall that first plan? You mentioned that you had a plan that you're gonna go, can you briefly describe what that plan was?

GRAHAM: Right, we were gonna make a truckload more money. Truckload more students, and were gonna do it this way. I think it was really just getting back to… Having an existing business in the shell there, the engine needed to be rebuilt basically, from the ground up. And we really did have a good look at the systems that were in place, there were some that were functioning, some that were just naturally outdated. Again, there was the culture of the school needed to change for us. And again, it's just then identifying what we wanted to brand ourselves as and market ourselves as. And that was a huge one, when you're looking to, I guess re-identifying yourself as a different entity, when you've stepped into a shell.

Graham McDonnell WA Institute Of Martial ArtsSo, we certainly did have quite a few things that we needed to do, and first and foremost was getting our identity and who we were and what we stood for. So, it allowed for us then to be able to market that image, that brand, that standpoint. And again, the energy that we brought to it, it was just really letting people know who we were and what we stand for, and that we would surpass all expectations in everything that we delivered, both quality of product, but the experience that you have, from the minute you speak to us, to the moment you walk out the door. So everything… We really pride ourselves on providing excellent service in everything. And that's sort of where the start point was. There's so many little factors that are in there, but it really was getting that clear vision on what we wanted to deliver and making sure that everything was in alignment with that.

GEORGE: OK. So, all right. So, you guys stepped in. What was the… So you kind of wanted to establish your values.


GEORGE: Ok. Was there any obstacle in doing that? Cause obviously there was the previous owner and, you know, things were set in certain ways.


GEORGE: And in you guys come, although you're not new to the whole school, because you're the instructors. But were there any sort of stick points, you know, that happened, was there tension or anything at that point, when you guys took over?

GRAHAM: Yeah, we lost a ton of students, we lost a ton of our senior black belts, because we were… You know, the guys that were trained under the previous instructor were loyal to them and they certainly knew us. But when it came to us, making the decisions and steering the ship, for various reasons, they decided it wasn't the path they were gonna go down. I say this often, you gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelet, simple as that. You know, you gotta lose some people. An that was something that, as crappy as it was, you know, again, we're talking about finances here and were talking about struggling, and we're losing students.

But we knew that we would, the ones we had left, we were gonna share the vision where we were heading and that we would grow from that. So you gotta weed the garden to let the flowers bloom. Plenty of those phrases that you hear coming out, but really, that's sort of where it was at. We needed to get rid of things that weren't in alignment with where we were heading at. And unfortunately, that was sometimes students, sometimes it was staff, systems, so it was really just getting clarity on where we wanted to be in that 12, 24, 36 months, whatever it may be. 

PHIL: I think, for my point of view, and to go on quotes with Graham, a snake's gotta shed her skin. And, you know, we knew that, in our style, it takes about 4 years to get a black belt. So, one of our goals was to have our own black belts, through and through, so the day that we took over, when someone joined, you know, that would be the first line of black belts, that were trained purely by us. So yeah, through the journey, there was always gonna be people who dropped off and we knew that, but we got into that business, you know, head down, bum up. And just, like Graham said earlier, we rebuilt the engine, you know?

We put our stamp on it. We changed the name, the branding, the niche client, the systems and procedures. So, we really did change the business in a way that we, we knew we were gonna drop people, but we did it on purpose, because you don't make changes in your business for the students you have – you make changes in your business for the students you WILL  have. The effects will affect the people who you currently have, but I'm thinking about… What about the guy who joins, or the girl, or the kid that joins now, what are they gonna be like in four years time?

Not the black belt now, because, you know, they've done their journey. So I wanna make sure that the changes I have is a long-term effect change in my business. And one of the things for Graham and I was like, we took over the business, we were on a certain wage that was gonna get us by. But we, again, we burnt the bridges and we said, we needed double numbers, you know. I think we took it over at about 300. So, you know, it's quite a decent sized school as well, but it wasn't enough for two people, two managers, to take the wage that we needed to survive. So, in that first year, to give you a bit of a background, after all the changes, after getting in there with enthusiasm, we're off going hard, hard.

We doubled student numbers and tripled revenue within 12 months. So we went from 300 to 600 and, you know, we don't need to throw numbers in monetary value, but, you know, we then went from almost a single persons wage, to a double persons wage, plus being able to employ more people as well, within the first 12 months.

GRAHAM: Some of the things George, that we really did and we focused on, prior to rewarding ourselves, was to reinvest back in the school and back in our students. So, there was a lot of things that didn't contribute to students and getting students, but getting new pads. Getting, you know, new coat of paint and this and that and the others. It was all those little things that was an expense going up, but it was for a  reason. It was that branding, it was that rebirth, rather than just stepping into the same shell and just trying to call it something different, it wasn't. It really did need to have that knock down and rebuild. Within reason, obviously, we couldn't knock the building down, but we pretty much gutted everything else out.

You know, that was something that we really wanted to be mindful of, really reinvesting back into our marketing, back into our systems, investing in our team and our staff, not taking shortcuts just to get that quick win. Because the thing is, if you took that shortcut and you're only there for the money, you probably would have reached that point, but there was no growth past that. So we really invested in building a really solid foundation to help us to grow into the hearts and lives that we wanted.

And I talk about this often with other people: if you look at a residential home, the slab or the foundation is only like 10 cm thick, on a single-story. And you can only, from that thickness, build a single-story house. If you want to build a skyscraper, it's almost… You need to go twice the depth of a skyscraper as it is going to be high, to make sure you can build that solid platform, so it's not gonna fall over.

In other words, we invested a hell of a lot back into the foundation of our business, before we focused on the growth. But it actually came almost secondary, the growth was just happening anyway. It just meant that we're up to a sustained growth, without getting too a point and having a catastrophic failure, by having too many students, and not enough staff and so on and so forth. So, that was a real big one that we wanted to do, we didn't wanna skimp on doing the right thing for everybody internal, and also mainly the students as well too.

GEORGE: That's the end of part one of the three parts series with Graham and Phil from the WA institute of martial arts. Tune back for the next episode, well be going a bit deeper down the journey and we're gonna be talking about opening up the funnel, why you should ditch your ego, why being the grand guru will kill your business, how to reach a bigger audience, why investing in coaches is imperative to your success, following a recipe and the number one thing you need to do before opening up your second school. So to make sure you get notified about the second episode, you can go to our website MartialArtsMedia.com and if you haven't yet, download the free business plan we have for online media.

That will get you on our email list and we'll send you a short notification when this episode is ready. If not, you can also go to Stitcher, Stitcher radio, if you're on an Android device, Android phone, or you can go to iTunes and subscribe from there. That's it! Looking forward to seeing you in the next episode. I'll talk to you then.


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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.

All we ask is that you agree to abide by the following Terms and Conditions. Take a few minutes to look them over because by using our site you automatically agree to them. Naturally, if you don’t agree, please do not use the site. We reserve the right to make any modifications that we deem necessary at any time. Please continue to check these terms to see what those changes may be! Your continued use of the MartialArtsMedia.com Web site means that you accept those changes.


Restrictions on Use of Our Online Materials

All Online Materials on the MartialArtsMedia.com site are Copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Text, graphics, databases, HTML code, and all other intellectual property are protected by US and/or International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, reengineered, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without explicit permission. All of the trademarks on this site are trademarks of MartialArtsMedia.com or of other owners used with their permission. You, the visitor, may download Online Materials for non-commercial, personal use only provided you 1) retain all copyright, trademark and propriety notices, 2) you make no modifications to the materials, 3) you do not use the materials in a manner that suggests an association with any of our products, services, events or brands, and 4) you do not download quantities of materials to a database, server, or personal computer for reuse for commercial purposes. You may not, however, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute Online Materials in any way or for any other purpose unless you get our written permission first. Neither may you add, delete, distort or misrepresent any content on the MartialArtsMedia.com site. Any attempts to modify any Online Material, or to defeat or circumvent our security features is prohibited.

Everything you download, any software, plus all files, all images incorporated in or generated by the software, and all data accompanying it, is considered licensed to you by MartialArtsMedia.com or third-party licensors for your personal, non-commercial home use only. We do not transfer title of the software to you. That means that we retain full and complete title to the software and to all of the associated intellectual-property rights. You’re not allowed to redistribute or sell the material or to reverse-engineer, disassemble or otherwise convert it to any other form that people can use.

Submitting Your Online Material to Us

All remarks, suggestions, ideas, graphics, comments, or other information that you send to MartialArtsMedia.com through our site (other than information we promise to protect under our privacy policy becomes and remains our property, even if this agreement is later terminated.

That means that we don’t have to treat any such submission as confidential. You can’t sue us for using ideas you submit. If we use them, or anything like them, we don’t have to pay you or anyone else for them. We will have the exclusive ownership of all present and future rights to submissions of any kind. We can use them for any purpose we deem appropriate to our MartialArtsMedia.com mission, without compensating you or anyone else for them.

You acknowledge that you are responsible for any submission you make. This means that you (and not we) have full responsibility for the message, including its legality, reliability, appropriateness, originality, and copyright.

Limitation of Liability







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.

Any other disputes will be resolved as follows:

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

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

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

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

Privacy Policy

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

Use of Cookies

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

IP Addresses

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

Email Information

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

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

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

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

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

Email Policies

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

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

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

CAN-SPAM Compliance

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

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


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

Use of External Links

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

You must not:

Acceptable Use

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

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

Restricted Access

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

Use of Testimonials

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

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

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

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

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

How Do We Protect Your Information and Secure Information Transmissions?

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

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

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

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

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

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

Policy Changes

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

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


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

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

Email: team (at) martialartsmedia dot com

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