(Some) secrets of my success…

24 Feb

** WARNING – Parental advisory, explicit language **

‘Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength

You don’t have to be an asshole to be a martial arts teachers, just most of us make it seem that way. Or at least that is how we come across to a lot of people who enter our facilities. I am certainly NOT exempt from this characterization. In fact, for a long time if you looked up “martial arts asshole” in the dictionary, my picture was featured in the entry.


There are a lot of reasons why we come off wrong to potential students. Part of it is “culture shock.” By the time we own and are running a martial arts school we’ve spent a major portion of our lives in a very different world. We can’t understand the guy who walks with his street shoes onto the mat and into the middle of a class. Or the lady who is snapping her gum while asking you what are your credentials? Make no mistake, part of it is also that there ARE jerks, scam artists, crazy people and irrational people who want to waste our time and have no respect. But I am going to let you in on the real secret to all this…..

The sad, not so secret fact of our industry is that far too many school owners are tired. They struggle. They struggle to pay their bills. They are usually just one or two months away from going broke and out of business. For every six figure rock star in the industry, there are probably 100 school owners who fit that bill. And when you are tired, struggling, SCARED… it’s hard to deal with these problems. It’s hard to smile, be polite, and, most importantly, to keep it moving.

Life works in cycles, either “vicious cycles” or “success breeds success.” It is a LOT easier to be polite and defuse a difficult client when you are a happy person. I speak here from direct personal experience. And when you are happy, you provide a better customer experience. A better customer experience makes for happier clients and brings you more success.

Of course, all that is easier said than done when you are still struggling. The next not-so-secret is that martial arts instructors have a huge problem letting go, admitting they don’t know and asking for help. We can lecture for hours a day to our students about ego, but it’s clearly “do as I say, not as I do.” ASK FOR HELP. And ACT upon the advice you are given. Ask yourself, if you really already had all the answers, would you be where you are now? Chances are, you are in the 99%. You need help. But don’t be afraid to ask for it.



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