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Can I help you? I think I can!

6 Mar

So I am now going to offer everyone a unique way to see if my consulting style works for you. There are ton for things I DO NOT DO. If I don’t know how to do it the best, 110%, I will send you to someone I know can really help you

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What I CAN DO is teach you some very important stuff, such as:
1) How to teach a MOTIVATIONAL CLASS
2) The real secret NO ONE is teaching about retention
3) How to find your voice, the MOST IMPORTANT THING
4) Easy, FREE marketing related to all of the above
5) How no matter what, YOU are in charge and YOU are responsible for your own success

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For a very limited time I will give you 6 months of UNLIMITED ACCESS to me and to my secret group where I will explain and demonstrate all these things. NO COMMITMENT and at a 66% discount! Yes, HUGE SAVINGS, because I want you to feel comfortable trying this out

$299 gives you SIX MONTHS with me Click here for 6 months unlimited access

More Monkey Business

9 Dec

PLEASE NOTE: This is part two. Don’t read this unless you already read Monkey (Kung Fu) Business

Federation recognition, ranking and “cool technique” isn’t probably going to help anyone business-wise in today’s world. Things have changed not only because of the UFC and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). We no longer have “kung fu movies” like Shaw brothers. We no longer have Chuck Norris martial arts themed movies. People are no longer raised believing that earning a black belt in martial arts is going to give them access to something special. There is very little “Asian mysticism” left. Many instructors of the past just got away with things based upon that stuff alone. No deal in today’s market.

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A lot of martial artists have also not kept up with technology. In fact, I know some that still ask about the “yellow pages”! Many think FACEBOOK is beneath them. Don’t even get me started with web sites!!! A major problem, related to the previous; today people are more likely to enter search terms such as kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA, boxing and jiujitsu.

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So, I’d argue that one of the most valuable things that any martial arts organization could offer would be practical business advice. Yet I don’t know of a single one that does! I even know a few that were offered some excellent assistance and dismissed it with contempt? To paraphrase the very successful Jon Taffer, they need to get out of the way of their own success.

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I hope you are starting to see what I am getting at here. I’ve discussed it before… And I’ll return next to my favorite subject; FIGHTING.

My dream and my vision

22 Feb

Full disclosure and absolute honesty, even brutal honesty. That is the way I do things. I’ve been doing martial arts almost my entire life, and I’ve been a teacher almost my entire adult life. But I wasn’t much of a business man, in some respects a pretty terrible one actually, until I started listening to Michael Parrella (http://www.mikeparrella.com) in 2009. Through Michael, I also met Bedros Keuilian (http://www.keuilian.com/), who has also been very influential upon me. I consider myself a very lucky person, and I have placed direct links to them so they not only get credit, but so you too can seek out their guidance.

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Today, I run what would be considered a successful martial arts school. It is a nice complement to my many years of developing ways to teach real martial arts to average people, my success training fighters and my efforts to publish historically accurate information on the martial arts in general. I’m a very lucky person. I should be thankful every day for what I have and to those who helped me have this life.

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This weekend, I attended Michael’s “MABS 2015.” That is short for martial arts business summit (https://www.martialartsbusinesssummit.com/). I have been very vocal about the fact that I avoid the traditional martial arts industry events like the plague. I have stated many times that I find much of what is passed off in those events utter crap, or to quote Michael himself “same shit in a different box.”

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So it shouldn’t really be a surprise I go to Michael’s events, except when you consider that I’ve been exposed to Michael’s wisdom for almost six years now. Sure, there are often new speakers at these events, but CLEARLY there are times when material being presented I already have heard, implemented and understand. BUT THERE ARE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT REASONS I GO TO THESE EVENTS.

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These events always re focus me. They charge me up. They fire me up. I sometimes feel like an old clock, at times I need to be wound up again. Another thing they most definitely do is help me focus my dream and my vision.

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I’ve taught thousands of students since 1988. I’ve taught hundreds of seminars. I have instructional DVD’s. I recently published my first book (https://www.createspace.com/4891253). I’ve had an internet presence for over a decade. On this blog, my former blog, internet forums, etc I’ve shared many of my views and beliefs. BUT THIS WEEKEND I REALIZED THAT I HAD YET TO MAKE ONE, UNIFIED STATEMENT OF MY DREAM AND MY VISION. And that is what precisely this weekend hammered at me.

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In the past, I’ve fallen victim to the myth of “perfect action.” I’ve had big ideas that weren’t focused and projects that weren’t thought completely through. I’ve also changed my opinions on things over the years. In summary, I am as human as anyone. So I am NOT promising something specific just yet, other than to say the next few blogs here will be a clear, concise and UNIFIED statement of my dream and my vision. I hope you will tune in, and I hope I can perhaps inspire you just as I have been inspired by others.

Visit me;
http://www.nybestkickboxing.com/index.php
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSntVrfUYmjl6d_hkM76KQg
https://twitter.com/kickboxingnyc
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1535723596692248/

I teach martial arts to adults… ONLY ADULTS

11 Oct

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A quick rant…..

At one point, martial arts schools were the fastest growing business in the United States. People decided to follow their dreams and used their life savings to open their school. Unfortunately, between 2009 and today, the martial arts industry has shrunk an astounding 50%. Half the schools that were open in 2009 have now shut their doors!

WHY? That’s the million dollar (in debt) question, isn’t it? Let’s take a look at an industry survey from one of the major martial arts business consulting organizations. I found the results both interesting and quite revealing.

Questions from the survey

How many active students do you teach?

0–200 students (75%)

The vast majority of respondents still have fewer than 200 students. You can read this a lot of ways. One positive, the industry clearly has room for growth. But watch when I pull up the next question!

What percentage of your students are children and ADULTS?

50% of their total active students are children. (83%)

30% or less of their total active students are adults. (57%)

This survey tells us that 83% of the schools in this study, and many are the “big earners” and the owners on the cutting edge of the industry, have less than 100 adults students. More than half have 60 adults or LESS!

The traditional martial arts industry model, which has been force fed down the throats of everyone who has ever owned a martial arts school and wanted to make it into a real business, has NEVER addressed the needs of an adult market! What is worse, the adult market is becoming even LESS interested in the traditional “add-ons”. That is, they are increasingly rejecting mysticism and elitism.

If you know me, you know that in my school EVERY SINGLE STUDENT IS AN ADULT. I do not teach anyone under the age of 16. My school has no uniforms, no belts, no kata, no one step sparring, no black belt clubs, no “SWAT” teams, NONE of the things the industry has been shoving down your throat for years.

You should also know that I offer one of the hardest workouts there is. People have puked during the warm up, even a few walked out. I don’t “water down” anything I do. And I strongly believe that most of my clients love my school precisely because I challenge them AND because they see RESULTS.

– ” I lost 38lbs in 5 months and it was purely down to this.”

– “Before going to Ny San Da, I was 230 lbs, and now im about 204 and lossing.”

– “Before I started at NY San Da I would get out of breath climbing the stairs from the subway. After just a few months of regular workouts I was able to breathe easily even when doing intense cardio work.”

– ” I have lost 40 pounds in the last year and a half.”

All real students who shared these on my facebook group.

Why the standard industry advice is WRONG!

9 Oct

Improve your product and you don’t need gimmicks!

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Opened my email to find a solicitation from one of the more famous (or should I say “infamous”) martial arts business gurus. To repeat an often used line on this blog “same crap, different box”! I’ve been in this industry almost 30 years and I don’t know which is worse, the fact that they are still trying to sell the same crap or just how bad that crap really is.

If as a martial arts instructor or school owner you’ve ever gotten the feeling that a potential client didn’t trust you and is treating you like a con man, you have our industry to blame. The cold, hard fact is that much of what the industry has been told to do is nothing more than gimmick and misdirection, bait and switch and just plain illogical.

– Lure them in with fitness then try to sell them a traditional program

– Lure them with something that is the latest fad, even if you are not qualified to teach it

– Lure them in with fear and promise to teach them self defense, only to teach point sparring and obsolete so called “traditional drills” which never worked in the first place

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The average school owner would fail business 101 yet instead of focusing on the basics, things like customer service, they focus on the gimmicks. They puff their chests up with pride about their “traditional system” but in these times “traditional martial arts” has come to mean out of shape people who can’t even perform the basics correctly. They have gotten so into the gimmicks they have forgotten the basics.

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Obviously, I don’t worry about uniforms, belts, ranking exams, lineage, kata, one step sparring, lion dancing, black belt clubs, S.W.A.T. teams, badges, pins, etc etc etc.

I worry about;

1) Offering a kick-butt workout where people have fun and see results

2) People learning correct technique, because people can see and feel the real thing.

3) My facility being clean and friendly. I repaint my school frequently. I replace heavy bags, lockers etc whenever there is anything the least wrong with them. My school is cleaned by a professional cleaning crew. I have spent money on real furniture, art and nice light fixtures, etc.

4) My staff being professional and efficient and most of all about CUSTOMER SERVICE.

We have no gimmicks, here’s your gloves, here’s your towel, you are going to sweat and you are going to learn to beat the crap out of a bag, you will have fun and we’ll go from there.

I don’t need any gimmicks to sign them up after that. I don’t even sell them. I show them what options they have and help them find the option that best fits their schedule.

The next time someone tries to sell you a new and improved extra special way to make money in this industry please remember that all the tricks in the world don’t replace a quality product.

Traditional martial arts in the modern world

2 Oct

I grew up in a traditional martial arts school, specifically the late Pong Ki Kim’s Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo school. I received my 2nd Dan black belt, taught classes and helped with the school. Koreans without any doubt introduced many of the business ideas that shaped the martial arts industry in the 1980’s and the 1990’s. They were probably the first to approach their Dojang as a business.

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In contrast, when I met the late Chan Tai-San, I was training in the completely traditional sense, with absolutely no business sense at all. Chan Tai-San never taught a group class and had a following because of his name, his reputation and because many Americans were still caught up in the mystique of Chinese martial arts. I began public classes for Chan Tai-San in the early 1990’s, but if I had taught them the way Chan Tai-San taught me, I would have failed miserably. That is just a cold, hard fact.

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Like a lot of people of my generation, I slowly moved away from the traditional martial arts mindset and format. I trained with high level, well respected instructors and quickly realized they were simply men; the mystique wore thin quickly. The reality was, the world also began to change in regard to martial arts. There are a number of factors for this. Some blame the UFC/MMA for demonstrating the limitattions of traditional martial arts. Others note the lack of media devoted to traditional martial arts these days; we are no longer watching Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris movies, Shaw Brothers kung fu movies, or Ninja TV shows. We’re also living in a world where the internet and social media are integral to our lifestyles.

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I was long skeptical of the advice the so called martial arts industry was giving school owners. They told instructors to make their classes easier, to water down their techniques and lower their expectations. The end result was that we lost the dedicated and instead attracted those with less commitment. We then wondered why people didn’t stay longer and make martial arts their way of life.

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The industry tried to make us offer all things to all people. They sent us monthly DVD’s so we could learn to teach new classes. The reality was, they were telling us to teach things we didn’t know well nor were qualified to teach. We undermined our own credibility acting like used car salesmen.

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As it became harder and harder to attract and retain adults, two things happened. First, the industry increasingly focused on classes for children. The result, we became baby sitters, dressing like ninja turtles, offering birthday parties and acting like clowns. Second, we made even harder to attract adults, as they were not attracted to a school with hundreds of children running around. We created a vicious cycle.

The industry’s response? As people ran for the door, they offered obstacles to slow down that process; belts, upgrades/upsells, black belt clubs, SWAT teams, leadership groups, etc. Rather than addressing the root cause; WHY were people losing interest and trying to leave. A happy student who loves what they do isn’t running for the door. WHY are they unhappy and unmotivated?

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Put it another way; people may love vinyl records or CD’s. But in today’s world would a vinyl record or CD store be a viable business model? We’re offering Moo Duk Kwan or Tang Soo Do or Shaolin Kung Fu. We’re offering intangibles like “confidence” and “discipline.” We aren’t offering tangible benefits like weight loss and improved health. We are focusing on what our masters did decades ago, not on the customer experience every day.

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We’ve convinced ourselves the people don’t want a hard workout. We ignore the fact that in the fitness industry right now, the fastest growing and most successful programs are the “extreme” workouts like cross fits. Extreme diets like Paleo are in the mainstream.

It’s time to evolve, or go extinct, the choice is yours…

NY Best Kickboxing
http://www.nybestkickboxing.com/index.php

I LOVE kickboxing, and you should too!

24 Sep

I Love Kickboxing! And martial arts instructors around the country should as well. In recent years, traditional martial arts schools have found it increasingly harder to attract adults. There are a lot of reasons for this change in trends, but the important conclusion is that the adult market is simply no longer attracted to the mysticism or elitism of traditional martial arts. Today’s adult market is looking for fitness and concrete, appreciable results. Considering they are already skeptical of the claims of most traditional martial artists, they are also reluctant to wear uniforms, practice forms or engage in things like one-step sparring.

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Unfortunately, the word “kickboxing” makes a lot of traditional martial artists cringe. A few even use it like it is a pejorative. Frankly, that’s just stupid and short sighted and I will tell you why. Does your martial art include kicks? Does your martial art include punches? When you were training, you know back in the “good old days”, did you do push ups, sit ups, squats, lots of physical conditioning?

Well, my friend, take a deep breath, because that makes you a KICKBOXER! I don’t know why people have so much trouble with this concept. “Kickboxing” means a system composed of kicks and punches. That pretty much describes 85% of the martial arts being practiced today.

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Do you think the clothing matters? Well, I’ve been in Karate Gi, Korean Taekwondo Dobook, snazy Chinese kung fu uniforms, etc and I’ve done plenty of kicks and punches in ALL OF THEM. Are you finding it hard to convince adults to dress up in a uniform? Especially women? Has anyone ever just told you outright that they feel silly in a uniform, or that it isn’t comfortable, or that they are concerned how they look in one? Isn’t it hard enough to get them to sign up, without adding the extra obstacle of trying to convince them that in addition to paying you money, they also have to buy some funny looking clothing from you and wear it every time they work out?

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A class that is fitness based, focuses on teaching the basic kicking and punching on equipment, where the results are quickly apparent, and which allows people to wear whatever they are comfortable working out in is easily marketed to the adult market and is in fact what they are looking for. The “kickboxing format” attracts both men and women. Most importantly, it attracts people who normally would never consider a martial arts program.

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At a business summit, I told a Taekwondo instructor who was having a little trouble with converting his school to kickboxing exactly what I just wrote above. I asked him what he taught people in his Taekwondo school? He taught them front kicks, side kicks, round kicks, back kicks. I told him that he’s still teaching those things in his “kickboxing” class. He’s just letting people wear what they feel comfortable in and putting them in front of a bag. I pointed out that when I was doing Taekwondo, under 9th degree black belt Pong Ki-Kim (who was a direct student of Moo Duk Kwan founder Hwang Kee) we had heavy bags in our Dojang and we certainly used them!

In fact, people are HAPPIER hitting and kicking bags than they are doing stuff in the air. And they can more quickly see results. Seeing results and being happy equals a happy student who is going to stay longer. They are also likely to tell their friends and refer a lot of new students. This isn’t rocket science people.

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The kickboxing format also has strengths no other martial arts based format can boast. Despite the growth of Mixed Martial Arts, the public perception of martial arts is still kicking and punching. Kickboxing is also already established in the mainstream, i.e. women can and will do the classes. Finally, the kickboxing format not only produces readily apparent results, it is flexible enough to support a large and growing program.

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While I still teach a complete martial arts system, including preparing students for fighting competitions, I use my kickboxing program as the entry level program for all my students. The program not only gets them in shape in an enjoyable way, it stresses basics. They are the same basics students need to advance to contact. However, since the basic level kickboxing class is non-contact it is appropriate for those who are simply looking for a great workout.

Why would I not want to have a class that lets everyone join, have a great time and allows me to sign up 45 to 65 new students PER MONTH?

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Sound good to you?

http://www.nybestkickboxing.com/index.php

For owners; those crazy people who come to your school

13 Sep

This time around, I’m writing a blog my fellow school owners will totally relate to. Many, I hope, will have a chuckle. It will be about the strange people who find their way into your schools, the strange things they say and do. I will start with a 100% completely TRUE STORY, word for word.

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After 25 years in this industry, I am sad to report that I can now identify them as soon as they walk in my door. Case in point, yesterday someone walks in the front door. They don’t smile. They don’t introduce themselves. They don’t even look at you. You aren’t even sure WHAT they are looking at; they just stare randomly around your space.

ME: “Hi, how can we help you today?”

THEM: “I just came to check this out” (this, along with several other phrases, is one of the key warning signs that your time is about to be wasted BIG TIME!)

ME: “Have you been to our website?” (and I hand them a postcard with our web site address and our intro offer. I then hand them a class schedule)

They don’t respond. They don’t say “thank you”. They don’t ask you any other questions. They just walk out the door…. and I start to count… 1, 2, 3…..

They come back through the front door… “Can I ask you something”?

ME: “Sure!”

THEM: “How strong are the fighters”?

ME: “I don’t understand the question” (I didn’t, do you? What does that mean?)

THEM: “The fighters, the fighters here, how strong are they? How strong are they mentally and spiritually”? (I am almost exactly quoting them).

I again told him that I don’t understand the question but add that anyone who wants to fight has to train very hard and be in very good condition. Like a fly, or a bored house cat, they don’t respond, they just wander back out the front door….

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Years ago, our elevator (which opened right into the old space) opened and out stepped a giant, muscular man with a straw “coolie” hat, a karate belt, and two machete stuck in the karate belt. For now, I’ll call him the Shogun of Harlem…. Well, I see the Shogun of Harlem, who announces as he steps off the elevator “I am Sato” (NOT made up!), and I think that this is going to be a fight. This is going to be a s–t storm.

Fortunately for me, my hing-dai Stephen Innocenzi jumps into action like Bugs Bunny.

Innocenzi: “Hi Mr Sato, my name’s Steve. Sit down. Let me tell you about our yellow belt program. For only $499 you get three months of unlimited training. For another $49 we can upgrade you to the black belt club. Of course, you have to buy the uniform and the school patch…..”

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Stephen Innocenzi and The Shogun of Harlem


Mr. Sato stammers. He becomes physically uncomfortable… “I’m not sure I can make a commitment right now”…

Innocenzi: “You can always make a commitment to being a better you, so let me get that paperwork started”….

Mr. Sato: “I’d have to ask my wife, I’m not sure I have time. I’d need to think about it”. He gathers up his stuff, including his machete and gets back on the elevator. To this day, I bow to Innocenzi’s brilliance.

Adam Wakelin at the Cobra Kai

If you’ve been in the martial arts industry for any length of time, you have stories like this. There is something pathetically predictable about the bizarre behavior of human beings. Here are some of my other favorites.

1. The gear collector
They show up for a class and proceed to change into an assortment of t-shirts, fight shorts, uniforms, etc from a variety of different schools. They subsequently show absolutely NO SKILL in anything, confirming your suspicion they never have studied anything for any length of time.

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2. The fortune cookie
No matter what you are teaching, no matter what is going on in class, they find the breath and time (since they aren’t actually working out) to quote, rather loudly, some meaningless fortune cookie quote which not only has nothing to do with anything, but which is meaningless regardless.

3. They make your brain hurt…
They do something that defies all logic. My most recent example, someone who signed up for our Muay Thai classes, then asked after the class why they didn’t learn a form…..

4. The European kickboxing/martial arts champion
They make a point of telling you when they first arrive how much vast experience they have, how they are a champion in some imaginary country like Latveria, and how they are already too advanced for the class you are about to teach. They then proceed to barely survive your warm up and demonstrate no skill even in the most basic technique.

Now go google Latveria ….

Authentic Lama Pai Kung Fu: The teachings of the late Chan Tai San
Buy it now at https://www.createspace.com/4891253

Martial arts in the US, what happened?

27 Jun

PLEASE NOTE: this blog is most definitely NOT just nostalgia with rose colored glasses, that see’s the “good old days” as the “time of giants.” However, it should provide some perspective and raise some serious questions about martial arts in the United States over the past three decades or so. Perhaps it is a wake up call, or perhaps it is an ominous warning about our true character. Honestly, I am not sure which yet. But as always, my blog is here to ask hard questions, get people’s attention and start conversations.

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I frequently cite my own biases and wrong perceptions as a young boy and young man. Despite the fact I had done western boxing around 8 years old, in my mind I didn’t start “martial arts” until I joined the late Pong Ki Kim’s Dojang in Woodside, Queens. The one thing I can definitely tell you was that I fully expected that learning martial arts was not going to be easy, and that there was going to be a lot of work involved.

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Of course, back in those days all Americans sought that elusive goal, the black belt. Perhaps the first mistake we ever made as a community was elevating that concept to such proportions. There is nothing magic about a black belt, in fact it should be considered the standard goal, i.e. proficiency. The industry discovered to its horror that by putting the black belt on such a pedestal, it created the “black belt drop out.” Many people stayed to get the belt, then quickly dropped out.

That wasn’t my problem. I loved training, I wanted to keep learning. But for a variety of reasons, many either too complicated or too personal to discuss right now, I began to move on. I had a brief flirtation with Japanese martial arts, then returned to Chinese martial arts (which I had already begun simultaneously to my Taekwondo and Hapkido training). Once again, I fully expected hard work, perhaps even more so. Chinese martial arts at that time had an even more mysterious reputation. Ironically, when I started, it also had a reputation for a lot of FIGHTING.

The clip above comes from a Bruce Lee tribute film which I found on VHS as a boy. I literally watched it until the tape wore itself blank. This was the standard, this is what I expected, this is what I WANTED. Yet strangely, this clip can seem very strange and foreign to many martial artists who began training in the last two decades?

Now please understand, I am NOT saying these were superhumans. I am NOT saying these people were the best fighters ever. I am NOT saying to old, tired cliche “that if one of the real kung fu people had shown up at the first UFC…” MOST DEFINITELY NOT. I have previously posted actual “kung fu fights” from this era.

Watch the clip a few times. There is MUCH to be fixed here. Effective combinations are missing. The conditioning is clearly suspect. They need much better defense. However, it is full contact and they were fighting.

I must also note that during this very same period, the so called “hard styles”, the Gi-clad Japanese and Korean arts, were also much more realistic than the “point sparring” we see today. Watch the next clip…

The above matches, which include sweeps, low kicks and even throws! are a distant cry from the absolutely ridiculous “point sparring” we see today. I won’t even begin to discuss the “forms competitions” and how martial arts has become circus and gymnastics.

We see in the above two clips a foundation to do something more. I must note that in the “hard style” clip we see Benny “the Jet” Urquidez, who went on to become one of America’s best kickboxers. In other words, we were in that era on the 2nd floor of the building called “fighting.” We could have all climbed the steps, like Urquidez and a few others did. Instead, by a large, the community took the easy way out. They walked down the stairs, into the lobby and left the building.

People suggest all kinds of reasons for this; lawyers, insurance, people not really being interested in fighting, people not wanting to do hard work, etc. Unfortunately, all these suggestions ignore the increasingly popular and successful fighting communities we presently have in the United States, both Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Muay Thai (Thai boxing). And the claim that people don’t want to “work hard” ignores that in the fitness industry right now, the “extreme” workouts like bootcamps and crossfit are the big draws.

So what happend?

http://www.nybestkickboxing.com

What organizations are SUPPOSED to do

19 May

The first organization I was aware of in my martial arts career was the Korean KukKiWan, AKA the World Taekwondo Federation. From them we got our official rank recogniztion, our black belts had (still have) registration numbers and we got beautiful certificates, etc. They standardized competition rules, whereever you went the compeitions were the same, the terms were the same. You had national championships, regional championships, world championships and world cups. They even got Taekwondo into the Olympics.

When I entered the Chinese martial arts community, to say it was a let down would be an understatement. At the time, the only organization was the Eastern United States Kung Fu Federation. By then, they were no longer sponsoring tournaments so they never provided us with that venue. They only held an annual demonstration and that was always poorly organized and poorly promoted. It only attracted the existing schools and its students, it did not do any marketing for the federaton members. In fact, the federation also banned advertising, at least with our school.

Tai Yim and Anthony Goh started the North American Chinese Martial Arts Federation (NACMAF) in the Baltimore/Washington DC area. It had a huge and well organized national tournament. NACMAF promoted not only forms and weapons but full contact as well. It was actually a great organization, except that it was mostly teachers from Guangdong, and it didn’t network well with either the US KuoShu Federation (the Taiwan teachers) or with Jeff Bolt’s organization.

I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t have much dealings with the US KuoShu Federation. They were very insular, they discouraged outsiders from participating, made it very hard to join. It seemed mostly to be composed of old friends from back in Taiwan. Hard to say how well organized it was, but as a marketing scheme it was not very successful.

While both NACMAF and US KuoShu were dominated by Chinese leadership, initially Jeff Bolt offered a well run event that also show due appreciation to the many American instructors. Jeff Bolt was also purely interested in promoting Chinese martial arts, often to his own detriment. That is to say not only was he not “money hungry” he barely kept a thumb on the business aspect.

Without getting into a huge blog post, suffice to say that Chinese martial arts in the United States changed radically when the NACMAF leadership and Jeff Bolt’s group merged to form the United States of America Wushu Kungfu Federation (USA WKF). I don’t really want to re-hash all the events right now, but a number of bad decisions were made, bad BUSINESS DECISIONS that ultimately hurt the federation. While they are still around, they never achieved the heights that seemed potential when the group started.

Most importantly, and to the point of this blog, NONE of the organizations in Chinese martial arts in the United States ever lived up to what they were supposed to do; i.e to promote the arts and the members schools. Wait, let me modify this statement! In the United States, contemporary wushu has certainly grown, but both traditonal kung fu and fighting (Lei Tai, sanshou, san da, whatever you want to call it) have suffered in the past two decades. In fact, the USA WKF effectively DESTROYED sanshou/san da!

An orgainzation that hopes to really leads its constituant members builds regional and a national competition. These events are the fuel that run the engine of the organization. Well organized events bring attention to the arts and the consituant members. Seminars can be arranged at successful events. So can “trade shows”. HECK! Let me throw out a crazy one here, how about BUSINESS MEETINGS that help school owners improve their business!

In today’s age, events also attract people to web sites. Web sites that can be used to educate people. Web sites that can be used to promote the constituant schools and their events. Web sites that MIGHT (this is a HARD ONE) attract potential sponsorship.

I don’t beleive you can standardize Chinese martial arts (or any martial arts tradition for that manner, even the Koreans failed at that!) but competition raises standards. And public scrutiny , the light of day, kills a lot of fungus. Where Chinese martial arts are concerned, you could do a lot to re-establish its reputation by promoting application events like san da, shuai jiao, push hands and chi sau.

Things to AVOID:
1) Rules designed to “protect” the arts or just simpy to favor one organization or one school

2) Corruption! A huge issue in the Chinese martial arts. A real organization is led by people who are ACCOUNTABLE to the consituants. Also, competition rules need to be the same way. For example, the absoute power of the chief offical in IWUF sanshou is a concept born of Communist Totalitarianism. It simply won’t work with people who aren’t brainwashed and used to staying silent

3) Leadership run ONLY but the Asians from the home country! Both Chinese and Korean martial arts organizations have been guilty of this. It’s especially strange considering how many non-Asians run HUGE, successful commercial schools and are the ones providing the competitors!

Just my random thoughts for the day! Have a good one!
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