Join the martial arts Teacher of Teachers, John Graden as he explores important and controversial questions about martial arts instructors, schools and the business.
Graden is the author of the best-selling books including, "Black Belt Management," "The Truth About the Martial Arts Business," "How to Open and Operate a Successful Martial Arts School," and the "Impostor Syndrome."
He has been profiled by the Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, The Dr. Oz Show and over 100 other media outlets.
He is an 8th-degree black belt under the legendary Joe Lewis and a world kickboxing champion.
Why I Replaced Taekwondo with Empower Kickboxing™
After nearly two decades of teaching traditional taekwondo, Guevara realized that what he was teaching was not providing the benefits he wanted for his students.
He replaced his curriculum with Empower Kickboxing™ and did not lose a single student.
Guevara has reduced the number of classes he has to teach by half, and he’s retained all of his students through the transition to Empower Kickboxing and the COVID pandemic.
Bonus: Martial Arts Instructor Teaching Tip: No Rescues
The Truth About Martial Arts in the Inner-City: Willie "The Bam" Johnson Part 1
In the ultimate “fake it till you make it” scenario, podcast guest Willie Johnson was so desperate to escape Baltimore’s inner-city that he actually made up his own kung fu techniques to compete against black belts in martial arts tournaments.
His dream was to become a karate champion and get out of his violent, drug-infested neighborhood. That dream eventually became a nightmare.
As a teenager, Willie would climb on a bus to travel for days to compete in major tournaments around the USA.
Then, a strange thing happened. He started to win. In fact, he won the prestigious US Open Karate Championships in 1986.
Podcast host John Graden says, “I was at that event and remember being impressed with Willies’ performance. Like the rest of us, I had no idea what kind of world he lived in. This is a great story I know our listeners will enjoy.”
The newly crowned US Open Champion was not greeted with fanfare after his big win. Instead, he was met with a shower of bullets that left his best friend dead at his feet. His neighborhood crew gave him a dire ultimatum. Continue to do martial arts, or rejoin them and sell drugs to junkies.
Caught up in the emotion of the murder, Willie chose revenge for his friend over another tournament win. It was a fateful decision that sent him spiraling down into the dark world of hustling and muscling drugs. Overnight, he went from karate king to drug lord.
Though he knew it was the wrong decision, Willie spent the next three years as a violent stoned-out drug pusher until he was arrested for fighting with the police and sentenced to a year in the maximum-security prison.
It was in that prison that Willie turned his life around. He kept to himself in his cell rather than mix with the prison population in the day area. He spent his time practicing his martial arts and setting goals for his future as a martial arts school owner and world champion.
Willie “The Bam” Johnson went on to win seven-world championships, author books, and become a highly respected master martial arts teacher to his students, including many from the same inner-city neighborhood that he grew up in.
“The Bam” shares his story in a three-part series on John Graden’s The Truth About the Martial Arts Business Podcast. In addition to his martial arts experience, Johnson describes the harsh truth about martial arts in the inner-city.
He clearly explains the stark difference between what a martial arts black belt may think would happen in a ghetto street fight and what is most likely to go down and it’s not favoring the black belt.
The Smoke and Mirrors of Martial Arts
In the episode, the truth about the martial arts business is that not only is it easy for instructors to fall into these drastic mistakes of the past, but that it’s almost expected. Listen in and I’ll share with you the generational pitfalls that are rarely shared or spoken about because they’ve been repeated for decades and it’s my goal to help you navigate past them.
How to enroll 425 Student School While Teaching Just 2 Classes a Night
This week, the truth about the martial arts business is that in order to grow your school in the season of COVID, you have to learn how to meet students and potential students where they are at rather than leading them down tired, out-dated training methods.
Our guest today is Mark Moore. His martial arts school in South Jersey has continued to grow through the pandemic. He was an original Pro-Star curriculum school that has evolved into Empower Kickboxing.
A certified leadership coach in the John Maxwell system, Mark says the three keys to his success are, the curriculum, the school atmosphere, and a special mindset that any martial arts school owner will appreciate learning.
18. What Every Martial Arts Instructor MUST Know About the Law of Self-Defense.
This week, The Truth About the Martial Arts Business explores a deadly serious topic that every martial arts school instructor needs to understand and teach.
As a martial artist, you train in self-defense to protect yourself and your loved ones, but what really happens in the court system when a martial artist defends him or herself?
This episode of The Truth About the Martial Arts Business will help you to understand and prepare for the legal battle that happens after an attack. The first fight is for your life – the second for your liberty.
Attorney Andrew F. Branca, a renowned expert in self-defense law and author of The Law of Self-Defense, teaches you how to make quick, effective, legally appropriate decisions in life-and-death situations.
The 5 Elements of Self Defense
2:50 Do I have to wait for the bad guy to hit me first?
3:40 Can I use a weapon in my defense?
4:00 What it cost to defend a self-defense case
4:00 Deadly force and the martial arts
4:25 How is "Deadly Force" defined by law?
4:40 Does the court look at a trained martial artist differently than an untrained defender?
5:30 Prosecutors love to talk about martial arts expertise
5:55 What influences juries in regards to martial arts for self-defense?
6:05 Will your defense attorney use your martial arts training as a defense or suppress it from the jury?
6:15 How can martial arts help your defense?
6:40 The Three Fights
9:00 What we can learn from Tom Hanks
9:30 Use of a force expert
10:15 Can the prosecution include the defender's instructor?
11:00 Can an instructor face criminal charges for the actions of his or her student?
13:00 Applying the five elements of self-defense to a martial artist defending himself.
13:05 Element 1: Innocence
14:27 How a victim loses their claim of innocence
14:45 Element 2: Imminence
15:20 Element 3: Proportionality
15:45 What if you have a gun and he attacks you with his fists?
16:20 The common mistake concealed weapons holders make
16:46 Element 4: Avoidance
17:00 Is Stand Your Ground just in Florida?
18:07 Element 5: Reasonableness
18:33 Is there such a thing as Jury Selection?
19:30 The danger of CCW
20:00 The Law of Self-Defense Workshop info with Andrew Branca
21:00 Why students get so stressed at Andrew's seminars, that they can't remember what they just did.
Map of State Self-Defense Laws
The Law of Self-Defense on Amazon
Deadly Force - Understanding Your Right To Self Defense
The Psychology of Self-Defense
How to Build a 6-Figure Self-Defense Business
Joe Robaina is a veteran martial artist with a wide range of skills and talent. But for the last few years, he has excelled in the self-defense business. Joe shares some strategies that have helped him to build a successful self-defense business.
During that process, he has discovered some realities about the martial arts business model and how the COBRA Self-Defense business system operates in order to avoid those pitfalls.
COBRA-Defense Information: SelfDefenseBusiness.com
Empower Kickboxing Information: EmpowerKickboxing.com
Past episodes: MATAPodcast.com