I was recently interviewed by the author of a Krav Maga Life, read and enjoy!
I met a fellow martial arts school owner at a friends house the other night. The friend mentioned to me earlier in the evening that his guest owned 4 other schools on the south shore. I made introductions and we chatted a bit about his school. He was incredibly respectful, but he also had tunnel vision. I have met many school and business owners like that over the years. They just “know” what does and does not work.
We first started discussing the styles we taught, he told me about his school and how great his style was. He wasn’t arrogant about it, just confident and specific. He asked how my school was doing. I told him great. The topic came up, kid students adults etc. He then told me “the economy sucks, so adults don’t want to take class now” When I shared we have over 250 adults training in Spencer, he explained his schools where in high end areas so the recession has caused more problems with wive’s having to get jobs now.
I mentioned how we also offer ilovekickboxing..started to ask if he had heard of it. He told me how he did kickboxing in the 90’s “When it was hot” but “NO ONE” does kickboxing anymore..nobody is going to join that program.
“If there is a recession, I refuse to participate.” Master Paul Garcia
We opened our school right as the recession started. I heard the news and media every day talking about how bad it was. I started feeling afraid, and doubting our decision to open a school. These where the worst conditions, in a small farming community. I heard the locals talking about getting laid off, I saw house foreclosures on every corner. My own home was behind now. I had been running a school for the 8 years prior in the same community in a great economy, how on earth could we succeed in a failing economy.
Then one day I sat in Master Garcia’s training and he said the quote above, “If there is a recession, I refuse to participate”. I realized I had allowed the mindset of what was in the media etc. affect my own behaviors. I realized then I had a choice on how I was going to respond to the things happening in our community, I Could jump into the doom and gloom boat, or I could paddle against the stream.
We doubled the size of our school that year. We have continued to grow every year, in every program. We surrounded ourselves with like minded individuals and stopped spending time around those negative nellies. I have watched all of the America’s Best Defense Schools (even those in well to do communities grow like crazy year after year).
Please understand, I am in no way down playing or sweeping under the rug the fact that there have been some very had times in our country for families. I am rather encouraging to choose how you work with the cards you are dealt.
Did you know that the game Monopoly was born due to the Great Depression? Charles Darrow found himself out of work after the crash of ’29, he then spent years perfecting the game and became the first millionare by creating a board game.
Check out these 5 stories from the great depression,
“30 begins the slow decline to death”
Was the anthem that surrounded me during my 20’s. My instructors, employers, friends, training partners, and coworkers sang it frequently, like a chant reminding me my days where numbered. As I looked to those people in the martial arts that I knew at that time over 30, it was disappointing. Training was limited by any number of “age” ailments. Shoulders, knees, back, neck, weight etc. I was growing older, just wait, they said… As a mom with 2 young children, I was working full time and barely finding time to work out myself…I couldn’t even imagine how disappointing my future would be.
As I entered my later 20’s I was working 50-80 hours a week teaching martial arts and running a martial arts school. I found time to hit the gym occasionally – but my martial arts training had dwindled down to only our instructors class that was geared specifically to what we where going to teach the next day, not challenging me to the next level. I was a 3rd degree black belt, I had adapted the belief in my head that this was it..becoming a Master (my next rank in that system) would require learning a new form or two – every few years. I looked at the instructors around me who now learned via book or video and felt my martial arts training had come to an end.
Then we opened our own school. I began to fantasize that maybe I could train again. I wasn’t sure how but I wanted to learn Brazilian JuJitsu so badly. I also really wanted to become certified in Krav Maga, and after watching a season of Master Toddy’s FIght girls, I was mesmerized by Muay Thai.
I started gymnastics with my demonstration team, I was 28 now… only a couple years left to get all the things I had always wanted in before my body fell apart right? Then 3 months after I started gymnastics I broke my arm badly. It required 3 surgeries to put it back together and I was out of work for 3 months. During that time, so may people said to me “What were you thinking” “Don’t you think you are a little old for that stuff” “I hope this taught you, its time to stop”. I couldn’t help but agree and think they where right.
I settled, at that point I reserved myself to the fact that this was the best I could get. Go to the gym a couple times a week and hope for the best. But I would never again have any new accomplishments. At that point I gained 10 pds.
Then, later that year, a business friend of mine posted on Facebook about having a mentor. I couldn’t help but think of someone I had taken some seminars from, He really “walked the walk” and if I could choose anyone in the world to learn from he was the man.
It was then I joined Martial Arts For Excellence, with Master Paul Garcia. I was excited to learn how to run a great martial arts school, attract more students, and have financial success.
The thing is, I didn’t get a business seminar. The very first event we attended i was blown away at these very successful school owners – they were all in amazing shape!!! Most of them where not only over 40, some where over 50. When the instructors hit the training matt, so did they.
Master Garcia taught us then, we had to lead from the front. That we had no business teaching martial arts if we were not training at least 3x a week..IN MARTIAL ARTS (we also should be working out for cardio and weights). Not stuff you already know he said, go learn new things. Be the best you can be for your students. Fall back in love with martial arts.
I felt like it was a dream come true, hadn’t I started in the martial arts and fitness because it was my passion? I started teaching so I COULD train more.
My arm was still healing so at that point I was limited to Monday training. Then a Jujitsu class opened up on Fridays. It was so exciting to start learning new things again!
THEN I TURNED 30, and my world fell apart just like everyone said….the end.
Master Garcia had taught that it only gets better, and I saw living proof! I watched a 44 year old out kick an 18 year old. I watched those who had been training for years, humble themselves and get certified in Krav Maga. My thinking changed, my beliefs changed, my input changed, and so did my results. I have accomplished more in the 3 years since I turned 30 then I did in ALL of my 20’s. I could totally kick my 20something year olds butt.
Since then I have
Got my Krav Maga certification 1,2,&3
Got my first 3 stripes on my white belt in Brazilian JuJitsu
Certified in Trans Muay Thai
Got my White Mongoul in Muay Thai
Got my 4th degree black belt
I Run more,
I am Faster,
I Kick higher
become and inspiration to my children
….and much much more
With 2014 here, as you set your goals for health and fitness. Don’t let societies beliefs hold you back. Set goals, then find the coaches that can get you there. Don’t settle, get off the sidelines of life and play!