The Core Dynamics of Starting a Martial Arts Business

When I created National Associations of Professional Martial Artists (NAPMA) in 1994, there was little useful information available to the industry as a whole. Owners were struggling because they simply didn’t know any way of running a martial arts business other than the system they had inherited from their instructor, which we know is usually a recipe for disaster.

NAPMA gave you a way to learn how to run a black belt school.  Martial Arts Professional magazine was launched to help the entire industry, even non-NAPMA members, by exposing them to methods, systems, people, and ideas that had proven successful. Now, the Martial Arts Teachers Association (MATA) does the best job of all, because the entire library is updated three to four times a week. This massive resource is at your fingertips 24/7.

Still, as time went by, I found it fascinating to observe that two school owners – in the same styles, general markets, and circumstances, and exposed to the same information – might react very differently. One would prosper with it, and the other wouldn’t even try it. After more than a decade of study and exposure to this great information, why were some schools still struggling, while others thrived?

The answer is The Core Dynamics. We martial artists are a unique group but, as school owners, we face the same challenges. More importantly, we all have the same Core Dynamics.

The Core Dynamics of the Professional Martial Artist define the underlying forces that control our patterns of thought and behavior. Nearly every martial arts professional ,who is starting a martial arts business, has the same obstacles, but the distinction is how the top school owners in the world deal with them. How an instructor or school owner deals with the Core Dynamics determines his or her success.

Before we get into the how-to, I’m going to help you understand some of the obstacles that may be holding you back. It’s important for you to understand why you do or don’t do something. I want you to be the one who grows instead of stagnates.

First, we’ll examine a common pathway to opening a school and the predictable patterns of thought and behavior in most of our backgrounds. Then, we will contrast how the top owners deal with the Core Dynamics versus struggling school owners.

The Core Dynamics are:


1. The Control Factor


2. Finding Your Voice


3. Value What You Do


4. Clarity of Purpose


5. Black Belt Eyes


Widely recognized as the man who revolutionized the martial arts industry, John Graden launched organizations such as NAPMA (National Association of Professional Martial Artists), ACMA (American Council on Martial Arts), and MATA (Martial Arts Teachers Association). Graden also introduced the first trade magazine for the martial arts business, Martial Arts Professional.

John Graden’s latest book, The Truth about the Martial Arts Business looks into key strategies involved in launching a martial arts business and includes Graden’s own experience as a student, a leader and a business owner.

Graden is the author of six books including The Truth about the Martial Arts Business, The Impostor Syndrome: How to Replace Self-Doubt with Self-Confidence and Train Your Brain for Success, Mr. Graden has been profiled by hundreds of international publications including over 20 magazine cover stories and a comprehensive profile in the Wall Street Journal.

Presentations include: The Impostor Syndrome, Black Belt Leadership, The Secret to Self Confidence, and How to Create a Life Instead of Making a Living, John has taught his proven and unique principles of success to thousands of people on three continents since 1987.

From keynote presentations for thousands to one-on-one coaching sessions, John Graden is a dynamic speaker, teacher, and media personality who brings passion and entertainment to his presentations. </pArticle Source: