Martial Arts School Owners Who Say, “I Don’t Wanna’!”

You cant afford to be a wuss about what you need to do to stay in business

In this economy you simply can't afford to be a wuss about what you need to do to stay in business

Ever see a kid arguing with his parents about something they wanted him to do?

If you have kids (or teach them in your school), I’m sure you’ve heard this before:

“But I don’t want to (insert something here that kids normally hate doing)!”

And you know the rest.

When I explain to martial arts instructors what they need to do to succeed, many times they’re a lot like those kids.

I tell them exactly what they need to do to succeed, and this is what I often hear in return:

“But Mike, I don’t want to…”

…teach kids

…teach women

…teach baby boomers

…teach fitness classes

…teach grappling

…teach mma

…sell equipment

…sell nutritional supplements

…do birthday parties

…work on my marketing

…hire a professional to design and build my website

…have a marketing budget

…track my stats

…train a leadership team

…run a summer camp

…make public appearances

…do public speaking events

…network in my community

…get publicity from the local press

…do volunteer work and fundraisers

In short, they’re telling me they don’t want to WORK…

They just want to make the big bucks, without having to hassle with all the things that will get you there.

But, you’re different, right?

I mean, you’ve been reading my materials, and so by now you know success doesn’t just happen like magic.

Well, in this economy that’s doubly true.

So, for those of you who are okay with bucking up and just dealing with whatever it takes to make your school a success, my hat’s off to you.

And, when the dust settles after this recession is over, you’ll be one of the ones left standing while your whiny, sissy competitors are long gone.

– MM

Questions? Comments? Totally disagree? Let the world know! Post your comments below:


  1. Jason C. Brown on February 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Hey Mike,

    Great post. The only thing worse than the person not willing to put the effort is the person that blames everyone else for their lack of success.

    I’m currently dealing with several of these types and their good guys but their lack of effort and martyr complex is making me reconsider everything.

    Keep up the great blog you anti-guru!

  2. Jason Stanley on February 20, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Can’t YOU do it for me?


  3. Mike Massie on February 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Yeah, you can’t change them though, and you’ll just hurt yourself trying.

    Hang in there!

  4. Kurt Schulenburg on February 20, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Whew! The hard part is finding the time in the day to do ’em.(I’ve got a 60 hour a week day job, too!) I currently do about a dozen of the list and the remaining 5 or 6 are just awaiting either time (like the summer camp!) or the opportunity (anyone need a public speaker?).
    But you’re on the money – it’s easier to whine than work!

  5. Mike Massie on February 20, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    You said it with that last remark, Kurt.

    Admittedly, a lot of the resistance I hear from instructors regarding the list above has to do with being stuck in the past.

    I think some school owners are really confused about why they’re in business. Webster’s defines it as, “A usually commercial or mercantile activity engaged in as a means of livelihood.”

    By that definition, the purpose is to make a living. So, if you think you’re in business to propagate a particular style or system, to adhere to a particular curriculum or set of rank requirements, or to create disciples thereof; well, you’re mistaken, and you should really be teaching a part time program and doing something else to support yourself.

    It doesn’t mean you can’t teach good martial arts and still earn a living; quite to the contrary. However, being in business does mean that you need to be selling what the customer is buying, and that’s not always a certain style or system.

    And, I’m not even going to get into all the Shinola about style purism and what-not… because it’s already been established historically that many of the so-called traditional styles that are taught today are in truth hybrids and off-shoots of something else.

    Heck, people tell me they don’t want to teach grappling because they do karate, but it’s in the freakin’ forms!

    Drives me nuts, really, that someone would actually resist learning something new because they think it’s against their religion… er, I mean “style”. :)

  6. Jeff Barnes on February 20, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I know I whined alot… still whimper some times. But Mike you hit the nail on the head. You have to do a lot of what is mentioned on the list.

    Another thing I believe that causes the ‘whining’ stage to happen is that we as instructors try something and it fails. Since most people are ‘pain-avoiders’ they would rather not go through that process again.

    It takes dedication and willing to lose something at first in order to gain something bigger in the end.

  7. Stephen Kirkman on February 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I have run my school for about the last 20 some years and have heard these so called experts out there claim things that they can do and it seems to me most are just putting others down saying go with me because they suck. I have used companies in the past to boost my enrolment and run my busines and some with some success some without. I need honesty not tough talk numbers that are real proof that it works long term not just talk. Martial Arts is covered with people who have huge egos so honesty is not in the forfront of the agenda. My business is OK it could be better and I have a ton of room to learn and the more I know the more I know that I don’t know. I bring an empty glass to learning meaning saying I am willing to start from ground 0 and learn how many of you are willing to do that? 35 years of training has taught me that yes even a 5 year old white belt can teach me something not just some guy with a fancy self proclaimed tittel. I am not the smartest one out there nor am I the best nor do I proclaim my way to be the best way its just what I do now and sometimes it works and sometimes it does not work and thats OK too thats life a never ending learning experience so lets stop putting eachother down something that at times I am guilty of and lets start working together and kick this Martial Arts world into gear. I am going to stay humbel so I don’t stumbel. I like the positive not so much the negative a problem is only a learning experience. So keep the e-MAILS COMING I like them or call me not with a sales pitch but with a friendly conversation of ideas and solutions that we can exchange and I am on board.

  8. Kevin Deaver on February 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    It’s easier to whine, when work is hard.
    I grew up knowing what it meant to work and work hard.
    8 hours work for 8 hours pay. So much any more they want more $$$$$$$ and less work……………..

    Once again, you are right on the money!
    So true!


  9. Dave Chesser on February 20, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    Even in traditional Chinese arts like taichi we have significant grappling involved. But few people are willing to get out there and develop it so they won’t benefit from the current grappling craze. Too bad ’cause grapplers are fun to work with.

    But their loss is our gain. :)

  10. Noah Bergen W.V on February 21, 2009 at 10:16 am

    I agree, you got to do what it takes to stand out above the others.
    just being linked with mike in 2 month i went from 14 students to 38 in 2 month
    thanks mike for your site

  11. Mike Massie on February 21, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Noah – that’s great! Glad to hear that the sites and articles have helped you grow your program.

    Keep us posted on your progress!

  12. Ty Talbert on February 21, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks Mike,

    I’m a believer.
    You just left out one thing, time managment.

    What I need to work on.

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