Yes, I Actually Have to Eat Too…


Hey, I've just been accused of "empire-building". Guilty, as charged...

Sheesh, some people.

I had someone email me Friday saying that I “jumped the shark” by launching MASAI.

Why? Because I’m charging for it.

Wow. A business about making money? Who’da thunk it?

My mistake, I didn’t know making money was illegal in the U.S. – I hereby withdraw all my entrepreneurial overtures immediately. ;)

Seriously, you have to wonder what goes through someone’s head when they say things like this.

It amazes me, truly.

Here’s part of a response to a comment that I posted earlier that sums this up in the context of why some school owners fail:

I think some school owners are really confused about why they’re in business. Webster’s defines it (business) 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 you darn sure can’t be doing it for free if you like eating and having a roof over your head.

Yep, I think that about says it all.

Until next time,

Michael D. Massie
PROUD Founder and President,
The Martial Art School Alliance International
Business Manual:

Thought you’d like to read this…

“After reading Mike’s Small Dojo Big Profits manual and
looking at the local competition I decided to make that
dreaded move…

In a time of recession and job losses I’ve actually
increased both membership and training fees!”

Bill Liddle
Bujinkan Honryu Dojo

P.S.S: Have you joined yet? What are you waiting for?

Become a member TODAY at:


  1. Jerry Taylor on February 21, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Obviously they have not checked out the other guy that really does charge from $99 to $199 per month and that is a fact. I actually have a stack of dvd’s and a binder with so much information that I never will get through all this information and that was just the 30 day intro package. Who can afford those kind of prices?
    And they always tell about the success stories… what about the schools that failed using those same programs? Of course they are not going to mention them and they can not make me believe that everyone that get’s into those programs is successful! Your annual professional fee is extremely affordable and if you only get 2 students a year from using that information it more than pays for itself and that’s just 2 students in a year….. I mean really, think about it!
    Thanks for your time and effort.
    Jerry Taylor

  2. Declan Lestat on February 21, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Mike, them using that one phrase “jumped the shark” tells me all I need to know about their business acumen. The fact they feel they deserve everything for free and can’t understand why we would want to pay a decent fee for a decent service, tells me all I need to know about their business acumen.

    Just hope their bank manager accepts martial arts lessons in lieu of mortgage payments!

  3. Mike Massie on February 21, 2009 at 9:51 am

    That’s nice of you to say so, Jerry.

    And, I think that’s the biggest complaint I hear about those monthly box programs, that they just throw a bunch of information at you, and you end up not knowing where to start.

    Which were, by the way, first introduced by John Graden – he never seems to get credit for his accomplishments, these days.

    Speaking of which, I was actually going through some old files and came across a really old NAPMA newsletter I had. Back then I was paying $99 a month for membership, maybe 10-12 years ago.

  4. Ty Talbert on February 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm


    Unfortunately this individual doesn’t realise you are the “Small Dojo Big Profits” guy, not the “Small Dojo as a Hobby” guy.

    Unfortunately the general public often has that same attitude when they see you have a small Dojo. They equate size with quality.

    You would expect someone who has been involved with Martial Arts (or business) for an extended period of time to know better.

    The more money I make the more I’m willing to pay you.
    It’s called ROI.

    Oh and just in case you’re one of those people involved in martial arts as a hobby, ROI stands for Return On Investment.

  5. Kurt Schulenburg on February 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I still like the Robert Heinlein quote:
    “Anything free is worth what you pay for it.”

  6. Mike Massie on February 21, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    The thing is, I would have welcomed this guy’s feedback, but he was so hostile about it I couldn’t take him seriously.

    By the way, if you get a chance check out the MASAI website – I just updated the look with the new logo and graphics.

  7. sean russell on February 21, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Wow! Profit is not a four letter word. Would someone go to work in a factory, construction,ect and do a days work for free? I think not, ask any union worker if they will work overtime for free, sounds crazy. Well, why should a martial arts instructor leave his family and warm house to give his time, knowledge and years of experience for free? Mr Massie I hope you make tons of money and continue to inspire people with sound advise.

  8. Mike Massie on February 21, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    “Profit is not a four-letter word” – well said!

    The same person later expressed that he thought I was “nickel and diming” people.

    I’m just sort of amused at the whole thing. It’s really the only negative feedback I’ve had since I started stepping up the services and information I’m providing online, so I thought I’d share it and hear what you guys think.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  9. Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc. on February 22, 2009 at 7:28 am

    I cannot recall seeing any other activity where in instructors and experts are, by some, expected to work for free. I call these people the gimmees.

    I believe most of them have had the world handed to them or they feel the world owes them something and it’s okay to take and not give. Most, I don’t believe, have families to feed nor understand the concept of built upon knowledge costing time, money and in our case blood.

    Mostly I get irritated by these people, but when I think hard about their situation, I feel sorry for them. They’ll probably never become successful themselves


  10. Mike Field on February 22, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Looks like Mr. Graden is rising from the ashes. Let’s hope Century and their cronies will leave him alone this time.

  11. Mogopodi . K on February 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    a $149 a year to me is reasonbly okay,every service in this global world someone has to pay.Mike I hope you are making an impact to all martial art schools and we appreciate, that is why someone somewhere is feeling you and putting their business under pressure.

  12. John Scaini on February 23, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Mike, if one can make a good living from teaching a martial art, I raise a glass to you. It is not an easy thing to do! But don’t knock down those who want to do it for free.

  13. Mike Massie on February 23, 2009 at 7:17 am

    John, I’m certainly not knocking part-time instructors, or those who choose do it for free.

    I’m actually taking a swipe at people who think they can enter the business of running a school with a “lukewarm” attitude about making money at it – and I’ve been guilty of exactly that myself, so I think I’m qualified to make the observation. :)

    My point is not that teaching for free is “bad”, but that if you decide to open a school, at that point you have jumped into the deep end of the business pool, and there’s no sense in whining about the things you don’t want to do to ensure that your school survives.

  14. Bill Liddle on February 23, 2009 at 8:02 am

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the mention, actually it’s opened up another area of opportunity. I have just received an email from a local ad agency wanting to buy advertising space on my website AND they mentioned this blog!!!


  15. Brent on February 26, 2009 at 8:26 am

    I think if you are going to be a professional teacher (wether you do it for money or otherwise), you need to be “professional” and I am sure your program will help people with that. Too many teachers out there are not professional in any way… and harm the image of many of us. So, cheers to you Mike for trying to help us all.

  16. Jeet Kune Do Enthusiast on March 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    You gotta love marketers who don’t like being marketed to.

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