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Guess Who Bought a $14-Million HQ?


white belt child kicks with instructor watching

Get Certified as a Martial Arts Instructor Online

MATA Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course

Module 21-The Proper Use of Student Instructors

by Scot Conway, Esquire

The $25,000 Volunteers

Excerpt from the Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course:

Using upper ranks to teach classes has been a long-standing martial arts tradition. But, is it legal?

A California instructor had his black belts teaching under-rank classes at his studio. In exchange, he no longer charged them tuition.

This continued until one fateful day when the owner and a black belt student had a disagreement.

The vindictive student contacted the California Labor Board and reported that his instructor had been employing assistants by requiring that they teach classes each week.

This can constitute an Employer – Worker relationship. The only thing missing was payment for the workers and the taxes the government would collect if they were being paid.

The State of California investigators concluded that the owner, over the years, had a total of 25 black belts teach classes.

They defined them as uncompensated employees, which is illegal under the laws of California, and fined the instructor $1,000 per incident.

The final bill: $25,000 for the volunteers.

Lesson: Know your state laws regarding utilizing assistant instructors.

As my wife and I were driving to our condo on Clearwater Beach, we drove by landmark hotel that was built in the 1920s. It’s a beautiful hotel in a picturesque setting. As we passed it, I saw a sign in front that indicated that the building that displayed the name and logo of the new owners.

Had I been driving, I may have crashed the car. I wasn’t sure what I saw. I said “Holy cow! What did that say?” It was a rhetorical question because I knew what it said. I was just in disbelief.

The property was purchased for $2.8-million with plans for $14-million in renovations and housing development. The buyers are a martial arts organization. They are not fringe Reverend Myung Moon types nor are they Scientologists, who virtually own the area.

My initial thought was that this is crazy. However, it started to make some sense as I thought about it. This is not the ATA or a high profile commercial martial arts association.

The Taoist Tai Chi Society, oddly referred to as a “religious organization” claims affiliated organizations in 26 countries with more than 42,000 participants.

What does this mean for those of us in the martial arts business? Our society is aging. Tai chi appeals to seniors and there are more of them now than ever before. When it comes to anti-aging, baby boomers have plenty of money to spend.

Read the entire story.

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Photo courtesy, Beth Watson, Sachs Media Group


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1 Comment

  1. dan

    Wow, who’d of thought!