Martial Arts Instructor News and Articles

John Graden

John Graden

Executive Director

John Graden led the martial arts into the modern era by creating the first professional association, trade journal & instructors certification program.

How often have you heard comments like these? “I teach military based self-defense!” “I teach police based self-defense!” “I teach kung fu based self-defense!”

A ton, I’m sure.

How often have you ever heard a comment like this? “I will show you have to make a six-figure income from teaching self-defense.”

Never, I’m sure.

It’s not hard to find a good self-defense system. Any brown belt can teach how to get out of a headlock or a gun defense. It’s really difficult to find a good self-defense BUSINESS SYSTEM. There is a huge difference. Self-defense is much easier to teach than kata or a traditional system. But, can you make money at it?

Less than 1% of professional martial artists know how to generate six-figures annually from teaching self-defense.  If you want to be part of that elite group, here are some good questions to ask any self-defense system you’re considering.

1. As the organization leader, do you make your money from teaching self-defense or do you make your money off of certifying guys like me to teach your system?

  • How much focus is there on making money vs technical skills?

2. What is your background as it relates to creating income as a self-defense instructor?

  • Not who you trained with. Income.
  • Not what system you teach. Income.

3. How many A-Z curriculum programs do you offer?

  • Active Shooter?
  • Teen Safety?
  • Real Estate Safety?
  • Anti-Bully?
  • Law Enforcement Self-Defense and Training?
  • Self-Defense for Kids?
  • Self-Defense for Adults?
  • Ten Week Academies?
  • How are these programs supported?

4. How are these programs supported?

  • Full curriculum manuals?
  • Videos of the program classes so I can model the program?
  • Program-specific marketing materials?

5. How will I market my self-defense programs?

  • Do you have marketing ads?
  • Do you have marketing videos?
  • Do you have scripts for presentations?
  • Do you have an upsell strategy?

6. What kind of support can I expect?

  • Do you provide Executive Coaching Videos?
  • Do you provide Facebook Live Coaching Videos?
  • Do you provide Phone call support?

7. Do you help me to elevate my business above the local competition?

  • Do you provide a stand-alone, branded website?
  • Do you have branded apparel, so I can look professional when I teach?
  • Do you have branded manuals and student handouts I can provide my students?

As far as I know, there is only one self-defense system that can answer each one of these important questions with a resounding, YES! COBRA-Defense is the Official Self-Defense Business System of the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA) for a very good reason. It is proven to work.

Notice Tyson’s hand is by his face, not his hip.

His chin is down instead of up.

His shoulder is up instead of pulled back.

His body is sideways to his opponent instead of squared off.

His legs are under his body not spread apart like he was riding a horse.

With this kind of form, he would fail his orange belt exam in most schools. 

How does that make any sense?

Sensei Tyson?

If Mike Tyson or a world champion kickboxer came to your school to teach your black belts. What do you think he would work on? Double punches, square blocks, and keeping your chin up?

I’m pretty sure he would emphasize head movement, how to snap your punches and a defense that does NOT include pulling your punch back to your hip.

I’m sure the students would learn advanced applications to adjust for different fighters. Notice I said advanced applications, not advanced strikes.

When you focus on application, you can apply that to almost any technique.

For instance, if the drill is about how to fight a taller fighter, the answer is more about footwork to stay on the outside until you can secure quick access. My brothers are 6′ 3″ and 6′ 4″ so I know something about fighting a taller opponent.

Drills that teach that application do not require complexity. They require simplicity.

The more complex a skill becomes, the less chance it can be used. Have you ever seen a double punch? Only in kata and here:

If you eliminated all kata and traditional skills, you could devote that time to drills and conditioning that would give your students a true advantage in sparring or self-defense.

Imagine teaching fewer skills that are easy to teach and learn than traditional skills and kata.

You could spend more time on the application of those skills rather than stepping up and down the classroom and holding blocks and punches out in the air, which leaves you wide open for a counterattack.

Rather than spending student’s time with the complexity and frustration of spending years perfecting the bad habits of pulling their hand back to their hip, keeping their chin up, aiming and holding a punch in the air, and blocking with power while stepping forward, your retention will improve. Your student quality will improve. Your curriculum consistency will improve.

This is the core of our white to black belt curriculum Empower Kickboxing.

It’s an old saying, but true. “Less is best.”

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