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How You Can Go to Prison for Defending Yourself

by | Offline Marketing & Sales

Setting Expectations for Martial Arts Students Upfront

Authority is highly influenced by emotion.

While your staff and students may intellectually understand that you are the boss and master instructor, they have to feel it, not think it.

It’s the emotional connection that anchors your authority on a deep level.

If there is one powerful moment in your role as a professional martial arts instructor, it’s in the enrollment conference.

While the parents may see you as the master black belt, they usually don’t have an authoritative reverence at this early stage.

The enrollment conference is a seminal moment for you to establish your authority and gain the respect and gratitude of the family you’re dealing with.

Presenting the programs and their cost to parents can be tense at times. Some parents want to negotiate. Others might object to the agreement. Some want a safety net in case their child wants to quit.

While it’s important that you are prepared to overcome any objections, it’s when the bottom line is signed and the initial investment is completed that you have a critical window to demonstrate your authority.

Many owners complete the transaction and gush with statements like, “Awesome. It’s great to have you on board. Johnny, you did an awesome job tonight. High five! Thanks Mrs. Jones it’s great to have Johnny as part of our family. Let me know if I can help with anything.”


Who has the role of authority here? Mrs. Jones and her credit card. That was a missed opportunity.

Let’s try again. You would adjust this script to the age and circumstance, but here is an authority template for the enrollment conference.

Mom has just enrolled Johnny into the program.

You, “Johnny. You want to learn Empower Kickboxing, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. I want you to understand that your mom just enrolled you into a six month program. You are going to learn a lot of great skills and lessons. It’s going to be fun and sometimes it’s going to be hard. That’s the good part because that means you’re learning. So you have to pay attention and practice at home 20-minutes a day when you don’t have class.

Are you going to work hard and practice?”

“Yes sir.”

“I’m glad. Your classes are Monday and Wednesday at 5pm. When are your classes?”

“Monday and Wednesday at 5pm.”

“Good. You’re a smart guy. That means that you have to be ready to come to class by 4:30 on Monday and Wednesdays so that you’re not late. Will you do that?”

“Yes sir.”

“No matter what you are doing, you will be ready by 4:30, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. The first lesson is integrity. Integrity means that you do what you say you are going to do. You keep your promises. You promise to work hard and be ready for class, right?”

“Yes sir.”

“No matter what you’re doing. Right?”

“Yes sir.”

“Great. We’re going to be so proud of you. Your mom just enrolled you, so please turn to her and say, ‘Thank you mom.”

“Thank you mom.”

“Alright. When someone does something good for you, you always say thank you. That’s called gratitude. What’s it called?”


“Correct. So you’ve learned two important lessons today. Integrity and gratitude. What does integrity mean?

“Keeping your promises.”

“Yes. What does gratitude mean?”

“Saying thank you.”

“You got it! You are going to do great, I can tell already.”

“Remember, your class is…”

“Monday and Wednesday at 5pm.”

“When will you be ready to come to class?”


“You have a good head on your shoulders Johnny. You’re going to be good at this.”

“Because you’ve showed your mom gratitude and you’re going to keep your promises, here is a school t-shirt for you to wear. Every time you put it on, I want you to think of integrity and gratitude. Will you do that?”

“Yes sir.”

“I just gave you a shirt. How do you show gratitude?”

“Thank you sir.”

As taught in the MATA Certification program, it’s also a good idea to let mom know that it’s important that she control what Johnny is doing around 4:30 which is the agreed upon to be ready for class.

If Johnny is playing with his friends or deep in a video game, it’s going to be harder to get him to get ready than if he is cleaning his bedroom or something he’d like to leave to go to class.

Keep in mind that mom is watching this happen before her eyes. What have you done to establish your authority?

  1. You’ve provided her with a language pattern that both her and Johnny understand. This is huge.
  2. You’ve given mom the “integrity” framework to deal with any reluctance to go to class.
  3. You’ve provided her with a strategy to engage Johnny in less fun activities so that going to class is an easy decision.
  4. You’ve laid out when Johnny should get ready for class without complaint.
  5. Before her eyes, you taught her son important lessons with real world examples. No doubt, your authority sky-rocketed in her eyes and in her heart.

Look for places where you can make these kinds of strong emotional connections.

Demonstrate true authority and leadership. That will last much longer than a trite, shallow compliments like “Awesome! Good job.”

This will help your students to understand how and why they are training with the best school.

NOTE: Below this article is an Associated Press news piece from May 8, 2018, illustrating this important information.

I was raised on the Clint Eastwood, John Wayne style of fighting.  Haymakers and unwritten rules that you never hit a man when he is down. Even when the kung fu boom hit, the fighters seemed to follow some ideas of honor and integrity while they gouged out a bad guy’s eyeballs. That’s the movies, let’s talk about real life.

Most hand-to-hand fights are actually three to four fights rolled into one. As self-defense or martial arts instructor, you have to understand this.

One of the five components that make up a self-defense plea from prosecution is an imminent threat. If a person says he or she is going to smash your face and starts to move in ways that support that intention, that could be argued as an imminent threat and could allow you to preemptively act first to protect yourself.

That is fight #1. If, with assertive verbal judo, you can talk down the aggressor or put distance between you, then you have won and no one is hurt. Fight one is over and all is well.

If verbal judo and distance don’t work, fight #2 is on. This is where it gets very dangerous for a martial artist, self-defense expert, or any trained fighter. If you are defending yourself, you have the right to “end the threat.” This is really important to understand. If you knock your attacker out and then jump on him ala’ MMA and smash his face, you have just started fight #3 and you may well go to jail for it. The threat is over, yet you continue to fight. Bad move.

Even though the law says that you must stop at the end of the threat, the fact that you are a trained person can be used AGAINST you. Regardless of training, once the threat is over, you must stop.

Fight #3 will probably cost you every penny you have in legal bills and will most likely be fought from a jail cell.

I am not a fan of the UFC effect on martial arts. Go to YouTube and search for street fights etc… and you will see many videos of people stomping and punching the head of a 100% unconscious person. I don’t blame UFC/MMA for that, but their fighters do exactly that all of the time. These fighters are heroes and role models to young kids. This is where they learn to fight.

Learn more about the Law of Self-Defense. Use coupon code MATA10 to get a 10% discount.

Martial arts expert argues he pummeled man in self-defense

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A Maine mixed martial art fighter is losing his argument that he was defending himself when he repeatedly punched an unconscious victim in the head.

Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court upheld Richard Matthews’s conviction of aggravated assault for beating a man outside a bar in 2015. The judges say the evidence doesn’t support his self-defense claim.

A bouncer testified then-45-year-old Matthews spun the victim around and punched him in the face until he fell to the ground. He says Matthews then sat on top of and repeatedly punched the injured victim.

Matthews says he thought the victim was going to grab his wife’s rear end. Matthews says he wanted to make sure the victim didn’t hurt him and stayed down. His attorney didn’t immediately respond to request for comment Tuesday.

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