How Our Instructor of the Year Went From Struggling Karate School Owner to Successful After-School Operator

How Our Instructor of the Year Went From Struggling Karate School Owner to Successful After-School Operator

Tim McCahan is the 2017 Martial Arts Teachers Association Instructor of the Year.

Tim McCahan is the 2017 Martial Arts Teachers Association Instructor of the Year. Tim and his family generate over $400,000 a year running their school in St. Petersburg, FL PART TIME!

Yes. PART TIME! Most school owners grind out 30 – 50 classes a week and barely make rent.

Tim and his family arrive at the school at 2pm and lock up by 6:30pm after teaching just ONE CLASS and they are closed on Saturdays!

Also, while most schools get $100 – $149 per month per student, Tim has 100 families happily paying him $428 per month.

So, how does Tim:

  1. Work less than five hours a day and get Saturdays off?
  2. Generate 3 – 6 times as much tuition as most schools?
  3. Only have to teach one class per weekday?

In 1997, Tim and his wife Debbie made the decision to forego the traditional business model of running a martial arts school. Instead, they became one of the first schools to use a 100% after-school martial arts model.

I know. I know. I know. What does babysitting have to do with martial arts? That’s exactly what I thought back when we profiled Jim in my Martial Arts Professional magazine over a decade ago.

The truth is that after-school martial arts programs are not babysitting because, by law, it can’t be babysitting.

I’m not a mind reader or a psychic, but I bet you a dollar that you already teach a martial arts class after school. Right? Are you getting over $400 a month per student for that class? I didn’t think so.

Read more: Questions to Ask Before Buying into a Martial Arts After-School Program

Do you know why you are not getting that kind of tuition? I’ll tell you. But, I have to warn you. You will never look at your classes or your business the same way again.

Before I tell you, let me add this nugget. When the country goes into a recession, business goes UP for Tim McCahan and after-school programs.

So, are you ready to find out why after-school clients earn 3 – 6 times as much revenue while working part-time with weekends off while teaching just one class per day?

The answer is that to families, after-school martial arts is a necessity whereas your standard evening martial arts classes are a luxury. That’s it.

Kids have to be somewhere after school. The hours between 3 and 6pm are the danger zone. Right now, you already have students that are attending daycare because parents have to work. The parents place the children in the daycare or after-school care out of NECESSITY!

To be clear, Tim’s school is NOT daycare. It’s a structured alternative to daycare that follows the after-school system. After-school kids take a martial arts class every day. They progress in rank and even earn their black belts, just like a regular school.

To be sure, there are some important systems and protocol that TASMA schools have to adhere to, but that’s where after-school has been so successful. All MATA after-school clients are coached on how to remain compliant with state laws.

So congratulations to Tim McCahan on being named the 2017 MATA Instructor of the Year. Along with the advisory board and all of the MATA members, we are impressed with the amazing business you’ve created and greatly appreciate your coaching to help other owners have similar success with the after-school system.

Martial Arts Instructors: The Old School on After-School

[video_player type=”embed” style=”1″ dimensions=”640×360″ width=”640″ height=”360″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″ ipad_color=”black”]PHAgc3R5bGU9InRleHQtYWxpZ246IGNlbnRlcjsiPjxpZnJhbWUgc3JjPSJodHRwczovL3BsYXllci52aW1lby5jb20vdmlkZW8vMjQ1MDQ0MzU3IiB3aWR0aD0iNjQwIiBoZWlnaHQ9IjM1OSIgZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9IjAiIGFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbj0iYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuIj48L2lmcmFtZT48L3A+[/video_player] Teaching martial arts for a living can be frustrating, especially if you’re in your second or third decade. Sometimes it can feel like the martial arts are passing you by. What were once proud principles and methods are dated and “old school.” It’s funny that we used to be proud to perpetuate “old school.” Today, it can be a sign that your hair is as grey as your belt. As someone who’s been teaching teachers since the early 90s, I’ve tried to stay ahead of the curve. From curriculum to certification, I take my role in the martial arts seriously. However, there is one area that I completely blew it and ignored for over 20-years. When I first heard of after-school martial arts, my immediate thought was that it was babysitting and the sign of a sellout. You could say that I took an “old school” stance. What the heck does tutoring kids have to do with martial arts? I am happy to tell you that I have learned the answer. Babysitting and tutoring have nothing to do with martial arts, and neither has anything to do with a compliant after-school martial arts program. That’s excellent news for those of us who still enjoy teaching, but would rather teach one class a day instead of four or five. That’s also the news that I presented to Florida State Senators last week. I wanted to help legislators understand that what we do is nothing new. We’ve been teaching martial arts for decades, and we do not need their regulations. If I were to open a school today, I would make it an after-school program teaching Empower Kickboxing and COBRA-Defense. Why Empower Kickboxing? Because it was created to be one all-rank class that challenges all students. COBRA offers single day seminars and ten-week academies that are easy to teach and profitable. I can set them up anytime. I’m not locked into a 30 – 40 class a week endless ordeal. Typical Martial Arts School Schedule * Arrive at school by noon. * Teach back-to-back classes from 4 pm to 9 pm. Get home around 9:30 pm. * Teach a morning class or conduct exams on Saturday. * Tuition average of $129 per month or $1,548 per year (if the student stays that long) * 65 students needed to pay for 12-months to gross $100,000. Typical After-School Martial Arts School Schedule * Arrive at school 2 pm. * Teach one class from 4 pm to 5 pm. Get home around 6:30 pm. * Closed on Saturdays. * Tuition $79 per WEEK or $4,108 per year. ($2,560 more per student) * 24 students needed to gross $100,000. * 65 students would gross over $260,000. Let’s see. Do you want 65 students creating over a quarter million dollars or $100,000 for four times the work? WARNING Any decent marketer can show you how to start and enroll students in an after-school program. It’s not hard because families NEED to put their kids into an after-school program, so it’s an easy sell compared to regular martial arts classes which are a luxury. That part is not rocket science. However, keeping your after-school compliant and open is what you are paying for in a program like TASMA. If the authorities shut you down, that can be a disaster as we’ve seen recently here in Tampa Bay. It’s the experience and skill to make sure you stay compliant and open for business that you want in your corner. That’s why I’m proud for MATA to partner with the “Godfather of After-School Martial Arts,” Jim King. Mr. King has been helping owners for over 20-years stay compliant and profitable. Jim King is as old school as any of us, but here is the beauty of his Transported After School Martial Arts (TASMA). It worked 25 years ago, and it will work 25 years from now. Parents will always need after-school programs. They do not need standard martial arts programs. We’ve recorded a series of videos where Jim King himself explains how the TASMA program works and why it’s different from the “fly by night” opportunists peddling after school as a get rich quick scheme. You can see the videos at
Questions to Ask Before Buying into a Martial Arts After-School Program

Questions to Ask Before Buying into a Martial Arts After-School Program

Please comment, like, and share. If you spend any time on social media, you would think that the hottest scheme now to becoming a martial arts millionaire is with an after-school program. There are certainly proven and profitable after-school programs that have been successfully helping schools for decades.  An after-school program is like a separate business, so you have to do your due diligence. Here are some obvious questions.
  1. Can we come and spend time at your after-school facility?
  2. Have you ever been served a cease and desist order?
  3. If so, how did you deal with it and what was the outcome?
  4. How many of your clients have been served a cease and desist order?
  5. How have you been able to help them?
  6. Can I contact them to find out what triggered it?
  7. What will you do for me if I get served with a cease and desist order?
MATA is bringing together a panel of after-school experts who have been doing this for decades. We will walk through these questions and much more in a series of webinars and video interviews.

REGISTER to make sure you are notified of the dates, times, and topics of our After School Program webinar series.

Martial Arts After-School Programs – The Hype. The Profits. The Pitfalls.

Martial Arts After-School Programs – The Hype. The Profits. The Pitfalls.


Visit the MATA After-School Program System Page


Beware the lure of those hawking the “easy profits” of an after-school program. History has shown that state laws and their enforcement are more powerful than a Joe Lewis sidekick or a “know it all” upstart.

MATA has been working with Tim McCahan since early 2016 to develop a proven after-school program system. Tim and his family have been operating a successful after-school program since 1997. Tim is a protege’ of the “Godfather” of After-School Programs Jim King. Please use the comment area to submit questions to Tim about after-school programs. Next week, we’ll follow up with his answers.

The Profits

There is no question that a well-run after-school program (ASP) can be a strong source of income. In fact, it can be a great SINGLE source of income. With an ASP, you’re paid a weekly tuition that rivals most schools’ monthly tuition. A well-run, legal ASP can be a cash cow with just one hour to teach per day between the hours you are open, which are typically 2 – 6:00pm, with weekends off. Could you handle that? Ah, the temptation.

The Perils

The danger is that when you start an after-school program, you move into a completely different legal minefield. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) oversees after-school program legislation regarding licensing and statute enforcement. Your state may require you to become a licensed daycare center with pages of regulations and endless fees, if you don’t know how to operate under their legal exemption. If you don’t comply, they will shut you down. It happens all of the time.

State laws may prohibit or restrict your ability to even help kids with homework, feed them, provide snacks or even use the terms, “care” or  “supervision.”

They Had No Idea

What is amazing is that when these owners turn to MATA for help, they claim that they had no idea of the liability. They had no idea there were special laws. They had no idea that they would ever be faced with refunding maybe dozens of families fees totaling thousands of dollars.

The Lesson

If anyone selling an ASP system does not make DCF compliance a major issue of focus, he or she may be leading you off of a cliff.

Visit the MATA After-School Program System Page to register for updates and webinars with John Graden and Tim McCahan.