How Would Your Martial Arts School Hold Up on Shark Tank?

How Would Your Martial Arts School Hold Up on Shark Tank?

I’m sure you’ve seen the popular TV show, Shark Tank. If not, as a martial arts school owner, you would benefit from watching it.

Imagine this. Rather than walk in front of a panel of sharks, you’re walking in front of your family and your future family tree. How would you answer these questions?

1. Why are you in the martial arts business?

2. How will that help our family to prosper?

3. Are you holding on to past methods in hopes they finally start to catch on?

4. Though we had no choice in the matter, we’re completely invested in you, tell us again how that will work?

5. How are you tuned into what the market wants rather than what you like?

6. Are you repeating the same year over-and-over or is there something new and innovative coming?

7. Why would an investor buy stock in your school?

As we wrap up 2016, it’s time to take a hard look at the reality or fantasy, of what you are doing and how it’s working. 

It’s foolish to believe that one size fits all. We live in a time where the market knows more about martial arts than ever before. Are you trying to squeeze a population into a GI and belt that really just wants self-defense?

John Graden Accepts Appointment to AFS Advisory Council


MATA Executive Director John Graden

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(Clearwater Beach, FL/CHICAGO, IL, April 20, 2016) – The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) today proudly announced the addition of world-renown John Graden, Founder and Executive Director of the Martial Arts Teachers Association (MATA) to the AFS Advisory Council.

The author of many bestselling books, including The Art of Marketing Without Marketing and The Truth About the Martial Arts Business, Graden is widely credited with leading the martial arts school business into the modern era.

“We are thrilled beyond belief that John Graden has accepted a position on ourAdvisory Council,” said AFS founder and CEO Josh Leve.  “John brings an incredible expertise in both the martial arts discipline and how to channel one’s martial arts passion into a successful school.”

AFS research has shown that martial arts has become a mainstream component of the fitness studio environment over the past 20 years.  Thousands of studios have added varieties of martial arts programming and equipment, and thousands more martial arts aficionados are aspiring school owners.

 “I’m honored to join the AFS Advisory Council,” Graden said.  ”I’ve enjoyed working with Josh and AFS.  They’re really sharp.  Together, we’re finding that martial arts is an ideal fit for fitness studios. I’m excited to help AFS clients and the fitness industry in general tap into the huge potential martial arts programming creates for expanding their market share.”

To say Graden is a legend in the martial arts world would be putting it mildly.  After his seemingly never-ending competitive accomplishments in the ‘70s and ‘80s, John transitioned to entrepreneurship through associations, founding the National Association of Professional Martial Artists in 1993, and the American Council on Martial Arts in 1996.  MATA was created in 2003.

In 1995, John founded Martial Arts Professional magazine and in 1998 he authored How to Open and Operate a Successful Martial Arts School.

“We couldn’t be happier that John has accepted our invitation,” said Leve.  “He clearly brings an expertise to AFS that will help a large number of our members be more successful.”

About AFS

The Association of Fitness Studios (AFS) is the only membership community dedicated solely to the business of fitness studios.  AFS provides studio owners and developers a wide array of business-specific products, services, and benefits that enable them to more effectively manage and grow their businesses, building on the passion, compassion and courage they’ve already shown.

About John Graden and MATA

The Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA) is the world’s largest online professional association for martial arts schools and programming.

For more information on John Graden, you can check out his bio at –