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?
Real Estate Safety?
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.
Alan Smith and his fiancee stop at a Circle K. While she went in to get snacks, an SUV with four teens pull up next to Alan’s driver side, where is was sitting. They are playing music really loud. Alan asks them to turn it down.
One of the teens points a shotgun like object at him and threatens to kill him. Alan pulls out his pistol and shoots the teen with the shotgun. The teen dies on the scene.
The SUV reverses out of the parking space as Alan pulls off four more rounds that only hit the back door. As the SUV turned to race away, Alan kneels in the parking lot and fires three more shots. Two hit the bumper, and one flies through the SUV at head height.
Alan claims self-defense. There were no cameras outside but the shots were clearly recorded from the interior camera.
To be clear, we do not support the group behind this nor their overstated headline conclusion that a gun does not provide self-defense.
There is way too much evidence to the contrary.
However, this is a staple of our Cobra-Defense training with Chris Sutton. Cobra is the official self-defense system of the Martial Arts Teacher’s Association (MATA). We do concealed firearm demo scenarios are true eye openers.
The common sense message is that the more training you get the “better shot” you have at succeeding at anything.
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, karate, kung fu, and judo all seemed mysterious and mystical. The term “martial arts” wasn’t used much then.
In 1975, I was a green belt and the rumors of me as the “karate guy” started to circulate in middle school. I distinctly recall standing in the lunch line. The kid behind me, sincerely asked, “Is it true that to get your black belt you have to pull the heart out of a cow with your bare hands?”
I wasn’t sure whether to say that’s not true or to let him keep thinking that maybe I was trained in instant organ removal.
I went to a rough school in a rougher neighborhood, but once I was the karate guy, no one messed with me. After all, maybe I could pull a guy’s heart out and show it to him before he dies.
I knew I couldn’t do that, but I was convinced that I could defend myself. It seems the other students were as well. Thank goodness. In hindsight, all a kid had to do was tackle me, and I was a fish out of water.
In our first white belt class, my instructor Walt Bone explained that we were learning tae kwon do, an art that emphasizes kicking which makes it the superior martial art.
He said, “The leg is much longer and stronger than the arm plus an attacker would have to get past these deadly kicks in order to get close enough to punch or grab you. We always have the advantage.”
My 13-year old “empty cup” of a mind consumed every word and begged for more.
Once I started teaching, I advertised self-defense and presented myself as a self-defense expert. I look back and see a classic martial arts case of unintentional misrepresentation. Unintentional because, “Ya don’t know what ya don’t know.”
Like most of you, I repeated the party line and taught our “self-defense” techniques. To be truthful, they were not bad it’s just that they were narrow in scope.
It was the defense against a headlock, a full nelson, a wrist grab and a few other grabs and attacks. The only non-contact strategy was in controlling distance and turning your body to the side, which is all fine advice. It’s just terribly insufficient.
To be clear, I’m not picking on TKD. Any system where the “attacker” stands still while holding his or her hand out while the “defender” slaps tiny pressure points or reigns thundering hammers down is in the same picture as our deadly TKD kicks.
I point this out for a few reasons best illustrated by recent events. In preparing some anti-abduction segments for TV shows, it was clear to me that 99% of what we were teaching had nothing to do with martial arts.
Can martial arts help in escaping an abduction? Of course it can. Some studies show that fighting back or simply making it hard to hold on to the victim improves the odds of escaping. Is that enough? Not even close.
If you are a martial arts school asked to teach an anti-abduction seminar, odds are the class will be mostly knees, elbows, wrist escapes, etc… Essentially, the playbook from our tae kwon do school; narrow in scope and insufficient.
Will your audience know this? Unless you have some law enforcement experienced parents watching, most will be happy with what they see. Ignorance is bliss.
We’re also doing Real Estate Safety Seminars. Again, 99% of the content has no basis in martial arts. If a school gets the call to teach a local Real Estate Safety Seminar, most instructors will be limited to deadly karate chops, etc…
Anti-Bully programs might be the best example of all. Most martial arts instructors will spend 90% of an anti-bully seminar teaching the well-worn menu I’ve described above.
The reality is that every bully situation has a story line that typically follows a pattern of escalation starting with verbal abuse, unwanted touching, and eventually more serious physical attacks. Throw in social media abuse all along the way, and you have the storyline of most modern-day bully situations.
The mistake in focusing your anti-bully class around self-defense is that you are intervening WAY TOO late in the storyline. Control of the storyline needs to start long before the first bully encounter.
Again, the bulk of the self-defense has nothing to do with martial arts or physical engagement.
The excuse for unintentional misrepresentation no longer holds up. If you are still teaching one-steps and kata as self-defense, you may be in need of a fresh look at what you are teaching.
When it comes to learning a style, one is as good as the other. Whatever style the school you join, when your “cup is empty,” offers will be the best in the world as far as you are concerned.
I’m not talking about learning martial arts. I’m talking about expanding your understanding of self-defense and safety far beyond the narrow scope of simple escapes and distance control to include scenario training etc…
The people you teach deserve more and today, you have the resources to learn what a law enforcement officer (LEO) learns. LEOs spend every day on the front line engaging with the worst of the worst bad guys. It’s part of the their job description.
Their world in is the middle of the bad crimes we see every day on the news. For every year you and I spent learning kata; they spent learning how to stop a home invasion, an abduction, or an ATM robbery.
There is nothing wrong with learning kata, but no martial art can touch the day-in and day-out experience of 40 – 70 hours a week dealing with the bottom feeders of the world.
Military training doesn’t deal with criminals. Martial arts hybrid self-defense doesn’t deal with criminals. The padded dummy training doesn’t deal with criminals. Law enforcement does. Every day.