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A good master instructor leads students into the future by discarding the smoke and mirrors of the traditional curriculum.  A good master instructor avoids teaching contradictions. 

A bad master instructor treats traditional martial arts as “the gospel” that should never be changed or refuted. 

They spend the first half of class making sure students have “good form” by pulling their hands to their hips instead of their face. He teaches students to aim a punch when, in reality, that never happens. He teaches stances like front stance or horse stance that expose the center line to an opponent. He tells students to keep their chin up for good form instead of tucking it down.

The second half of class during sparring, he tells them to move around. Get your hands up! Turn your body to the side. Don’t telegraph your punches.

It’s a complete contradiction to the first half of the class.

Bad master instructors know that the more complex a style is, the longer the student will pay and bow to them. 

Bad master instructors talk about “hidden techniques” in kata. Good master instructors ditch the kata and just teach the practical skills. 

Bad instructors know that teaching out-dated, stylized representations of self-defense creates a false sense of mysticism and mystery that will keep them in a superior position in the eyes of their unfortunate students.

Traditional techniques are overly complex and ineffective for self-defense. 

The traditional martial arts were designed by people in remote Asian locations decades, if not centuries ago. They did not have any technology to study learn and collaborate videos of self-defense. They had little, if any self-defense experience and many had to hide what they were creating from the authorities. 

A good master instructor is not afraid to discard the technical baggage of the past and always seeks to improve the content of his/her curriculum for the good of his students.


Proud to host some of the greatest teachers and leaders in and outside the martial arts world.

The Martial Arts Teacher of Teachers John Graden is the host of The Truth About the Martial Arts Business and founder of NAPMA and the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA).

Featured Guests

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

Master Motivator

A black belt under the late Jhoon Rhee, Tony Robbins views martial arts as an excellent way to improve your life or a poor excuse not to.

Joe Lewis

Joe Lewis

Master Martial Artist

Dubbed the “Muhammad Ali” of sport karateJoe Lewis won more titles in his 17-year fighting career than any other tournament fighter. 

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

Master Teacher

Brian Tracy is a mentor of John Graden’s. Brian credits much of his self-discipline and drive to the principles he learned as a martial arts student and instructor.

Bernard Kerik

Bernard Kerik

Master Leadership

The police commissioner during the 9/11 attacks, Bernard Kerik began his taekwondo training at 14 and has traveled the world to improve his skills.

The Truth About the Martial Arts Business Podcast

Learn the hard truth about the martial arts business from the man who led the industry into the modern era.

Join the martial arts Teacher of Teachers, John Graden as he explores important and controversial questions about martial arts instructors, schools and the business.

In this hard hitting podcast, he pulls back the curtain to reveal The Truth About the Martial Arts Business.

John Graden challenges conventional tradition and the mindless acceptance of some of the outlandish theories associated with the martial arts.

John Graden

Widely credited with leading the martial arts school business into the modern age, John Graden was first called a visionary by MASuccess editor, John Corcoran. Also a world champion kickboxer, John was dubbed the martial arts Teacher of Teachers by Martial Arts World magazine.

John is also the author of many of the best selling books on martial arts business and personal development.

Now the Executive Director of the Martial Arts Teachers’ Association (MATA), John’s bold leadership has landed him on the Dr. Oz Show, the Wall Street Journal, the A&E Network and many more international media platforms along with many small podcasts that only his wife listened to.

A Tampa Bay, FL resident, John Graden is married with two children.

The Martial Arts Teachers Association (MATA)

MATA is a professional association for martial arts school owners and instructors. It offers the leading course on martial arts instructor certification (MATACertification) and rank advancement (MATARank).

Members have access to a massive library of professionally designed marketing materials in the Marketing Downloads section.

Other sections include:

  • Martial Arts Summer Camp
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  • Staffing Your Martial Arts School
  • Financial Control 
  • Interviews & Courses
  • Facebook Marketing for Your Martial Arts School
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  • Curriculum Concepts Your Martial Arts School

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