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John Graden

John Graden

Executive Director

John Graden led the martial arts into the modern era by creating the first professional association, trade journal & instructors certification program.

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If you were to produce a 30-second video promoting your school to your target market, what voice-over script would you write to create interest and help the viewer understand your school’s unique benefits?

This is your school’s 30-second “elevator pitch” and every school needs one.

Every staff member of your school should have your benefit pitch memorized cold.

If you crawled into their bedroom at 3 am, shook them awake and asked them to recite your pitch, there should be no hesitation.

Most people speak at about 150 words per minute, so your pitch needs to be around 75 words.

Once a person hears or reads your pitch, they should have a clear idea of what you offer and how it can help them.

Here’s the danger. If you have a pitch, odds are it will be the same as the school down the street.

What is different about your school vs your competitors?

  • Are you a Black Belt School? Who isn’t? 
  • Do you teach confidence? Who doesn’t? 
  • Do you teach self-defense? What is it based upon? Karate?
  • Our style is the best. Who’s isn’t?
  • It takes 3 – 5 years to earn a black belt. Why would I want longer vs shorter?
  • Our master is a world champion! So is Connor McGregor, but I don’t want him teaching my kids!
  • Our master is a great grandmaster! Isn’t that special?

Once you’ve written your pitch, what visuals would be able to show to support the benefits?

Sample 30-second Pitch

“Ya know how most martial arts schools teach super-complicated, impractical theory-based skills and out-dated self-defense from the 1920s? 

Empower Kickboxing is the opposite. We ONLY teach what has been proven to be practical, easy to learn, and highly effective. 

We combine the best techniques of martial arts, kickboxing, self-defense, and weapons in a cutting-edge curriculum. Empower kickboxing is The MARTIAL ART YOU CAN MASTER FASTER!”

Notice Tyson’s hand is by his face, not his hip.

His chin is down instead of up.

His shoulder is up instead of pulled back.

His body is sideways to his opponent instead of squared off.

His legs are under his body not spread apart like he was riding a horse.

With this kind of form, he would fail his orange belt exam in most schools. 

How does that make any sense?

Sensei Tyson?

If Mike Tyson or a world champion kickboxer came to your school to teach your black belts. What do you think he would work on? Double punches, square blocks, and keeping your chin up?

I’m pretty sure he would emphasize head movement, how to snap your punches and a defense that does NOT include pulling your punch back to your hip.

I’m sure the students would learn advanced applications to adjust for different fighters. Notice I said advanced applications, not advanced strikes.

When you focus on application, you can apply that to almost any technique.

For instance, if the drill is about how to fight a taller fighter, the answer is more about footwork to stay on the outside until you can secure quick access. My brothers are 6′ 3″ and 6′ 4″ so I know something about fighting a taller opponent.

Drills that teach that application do not require complexity. They require simplicity.

The more complex a skill becomes, the less chance it can be used. Have you ever seen a double punch? Only in kata and here:

If you eliminated all kata and traditional skills, you could devote that time to drills and conditioning that would give your students a true advantage in sparring or self-defense.

Imagine teaching fewer skills that are easy to teach and learn than traditional skills and kata.

You could spend more time on the application of those skills rather than stepping up and down the classroom and holding blocks and punches out in the air, which leaves you wide open for a counterattack.

Rather than spending student’s time with the complexity and frustration of spending years perfecting the bad habits of pulling their hand back to their hip, keeping their chin up, aiming and holding a punch in the air, and blocking with power while stepping forward, your retention will improve. Your student quality will improve. Your curriculum consistency will improve.

This is the core of our white to black belt curriculum Empower Kickboxing.

It’s an old saying, but true. “Less is best.”

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