By Deb Cupples
I’ve been teaching karate for over 15 years and have owned my school, Community Karate and Fitness, for 14. Along the way, I have made friends with other martial arts school owners through tournaments, seminars and social media. I fostered a great community through my martial arts connections, but the more it grew, the more I found that we were all struggling with the same issues and some of us were feeling a little stagnant.
For years, I had wanted to attend the Martial Arts SuperShow, but kept talking myself out of it. I had all the normal excuses: it was too much money, I couldn’t take time away from my school, etc. But those excuses weren’t getting me closer to my goals or renewing my passion for my business; they were just excuses.
Then, one day, I just did it. I registered for the Show, booked my flight and thought, “Well, if it’s not worth it, at least I can say I went to Vegas.”
Within the first 24 hours at the Show, I met school owners who had more than five locations and instructors who only had five students. Every martial arts demographic was represented, which meant that everyone felt like they belonged. The positive energy was contagious!
Attendees at the 2019 Martial Arts SuperShow.
My staff and I filled notebooks full of ideas, came up with a new slogan, made great new friends, watched exciting demos and sampled new products. There was so much to do that we all split up so that we could attend as many events as possible. I highly recommend bringing a group with you; it worked out very well for us and we became closer than ever.
I learned that, although I thought I had been keeping up with equipment upgrades, there is always room for a fresh look in your school. I upgraded from 5-year-old puzzle mats to top-of-the-line Fuji mats that my students are still talking about today (and I got a great deal on them because I purchased them at the SuperShow)!
Deb with Fuji Mats owner Jimmy Pedro.
My favorite seminar was that of Melody Johnson. Her approach to teaching is nearly identical to mine, but more defined. Her seminar pushed me to sit down and actually write out the methodology that was floating around my head. There is much more harmony and consistency in the way all classes are taught now that my instructors have a concrete curriculum. I will forever be in her debt for inspiring me to let my staff in on my teaching “secrets” which should have never been secrets at all.
Melody Johnson speaks at the 2019 SuperShow.
Deb (far left) with Melody (center) and Community Karate team members.
The one thing that I will do differently when I attend the next SuperShow is that I will stay in the host hotel rather than “saving money” at an Airbnb. It was not worth the inconvenience of waiting in the basement of the parking garage for an Uber to pick me up (you do not want to drive in Vegas), or getting ready an hour ahead of time, or missing out on some of the later gatherings. I would have loved having extra time to spend with the new friends I made. In 2022, I will be upgrading to one of the hotels reserved for the Show.
Don’t let excuses deter you. If you aren’t sure if the SuperShow is for you, or if you attended years ago and are considering attending this year, please go – you won’t regret it. I learned that adding an extra program to my school is a HUGE benefit to my students, my staff and my bottom line. I ended up adding a 5% increase in gross annual revenue to my program and learned so much more than I had anticipated. I hope to see you at the 2022 Martial Arts SuperShow!
Sensei Deb Cupples is the founder of Community Karate and Fitness in Colorado Springs, CO. She has been studying karate since 2003 and is a fourth-degree black belt.
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