About 1 TKD

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About 1 TKD

Welcome to 1 TKD.

I don’t care what organization you belong to or if you are even in an organization at the moment.  I know many instructors are tired of the drama that often goes on there.  What I do care about is that ITF Taekwon-Do (true Taekwon-Do) flourishes worldwide (and that is not happening right now).

Even with splintered organizations, new logos and new uniforms, there are small pockets of growth throughout the world but they are few and far between.  So, that begs the question:


In today’s society (for better or worse) one major test of the success of anything is whether or not it will make any money.  My school (Karstadt Taekwon-Do) averages $20,000.00 per month and nets $120,000.00 (that’s take home) and it’s a business model that works seamlessly with the ITF system of Taekwon-Do, maintains the integrity of the art and still produces competitors at the national, international and World Championship level.

It is possible to be successful in the art and successful in business at the same time.  I believe there are three things that are critical to answering the question stated above which was:

1. Proper Marketing
2. Professionally Run Schools
3. Profitably Run Schools

1. Proper Marketing – Most Instructors and School Owners are BAD at Marketing

Marketing is how you get your message out, how you attract leads and new members, and even how you interact with them after they’ve become members.

You may have heard of organizations like NAPMA (National Association of Professional Martial Artists) or MAIA (Martial Arts Industry Association) and there are some others, but for the most part they are doing everything they can to help the generic “martial arts” school be successful.

They do have some (and I stress “some”) good information that can help you, but you don’t run a generic martial arts school or have the time to wade through the mass of information to figure out what will work for you.

You can’t just change your uniforms (which I admit I did at one point), change patterns and add a back flip to Chon-Ji to make it more exciting, or mess with belt requirements like they do in other schools.

There’s even a guy now literally franchising martial arts schools.  You can pay him money sell out on the years of training you’ve endured in your art to change your school name, your entire curriculum, your belt system and use his business model just so you can try to make money. It’s absurd!

You teach ITF Taekwon-Do!

ITF Taekwon-Do is unique.

You can’t just change it to make a buck. However, when run properly ITF Taekwon-Do schools can be very profitable.

WARNING: What you are about to read, you won’t be able to unsee!  Unless you are ready for a harsh reality check you should stop reading here.  So make sure you are ready for this, like picking which pill to take in the Matrix…


If you read the front page of the papers or watch the news for a few days you’ll quickly see that we are living in a time where personal responsibility has become a burden or an annoyance rather than a virtue.  Integrity and doing what is right is just not that big a deal anymore.

Children (for at least the last 20 years) rarely have to deal with the consequences of their actions because parents are more worried about hurting their feelings and damaging their self-esteem than they are about teaching them to be responsible and accountable human beings.

If you haven’t noticed, part of Gen. Choi’s genius was having moral culture woven into the fabric of ITF Taekwon-Do.

This may not be present for you right now because as an instructor, this is a way of life for you.  But for the parent who can’t control their kids, who doesn’t hold them accountable, who (for whatever reason) lets their kids make the decisions and run all over them, YOU are a beacon of hope.

Many parents are tired, frustrated and upset when it comes to raising kids and YOU have an answer for them.

Now it is YOUR responsibility to make this kind of difference in people’s lives.

It is your responsibility to do everything in your power to make your “Do”, your “way of life” available for those who want it.

Unfortunately, right now there are very few people on the street that can distinguish what ITF Taekwon-Do is and why they should be training with us rather than the karate school down the street.

As ITF instructors, that’s our fault.

The world needs to know the benefits of ITF Taekwon-Do and what training will make available to them.  For the most part, you and most all other ITF style instructors are just plain horrible at communicating that.

But you are IT.  You are the one that must spread the word!

No one else is going to do it for you and no one is bringing butts in the door and new white belts on your floor.


2. Professionally Run Schools – Most ITF Schools are a Part Time Endeavor

If you are an instructor and you aren’t making $15,000-$20,000 per month, you’re not running a business, you’re just supporting a very expensive and time consuming hobby.

Many instructors work full time jobs and then try to run programs in the evening and get burned out very quickly.  They keep at it and suffer on because they love teaching, love their students and love Taekwon-Do, but it all eventually catches up with them.

Then they come up with a myriad of reasons why it is the way it is.  They say things like, “I don’t want to earn a lot of money, I do it because I love it.”  The second part is true, but the first is just flat out BS!

Why?  Because if they earned a lot of money teaching, that’s all they’d be doing!

In addition to that, students want to be a part of a successful school.  Especially when they are being taught something they know very little about and are anxious about starting something new in the first place.

They want to know that they are being taught by an expert.

If you had to go into brain surgery tomorrow would you prefer the professional, full-time surgeon with his own offices and certificates and diplomas all over the wall, or the one who just left his full time sales job, is overworked and doing some surgeries on the side to make a few extra bucks?

Your students want to know that they are getting the best.  They can tell when it’s just a part time operation and they will treat it as such.

One more aspect (and arguably the most important) about a “Professional School” is that it produces INSTRUCTORS.  If a school is successful at producing instructors, that tells me that the current instructor is doing their job bringing in new members and teaching Taekwon-Do as lifestyle as well as a martial art, inspiring others to follow in his path.

As I mentioned above, students want to be a part of something big, something successful, something worthy of giving their life to.  True Taekwon-Do provides that.


3. Profitably Run Schools – Most ITF Instructors Would Love To, But Can’t Teach For a Living

Now before you go accusing me of being all about money, you need to understand that I AM!

However I’m not all about money for the sake of money. I’m all about money because MONEY IS A TOOL.  That’s all money is.  When you have it, you can use it for whatever you want.  Use it to make a difference, give it away, sponsor under privileged students, sponsor competitors, create a scholarship program for your school and live the lifestyle you want, not the one you have to.

You choose what to do with it.  But for you to have an opinion like having money makes you good or bad, or that making lots of money is right or wrong (and I bet you have one) is ridiculous.

Money is a tool.  Do you have conversations about whether or not your hammer will make you a good or bad person?

Of course not!  It’s just a tool that you use for a specific purpose.  Money is just a tool that you can use for any purpose you choose!


Ok, I rambled on a little there, but the bottom line is ITF Taekwon-Do is, for the most part, sorely lacking in these areas.

The perfect example is here in my city, Phoenix.  There’s 3 1/2 million people here and only 3 ITF style schools.  In comparison, there are dozens of imitators, schools that are Taekwon-Do in name only.  Mostly they are the ones we refer to as kick-n-play or belt factories.

ITF Taekwon-Do is already worldwide, now it just needs to be developed with a business perspective from the inside out, empowering the individual school owner and instructor to achieve new levels of success in expanding Taekwon-Do by creating instructors and financially by allowing instructors to live the lifestyle the want to live, not the one they have to.

That’s what this page and my new weekly email newsletter is for.  I will be sharing the secrets to my success so that you can take them and run with them!

Please enter you contact information by clicking the pic on the right of the page to begin receiving my weekly Taekwon-Do Success newsletter called “1 TKD Insider”.

Dedicated to Your Success!

-John Karstadt


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