For over a year now I’ve been writing 1 TKD articles with the intention of getting you to think big, try new ideas and sharing my success with you so that you can achieve similar, if not better results for yourself and your school.
As I looked back over this last year, it occurred to me that I’ve been dealing with a nagging concern that (I believe) has held me back in my writing and in what I have to contribute to you. This concern has shaped my perception of you and has caused me to be dampen my passion for something I truly care about which is your success, and the success of ITF Taekwon-Do around the world!
The concern I’m talking about is a concern for how the instructor community will react to the idea of making money with Taekwon-Do. And not just making money, but making BIG MONEY! I’ve done it, I’ve proven it can be done without sacrificing the integrity of our art and I’ve taken a lot of crap from others who believe that you shouldn’t be making money with Taekwon-Do (which has contributed to my concern).
So far, you could say the 1 TKD and the idea of running a highly successful Taekwon-Do business has received a fairly warm reception and instructors are open to the idea of trying new things and improving their operations.
But trying some new things and making small improvements here and there is not enough!
I’m tired of talking about taking baby steps to success and worrying about if someone is going to get their panties all in a bunch and be offended because I use the words Taekwon-Do and money or business in the same sentence. If that’s you, then you should stop reading this now and do something else that you feel would be a better use of your time and energy because you’re REALLY not going to like what I have to say next.
Not all, but nearly every instructor around the world who runs a club or school charges money for lessons. It would be great if we could all have a wonderful place to train for free, and instructors who had the time and energy to teach and manage a program for free, and not have to pay for tuition, certifications, gear, tournament entry fees, etc.
BUT THAT’S NOT REALITY, it’s not the world we live in. And pretending like you’re doing Taekwon-Do a favor, and your students a favor by being a Taekwon-Do instructor’s version of the “starving artist” helps no one. In fact, it makes things harder on everyone (that includes you and your family). It perpetuates a view of Taekwon-Do as a part-time hobby or activity as opposed to a way of life and possible professional career. Also, if one has aspirations of teaching, for the most part the future they have to live into is one of suffering and sacrifice to teach the art they love. That is appealing to no one but the few who happen to see Taekwon-Do for what it is, what it makes possible for others and who want to share that with the world. Specifically you and I.
Then we go on struggling to find ways to teach what we love.
But it can’t be as bad as I’m making it sound can it? YES. Let me give you a clearer picture. This is the frightening reality I’ve discovered from my research speaking with hundreds of instructors from around the world:
- 73% of ITF instructors are UNABLE to earn a full-time living teaching Taekwon-Do.
- 68% of ITF instructors are unable to support having their own location that is not in a gym, school or rec center.
- 48% of ITF instructors have a FULL-TIME job IN ADDITION to teaching Taekwon-Do.
So for everyone out there on their high horse, pissing and moaning about how money should have nothing to do with Taekwon-Do and that there’s something wrong with combining Taekwon-Do and successful business strategies…
73% of you don’t even charge enough to pay for own food and shelter!
I rest my case.
You might still argue, “So what? It isn’t that bad.” And you’d be right, it isn’t that bad, but it is light years away from what is possible; and you and Taekwon-Do deserve the opportunity to THRIVE! And in case you were wondering, I have absolutely NO interest in settling for living a life that just “isn’t that bad”.
So the gloves have come off.
Like it or not, for Taekwon-Do instructors (YOU) to be viewed as a professional, you must be willing to be a professional. Like it or not, to be a professional you must deal with what it’s going to take to both teach great Taekwon-Do and make a great living. You have to deal with the combination of Taekwon-Do and MONEY.
The harsh reality is, if you’re not on your way to, or making (at a minimum) $15,000-$20,000 per month teaching Taekwon-Do, you don’t have a business. You have a very expensive, time consuming, energy depleting hobby.
Needless to say, the direction of 1 TKD has come into sharp focus. I’ve always been about your success, but now I am unabashedly and unapologetically ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. Given that, you can rest assured that I will never ask you, or advise you to do something that will diminish the integrity of our art.
To some, saying out loud that I’m all about the money may sound bad, but I’m not concerned about that any more. The business of Taekwon-Do is what I’m good at, what I know, and what I have to offer that has the capacity to change your life as an instructor and change the perception of Taekwon-Do around the world.
I want ITF schools to be known around the world as the place to go to get the physical and mental training every child and adult can benefit from. I want instructors to be successful in Taekwon-Do training and in financial success, looked up to by their students as someone they’d like to be. I want the idea of owning and operating an ITF Taekwon-Do school to occur as a career opportunity in the minds of all students, as something they can do for a living and be able to live a fantastic lifestyle. That means that you must be that role model.
I can help you get there.
See, I have the great privilege of working with you… someone who I don’t have to worry about being greedy, about your moral compass or about your dedication to your students. You’ve already proven that Taekwon-Do, for you, is a way of life and that you are extraordinarily committed to your students. Now it’s time for you to allow yourself to reap the rewards of all your hard work and the value you bring to your students in every class by becoming the professional and profitable instructor you know you can be, and in my eyes, deserve to be.
With this new focus, I am creating a business coaching program for instructors that I am very excited about and that will likely be ready by mid to late march. All 1 TKD Insiders will have first crack at it during the pre-launch of the new program and I’ll keep you posted when the time comes.
Thank you for your continued support of 1 TKD… and let’s make some money!
About the Author:
Senior Instructor – Karstadt Taekwon-Do
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com