Krav Maga Seminars, where do I begin.
Some students want to host me and arrange a seminar but are terrified; it just seems too daunting, too many details, too much of a risk. And yet others organize a seminar without giving the matter a second thought.
Some people are paralyzed by fear and others just jump in with confidence.
I would like offer some ideas, thoughts, that I have heard over the years, and then open this up to discussion by our members. Just send me an e mail with your ideas and observations. Let us help each other become more successful.
Seminar, Johannesburg, South Africa, July 2013. Third annual seminar!
Direct Training - Bring in the head of the style so that the host instructor and his/her staff and students can learn directly from the Head of the system.
Personal Connection: Bring in the head of the style so that the students feel a personal connection to the system and to other branches world wide, that they are part of something bigger.
To demonstrate real and active affiliation: This is important both for the current students and for prospective students and even for the competition. Let us be honest, in this day and age many competitors will try to "De-legitimize" a school, make claims that your credentials are false or that you have never even met the Head Instructor. Having an open and well advertised seminar puts to rest all these claims. Even in the "old days" in Japan and China it was deemed important to have the traditional photo of "Master and his successor" prominently displayed.
Revitalize interest - Sometimes lessons fall into a pattern, both instructors and students can get bored. Hosting a seminar with the head of a system can act as a catalyst to wake up both instructors and students and inject some energy into the program.
Stay up to date - With our style of Krav Maga there are always innovations taking place, the best way not to fall behind on the program is to bring in the head instructor at least once a year for updates. Most serious organizations and unions require this of their members. To stay at the cutting edge of your industry you must stay on top of the latest developments. Can you imagine someone in the airline industry refusing to attend refresher courses? or in the medical field? They would lose their license.
Present New Situations - One of the amazing benefits of my travels is being able to meet with people from all over the world and learn from their experiences and questions. When I arrive in South Africa they are always ready with a series of situations that took place, (asked by victims and by police). They present me with the situations and ask me to come up with solutions. This is best done in person and it has led to many new developments in IKI Krav Maga, keeping us all on the cutting edge.
Most, if not all, hosts do not view this is a business venture. Their goal is not to turn a profit but to improve their training and program. In the long term of course this will help your financial goals. The money and effort invested in hosting a seminar will reap rewards in the long run as your school grows and you improve as a teacher. If you are cut off from your roots you can not grow properly.
The hosts do not view the seminar as a way to turn a short term profit but as a way to grow in Krav Maga, build a school and achieve long-term success and credibility.
Hosting a seminar costs money, no doubt about it. And these expenses must be borne and covered by someone.
Host has deep pockets - In rare cases the host or school are successful enough that they can cover a great deal of the costs on their own. I.e. they do not expect the seminar to "pay for itself" (entrance fees from participants).
I have had cases where I wondered how the host could cover his expenses when there were so few participants, or when the participation fee was too low. The host responded, "I wanted my students to have the experience and I wanted you here for my own benefit. I can afford to cover this out of my own pocket."
The Gate - Another option is to advertise the seminar and hope that people show up. Of course you may be quite nervous if you have no idea how many students will show up. By this point you will have already incurred the expenses of my flight, my hotel and food, and soon you will have to pay my seminar fee. To lay out all that money without having any commitment as to how many participants you have is.....tricky. Therefore I would like to offer some ideas that have worked very well in the past.
Prepay - The first is rather simple. Do not ever rely on such things as Facebook "registration" where people write "Will Attend". That is USELESS and involves no commitment whatsoever on the part of the students. I had some seminars in Florida years ago. I show up and find 8 participants and the host says, "But 15 people committed on Facebook!"
He was hoping to barely break even on 15 participants (way too few to be honest, unless they are paying $100 each). I was never fully paid.
There must be at least a registration fee. And this must be non-refundable. Otherwise it is too easy to cancel at the last minute. IKI Instructor Craig Gray in Michigan operates this way. He has never had a bad seminar. Allow me to make a point; we are talking about an area (Michigan) which for years has been severely economically depressed and yet we have had about 70 participants at every seminar. Last year we had a 3 day seminar and we still have that number. Each year the event has been "sold out".
Similarly in Voerendaal, Limburg, (Netherlands) Serve and Armanda Honee have hosted me for several years. They operate out of a small school where they rent space, the town of Voerendaal has a population of about 12.500. If you walk 5 minutes in any direction you will be in farmland, and yet! every year we are sold out! (more on that later).
Students must prepay! With Serve and Armanda they are able to pay for my ticket months in advance, as such we save money on airfare. With El Al (and most airlines) the longer you wait - the more you pay.
Put Some Aside - Another idea I have heard, from Tony in South Africa, and from Morten in Norway, is to create a special membership;
Monthly Dues Plus Seminar. It works like this: say for example your monthly tuition is $100, so you pay $108 (adding only $8 per month, less than 2 cups of Starbucks coffee) and you have $96 for the annual Krav Maga seminar. This way the host has some money to pay for the flight and you have your seminar fees paid in advance and do not need to come up with $100 on the spot. (of course the host must put this money aside in a special seminar fund, and not spend it before hand.)
Put Some Aside, part two: Another idea is that the host instructor can put some aside each month from the membership dues. This way he has something in the "Seminar Fund" and can cover at least the preliminary costs, such as the flight.
Putting the Profits Back In: In some cases there are nice profits from the seminar. And then when it comes time to book the flight for the next seminar I find that the host does not have the cash for the flight and thus cannot book the flight and we must wait, (while the cost of the ticket increases).
My suggestion is: If you made some profit on the seminar, as tempting as it is to spend it all right now, wait. Put at least some of it aside for the next seminars' expenses. This way you never run short. In the long run your profits will increase.
It is like potato farming. Do not eat all your potatoes, you must save a few to use as way of replanting for the next season. Bottom line - Think ahead, plan ahead. Do not live from hand to mouth.
How to draw students?
I believe there are an unlimited number of answers to this question.
1. Your own student base - You should try to get as many of your own students as possible to join the seminar. If they are already training in Krav Maga with you, well, they would certainly benefit from the seminar with the head instructor. So what mus we do to make this possible? Give them enough advanced notice so they will not have a schedule conflict, and give them enough notice so they can save up the necessary funds.
2. New, Outside Students - You can try drawing potential Krav Maga students, or students from other styles who might be interested in "something different". Each year John Liptak in Florida successfully draws many students from various Kung Fu and Karate schools. They appreciate the chance to try something different and see how it compares to their own style. Some of these students eventually take up the study of Krav Maga or incorporate some of the KM ideas into their own training.
3. Internet in several languages - Serve and Armanda live in a very small town and yet each year they draw people from several countries. If you do not register in advance you will not be able to attend. How do they do? First, they start early. They prepare a flyer in several languages to be understood by people in Germany, France, Holland and Belgium. They have also drawn participants from Denmark. The message is - Even if you live a small town you can go international, think big and reach out to the world.
I fly El Al.
For flights leaving and arriving in Israel I fly El Al. Please click on the link above to read my full article about El Al if you need an explanation. This is one point I cannot compromise on, even if El Al is more expensive. This is my life and my personal safety and on this point there can be no argument.
Of course there are places that El Al does not fly to, so if I am flying to Kazakhstan, Albania or Argentina I fly El Al to the first stop, and then connect to another airline.
I.e. fly El Al to France, fly Air France to Argentina. Fly Air France back to France and then continue with El Al home to Israel.
Simply put, a flight from France to Argentina is unlikely to be chosen as a target by anti Israel elements but a flight from France to Israel is much more likely. El Al is my airline, I trust it...with my life.
Seat: I require an Aisle seat.
Hotels: Best Western quality or similar. Of course staying at the Hilton is super great and much appreciated but I cannot expect that of everyone. But please no "Days Inn", "Red Roof", "Motel 8" "Super 8", or stuff like that.
Hotels should have a decent breakfast, not just coffee and a pastry.
Coffee - Yes, I need coffee during the seminar. Just got to have it. If there is a Starbucks nearby that is my first choice. Mugg and Bean is great too.
Good article to read: How to have a successful Krav Seminar
by Janet Longton, IKI Navarre, Florida, USA.
Colorado Springs, 2014, IKI Instructor Todd Bradley
Rincon, Puerto Rico, Hosts: IKI instructors Jorge Castillo and William Sanchez
Navarre, Florida, USA. IKI Instructor Calvin Longton
South Africa, 2013. IKI Instructor Alan Mann, Crista and Barry Bu Plessis, Todd Bradley, Anthony Milner, Mike Fat
Texas, USA. IKI Instructor Bryce Ligetti
near Vermont, USA
Frogner, Norway, 2013. IKI Instructor Morten Wang
Tyler, Texas, USA. IKI Instructor Drew Arthur
Moscow, Russia, 2013. IKI Instructor Azat Fatihov, and Yvgeny Romanov
San Destin Beach, Florida, USA. IKI Instructor John Liptak and Gary Brielmayer
Kernersville, North Carolina, USA. IKI Instructor Jon Phipps
Tucuman, Argentina, 2012. IKI Instructor Jose Nacul
Arizona, USA 2013. IKI Instructor Tim Hillis
Indiana, USA, IKI Instructor Robert Amos
US Infantry unit, Long Beach, California, USA. With Nick Israel, Michael Villa and Mario Schiopu.
Rome, Italy, 2012
Louisiana, USA. IKI Instructor Adam Meier, Host: Albert Bossier
South Carolina, USA. IKI Instructors Chris Cromer, Kaleb Young.
Mexico, 2012. Dr. Alberto Labra
Voerendaal, Limburg, Netherlands, 2013. IKI Instructors Serve and Armanda Honee
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2012. IKI Instructor Craig Gray
Paris, 2014. host: Roberta Grossi
Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, Host: JC Ntetman.
Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Ferrai gym.
Dayton, Ohio, USA. IKI Instructor Timothy Tharp
Cornelia, Georgia, USA. IKI Instructor Hal Herndon, Rob Wallace
Dunajská Streda, Slovakia. Host: IKI Instructor Tibor Sklut.
San Lois Obispo, California, USA. Eric Stahl and Geri.
Almaty, Kazakhstan. IKI Instructor Igor Kudashkin
Durban, South Africa, 2013. IKI Instructor Tony Hardy
Mexico City, Mexico, 2013, IKI Instructor Alberto Labra
Moline, Illinois, USA
Vancouver, Canada. Seminar for police Combatives Instructors, Vancouver Police Department. Canada
Bayamon, Puerto Rico. 2010. IKI Instructor Maurice Cohen (with Maurice Jr.)
Silverback Academy, Fairfax, VA, USA. Host: IKI Instructor Sean Stoopman
Effingham, Illinois, USA. Sheriff John Monet and staff, and Border Police, With host Rachel Finley.
Norway, with IKI Instructor Morten Wang who has hosted seven seminars.
Traverse City, Michigan, with IKI Instructor Colby Taylor.
Budo Ryu, San Lois Obispo, California, Host Geri Ooi
Konigsbach, Germany, December 2013.
Hosted by IKI Instructor Jürgen Köhler
Manchester, Tenn, USA, 2013. With IKI Instructor Tim Garrett
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, IKI Instructor Todd Bradley
Wirral, England, United Kingdom, December 2013 with IKI Instructor Tony Preston
Sardinia, Italy, January 2014 with IKI Instructor Roberto Zicca
Silverback Academy, Fairfax, Va, 2013
Mexico City, 2014, IKI Instructor Alberto Labra, Filimon Almaraz Morales
Grand Rapids, Michigan, IKI Instructor Craig Gray, January 2014
Traverse City, Michigan
I look at it as a great opportunity to continue learning. In my profession (architecture), like many others, continuing education is required in order to keep my licenses. As you always say, to be a good instructor you must always be learning.
Hal Herndon, Chief Instructor
Georgia Mountain Krav Maga
As an Instructor I also like to see the techniques in person. The videos are great but there is just no substitute for live training. The subtle details make all the difference. Thanks
Chris Cromer, IKI Instructor, Absolute Martial Arts, South Carolina, USA
Israel, Tour and Train.
Host a seminar in your town, contact IKI for details.