Category Archives: News

Birthday Party Price Change

In the last 6-months I’ve personally run well over 50 birthday parties for all ages, 3 year olds to 12 year olds.

Since the summer our birthday parties have exploded… the reason? around that time we made a big change to how we ran birthday’s. Instead of doing what everyone else was doing, providing an hour of fun then leaving the rest to you we decided to do everything. Order the food, provide the plates & napkins, serve the food, include a stuffed pinata for treat bags, take care of all the clean up. Everything.

This seems to have gone over rather well, the kids leave happy and wanting to hold their party with us, the parents have the least stressful party they ever ran, and we have a lot of fun running these parties as well.

100+ Birthday parties later, our parties run like a well oiled machine, not only durring the party, but in getting ready for it.

So after a party the kids leave happy, the parents leave happy and we leave happy.

The truth is we love doing parties, and we feel that are parties are at the top end of the tier. It’s not simply access to a place to play, it’s a structured experience designed to leave the birthday child feeling like a star and leaving with thier confidence through the roof. It’s designed so that the parents simply need to show up with a cake and then sit back, relax and maybe take some pictures without having to worry about if they forgot anything.

So after some thought we decided that everyone that wants a party with us should be able to get one, and that while our experience is worth more then the 299 we charge (we’ve been told we should charge more by people after the party) we are going to lower the price, and hopefully open this experience to a few more people where 299 might have been hard to budget. So effective today, all-inclusive parties are only $247, this might change in the future obviously, but right now,

Chech out this page for full details:

Innovating Membership Fees

Times have changed, and we are changing with them.

15 years ago if you wanted to start martial arts you pulled out the yellow pages or found a print ad in a local paper and called for information.  Now, by the time people call us they have generally been through our website, know our schedule, know our fees, seen videos of us, read reviews from others about us and have most of that information already.

15 years ago standard practice in the martial arts and other businesses with similar models was to not talk about price at all until you came in and tried it… this doesn’t work so well with the current state of information.

Worse was the practice of disguising fees.  There would be a monthly fee… and once you agreed to that you get told about the mandatory equipment package, and after that the required testing fees every 2-3 months.

There where a lot of reasons schools started these practices.  It lets you get a commitment on a lower price before adding in all the extra costs.  Sort of like buying a car… you agree on a price then you get all sorts of extra fees, or a cell phone contract that ends up with all sorts of extra monthly and activation fees.

Another reason was 3rd party billing companies where very common, and they operate on a percentage of fees collected.  So any extra fees didn’t lose that percentage.  It also made family discounts different as those fees did not get a discounted rate.

We’ve never done testing fees, it might make our monthly rate a little higher then if we did, but overall costs and monthly budgetting are more important in our eyes.

But we’ve taken it one step farther now, and developed a all-inclusive fee structure!

This makes monthly budgetting super simple.  All equipment is provided to you, as yours as you need it.  If it wears out or is outgrown, we replace it.  No hidden fees. No surprise costs.  Your monthly fee is your monthly fee.  If you have 3 kids in our program and they all hit growth spurts at the same time your monthly cost doesn’t spike that month to replace everything.

We also have no term contracts.  You don’t have to commit to a year or any set length.  We operate on simple ongoing memberships with a straight 30-days notice to cancel at any time.  Simple, easy and no surprises 🙂

The biggest complaints we hear from parents about kids activities of all sorts are long commitments and extra fees.  Whether they are outfits and event fees in dance, testing & equipment in martial arts or all the extra costs of sports like hockey.  We’ve done away with all of them, everything.  What you see is what you pay, every month.

Check out our website for full details 🙂

Super Show Recap

In case you missed it, me and Lindsay spent last week in Vegas for the Martial Arts SuperShow 🙂

The SuperShow is the martial arts industries largest event, with over 2000 instructors and school owners you can’t go very far in the MGM without seeing someone in a martial arts shirt.

This year we shared the dates with a dance event of some sort…  The amount of makeup and hair pulled so tight I think it pulls on there brains applied to 5-10 year old girls was mildly frightening.

Anyways, back to us.

We arrived on Monday, and after a very lengthy wait for a shuttle to the hotel (back to cabs next year) we arrived to the massive line up at check in.  This began our participation in the least appealing thing in Vegas, the line ups.

About an hour later we made it to the front desk and got checked in. This is my 5th year at the SuperShow, and the previous 4 where held in the Venetian.  MGM is nice, but it’s not quite on the Venetians level when it comes to the rooms we had.

Quick stop in the room and right out the door and across the street to the Excaliber.  We went there to see “Tournament of Kings”, a medieval / King Arthur themed diner and show where knights from different countries competed in a tournament under King Arthur.

Dinner was a chicken.  Not wings, or breasts, or any part of a chicken.  It was a chicken, a whole chicken.  Served with potatoes and broccoli.  Utensils hadn’t been invented yet, so none of those.

The show was great, and very kid friendly.  The entrance to the theatre has you line up (so many lineups…) in a kid friendly arcade kinda like a chuck-e-cheese.

The servers on the other hand could use some work…

As we sat we where served “Medieval Pepsi”, yes, they actually called it that.  Nothing else to drink.  Food came out alright, but it took until half way through the show before a server even took orders for drinks other then the Pepsi, not even water was out.

I’d recommend the show, especially if you are looking for something to do with kids, just don’t expect drinks to show up until you’re meal is done and cleared and the show is half over.

Day 2

On Tuesday the event began, but not until after a trip to the pool deck.  If you’ve never been to Vegas there is not a hotel pool… there is a hotel pool collection in the bigger hotels.  The MGM had 6.5 acres of pools.

Back to the important stuff,

It kicked off with opening the trade show floors, some demonstrations by Team Paul Mitchell (Yes, the hair company, it sponsors them).  We posted a couple videos of that on our instagram account.  Cool stuff, and impressive to watch.  But not something I ever want to do, lots of unnecessary screaming and not in the slightest bit practical with a 20 year old being considered “old”.

Food, drinks, meet and greet, then off to another line up for the opening ceremony.

Opening Ceremony was pretty cool.  Kicked off with Ernie Reyes World Action team doing a demo.  Ernie Reyes Sr unfortunately couldn’t make it as he was in the hospital.  Didn’t stop him from throwing a few kicks in his hospital gown down the hall with his IV in tow from the hospital.  At 69 years old he’s usually out there jumping and flipping around with his team and has a build that would make most 20 year olds jealous.

Some speeches, a magic show and a lifetime achievement award to the Gracie family accepted by Carlson Jr, Rickson and Renzo and it’s time for the keynote presenter.  This year it was Jon Taffer, of Spike TV’s Bar Rescue doing it.

After giving a summary of what he does with Bar’s on his show (and yes, it is real and all happens in 5 days) he went into his speech.  Hearing him apply some of his systems and philosophies to the martial arts world was pretty cool.

Day 3

The main chunk of the event is a series of seminars, at any given time there are 4 seminars going on in different conference rooms connected to the main trade show floor.

These cover every possible subject, from marketing to integrating technology into teaching to managing a class to customer service to learning styles.

After spending the day in seminars we got taken out to dinner by Joe Galea, president of Member Solutions.  A group of about 30 of us got together at “Hecho en Vegas”, a Mexican themed restaurant which was very tasty 🙂

From there to Cirque du Soleil’s Ka.  If in Vegas, see this show, it will blow your mind.  Seriously, see this show.

Day 4

More seminars!  By the end of the day the energy level is definitely lower…  it might only be 3 days, but it’s a lot of information to take in over those 3-days.

After the event we decided to spend the last night there in and order room service, the 6am wake up to catch a flight wasn’t seeming too appealing.

Anyways, themes this year where largely around technology and how it’s changing our industry and applying service concepts from other industries (Taffer being the Keynote speaker)

Great trip, learnt lots, had a blast.  Look forward to going back again next year already 🙂

Anyways, best thing you can ever invest in is yourself.  And when investing in yourself takes you on a trip to Vegas it’s just a bonus 😉

Best of Winnipeg 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 12.55.19 PM


Innovative Martial Arts makes the cut again this year 🙂

Didn’t hit first, but Anytime Fitness with 3000+ locations and the Reh-Fit centre which was government funded and a $10 million facility are some stiff competition that I’m ok with falling in behind.

Thanks to everyone for all the support, we’ll do our best to continue living up to the title and serving our community as best we can.

Taking it to youtube…

One of our current projects is to take our entire curriculum and get it recorded, uploaded and available to everyone.

This is something that isn’t all too common in the martial arts, especially styles like ours that are heavy in techniques…

Anyways, I’d encourage all active members to subscribe to our channel, over the next few weeks we will be getting all of the White through Green Belt material up that we will be working on until the next graduation in June 🙂

Once we hit that point we’ll be putting everything into playlists based on rank and program, So you’ll get a list of exactly which techniques are required for the current curriculum cycle.

If you haven’t seen it yet our channel is here: Make sure to subscribe 😉

In addition to the kids curriculum we also put up videos from parent’s night events, graduations, exercise tips, nutrition info, etc. We only started pushing the youtube page less then a month ago, and it’s taking off quite nicely.

Eventually our goal is to tie the youtube videos directly into our attendance software, and give everyone access to their profile from home, so you’ll know exactly what to work on and when. Anyways, SUBSCRIBE! That’s youtube’s currency 😀

We are back from the SuperShow!


This was one of the biggest yet and one busy trade show floor. It was put on by MAIA (the Martial Arts Industry Association) and Century (The largest martial arts supplier in the world) and is the biggest event in our industry by far.

Just to give you an idea of what a trip like this looks like for us, we arrived in Vegas Saturday evening, with seminars starting at 9am Sunday. From 9:00-6:00pm we where in day one of the “Elite” seminar with another 50+ of the top schools in North America.

Elite Seminar


This was followed by the MAIA VIP reception where we where quite spoiled with some amazing food, drinks and networking with some of the best in our industry.

Day 2 was another day of seminars with the MAIA Elite group, followed by the opening ceremonies for the SuperShow. This year the super show featured some arial acrobatics, martial arts demonstrations, and keynote speaker Walter Bond, but the show was stolen once again by Master Ken of the youtube series “Enter the Dojo”.

Opening ceremony about to start from our seats
Opening Ceremony from the stage

Day 3 was the first day of the trade show where we went from a little over 100 people in the Elite seminars to over 2000 for the main trade show, followed by the Century VIP party, where we once again where awarded the “Mark of Excellence” Award from Century CEO and founder Mike Dillard and President Paul Webb. We where the only school in Canada to receive this award, and one of about 50 worldwide. We where honoured to be in such a small event with living legends like Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, Ernie Reyes Sr & Jr, Stephen Hayes, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, guys I grew up seeing in movies and magazine covers as well as modern greats and industry top brass.

Trade show floor



Century VIP Gold Party


Day 4 was more trade show and a little quieter, as by this time everyone was exhausted by this time. We followed it up with “Cirque de Soleil: Ka, which was incredible and headed home first thing the next morning.

We learnt lots, met lots of new friends and had a great time, but are happy to be back 🙂



Anyways, we feel like celebrating!

So we are running a little post SuperShow special, just click here! It’s good for 4-weeks for $47. This will only be up for a few days though, so make sure to jump on it quickly, and as a added bonus the first 5-people to sign up will get a $50 credit to our pro-shop!

4-weeks for $47!

Greetings From Oklahoma City

We just finished with the conference in Oklahoma City!

It was a good time, slight delay on the second flight of our trip left us going straight from the airport to Century Martial Arts headquarters rather then the hotel first, but we made it in time.

Got to check out all the new products and things from Century and get the early copies of the Holiday catalogues.  As always we came away with some free stuff, in this case their completely new take on headgear design came in our goodie bag, as well as a couple t-shirts, water bottles and promotional materials.

We came away with a lot of information and ideas on things to implement over the next few months to make our school even better and stronger.

We fly back tomorrow night, and look forward to getting back on the mats on Monday!

Getting busy

It’s funny, I’ve spoken with many industry experts and been warned several times that there is a turbulence point in a growing school.  A couple actually, and never really gave it too much thought.  But, I guess it’s time to learn that lesson and pay more attention.

The first was when we where passing 50 members, which is right about the point I had to stop doing everything on my own.  We got busy enough that between having a full time job and running the gym things got tricky.

The next one I was told would start around 100-120 members…  thats the one we are coming out of.  The point where running the gym stops being a single person effort (with a assistant at times) and becomes a team effort.

Over the summer we had a few classes where our instructor / student ratio was not even close to what it should be.  Those days where interesting.  But, we have a name to live up to and it’s time to innovate!

We are happy to announce Julene has returned to the floor after a brief break.  Next week we should have one additional member starting, and we are looking to likely have one more ready to go within the next few weeks.

With more staff on the floor we will refining our class structure to take into account the larger class sizes we’ve been seeing lately.

It’s really exciting for us, each step along the way introduces not new challenges, but new opportunities to improve and deliver a better and higher quality service.  Prior to moving into our current location we had a funny shaped gym with half the mat space, no office, no lobby, far less equipment and some old and worn mats.

It got crowded…  It was an not ideal situation for a little while at the end.  But it gave us the ability to move to our new space, which any of the long time members will tell you is a massive improvement.

So please forgive the turbulence, we’re remodelling into something even better.  We’ve gotten big enough to take that next step over the last few months, and it’s going to be great 🙂