Green Bay Karate is one of the most successful martial arts studios in Wisconsin, offering black belt training for students from the age of five through adulthood. Identifying as a “House of Discipline,” Green Bay Karate’s practice of courtesy and respect informs its orderly classrooms.


Founder Craig Johnson was struggling to keep up with the demands of running a martial arts studio during the evenings and weekends. He is college professor by day and a school owner by night, so he needed a martial arts software platform that kept up with his busy schedule.

With having to assist students and grade papers for his day job, Mr. Johnson was falling behind on managing and manually tracking the day-to-day paperwork generated
by approximately 150 karate students – every email, every invoice, every attendance sheet.

Mr. Johnson wanted a solution to cut down the time spent on administrative burdens required to manage a successful martial arts school, and give students more attention in the learning process at the same time.


The solution to juggling a full-time day job and keep his school running came in the form of Kicksite, acting like a virtual administrative assistant.

As a prospective client, Mr. Johnson was introduced to Kicksite’s proprietary M.V.P. Process, which is all about understanding goals and needs. Through mutual assessment, visionary consulting and private lessons, clients can develop holistic goals for their martial arts studio and help shape their future business goals. This process is seamless, as it walks clients through every step of the way and makes integration of a new system a breeze. Here’s how it worked for Mr. Johnson:

M: Mutual Assessment

Through learning about Mr. Johnson’s pain points and goals, specifically the huge amount of time it took to input administrative items while struggling to maintain another job, Kicksite helped him determine quickly if it was the platform he needed to address these challenges.

“All it took was one conversation, and I was like, ‘Yes that’s what I need,'” said Mr. Johnson.

V: Visionary Consult

After a discussion with Kicksite staff to understand Mr. Johnson’s goals and vision for his business, the Kicksite team worked to customize his account precisely to his needs – now and in the future.

During the setup process, Kicksite listened to Mr. Johnson’s desire to provide students with visual aids like videos, and assisted him with uploading these necessary materials into a private “Student Access” portal. This new tool allowed Mr. Johnson to provide essential materials online and avoid the burden of having to continuously send them through email, YouTube, Facebook, etc.

P: Private Lesson

Step 3 of the MVP Process provided Mr. Johnson with personalized instruction from one of Kicksite’s experts, allowing him to implement, enjoy and benefit from an intuitive martial arts platform.

As a result, this helped him take manual work off his plate so that he could focus on what mattered most: his students. This phase of the process also demonstrated for Mr. Johnson how to navigate the dashboard as well as track birthdays, class schedules and various programs, among other items.

Kicksite’s innovative three-step process allowed Mr. Johnson to implement, enjoy and benefit from a system that he initially didn’t think he had time for. It’s also worth noting that this was accomplished during the last month of school
for him which is typically the busiest for any college professor.


Managing two jobs can be a time-consuming endeavor, but with Kicksite, Mr. Johnson was able to enjoy success with both roles.


With Kicksite’s expert support, Mr. Johnson fully integrated the solution into the Green Bay Karate’s administrative processes and continues to find new features to streamline tasks he previously performed manually.

Green Bay Karate retired its card system for announcing ranks and results. With the Kicksite platform, this information is sent directly to students’ online accounts. The system was designed for him and has allowed him to avoid manual labor, freeing up more time to spend with his students.


Tracking is challenging and ripe for error without the benefit of a tracking system like Kicksite to monitor absent students, expired memberships and students eligible for promotions.

Kicksite also helps Green Bay Karate become a more prominent and wellknown part of the community. This includes assisting in the scheduling and dispersion of promotional materials as well as event notices.


Kicksite supports Mr. Johnson’s goal of increasing student ownership over their practice. With Kicksite platform, students at Green Bay Karate can access their accounts to view videos of themselves, among other items, in a private and secure location, rather than making them public via a channel like YouTube. Younger students also now receive printable materials and projects on their accounts, reducing Green Bay Karate’s paper footprint.

Keeping up with communication is time-consuming, but with Kicksite it’s automated so absent students are contacted, Facebook posts are easy, and past due memberships are alerted.

In conclusion, Kicksite proved to be a beneficial solution for Mr. Johnson’s business needs, and will likely continue to help him to find ways to impact his students at Green Bay Karate in a positive way. An investment in Kicksite helps build efficiency, essential tracking that is easy to miss, and keeps communication at an all-time high.

“I’m in the ‘wow’ phase,” explained Mr. Johnson. “I’m already recommending it to my friends.”

Master Reymundo Gonzalez fulfilled his dream of opening a martial arts studio in 2011 when he founded Warcats Taekwondo studio in Corpus Christi, Texas. While owning a business can be incredibly rewarding, it often comes with added responsibilities that can prove problematic, especially when the business is small and experiencing rapid growth.

In fact, Warcats Taekwondo went from 82 students to 134 in just three months.

That said, Gonzalez has taken everything in stride and continues to teach students of all ages about the value of martial arts, thanks to a little help from Kicksite’s technology platform and friendly staff.

Challenges in something new

Master Gonzalez is no stranger to teaching. He was a part of the public school system for more than three decades, serving as band director for 16 years and then as principal for another 17. The school’s campus was the educational home for children from pre-kindergarten all the way through high school. So needless to say, Master Gonzalez knows how to teach kids.

Despite retiring from the school system, Gonzalez didn’t slow down.

Between teaching martial arts classes all week and completing paperwork for each of his students on a case-by-case basis, it was as if he never retired at all.

Being new to the martial arts industry, things like quarterly reports, taxes, attendance logs, student rank promotions and payment records were unfamiliar concepts to Gonzalez at first.

Gonzalez was stuck spending more time than he wanted to focusing on the logistics of running a business. He considered some of the latest software systems being used by his peers, but was concerned with how complicated they all were. Gonzalez wouldn’t classify himself as tech-savvy, so using software seemed daunting.

Kicksite to the rescue

Instead of letting the challenges that come with running a business overwhelm him and his family, Master Gonzalez turned to Kicksite to help his studio grow successfully.

After meeting a Kicksite representative at a conference he was attending in Las Vegas, Gonzalez decided to give it a try.

Initially, Master Gonzalez had reservations about using a tool that relied so heavily on technology. But in the end, Gonzalez’s fear was immediately alleviated by how simple and intuitive the program was to use. As a former teacher, he appreciated Kicksite’s approach to keeping things simple. His positive experience was further enhanced by a friendly face.

“[Melissa is] the one that did the training – an amazing lady!” Gonzalez said. “Very patient. [She] walked me through the steps.”

The Kicksite customer service team worked with Gonzalez to achieve his goals for the studio. Using Kicksite meant Gonzalez had to commit to learning the technology involved with the program. But by doing so, he knew he’d lighten the workload for himself and his Warcats team.

“I’ve always told my teachers that: work smarter, not harder,” Gonzalez said.

Kicksite helped make following his own advice possible. Although Kicksite is designed to be extremely user-friendly, free and unlimited training is always offered to make sure users can learn every aspect of the software.

Kicksite, a management software system created by martial artists for martial artists, squared away all the logistics in no time. It helped him take attendance, provide notes for each student’s file, complete taxes and schedule belt testings, all digitally. The added assistance gave Gonzalez enough freedom to interact with students without worrying about administrative duties constantly.

A little organization goes a long way

Rather than continuing on as a fledgling business with little in the way of support, Gonzalez and his team used Kicksite to get organized, and it’s already paid dividends.
Just like that, a self-proclaimed amateur in technology used Kicksite, a web-based system, to take his business to another level. Through the help and availability of people like Melissa, Gonzalez experienced first-hand the ease of working with Kicksite.

As a result, Gonzalez is better able to focus on his students.

Given the amount of time he saved, Gonzalez enjoys a life that is centered around teaching his pupils rather than worrying about administrative tasks. If he can do it, anyone can.

While Master Gonzalez and his taekwondo studio found success using Kicksite, every partnership is unique. With its extensive services and convenience, Kicksite can help martial arts studios in all stages of growth streamline work flow, engage students and ultimately grow as a business.

Learn how the 2012 School Owner of the Year grew the largest martial arts school in the world!

Grandmaster Rondy McKee has owned and operated White Tiger Taekwondo & Martial Arts in Cary, North Carolina since 1996. McKee’s professional background in marketing and advertising combined with her expertise in martial arts led her to develop what is arguably the largest martial arts school in the world. Around 2,000 active students train with multiple masters at McKee’s facility. Now, McKee is sharing her 10 Essential Retention Tips with you. Apply these 10 strategies at your school to optimize your business practices and watch your numbers soar!

Tip 1
Retain your leads. Prospects may be reluctant to provide their name or contact info, but they will usually provide an email. Calls: As soon as you pick up the inquiry call, ask for their email so you can include them in your database for coupons and specials. This opens the door to tell them about your current special. Now that you have them in your database, they will be included in your weekly specials even if they don’t make an appointment today.

Walk-ins: As soon as the prospect walks in and asks for information, have them fill out a “request for information” form that asks for their basic contact info and email. Walk away. Keep your information such as flyer specials and schedules away from the counter. If you just stand there they will ask you a bunch of questions, and you will not be left with any contact information. You will now have their contact information for your prospect database.

Special Guests: Get into the habit of having all field trips to your facility, all birthday party attendees, all special event guests fill out a permission form to gather contact information. Log in all prospects. You will be surprised how quickly your will grown your prospect database.

Tip 2
Retain your web researchers. Imagine reading over the restaurant menu, deciding what you wish to order, then to be asked to please leave your contact information. A waiter will contact you within the next week to discuss your order. If someone is searching your website, they are interested in trying your program. Let them. Instead of just gathering information – only to get back to them when the iron is cold – let them purchase a low-cost trial package right now and provide information to show up for their first class. Paypal is easy to use and deposits the money directly into your bank account. You will find that most busy parents will do their research once the kids have settled down for bed and they have quiet time to catch up on their to do list. Most of our sales are made after 10:30 p.m.

Tip 3
Retain your trial memberships. Focus on their goals, not your prices. “Do you want to pay me every month for 1 year, 2 years or 3 years” versus “Are you interested in earning your yellow belt, blue belt or black belt”. Have upgrade information available during the trial so they have time to decide. Make life easy for busy parents, have programs easy to understand and decisions can be made by email. No more need for high-pressure enrollment conferences.

Tip 4
Retain your white belts. Retention is 0% about how good you or your school is. Retention is 100% about how good students feel about training in your school. Students and parents must feel:

Tip 5
Retain your middle ranks. Provide special privileges or perks only available when certain goals are reached. For example, our 7th gups can attend board-breaking classes. Sixth gups may try out for demo team, 5th gups may add a tumbling class, 4th gups may attend weapons class, and 1st gups may join the leadership team. Set and implement perks to fix your common drop of areas.

Tip 6
Retain high ranks. Get them involved. Join a team:

Tip 7
Retain Black Belt Candidates. The fear and cost of the Black Belt Test can deter many from achieving their ultimate goal. Organize your Black Belt Process. Our Black Belt Test is a 6-month prep course. A checklist-style training log outlines the physical requirements and Black Belt Life Skills – acts of kindness and compassion – that are expected each week/month. The Candidates must attend a monthly seminar to prepare for the test. The seminars cost a fee and are paid monthly. There is no fee for the actual Black Belt Test. This system ensures the students are mentally and physically ready for the exam, and provides a method for money management along the way. The investment in the seminars ensures 0% drop out rate at the time of the actual test.

Tip 8
Retain Black Belts. Immediately after the test, provide new opportunities. In our school, a Black Belt in Taekwondo is a prerequisite for a child to take more advanced styles such as Hapkido. Often, the student will re-enroll in a completely new membership the next day after they take the test. Money talks. Black Belt is seen as the end of the journey for so many American students and parents. A discount for achieving this goal is a great way to encourage them to enroll again. Our discount increases as the rank increases. Of a 3-year membership, a new black belt student may re-enroll and take advantage of a $360 discount. Second degrees receive $720 of and so on. This equals $10, $20 per month – equivalent to their degree. This has worked so well for our retention, we had to make a policy of “5th degree and you are free.”

Tip 9
Retain instructors. Your instructors are the ones closest to your students. Nowadays with social media, they are probably closer to your students than you know. Your own instructors can be the biggest threat to your future business. Include them in your business, or they may become your competitor down the street. If your doctor or hairdresser moves down the street, your loyalty is not to the facility they once occupied. It is to the relationship you had with that person. If your instructor leaves, chances are students will follow. Instructors can be made mini-partners in a variety of ways: percentage of testings, registration fees or their own licensed locations. They need to see a future for themselves if they stay with you

Tip 10
Retain your dignity. Despite your best efforts, some students will quit. Of course try to fix the issue if possible, but if you can’t, handle it with dignity. It is a small world, a smaller martial arts world and all of it gets each day with the increase of social media. The days of forcing the conditions of “non-use/still gotta pay” are long over. Time and effort is wasted if you try to collect on a membership you did not earn. Time is better spent focusing on enrolling new students who want to train with you. Negative reviews will cost far more than any fees you may be able to collect just because you had a contract. Our memberships are satisfaction guaranteed. The student may enroll by the month (auto draft) for a regular fee, or may take advantage of a discounted rate with a commitment of time. If that commitment is broken for any reason – no proof of anything required – they may end their membership and the time they used only is prorated back to the regular price. The fee is paid, hands are shaken. A very fair system with no hard feelings on either side. The door is open if the student ever wishes to return, and they may even refer others to your professional and fair school.


Master Garth Cooley has been practicing Taekwondo for more than 30 years, is a two-time United States National Champion and in 2008, he was voted “Taekwondo Master of the Year” by Taekwondo Times Magazine. Currently, he is the owner of Korea Taekwondo Academy in Indianapolis and is in his 18th year as senior master instructor, but with all of these qualifications, Cooley still struggled to run an efficient martial arts school. However, like many martial arts school owners, he didn’t realize quite how much time he was spending on everyday tasks, like tracking attendance and belt promotions.

Inefficiency led to problems at school

Master Cooley was using student cards to record attendance, he didn’t have a Web platform for school management and wasn’t able to send automated text messages to his students and staff members. These antiquated processes were a major time suck and hindered Master Cooley’s potential to grow his school. Because he was spending so much time tied up with slow processes, Master Cooley was left with little leisure time. He needed to free up time in his day and figure out a better way to stay in communication with instructors and students. At the end of each day at KTA, he was left with little time to achieve his goals of supporting kyoroogi to become an Olympic sport and develop poomsae internationally. Once he found a solution that allowed him to streamline tasks and save time, he knew that he couldn’t go back to his old ways of school management.

“With Kicksite, I have a better vision of my student body — as well as patterns and trends — that I can track through the software,” Master Cooley said.

Master Cooley now has better flexibility and efficiency

A desire for greater efficiency was one of the main things that drew Master Cooley toKicksite. He estimates daily efficiency has already grown 10 percent since investing in the software. He now spends fewer hours each day tracking belt promotions, student attendance and membership rates, giving him more time to spend with family and friends, as well as on his hobbies.

Saving all this time has given Master Cooley the chance to focus on other tasks outside his school, but a chance to focus on critical work tasks, too. He now has an opportunity to look at the school as a whole and get a more accurate feel about processes he can improve down the road, which will give him the ability to save more time and money in the long run.

“With Kicksite, I have a better vision of my student body—as well as patterns and trends—that I can track through the software,” Master Cooley said. “By that feature alone, I believe it’s better, and it’s been saving me and helping me generate more revenue because I’m spending more time with prospective, as well as new and existing students.”

Plenty of martial arts school owners aren’t interested in efficiency solutions that are overly complex and only result in more time wasted trying to figure out a complicated system. Master Cooley found Kicksite’s Web-based system had features that made his job easier and allowed him to build better relationships with students and their parents. With greater efficiency, martial arts school owners can spend less time on the job and more hours on the things they truly enjoy, all while making their school a place they can be proud of. Master Cooley, for instance, is reaping the benefits of improved efficiency by speeding up everyday tasks and spending more time becoming a bigger advocate for Taekwondo.

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