By: Sensei Thad Campbell – TSMMA Feasterville
The Karate Kid And The Birth of Tiger Schulmann’s
There is no doubt that in any great success story there is an element of serendipity. In the story of Tiger Schulmann’s Growth from a single Karate school in a small shopping center to the largest Martial Arts Organization in the world, the movie The Karate Kid didn’t hurt!
Master Tiger Schulmann’s manager at the time, Sensei Steven Bosyk recalls coming to the school one Monday morning at 10 am and seeing a line of people around the block waiting for information on class. The interest helped to spur a success story that has been featured in nearly every martial arts publication as well as mainstream business journals.
What inspired this line was the timeless story of Daniel “Daniel-son” Larusso and his transformation from the new kid in town being bullied by the in crowd, to All Valley Open Champion.
The mentor relationship he formed with Mr. Myagi and the resulting confidence he gained in overcoming adversity are the foundations of a Martial Arts Schools mandate. It was a mandate that the prospective students standing in line that Monday morning got from Tiger Schulmann!
The success he had in the following years has everything to do with his own willingness to work hard and perfect his craft. Even at the age of 21 years old he understood the importance of meeting the needs of each and every student. He created an unparalleled curriculum while also taking the time in each and every class to make sure each student was receiving instruction.
Those principals haven’t changed.
Standing The Test of Time
Some say timing is everything, while others say Luck is when Preparation meets Opportunity. I prefer to think that my teacher made his own luck by being prepared. While it was fortuitous to have such an inspiring movie debut only months after he opened the first Tiger Schulmann’s Karate school, there were literally thousands of other Martial Arts schools throughout the country that benefited from the same spike in interest in 1984. Startlingly few of them still exist today.
Why did Tiger Schulmann’s stand the test of time when so many others have failed? I believe it is a combination of two things. His lack of ego and unfailing desire to improve each and every day. What has he improved? Everything!
Our curriculum today is so different from 1984 as to be totally unrecognizable.
Tiger Schulmann on the far left with Martial Arts Hall of Famers Joe Lewis and Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, the two farthest to the right!
Karate Transitions to Mixed Martial Arts
My favorite analogy for new students in the school is to compare a Motorola Razr to an IPhone. Imagine for a second that in 2013 I told you you weren’t allowed to have a smart phone. While a portion of the population survives with an old school (crazy that old school is five years ago) cell phone, the vast majority have become smitten with the smart phone.
The evolution in technology is mind boggling. If you asked me when I first had a RAZR if I would ever have another phone cooler than that I would have said no way. Only five years later I can’t imagine being forced to go back to it.
As hard as it is to believe the art of self-defense has evolved just as rapidly as cell phones. While there are techniques that are thousands of years old still being employed effectively, it is the way those arts are being combined and the nuances being added that have truly created an effective Mixed Martial Art! The constant training of millions of people around the globe in these cross-pollinated martial arts is making evolution occur at a rapid rate.
My favorite thing to know about my teacher is that in 1993 he was already the largest, most successful Martial Arts school operator in the world. That didn’t stop him from moving the furniture around his living room and practicing the arm bar’s and triangle chokes he watched win The Ultimate Fighting Championships debut in Denver, Colorado.
Imagine for a second if Blockbuster Video had seen the writing on the wall and developed a direct to consumer web based sales system for delivering movies and tv shows to you. They would still be the leader in video’s! Not a dinosaur who’s buildings stand empty or filled with a different business all across the country. If I told you in 1993 that Blockbuster would be a dinosaur in twenty years would you have believed me?
Karate is a dinosaur and for the life of me I can’t figure out why people are still bringing their kids!
Tiger Schulmann didn’t follow the path of Blockbuster by deluding himself into thinking he couldn’t be overtaken by others. His ego as a lifelong practitioner of Kyokushin Karate didn’t stop him from seeing the writing on the wall. What’s funny is the style of Martial Art that won the day at UFC 1 has failed to evolve the way Tiger Schulmann’s has. Mixed Martial Arts competition was started as an advertising platform for Gracie Jiu Jitsu. In fact it has evolved to make their limited curriculum as a close rang and ground self-defense school be outdated as well. Just like a traditional karate school that doesn’t teach more effective close range defense is wrong for not evolving, so are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools that tell their students that it’s not important to know how to defend yourself from long or medium range! It is hard to understand how anyone could choose to train in those styles.
Jiu Jitsu, literally translated in to English as The Art of Gentleness, concentrates on ground close range self-defense and ground self-defense techniques for the vast majority of training. But an altercation may also occur at long or medium range. And why not keep an attacker farther away if it is within your power.
This is the genius of what Tiger Schulmann has accomplished in the last twenty plus years since first seeing the effectiveness of ground self-defense. He has continued to incorporate Close Range and Ground Self-Defense, or Grappling as it’s referred to in our curriculum, to go along with the already unparalleled Medium and Long Range Defense he was already providing.
This has kept Tiger Schulmann’s in the same exact place it was as a Martial Arts organization 20 years ago, the leader!
How many businesses that were the leader in their industry in 1993 are still the leader in 2013. Think about the sheer number of major corporations like Blockbuster from 1993 that don’t even exist any more, let alone continue to be leaders in their field!
Transitioning Smoothly From Karate To MMA
How do you get 70 different instructors in nearly 50 different locations to seamlessly improve their curriculum over the course of twenty years? You work your rear end off, that’s how!
Make no mistake, the focus, “non-quitting spirit” and positive attitude that instructors talk about each and every class in their individual schools is evident in each and every training session at our headquarters.
Because of the love of Martial Arts shared by each and every instructor it is not difficult for Tiger Schulmann to bring them all together a few times a week to incorporate the endless stream of new techniques, and new twists on old techniques being seen in the world of Martial Arts.
Through the teaching of 30 plus classes every week, each instructor has made their own discoveries and brought them back to the group as a whole to share them with the nearly 10,000 students who take class each and every month!
Add to that experience from members of the Tiger Schulmann’s competition team who go out and compete in the various aspects of Mixed Martial Arts to test the effectiveness of our curriculum. All of these competitors being students who began at Tiger Schulmann’s as new students with no prior Martial Arts experience!
Emblem of The New Jersey Tigers of Chuck Norris’ World Combat League with Sensei Campbell on the Lower Right Corner!
What does this mean, it means a new student in Tiger Schulmann’s MMA is getting the benefit of 70 plus instructors experience, combined we posses over 1000 years of martial arts instruction combined!
Where Should You Take Your Child for Martial Arts
So it’s back to school time and you are looking for a place to bring your young one? It’s an easy choice. You can go to your local karate or tae kwon do school. You can bring them to a local Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school. Or you can take them to Tiger Schulmann’s, the first school to ever combine the various Martial Arts in a proven curriculum to teach each and every student the art of self-defense in long, medium, and close range, as well as on the ground.
Maybe you don’t think your kid needs self-defense? Keep in mind that 95% of all High School age children are involved in bullying, a process that begins in elementary school and only intensifies throughout the schooling process.
Now imagine the focus and determination it has taken for Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts to remain the leader in Martial Arts instruction for over 25 years! Can your child benefit from being exposed to that level of Self-Discipline?
Give your child the best back to school supply you can. The Self-Defense, Self-Discipline and Self-Confidence you can find at Tiger Schulmann’s Mixed Martial Arts!