Three step sparring, or sam soo sik dae ryun in Korean, is a drill used in Tang Soo Do and many Karate styles to build up the necessary skills for sparring while maintaining control and safety. Students start out with one step sparring, ill soo sik dae ryun in Korean, at a very early rank but don’t start three step sparring until much later.

One step sparring is when your partner executes a single, straight punch and you perform a pre-determined counter technique. Three step sparring is just an extension of this with your partner executing three continuous punches while…


Congratulations! You have been running a commercial studio part-time and have been consistently growing to the point that you are considering going full-time. That in and of itself is an incredible achievement. Most businesses fail within the first few years. In addition, the majority of martial arts studios have less than 50 students. So, if you are at this point, you are doing something right!

Before storming into your bosses’ office and declaring you quit, you need to make sure you are making the right decision. It is safe to assume that at this point you have been teaching and…


Just come to class, work hard, and listen to the instructor. In other words, train. This is certainly a great recipe to learn something, even at a high level. However, to master something such as a martial art, much more learning is required.

The truth is, you can get a great deal of knowledge and skill by training under an instructor or even multiple instructors, but there are other things you need to learn that you can’t always get from an instructor.

A few months back, I wrote about the three types of learners: aural, visual, and kinesthetic. That was…


One size fits all. This is a great concept when it comes to socks and hats but does not apply to self-defense techniques. It is often said that good technique will overcome size and strength. While this is true, there are limits to this statement.

Even with perfect technique and 8-year-old child is not going to be able control a 6 ft. 5 in., 300 lb., professional football player with a wrist lock or arm bar. A petite 5 ft., 90 lb., female will also have a difficult time executing certain techniques on this much larger attacker. …


We all strive to be the best we can be. We all desire to improve ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is especially true when it comes to martial arts. One of the reasons for training is to become a better person, in all facets of life.

In most martial arts, we use a belt system to guide and gauge a student’s progress. Often, earning belts gets confused with making progress. A few months ago, I wrote a post titled “ Why am I not testing? “, which addressed this common question that gets asked to martial arts instructors. …


Prior to getting into this post regarding the part-time commercial studio, let’s do a brief recap of how we got to this point. We got the ball rolling by starting some classes at a YMCA, fitness facility, community center, or similar type venue. We volunteered to be instructors in order to grow faster and build a strong community presence.

We also spent a lot of time and effort in creating a comprehensive business plan that will guide our studio through all the milestones we set forth. We are now ready for the next step which is to open a commercial…


The following article is the story of a student I had for many years. To respect her privacy, I am going to refer to her as TJ in lieu of her real name. The main reason I am sharing her story is that it is an inspirational one. Many people over 40 years old will say they are too old to start training in martial arts. TJ’s story will show how you can not only start something in your 40s, but excel at it, reaching the highest level.

A secondary reason for writing this story is a bit of reflection…


My goal is black belt. This is a black belt school. Black belt excellence. Minimum time required to earn a black belt. These are all things that you will see posted on the wall of a studio or hear being discussed by students, instructors, and parents. From day one, we are programmed to believe that earning a black belt is the end all be all.

We are also told, almost guaranteed, that we will someday become a black belt. …


March 10 th, 2020. That was the last day I taught a normal, restriction free martial arts class. Over a year later, masks and socially distanced activities are still required in my area.

We are quickly approaching a year and a half since the start of the COVID19 pandemic. While it appears we are approaching the end here in the US, it is still far from over and nothing is for certain.

Since the start of the pandemic, I have spoken to many martial arts instructors, read a lot of articles, and seen a lot of social media activity regarding…


In this post I will continue my series on how to start, grow, and maintain a karate studio. In my last post I explained the importance of having a business plan and started going through the ins and outs of the business plan as it pertains to a martial arts studio (or similar type business). That post turned out to be quite large, so I broke it into two separate posts. In this post I will conclude my explanation of the martial arts business plan.

In the previous post, I focused on the Overview of Business Concept. This section consisted…

Steven Elmore

Karate Studio Owner/Author/Kick Ass Dad

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