Martial Arts Studio Navigates Global Pandemic with In-Person Classes Resuming April 26th

·3-min read

On a typical day at Total Martial Arts Studio, one could find the mat completely full of eager students kicking and punching their way to Black Belt with classes, seminars, and workshops running every day at the 3,500 square foot studio located on the Birmingham – Royal Oak, Michigan city line. That all changed in March of last year when the global coronavirus pandemic brought in-person classes at gyms and fitness studios across the United States to a screeching halt and forcing many studios to go out of business or get creative. Total Martial Arts, owned by renowned master martial artist and University of Michigan business graduate Jesse Dean Crawfis chose the latter. Crawfis says “I knew once the shutdown began that we had to do everything we could to provide our students with an outstanding remote learning experience. If we could do that then that would bring about the revenue stabilization necessary to maintain profits and strengthen our company position.” Thus, Total Martial Arts immediately began production of training videos, interactive online learning modules and launched virtual classes. Crawfis jokes “we went from being a martial arts studio to an IT company overnight – but that’s what we do as martial artist, we adapt and take control of the situation. That’s what the best companies do, they either adapt with the times or go out of business.”

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Over the course of the last year many industries have seen a steep contraction with the martial arts industry being no exception. According to some leading estimates the industry has contracted by as much as 20%. However, due to Crawfis’ black belt business acumen and eased restrictions Total Martial Arts is poised to return to in-person classes Monday April 26th. “I’m so proud of all of our students and all of the hard work they have done this year and can’t wait to have them back in our studio.” With a return to in-person instruction Total Martial Arts is going above and beyond to assure that classes are safe. Crawfis says “Our number one priority is the comfort and safety of our members and as such we have implemented the recommended CDC policies to mitigate risk in addition to maximum ventilation made possible by the studios massive overhead door.” When asked if he had any advice for other business owners amid the current climate Crawfis responded “irrespective of whatever the climate may be a business owner must remain focused on the core objective of delivering their product or service while providing an outstanding customer experience and adapting to whatever measures necessary to do that. Further, businesses that keep detailed industry specific statistics are the ones that are able to quickly discern exactly what’s going on within the business and what adjustments need to be made to stay on track and make goal.”


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Jesse Dean Crawfis is one of the worlds foremost martial arts masters and studio operators. He is the author of multiple books and articles that have been featured in the largest martial arts magazines and journals. In addition to running his martial arts studio, Crawfis also works as a film martial arts choreographer and holds a business degree from The University of Michigan.