MA Business Success 64: Kyoshi Justin Boylan Interview - Part 1 of 2

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Phil: G'day, Phil Britten here at Martial Arts Business Success podcast. And today, we've got an amazing, amazing guest, someone who I just asked, "How long you been doing martial arts?" And he said, "My birthday in 1980, so 36 years of martial arts." And we've got Justin Boylan here. And as always and ever, [inaudible 00:00:26], we've got Graham McDonnell as well.

Hey, so, Justin, I really appreciate your time and taking time out of your busy schedule in order to share with us and share with our listeners and viewers. So let's just start, then, so we get moving on it. Now, tell us a little bit about yourself. I know you're a very humble person who doesn't like to speak much about themselves. But from a martial arts perspective, how long and how did it all start?

Justin: I started in February 1980, and I had an interest in martial arts for a while before that. I'd been competing in swimming and surf life-saving and coming towards the end of that. And my second oldest brother had done some martial arts whilst he was in the army. And he was back on Christmas holidays and we got talking about it. And he took me down to the local dojo, and we started there training with Rod Stroud, this guy with Surf Life Saving Club, which was the first club I was a member at, so I knew how to get there. And yeah, I've enjoyed it immensely.

Graham: Brilliant. Well, you know, on your journey, has there been any sort of moments that have stood out for you as a martial artist. You know, I certainly know that we have the utmost respect and we regularly train with yourself. You've got some, you know, vast amount of knowledge for the years you've been doing this. Was there anything on your journey that stood out that you thought, "Wow, look, that was a real sort of moment in time"?

Justin: I guess some things that really stood out for me were the innovations in the martial arts that came about in my time, and I started in 1980. It was unheard of to go into another school. And if your instructor caught you training at another dojo, even if it was another karate dojo, that was it for your membership down there. And you might get a special sparring session [inaudible 00:01:54]. So that's been a big difference.

And certainly, you know, the first thing I ventured out into was to do some wrestling. And that was really, you know, [inaudible 00:02:05] for me in regards to how good they were at what they did, how humble they were. I was amazed at one social event. There was an incident with some drunk, which I was able to move on with a minimum of fuss. And now just like, "Oh, I can't believe you spoke to that guy. And, "Weren't you afraid of getting hit," and this and that. And I was thinking like, "Man, you guys are picking me out, throwing me down on my head every time I go to training." But they had no confidence that they had any self-defense skills. They totally saw it as a sport.

And of course, from there, Mr. Bob Jones introduced kickboxing and then Thai boxing to Australia, and that was being pushed with the training. And then the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu became famous. So the underground tapes you'd see of the fights, we'd all gather and watch those terrible, grainy VHS tapes. And we started from there. And about 1992, you know, working on that and trying to understand it. And then, of course, you know, the Filipino arts became available. And recently, I've been doing quite a bit of Japanese swords.

Graham: Excellent.

Phil: So Justin, just to give the viewers out there, for some people that may not know you, you're obviously a Kyoshi and listening to all the different stars you trained in multiple arts, [inaudible 00:03:18] martial artists under many sort of banners. But I guess sort of your home base has always been Bob Jones Corporation under Chief Soke Bob Jones.

Justin: That's correct. And I always think of, you know, Bob's motto, "The best of everything in progression." And you know, I go out and find the best Thai boxing and bring it back, and find the best wrestling, the best Jiu Jitsu, the best weaponry and bring it back. And then through doing some work in security as a defense tactics trainer and as a firearms trainer, you start to consider things that you never considered before. Safety aspects -- what are the safety aspects when we train? It's all important in firearms training because of the terrible consequences if there's a safety breach. But then you start to think about that warm-up exercise. Is it really a good warm-up exercise? Is it gonna be for a 50-year-old guy, a 60 year-old guy? So when you get that new information, for me, I like to take it back and compare it to the other things I've done to make the other stuff better. And I feel that my Zen Do Kai karate has always gotten better because of my wrestling, because of my Jiu Jitsu, because of all my weaponry studies.

Phil: I think for the viewers out there, too, what Kyoshi Justin brings to the table is not just training on the mat in the dojo, but the defensive tactic stuff. And also, obviously, you know, the stuff that you used to do, the door work in nightclubs and pubs and clubs is, you know, being able to use various escalated levels of force, from a minimal to, I'm sure, a high level, too, you had to move people on, so to speak.

Justin: Yeah.

Phil: Have you been in any situations where you thought, "Geez, I might be out of my league here," or have you always thought that the knowledge that you've had in your training has been equal to what you could handle out there in the real world? Because I think there's a disconnect between what people learn in the dojo and we might actually have to use out there in the real world, a lot of people don't get that chance.

Justin: Very true. You can get it through competing in a genuine event with an evenly matched opponent. You can get it in defensive tactics work. And some people call it the "knowing/doing gap." There's what I know, and there's what I can do. We can all sing in the shower, but can we sing in front of 20,000 people on a stage? We could all look amazing on the bag. We can do incredible focus, pad work, and we can even spar very well. But can I do it when that adrenaline hits? And for me, I think I was lucky that I started out and we were working with, you know, experienced guys when we started doing the security work.

So you might have been wet behind the ears, but the other guy wasn't, and you just followed his instructions and you certainly found out what you could do and what you couldn't do. And if you went too far using too much force, the police certainly informed you about what you could do and what you couldn't do. So as we were working through that, you know, got to figure it out that defensive tactics work is more hard now than it's even been before. There's so many a video tapes, so much recording. People are so aware of their rights, but sometimes they forget that the other person has a right. He has a right to enjoy his night out. He has a right to quietly enjoy his meal. He has a right to not hear foul language.

Graham: Right. Now, I'm sure the listeners and the viewers would agree what a wealth of knowledge you have in the martial arts aspect. Let's just flip it over to sort of a bit more of the business now. You've had experience working in government. You run multiple different businesses. How you found, again, with business, how has that changed to how it is nowadays?

Justin: So I started when I left school in public service, and I was there for 16 years and did a lot of different jobs in a lot of departments. I don't know if I really enjoyed the work, but I learned a lot. And nowadays, when you run combat sports events or you do the defensive tactics training, there's always a government authority that you answer to. So I feel like I've got a good rapport and good communication with them, and I understand what they're trying to achieve. Even though I might not agree about how they go about it, but at least I understand it.

And then from there I had a nightclub, a [inaudible 00:07:08] nightclub for a while. So I was defensive tactics trainer, did the door work, owned a venue as a licensee, then ran the training. So it gives you a 360 degree of it. And as a doorman, I loved it when it was quiet. As an owner of the premises, I hated when it was quiet. And as a guy teaching defensive tactics training, you know, you've gotta be very clear about what is reasonable and proportionate and what's not.

Graham: Look, I guess, you know, also, too, you traveled the world extensively and visited, you know, many, many different dojos on your journey. Have you seen in the last, maybe, decade or even prior to that how professional sort of schools are starting to evolve, or in your own opinion, what separates, you know, some good schools from other schools, or what makes them stand out?

Justin: I remember I had a former marine walk into a school hall where I was teaching martial arts, probably in 1990, and he trained. And we ended up doing some security work together. He was a very good operator. And then when I bought my first full-time premises in 1994, he came down, he looked around and goes, "Well, proper dojo like America." I was like, "What do you mean 'like America'?" And he goes, "Well, no one trains at a school hall in America, everyone's go a full-time place."

So I think I'd better get on a plane and go to America. And you get over there and see the scale of the schools, the professionalism, the level of equipment. There used to be a big boxing gym full stop. There'd be a karate dojo full stop. And now you've got a place that have amazing facilities -- four wrestling mats, four Jiu Jitsu mats, full boxing ring, full striking area, weaponry systems, shops, weightlifting equipment, showers, change rooms, supplements. You know, really incredible that it's really become a business instead of a hobby. So that's a big change I've seen in the professionalism of the businesses, also of the owners, not all of them, but also of the owners.

Some of the owners really are amazing with their martial arts. They've got a number of martial arts on offer. They're not one-trick pony. If you want to go there, you can learn Muay Thai, you can learn karate, you can learn Jiu Jitsu, you can get defensive tactics training, some schools offer Krav Maga systems, so a wide variety. And again, not all the schools, but the better schools -- professional. I mean, how they go about things -- policies and procedures, and they believe in self-development, and they believe in using the martial arts as a way to physically and mentally develop yourself. Not just, I'm gonna get a guy. I'm getting him a funny haircut, turn him into a thug, and set him loose.

Phil: What about just going on that, on the way that businesses changed, what about instructors or martial artists themselves? You know, you've got, you're saying, how its evolved and you've got some amazing facilities. I sort of look yourself, Kyoshi, as someone who's deeply rooted in tradition but able to move with the times. Whereas you sometimes get the instructors who have been doing it 20, 30 years, and they're like, "No, not changing. This is how it's done," and you know, they're not gonna change the way it's done. That's fine, because that's the way they wanna do it. But I guess sort of like technology, if you don't sort of keep up with the way things are going, you will get left behind. What's your view on that?

Justin: It's very true. If you're not careful, you will get left behind. The world won't change to suit you. And you need to change to suit the world. That doesn't mean you've got to trade in your values. It doesn't mean you've gotta [inaudible 00:10:23] on what you're doing. And you you've just gotta take the information that's out there. And remember, no disrespect to anybody that's come before me, they've done the best that they could do with the information that they had. Were they getting the best information available at the time? That's the first question. The second question is, is there better information available now? And you need to be out there doing it, and you need to be out there evolving yourself and looking forward to the next thing that you can do. You're not always gonna beat your top competitor. So you need to be happy to move on. Enjoy that in its time. Be happy to move on. Be a great coach. Be a great official. Be a great promoter of events.

Graham: Fantastic. Look, I guess there's, you know, one final thing. It's always hard to predict the future, but in your opinion, where would like to see the future of martial arts going? And I'm not just saying, you know, in Perth or Australia, in general. Do you see a trend starting to occur nowadays? I know there's, you'll see gyms and gyms like that popping up all the time [inaudible 00:11:23] as well? Where would you like to see the martial arts go for the next decade and beyond?

Justin: I think where it will go is it'll follow the trends from the big population centers, the trends in America, the trends in Europe. Typically, that's what happens in Australia. I think there will be a time, and hopefully soon, where people can check that the person they're training with is genuinely qualified to teach what he's teaching. Unfortunately, there's a lot of people out there who, you know, aren't what they claim to be, and that can be dangerous. They can be doing dangerous practices. They may be teaching things that don't work and a person has an unrealistic expectation about what they can perform. You need to know where you are, and now can figure out where I wanna get to. And if I think my skillset is that I can safely handle a 10-year-old child, well then that's what I should start with. And if you think your skillset has improved and you can handle eight large men, well, you better be pretty confident in your skills if you wanna take that on. They might have a different idea.

Graham: Yeah. Fantastic. Wise words, as always. I guess, you know, we're very appreciative of the time that you spent just in this Part 1. We've got a two part series of this. We're gonna touch on in the next podcast about training for the future, and again, that longevity in your training practices. Because I know that, you know, kicking the bags a thousand times everyday, it'll only last a certain amount of years, so I know that Justin's gonna share some great tips and strategies that helped him get to the level that he his, while also maintaining a great healthy lifestyle and a great balance with training and a great regime.

Phil: Cool, guys. Awesome podcast today. Can't wait for Part 2. Don't forget, if you do have any particular questions, thoughts, feelings, discoveries out there within the industry, things that we can help you with, if we can't, we love to interview people who can. So send through the questions, guys. It's all about giving you the value and the tips, tools, and strategies that you need to build, grow, and monetize your business. So we'll catch you on the flipside. Ciao.

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