In a Male Dominated Industry These Two Instructors Are Setting a New Standard.
The average student drops out well before they reach black belt and not because it’s too difficult. Signing up was probably the most difficult part and keep in mind that they aren’t going for a position on SEAL Team 6. It’s because many martial arts students can no longer see the value in staying past a certain period of time.Don’t get me wrong, there is tremendous value in making it to black belt, as only a black belt would understand. However, along the way, students begin to realize they are in a martial art, not a self-defense class, and may become disillusioned, feeling like they couldn’t protect themselves if they had to.
They also get their ambition watered down because of the length of time it takes to advance is just too long. They may aspire to add value to others in the form of teaching and that’s unlikely in a traditional art, at least for the first several years.
So what’s with the story? This magazine is dedicated to Professional Instructors, with an emphasis on the word professional. Anyone and I mean anyone can open up a school. If you train long enough, just about anyone can earn a black belt.
A professional in any activity is the equivalent to an NFL caliber football player not the high school level. Specifically with the following qualities:
*Ability to earn an income doing what they do
*Have a reputation for doing what they do well
*Impact others in their community with immediate value
*Continue to learn, evolve and improve their service/ business
*Watch the market to make adjustments
*Maintain a higher standard than most if not all in their same industry
School owners get frustrated, however, they still run full speed down the same path they were shown a long time ago, even if they can see clear alternatives to become more successful. Working from 4-8 p.m. as a martial arts school owner just to clear the overhead is the story for many owners. We know this because we field tons of calls every month and many have the same story. Being diversified in today’s market by bringing in successful turn key programs can change your course of business and lead to much greater success.
We have countless testimonials from school owners who finally decided to bring COBRA in and the results were more than they could have expected. Click here to see a recent instructor of 38 years stating exactly that.
When you are a COBRA instructor, you can give your students and communities immediate value. You become the authority on personal self-defense and safety in your area and it by-passes that same old year after year story line of the typical Martial arts business person. This quickly translates to success in the form of income, exposure and opportunities.
Here is the best part: you don’t sacrifice your original martial arts system/style by implementing COBRA. You only attract more of the adult market which many martial arts schools just do not have. COBRA is an adult market magnet that certified instructors use to build all of their programs. People often go to their favorite restaurant for a single interest and will then order additional items from the same menu. This is an example of how COBRA helps established businesses to expand their market and earn more revenue.
In this month’s magazine, we feature two COBRA instructors who have a heavy traditional base and have found great success with the COBRA program. It’s refreshing to see two female instructors accelerated success in a male dominated industry of self-defense. They have know when to “think outside the Gi.”
This months Self-defense Professional features two heavy hitting sisters who have been awarded the prestigious COBRA Top Gun Instructor Award.
Annie and Elizabeth McLaughlin are far from average. Both are college educated certified COBRA Instructors with an enviable list of teaching credentials.
Although they have a great deal of time invested in the more traditional arts, they have incredible exposure in the adult market since they became certified COBRA Instructors. In the past six months, they have instructed hundreds of Army recruits at Colorado State University, instructed women’s sorority groups and women’s concealed weapons groups. Along with the out of school COBRA instruction, these two Top Guns are instrumental in teaching the main 10 week academies and one day camps at the Dojo LLC. In Fort Collins Colorado.
Making such a big impact on such a high level in a relatively short amount of time has earned Anne and Elizabeth McLaughlin the COBRA Top Gun Award.
Let’s get to know them and their story first hand by the Dojo Owners Silas Beaner and Randy Brown.
Upon entering a C.O.B.R.A. class, there are certain things you expect to see. Eager students, black t-shirted instructors and a myriad of training tools and equipment. What you would not expect to see are sisters Elizabeth and Annie McLaughlin, two C.O.B.R.A. instructors who look a lot more like models than self-defense enthusiasts. The standout sisters, who grew up in Wisconsin, are at the forefront of C.O.B.R.A. Fort Collins’ women self-defense program. Although these two are siblings, they took very different routes to become the Top Gun C.O.B.R.A. instructors they are today.
Elizabeth McLaughlin received her undergraduate degree Interdisciplinary Arts and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and graduated with a 3.8 GPA. Throughout her college career, she developed a strong appreciation for the disciplines of painting and ceramics. The split focus of her degree between Art and Psychology stems from a strong desire to understand and help people using a variety of approaches.
She is currently undergoing Yoga Teacher Training at the Dojo in Fort Collins and hopes to combine the disciplines of her schooling with her current practice into a unique form of Recreational Therapy.
Elizabeth moved to Fort Collins, CO in September of 2013 after graduating from College. It was there that she began training at The Dojo.
Initially, her interest was more about physical fitness than personal protection. When the C.O.B.R.A. Curriculum was introduced at the school, she signed up but will admit to possessing a great deal of skepticism. Not so much about self-defense, but rather her ability to translate her training into real life. She has always been interested in fitness, running and yoga, but wasn’t convinced that there was a link between those two things and self-defense.
Throughout the course, she had the unexpected opportunity to put some of the C.O.B.R.A. training into practice. After that point, she was convinced not only of its validity, but also of a strong awareness that it was important to share what she had learned.
Annie was born and raised in Wisconsin, where she obtained two state high jump championships that led to her recruitment at Colorado State University. Having fallen in love with the Rocky Mountains when she was a child, she packed up and left to begin her adult life in Fort Collins. She began training in martial arts with the instructors at the dojo due to her interest in early UFC promotions and because she planned to travel and wanted to know how to defend herself.
In 2010, she became the World Champion Queen of Pancrase Submission Grappling in the Absolute division. Annie continued to train, pushing the envelope beyond sport grappling into kickboxing, Muay Thai, weapons arts, catch wrestling and more. She has been training consistently for almost 10 years, and currently holds a first degree black belt in Akumu. She teaches Sarasya Tone Fitness at the dojo, as well as martial arts private instruction to students in Fort Collins. She enjoys Vana Flow Yoga and martial arts Fusion for her personal training, as these arts in conjunction with her fitness program blend together to create a holistic, lifestyle practice.
Control of self, connectivity to community and nature, and the ability to help others find these strengths through training are a few of the reasons she enjoys teaching and training with the dojo.
The two, along with the rest of the team at The Dojo, have since trained Sorority groups, the ROTC at CSU, and multiple seminars and academies. They are both passionate about bringing self-defense training to as many people as possible, with a special focus on women. Having experienced situations that women specifically are more likely to face, they both seek to use C.O.B.R.A. to prevent their students from becoming victims.
At The Dojo in Fort Collins, the instructors are almost as diverse as the needs that bring C.O.B.R.A. students together to begin their training. Sebastian Puente, an undefeated MMA fighter and 5th degree black belt with 15 years of training under his belt. Chris Inman, a 4th degree black belt is currently beginning his journey to become a police officer. Robin Scoville is an exceptional visual artist who has been exploring the feminine side of the martial arts for 20 years. Brian Elsasser is a 2nd degree black belt with special interest in physical strengthening techniques such as Iron Warrior training. Silas Beaner enjoys intense training in warrior arts, coaching MMA Champions, and wilderness survival. John Hertlein has trained professional MMA fighters, taught wilderness survival and tracking as well as traditional martial arts. Randall Brown is the head instructor with over forty years of training in numerous martial arts. The instructors are a tight knit team that work very well together and offer their full support to the McLaughlin sister’s and their focus on women’s self-defense.
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