The Tenth Degree with Johnny Ahmed

What's your typical morning routine?  How do you get your day started off right?

I wake up between 5am and 6am make some tea and get straight to work checking my emails, social media notifications and how all my Facebook ads are performing. Twice a week I attend 6am weekly coaching calls for online marketing education. After that I’ll head to the gym to do weights and then head to the studio.


What did you want to be when you grew up? How did you get your work life started?

Originally I knew I was going to do something in computers because ever since elementary school my dad taught me how to use computers. After graduating high school, I got my Bachelors in Computer Science through DeVry at age 21. I started working in that industry but found that I just couldn’t work for someone else. I even tried to create my own business with some other friends but that fell through quick. Eventually, I went back to working for a software company but at the same time I started a small club inside my younger brother's elementary school. (My youngest brother is 12 years younger than me.) That small club launched my career to now running a full time school with a large staff. I would say four things helped me to get to where I am now: my perseverance to keep trying even though I failed numerous times, my parent's support (even though they didn’t believe martial arts can be a career), my team's dedication to my school and my mentorship through United Professionals and meeting Greg Silva and Shayne Simpson.

Why the martial arts?  Did you train when you were younger?

I was fascinated by martial arts since I was a kid.  I was reading karate books in the library and watching action movies with stars like Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Van Damme. I finally started actual lessons in a small studio as a teen.


How did your school come about? Where is it located and what do you teach?

As mentioned above, my career in the martial arts started by opening a small club inside my brothers elementary school.  I taught twice a week just as a hobby. We are located in Vancouver, BC Canada (Richmond) and teach Taekwon-Do, Kickboxing and Krav Maga.


How do you define success? Was there a moment when you felt like you really made it?

I would say success is doing what you love because then it isn’t work it’s just your passion and hunger to be the best version of yourself. I would also define success when you create other leaders who also follow your footsteps and become successful in their passion too. I would say when I got my business to follow systems and was able to step away from the inside and work from the outside is when I felt I had made it.


It’s a difficult time to be a business owner this year. What have you been doing to keep your school going?

We launched a new service teaching classes virtually and I went all in learning the technology and learning from mentors who are successful in the online world (not martial arts companies). For me this was easy, as you read above, with my history in computers. I also am lucky that Canada has been looking after its people and with the amount of rent assistance, payroll assistance and other resources I have been able to keep my expenses low.


Thanks for being one of our awesome Black Belt Excellence schools! What is it about the program that you like? Are you using it in any interesting ways?

I love the program because it shows students and parents that martial arts can be used in our daily lives everyday without having to be physical. We hand out the physical copies to our students in classes and for our virtual students we email them a digital copy which they complete and email back to us.


What advice would you give to your fellow school owners? What has been working well for you these days?

Just keep learning by reading books, watching videos on YouTube and if you can afford it get coaches. But start with books and YouTube videos first and the last thing is take action because just absorbing information alone is useless. I would say Facebook marketing is my best lead generator.


What is currently inspiring you and in what way? (book, movie, song, charity, anything really…)

I think being able to survive in this new reality has made me a better version of myself. I have learned that as long and you are willing to adapt to your environment, you can still give value to your customers and community. What currently inspires me is watching all the other martial arts schools keep going and not giving up.


How do you end a typical day? What do you do to unwind?

I usually end my day just like the start of my day which is again checking my emails, social media notifications and Facebook ads. I basically do this routine throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll grab a book and read a few chapters before going to sleep.