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June 7-8, 2024 | Buffalo, NY

2024 Speakers

Master Michael Mertens

Conference Host
How to be a Competitive Instructor
  • How to stay motivated to teach year after year
  • Why creating engagement is superior to enjoyment Setting challenging expectations for your students
  • Creating a classroom experience that is effective, meaningful, and rewarding
  • How to teach life skills in a practical way that increases your value and your impact 
Additional Information

Master Mertens is a multi-school owner and industry leader who has personally mentored some of the most successful Masters and Instructors in the U.S. He has presented at seminars around the country and is considered one of the leading experts on martial arts marketing and sales.

Grandmaster Ryan Andrachik

Pulling Back the Curtain on What it Takes to Succeed with Multiple Locations
  • How to know when you are ready to expand
  • “Must have” systems for multiple locations
  • Selecting, communicating with and assigning staff greater responsibilities
  • Managing large scale special events
  • The mindset shift necessary to be a multi school operator
  • Learn  how to make your dream of operating additional schools and teaching more students a reality!
Additional Information

Grand Master Ryan Andrachik, director of MA School Builder, is the owner of Asian Sun Martial Arts, spanning 7 locations throughout Northeast Ohio. As an 8th Dan, he is an executive member of AAU Taekwondo National, the AAU Taekwondo regional director and Lake Erie director for AAU.

Grandmaster Karen Brown

Unlocking Event Success: Growing Together, Building Memories, and Team Unity
  • Event Selection and Planning:  Exploring the selection and organization of events that align with your school’s values and culture while enhancing team unity.
  • Inclusivity and Family Engagement:  Explaining how events bring families together, with details on games, activities, and entertainment suitable for all ages.
  • Effective Promotion and Participation:  Sharing tips on promoting events within your school and ensuring active student and family involvement.
  • Creating Lasting Memories:  Exploring the impact of offering delicious food, fun games, crafts, and entertainment to make events memorable.
  • Measuring Success and Improvement:  Discussing how to evaluate event success and use feedback to improve future events, enhancing your school’s community culture.
Additional Information

Grandmaster Karen A. Brown, with almost five decades of Taekwondo training and over four decades of teaching experience, proudly owns and leads Hanmi Tae Kwon Do Center in Worcester, Ma, for nearly thirty years. Her journey includes two National Gold medals in Sparring and the honor of being named “Grandmaster of the Year” twice by Taekwondo Times Magazine.  What sets her apart is her unwavering commitment to both family and community, working alongside three of her children to foster a strong sense of unity and family within the school.

Anthony DeSimone

The Black Belt Approach to Utilizing ChatGPT & AI in your Dojang
  • Ready Stance:  Learn the initial steps to access ChatGPT. Understand the essentials to set up and navigate this tool effectively.
  • Basics:  Discover strategies to make ChatGPT work best for your dojang including time saving prompts that get you better results faster and easier. 
  • Poomse of ChatGPT: Identify key applications of ChatGPT that can streamline operations, enhance customer interaction, and manage administrative tasks.
    Counterattack & Risks to Sidestep  Be aware of potential pitfalls and limitations of using AI in your school
    Breaking Mindsets and creating Breakthroughs:  Understand why integrating AI tools like ChatGPT now is crucial for staying competitive and innovative. Strike first, strike hard!
Additional Information

Anthony M. DeSimone, a CPA and CMA, specializes in aiding small business owners with improving profitability, cash flow, and efficiency. With over 25 years of experience working with small businesses, including a start at the CPA firm Deloitte, he uses numbers to enhance team dynamics and business operations. He owns ‘You’re the Expert Now, LLC’, and also teaches at the University at Buffalo Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, focusing on entrepreneurial education. An author of three books, Anthony is pursuing a ‘ChatGPhD’ and conducts ChatGPT and AI accelerator courses. He also hosts ‘The Small Business Experience’ podcast, discussing ChatGPT and AI advancements.

Master Antony Graf

From Words to Warriors: Mastering Storytelling, Teaching Philosophy, and Positive Communication for Building Future Martial Arts Leaders
  • Unlocking the Power of Storytelling: Learn how to weave stories into your teachings for maximum impact.
  •  Seizing Teachable Moments: Master the skill of addressing unwanted behaviors in the moment. Turn challenges into opportunities for growth and learning.
  • Cultivating Word Awareness: Pre-framing and Reframing: Develop awareness of the profound impact of your words. Explore techniques like pre-framing and reframing to enhance communication.
  • Harnessing the Power of Words: Negative and Positive Labeling: Delve into the conscious use of language, understanding its power. Navigate the effects of negative and positive labeling in your interactions. Gain insights into fostering a positive mindset in yourself and your students.
Additional Information

6th Dan *Master Antony Graf, known as “the kid whisperer,” boasts a two-time Olympic alternate and a 13-time international open medalist title, alongside being a 9-time US National Team member in Taekwondo. As the founder of Believe Martial Arts and visionary behind Youth Empowerment Systems, he’s devoted over 30 years to impacting lives positively. Fueled by a childhood quest, Graf realized true fulfillment by influencing the lives of children. Based in Miami, he resides with his beautiful wife and two children, leading a life centered on fitness, cold plunging, sauna sessions, and creating positive change. Graf, a nationally recognized speaker, now extends his influence by documenting transformative teachings in his latest endeavor, a book.

Master David Higgins

Become an Enrollment Machine

Master Higgins will share his proven methods for the 3 Stages of Enrollment. Having enrolled tens of thousands of students over his twenty year career, Master Higgins knows how to build rapport and trust that leads prospects to become committed students. Join him and learn: 

  • How to uncover the wants and needs of each prospective member 
  • Scripts and “buzz word” vocabulary that educate and motivate 
  • How and why to be a confident salesperson even when objections come up 
  • Delivering value and painting a picture that allow you to charge more than your competition 
Additional Information

Master Higgins is the Co-Owner of Master Yang’s World Class Tae Kwon Do in Austin, Texas. Their 2 locations have over 1,000 students.

Master Chris McDowell

How we Grew Our School from 80 to 280 Students in 18 months

Master Chris McDowell and his wife, Master Vicky McDowell purchased a school with eighty students, and created a MASSIVE turnaround as a result of implementing new systems and revamping the school culture. Come learn the exact steps they took to take the school from barely surviving to THRIVING! This seminar is a testimony to the effectiveness of the World Class System including:

  • How to maximize community marketing with local schools, trade shows, and demonstrations
  • Business to Business promotions
  • Monitoring and responding to student progress and advancement
  • Special Events that boost retention and recruiting
  • Raising standards with staff and students
  • Creating and committing to a new vision
Additional Information

Master Chris McDowell is a 4th degree Black Belt. He grew up as a student and staff member at the original World Class TKD headquarters dojang in Buffalo. He then worked as a senior master at one of the first World Class TKD affiliates. Together with his wife, he now operates Master McDowell’s World Class Taekwondo in Manlius, N.Y. 

Master Hyun-Seok David Seo

Scaling Success: Transforming a 50- Member Dojang into a Thriving 1200-Member Community
  • From 50 to 1200: Unleashing the Power of Growth
    Explore the inspiring journey of transforming a small Dojang into a dynamic community of 1200 members and beyond.
  • Metrics that Matter: Tracking Progress Strategically
    Learn to identify and leverage the essential metrics that drive the growth of your Dojang.
  • Mindset Change: Key to Unlocking Potential
    Understand how a shift in mindset played a pivotal role in achieving exponential growth and success.
  • Knowledge is Not Power: The Art of Execution
    Discover the importance of translating knowledge into action, making execution the true source of power in your Dojang.
Additional Information
  • Owner of 2 locations in Mississauga, Ontario with a total of 1200 members.
  • 35 years of Taekwondo training and 25+ years of teaching and coaching experience.
  • Former Canadian national poomsae team member and coach

Coach Tim Thackrey

How to combine Traditional Training with Modern Mobility

You owe it to yourself and your students to understand the latest science and practices for healthy athletic movement. Whether you are instructing recreational TKD students, or high performance TKD competitors, this seminar will provide you with scalable drills for increasing flexibility, developing strength, and decreasing risk of injury. In and out of the competition ring, when your students win, you win!

During this physical training you will learn….

  • Effective full body warm up methods that leave you more time for skill instruction
  • How to integrate mobility &  strengthening drills in combination with regular training
  • My method to quickly adjust drills based on injuries or student’s unique movement patterns
  • Simple tricks to break through student plateaus and keep them making progress
Additional Information
  • 9x US National Team Member [2000-2008]
  • Gold Medal Pan American Games
  • Bronze Medal World Championships
  • USATKD Athlete of the Year
  • Resident Athlete Olympic Training Center
  • Trained Athletes in the 2016, 2020, & 2024 Olympics
  • Director of Education, USATKD
  • Former Head Coach, UCLA TKD
  • Trained thousands of martial artists around the globe

2024 Sponsors



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