Zulfi Ahmed - The Real Secret To Success With Your Martial Arts Business
These, times, and days is not, times. And days of lone Ranger's, those. Days are gone, you. Have to be part of a bigger mission. Bigger, vision bigger purpose bigger. Group, bigger, entity. Than yourself. Hey. This is George free and welcome to another martial, arts media business podcast I have, a fantastic, guest, with me today all the way on. The other side of the world in Texas, master. Sophie I mean how are you today is OFI, wonderful. George thank you appreciate, you contacting. Me and pleasure. To be on your show, all. Right awesome so we're gonna just. To give, this conversation, a bit of context, so Sophie. Is the Grand. Master from. Russia ban international. 10th degree black belt, 45. Years experience, in martial arts so, there's. A lot that we can obviously, gain from the school so, I guess we got started just right, from the beginning to give you a bit of context, how. Would you if, someone, has to ask you who is Sophie. I made what, would be your answer. Sophie. I'm in the short little man, who. Was. Born and raised in Pakistan. A. Country third-world country and I migrated. To. The. United States of America, in 1985. And, I've, been studying martial arts. Since. I was nine years old so 45, 46 years in the martial arts and I've studied all over. The world I've, competed. For. Trained. Almost, every every. Part of the world except, Australia so, this way I need to be heading soon and I. Have, my organization. Which. Is an international, organization, called Bowie bond international. Our, headquarters. Is in, Houston. Texas Pasadena. Texas to, be precise we. Have nine locations, in the Pasadena Greater, Houston area and, we. Have two, more in, Connecticut. And few. Affiliates, in the United States and several schools and affiliates. In Pakistan. Bangladesh. India. In. That part of the world, the. System which I teach is called bushi bond it's my system. Of. Development. I've. Studied many. Styles throughout my years and I'm still a student of the martial art I consider. Myself a, ever. Going, ongoing student, ever, lasting. Students of the martial arts miss, studied. In, the beginning I studied a system, for bondo wear, means bondo, it's a system. From man mark and it, has different branches, it's called let's way which. Is the bare-knuckle kickboxing. Banshee. Which, is the self-defense, and weapons are tying, which. Is the animal, styles, in classical. Art Mabon. Which is a grappling, art of burmese martial, art and then, I studied wrestling, Pakistani, Indian wrestling, when, I was young I studied. More Thai, shotokan. Karate, many. Many styles, and. After. Studying. For about twenty plus years I developed. My own system, and it's, an ever-evolving system. And. That's. The brief background, I've. Competed all over the United States and, many, different circuits, from point. Type. Tournaments, to full contact to MMA, to, grappling, to. Jujitsu, to. You. Know, kickboxing. Boxing you. Know so I've had very well-rounded. Learning. Experience, I've had people. From all different disciplines, took. Turns beating me up so I've learned a lot. All. Right fantastic so so, Sophie did. All this start, because. I mean you've. Got your your, own system and you've got nine, locations in. In. The, United States how. Did, that all start when you came from you came from Pakistan, yes. Was was, that was, that the goal with the immigration, or. Were. You really that, far in your career when. You were my psychie son a. Great question, I I already. Had many Tao, the students of Pakistan, I came. To United States for higher education, so, I I was enrolled in college. And university, here I was, enrolled in Barnard, and Baroque College of Business in New York City 14.
Lexington, Avenue and, a little mini, International. Scholarship plus. I had I I had an immigrant, status my sister, she's, a pediatric, oncologist, the, cancer. Specialists, for children and my, brother-in-law who, were citizens of the United States they sponsored, me for with. A green card so like when I came to, United States I was already a green card holder as an immigrant but, I came, here to go to school and. I, really didn't have much intention, of staying for. Any longer than I needed to and going, back but I fell in love with the country with the people and the, opportunity presented, itself because. I had still. Have thousands. Of students in Pakistan, and then. Opportunity, present itself for, me because, martial arts is my love it's, my passion it's my fire is my fuel so, of, course I wanted to be in the United States compete, with. The top-of-the-line martial, artists at that time in the, whole wide world so I jumped, into the competition, circuit, at. That time we had sports. Karate more prevalent, about, 34, years ago, very. Few other. Disciplines. But, very scattered. So. Whatever I could find I jumped into that arena and then. I start I opened my own little. Club teaching. In. Daycares. With, little children and then one thing led to another and started. With a small school went to a bigger school bigger school bigger school and finally. Built. And bought my own building of 24,000. Square foot which, is the headquarters now, and as. Time, went by we had more schools, you, know we. At one time we had up to 17, schools, and though, some of those schools are still active but we, did not we don't license them anymore so they chose their own path and. So. Make a long story short I came. With. The intent of, finishing. Education, and then see where my. Destiny, leads me and my destiny kept me here and. Never. Look back don't, regret it for a single day love, it love, the people love the country, I love, my students and I love the martial arts oh I'm a blessed blessed. Human, being, it. Has to come I'm always I, always, love hearing a expect. Success. Story as I'm from South Africa and I'm living in input, it's always good to hear with people I find I call, it the expand advantage, because. Expectantly. Go and they they go with a different mission because. You. Know they, just got, to make it work, so. Yeah. So. I wanted that from you so how. How. Do you how did you go from sir I mean you, know we're always talking the show about schools. And then marketing, and so forth but I think the topic we don't explore that much is how many how do you take that next jump you you create, you've created this school and you've got a business how, do you how, do you scale, to, the next level that you can over the next locations, and, and. I. Guess, you don't weigh start from moving taking. The step path and letting. Other people who lead. So. You know if you have if you have if a person has deep belief, deep. Conviction. Deep faith, deep. Passion. Deep. Fire. You know of what, you do you love and then. You keep doing that. Things. Happen, organically. And. Things, happen with planning, so. You. Must, let. Your, destiny. Lead you and don't question it you, must be led by your passion, to.
A Point where you are willing. And ready to sacrifice, and. I. Am. A big, believer, in faith, and destiny, and karma, and you. Know we, create your own luck. So. What happens if you are if one not, you one if one is, passionate. About and they believe strong. Enough and they're. Resilient and they don't give up and they are not, greedy, in the process. Then. Automatically. The universe, opens doors. Sometimes. People. Come into your life because. You attracted, them and, sometimes. You go into, people's life who, you attracted, and they. Attracted, you and as. Long. As you aware, of where your end point, needs to be things. Will manifest themselves, as, long. As you are true honest, hard-working and, you, are committed. To, your goals and dreams you. Gotta have a dream then. Things, will happen, don't, doubt things, will happen, when. I came here, I was passionate about my. Martial arts, schooling. Was my. Parents. Direct. Directive, to me more than my own even, though schooling is very important, and I did schooling, and I recommend, everybody, does get, this schooling, and degree because. That's your plan, a. But. Fortunately, my plan, B became, my plan a because I am born, to be a martial artist my calling in life is martial, art and I've known that since I was you, know an orange belt since, I was nine years old that this is what I wanted to do throughout, my rest of my life and that comes, through my, mentors. My teachers, who inspired, me to live, a lifestyle, of martial art and then. Being. In the right time right place with the right people with. The right mission, right purpose, opens. Doors so, I wish, I could give you a more strategic. Tactical, answer. Do this do this do this do this but, to me the best answer is just follow your dreams and don't, give up and don't quit and keep, believing, and the. Right things will happen if you, have the right. Intent. If your, intent is good if your intent is sincere. The, doors will open yourself, just don't give up. Now. Is that answer yeah, that's that's that's the better that's the better answer because it's it's always you. Know this. Tactical. Could change, and it could be different for everyone and I think everyone, has different, strengths, in. What. Tactical, things they need to do and not, do so, yeah. That's, that's, that's, the better answer Thanks, thanks Sophie sir so. At. Which point. I'll. Get to this this question in a minute but we, feel. Marshall. Owners, are going are, going wrong in their path I mean we really spoke about really following their dreams and and. And sitting, that intention, and good, comment, goals but. What's, the martial arts school, well. The martial arts industry just really had a big booming stage, wait, where do you feel school owners are missing, missing, the boat with, with. Their journey with these schools. Well. I can't answer for the martial arts individual. Industry, I, speak. A lot in many different forums, with. You, know martial arts industry, association. Educational, funding company, AMA first by, the way I'll be speaking at you know our mutual friend Fred De Palma's event. In April I think it's, 26. 27 28 if, I'm not mistaken that so Fred is a great friend of mine and you. Know out. Most respect, for him and I'll be speaking at his event. I'll be. Speaking. Many other events, yes. He went in in. England also in, April, the. Week before there are being you came speaking, at the EFC. European. Convention so. Basically, what the. Answer, what I want to say is you know, you know that that. The, phases, of learning and maturity, is you. Know the, four phases of learning is you, know. Unconscious. Incompetence. Conscious. Incompetence. You. Know conscious. Competence, and unconscious, competence, competence. So, you. Don't know what you don't know and that's. Where a lot of martial arts school owners are there's, so much out there they, just don't know what they don't know you. Know I still don't know what a lot of things about. Then. There's martial. Artists who know that. They don't know which, is a great you, know great. Stage. To be at and then, their martial artists who know that they don't know and they want to you. Know pursue. That which is wonderful and then, it comes to a point, where you. Know. What. You know and then, you. Don't know what you know because it's become second nature so. I believe our industry's. Going through that second. And third phase, there, are a lot of martial artists, they, don't know, that, there's information. Knowledge of. Business. Development personal. Development, martial. Arts. Entrepreneurship. Exist. You. Know I'll give you an example tomorrow I have a mastermind, here, in Texas I've got like Ken pancake, you, travel, all the way from UK, who's got five schools there I've, got people coming from all over and I've got locals.
Local. Martial. Arts school owners coming in who. Have never been to a martial, arts business. Development, event. They. Just didn't know that something, like this existed, so. I think once, we figure, out that there. Is information, out, there to improve us and we. Take steps to go out and learn and. Implementation. Is the key everybody, learns everybody, knows it, every. Citizen takes note but can you go and implement so, I think one thing which martial artists in. This, time and age there's, one. School one. Group they don't know that we even exist. Martial. Arts business educators. The, second group is that they. Information. Junkie, they love information. But they don't do anything with that the. Third group is they. Go. And they take what fits in their model and they implement, it right away. Like, my friend Ken pain ken, is sitting here he's, that you, soak, it up and implement, it then, there are guys who who. Already. Have implemented, they just need reassurance they, need to know they're, doing it right you. Know I go to these events to learn and I go to these events let me give, you an Mary, honest answer I go these events to be humbled when. I see their people who are doing much better than I am it, brings. Me back down, to earth because. We are all kings in. Our own Little Kingdom but. When we go outside and we see wow, these. Guys are, you. Know kicking butt and taking names that, they are way, beyond, my. Aptitude. And it. Humbles, me and that. Humbleness. Makes, me come back and say. Oh I thought I was this you, know bad ass excuse, the French got. A lot of work to do so, to me. You. Know it humbles me because, you. Know I believe it but most, of us me. Included we, are driven by ego we. Go martial, artists have big, egos so, once we let go of egos, we we, will come, back to earth and we'll do what we need to do to prove ourselves so. I don't know if that answers your question but that's my spiel, on it I love. It I love it that's fantastic, so. So.
Sophie If you had if you did because. This there's, a lot of unconscious. Competence. Then, that I think I can't tap, into and and it's it's hard for me actually to to keep those those, questions, because I think you've got so much knowledge over, 45, years they're. Things. That are common knowledge to you might be, hard, it. Really be hard to extract all that information. From you so let's. Let's put it this way if if, you had to start this journey. From. From, the beginning what. Do you what do you think you would do, different or which path would you, when you go on what. Would you say I would get great. Question, I would get myself a mentor ASAP. A mentor. Or a group of mentors for. I would. These. Times, and days is not, times. And days of lone Ranger's, those. Days are gone, you. Have to be part of a bigger mission. Bigger, vision bigger purpose, bigger. Group, bigger, entity. Than yourself, because. The. Student, is more. Aware, of, what. The martial, art is and, it, presents, and, represents, and can, benefit, now than, 30 years ago 30. Years ago as a lone ranger I could have hundreds, of students but now as a lone ranger I cannot. Compete, with, a stronger. Group. Of people who are. United. And they have more strength than you so, I. Would. Utilize see, a lot of this where, I'm at today I, did. A lot on my own trial and error and, failures. More. Failures, than you, know, victories. And then. When I found some, mentors, one. Of my great mentor, is the great Grandmaster dr. Mong ji he, is 87. Years old and he is the father, American bondo, Association. He mentored, me guided, me and that, was a blessing to me, plus. Other mentors, in other fields so, you've, got to get yourself somebody, who you respect and, you feel can, share. With you through. Experience. Anybody. Can read a book and. You. Know reiterate, the book and say what's in the book but, the, years of knowledge. The experience cannot. Be replaced by, what you read in a book or what you buy in a $2.99. Program, it, has to be lived and they. Have to live through trial and error to victories and failure, and that's, the mentor, I would, get immediately, if I could find one and if I could have some of you so, that's the first thing I would do because. When I came to America my teacher was 10,000. Miles away. I learned, through trial and error and I learned through get beaten up I would go to these tournaments which. I had totally. Different I came from a different background and, I went to do texas-style, Point, karate with groin kicks were allowed and I got beaten up every weekend but, I didn't give up I kept going back and going back and going back. So. I learned. Through, real. Failure. And then. You. Know if. I would have had a coach mentor, teacher in the, business and I would have been maybe, ten, steps ahead you. Know so that, would that's what I would recommend everybody, to. Get yourself a group of great. People or mentor, rebuild. A little. Sphere. Of influence, build, your own inner circle, of friends and mentors of like-minded, pursued. Or, get, somebody who you believe, can, guide you. That's. What I would do, fantastic. Fantastic. Sophie. Um I'm. Just. Looking at the time and we we're running close down now you've got another appointment to do to get you up here so one one question just be behind this and at, what point did you decide to, be.
To Start your own style and to start your own program. The. The, decision to start my style was when. I was living. In Pakistan, and, I. Saw, a rich. Cultural. Heritage. Of martial, arts in Pakistan. Which, comes from India Pakistan in, that region, and. I was training. In a foreign, style Burmese style and, I trained in Japanese, style I trained in Korean style that trained in Thai style and. As a young person I, loved. It I still love training in every style Brazilian, time you know Mongolian, every stop but. I saw, that there was really nothing. Which. Was representing. The rich cultural, martial. Arts of the region where I came from on an, international, level, plus. I saw, a, gap. Of warden. Approach. In those, martial. Arts so. You. Know some people are creative, by nature some people. Are. Tactical. By nature so, I feel. That my, personal. Creative. Invocation. Creative, longing. It. Me realize, that I needed something number, one to, fulfill my. NEADS. In, what. I was getting through that system was, great. Still greatest, I'm still trained with it but there was something I wanted to, improve. And enhance and when I saw the other system, there, it, was like piece of puzzle so. I was making my own puzzle, with different pieces and putting my puzzle together and that, one of the key. Reasons. For putting the puzzle together was at that, time national, pride that I wanted in, system, which could be internationally. Recognized, which hails, from that. Region, of the world and then. I wanted, to give back to that part of the world more. Modern, approach to what was going on in, the other parts of the world where I was traveling to Hong, Kong Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore. Sri. Lanka Nepal, India, when, I was living in Pakistan, and I was I was. Culminating. These information. And putting my pieces together and that. Was. Done on a selfish, basis, and. It grew into be a wonderful. System called Bou Siobhan and my, student, loved it and it, became a we. Call it the Supra, multi-dimensional. System it, was not a linear system like. Taekwondo, might be linear just kicks but bushy bond in those days before. MMA. We, were and I'm not taking, any. Credit. But we, were incorporating. Wrestling, with Muay Thai we, were incorporating. Karate, with point karate, with kickboxing. We were incorporating, Pakistani, wrestling, with, point karate takedowns. We're incorporating. In a ban Burmese, knob on with, Taekwondo, so. It. Was evolving into what is MMA. Now. It. Was kind of evolving, in that manner and it, was becoming. A multi-dimensional. System and, what. I was a war, where I used to call it I used to say this, is the tradition, of the future traditional.
Martial Arts of the future one day people, will adapt this martial, arts because it, has the past and the future combined. Together in a multi-dimensional, way, and, we. Used to say you know, modern. Practices. Traditional wisdom ancient. Wisdom compiled, together so. Of. Course inspired, by the late great Bruce, Lee's thinking. As a child in a young person I was read that and my. Own personal longing, so bushi bond became. A, born. Was born and, it keeps, evolving because, I'm still evolving, I'm the founder, I'm the, creator and I still evolve and my, goal is to keep, bringing that evolution. And innovation. And, creation. Into. My students, lives wherever. They are. I love. That awesome. Master. Sophie, it's been also, speaking to you and I'm looking forward to meeting you at in San Diego this year so depending when you're watching this video so, that's 26, to 28. Are believing, in San Diego at that maybe ice. And. Mussels. Elfie where else can people find out more about about. You and your. Networking, and and everything that you have going on I, would. Love I love to connect with people I love people and, I'm. Honored, when somebody calls me I I you, know I like. To share so, if anybody. Who's. Hearing you know just give me a give. Me a shout-out even, you, can email me at masters, Sophie. One. No, it's a message of free at gmail.com or, bushi, ban, bu. Shi ba. N -. It's not an underscore, it's a - HQ. Like, headquarters, at, Juno comm, Russia, band - HQ Arjuna at Juno, calm, and. If. You don't mind if I can. Plug. In put a plug in for an event we are doing in, Thailand. I've, been, hosting what, we call the World Martial. Arts summit, for. The past two years and it's, in conjunction with the Thai, martial, arts games and Thai festival, which, starts, on the 12th, of March, this, this, year and goes, to the 18th, of March so. In the World Martial Arts summit which I run that aspect, we have, sports. Karate. Tournament. We, have a grappling, tournament. Nogi, grappling tournament. We, have mastermind. Where. People. Like. Fred, De Palma you. Know can pancake. How, Kahneman ah've myself. Master. Kazi, cares for, master jeff barley, you, know many many prominent, martial. Artists from all over the world from the United States from India from. Australia. From UK, from Thailand, from Malaysia. From Pakistan, from Bangladesh, from India many. Many countries they will be there and we'll be brainstorming, and different. Martial. Arts business development, that that's a mastermind, we, also have the Asia Pacific martial. Arts Hall of Fame, it's. An organization, to. Which. We want to recognize top. Performers, from Asia Pacific, region so, I would love to hear from anybody would like to go to the, event. And you can log onto. Wwlp.com. World. Martial, Arts Summit calm, and I'll, be in I'll be in Bangkok Thailand on the 7th of March, till. The. 19th. Of March, then, there's, another event I will be teaching, I'm the keynote speaker, at the EFC. UK. EFC, event. Which is uh I, think. The 20th and 21st of. April. That's, in UK. England and then, I'll be at. The ma, first, Yoshi. Fred De Palma's event, in San Diego right, after that so love. To shake hands with all, of you would love to see you there and looking. Forward to sharing. Our. Information with, you all. Fantastic. Master. Sufi I'll have all those links in the transcript, of this, office, interview as well being. Great, to connect with you all the, way the other side of the world and look, forward to meeting you in person, yes. Sir my pleasure thank, you George pleasure meeting you and look forward to meeting, in person as well. Thank. You Oh fix, it Oh bye.