Josh: Our hero today is Master Andrew Cameron, who runs an organization called Wing Chun International with several affiliate clubs. We talk about how he manages all those clubs and what role he plays in the company. And we even discuss how his passion for cryptocurrency investment has helped him change the financial lives of both his instructors and student body. So, without further ado, Master Andrew camera. So, who are you and what do you do?

Andrew: All right. My name is Andrew Cameron. Obviously, I’m a wing chun guy. I’ve been a martial artist since the age of six when I started my first martial arts. So, I started in aikido at local school like everybody else. And then I moved on to boxing from 11 and I did that for three years. And then I found judo and I was a judo guy from 11 till 18. And then at 18, with all the Bruce Lee movies, and etc. happening, I actually found out about wing chun in the next town. So, obviously, started Wing Chun, — judo and then I was doing Wing Chun all the time. So, that was 1986 that I started wing chun. So, that’s how old I am now.

And then about three years later, that’s obviously the late 80s, the recession hit and I was making more from teaching martial arts as a passion. So, I made that switch to full-time and I swore then I’d never worked for money, I just work following my passion. So, I got into martial arts. That way, then obviously, I started building the organization. I split up from my instructor after 10 years with him and then started my own organization which was at the time, under a different brand name, NWCA. We had, I think we were up to about 78 schools and 2,000 students spread out because they were all satellite schools. So, we’re one of the biggest one wing chun schools in the country.

And then I slightly fell out of love with it, had a family, moved to Spain and still kept my hand in my Wing Chun, rebrand it back to where we are now, which is the Wing Chun International. So, downsized a bit, and now looking to get back into it. And of course, what happened the last two and a half years we can’t go missing is that COVID hits. And so the expansion has not gone into it. So, we were expanding because I came out of retirement because my kids were younger, they’ve grown up to an age where they don’t really need their dad around full-time. And I got to say I love living in Spain. I would go there, come back to England once a month to teach, had schools in Germany. So, I do more seminars and the guys were coming to me for private lessons in Spain, and I was doing summer camps.

So, obviously because of COVID that all stopped so I decided to relocate back to England. And in taking it over and what I’ve seen from it, is that the wing chun is it’s not necessarily growing, but the level of what we are doing behind the scenes, it’s gone up. So, since 74 in martial arts, 86 wing chun and I play around with the jiu jitsu a little bit, ground fighting because I do judo at quite a high level, so I’ve always enjoyed ground fighting. So, I am incorporating the ground fighting element from judo and a bit of jiu jitsu in the wing chun. But predominantly, we are a wing chun organization.

Josh: Yeah, that’s really unique. I know a lot of the wing chun guys I’ve seen have been more like instead of integrating actual jiu jitsu and actual judo into their wing chun, they’re like, “Oh, we do anti-grappling.” You know, something that’s kind of its own thing.

Andrew: Yeah, that’s a [inaudible 00:04:17] anti-grappling, but most of them have no clue. It’s a joke. And I mean, to be honest, my judo instructor was Brian Jack. So, if you Google Brian Jack, you will see from the 80s he holds the… he might still hold the world record for dips, he did 100 dips in a minute. So, he was a superstar. He was a legend back in the 80s. And I think he was 11 times British champion, two times Olympian and I think World Champion about five or something. And he was way before his time, even before [inaudible 00:04:48] judo and he’s an inspiration to talk to, and so I did my Judo with him. And my training partner, well, he wasn’t a partner, training partner, he was my actual instructor that I did five hours of ground fighting with was Chris Bowles. And he came fourth in the Olympics, the worst position to ever come, but he’s local… I used to do five hours with him.

So, I have a lot of ground fighting and this was all just UFC one, two and three when the UFC first came out, so this was when I was doing the ground fighting. So, I was covering that there. But to be honest, most of the wing chun guys that do ground fighting, doing this anti-ground fighting have no experience on the ground, and to be honest, wouldn’t work against a normal jiu jitsu guy who’s got two or three years if they get taken to ground. But wing chun is a stand up for the street, it is amazing. Same as I would say a lot of guys that do jiu jitsu and most clubs just do sport jiu jitsu or just do the ground, they don’t do the self-defense side.

So, if you’re looking at a match fight on the ground, then jiu jitsu is far, far superior. But if you’re talking about in the street, then wing chun, I think, has a lot more use than most of the jiu jitsu it’s taught out there because it’s taught as a sport, not as self as a self-defense. But I like both, but I’m a wing chun guy that plays jiu jitsu.

Josh: Yeah, we used to do anti-grappling stuff, it says taekwondo across my hat. I’ve done jiu jitsu for years. I’m a blue belt in it now, but I’ve done taekwondo the longest, that’s what I started. And when I used to teach that’s what I taught. And we had our anti-grappling curriculum I remember when I was coming up to the color belt ranks. And after getting into jiu jitsu, I look back on the things that I learned and it’s like, this is never going to worry. This is not going to be great. I think some of it probably wasn’t even good for — if the guy had no training. Because I remember when I used to practice it, like and do it at a test and the kids would actually try to get out or try to like, hold mount or some other pin position, it didn’t work even back then.

Andrew: Taekwondo is an amazing system, if you know the right people. And again [inaudible 00:06:58] That’s the problem with martial arts, it becomes mech dojos and it comes too much about the money and not about the passion. And I got into martial arts as a youngster because I loved it, and it just materialized that I could make a good living at it. But the problem is when you get to a higher level, what it does, it attracts the wrong people. It attracts people who are interested in the money side and then the passion and it comes about dojo, and it’s not about grading. And it’s just all about belts.

And to be honest, I’m just as guilty as some of them in the past, that you focus too much on the money rather than the style in the system. But I’ve got a couple of friends who are very high up, one’s aex world champion at taekwondo, [inaudible 00:07:42] He’s based in Doncaster. Another one that I see regularly, Dave Martin, again another Grandmaster taekwondo. So, when I speak to them about taekwondo, and they go back to the roots, and they go, the techniques, they were practically realistic. But if you’re looking at sports taekwondo, again, it’s something I’m not interested in at all. But when you look at the fighting side, from all these arts, there’s always something to learn from. And that’s what I’ve learned.

And when you get older, it’s not my game’s better than your game. It’s that movement, okay, let’s take the bullshit, how was that used and how was it practical, because I’m not a Carter guy. I’m not interested in Carter. I want something practical, realistic and effective. And so for me, I’m not interested in having the biggest organization anymore. I’m interested in making sure the quality and the standard is the highest. And I do it more for myself. That’s why I’ve moved over a little bit to crypto because in order to survive in these times at the moment, because the governments are, let’s say, let’s not talk about whether I fall back [inaudible 00:08:48] or anti-vax. I’m just anti-lockdown. So, I’m anti anything that tells us what we should or shouldn’t do. I’m healthy.

But again, you say well, yes, but we’re safe. Well, you can have an animal caged in a cage [inaudible 00:09:01], but I like to ski. I’ve got more dangers of dying skiing. We’ve got a chance of being thrown or breaking an arm or getting [inaudible 00:09:10] in our martial arts than we have of COVID, so I don’t have that fear element. And I just want to live my life and do my things without the government. So, you can call me a little bit of an anarchist, but I just don’t need these travel restrictions, etc. And so this has all affected our martial art business, but rather than get, I suppose, down on it, and what I see is a lot of martial arts schools are closing down. And it’s a shame because obviously, if you just [inaudible 00:09:39] down your high street and our high street, so may shops are closed.

So, you’re seeing the effect and of course that’s going to transfer to the martial arts. And so we’ve already seen it. We’ve seen numbers down on adults completely. Adults are more demotivated but as soon as they opened up again, the kids’ classes are growing because they want to get rid of the kids because they’ve had them at home. But you also have now the popularity of jiu jitsu, that tends to be the main — adults are focused on jiu jitsu. And I can see why because, I mean, I do judo. I like judo, but standing up and getting [inaudible 00:10:17] is damn scary. But as an old elder person, on the floor, lying down having a laugh, I much prefer martial arts training than the gym.

And I think I’m re-looking at my guys and saying, right, look, January, yeah, we’ve got all this stuff. People go to the gym, they start their new year’s resolutions. But the most important thing that we’ll do is like, go somewhere where there’s none of these bullshit masks, bullshit this, there’s rules and regulations. They just want to go train and go home. So, we are from very early on, like, keep the politics out of martial arts. Yeah. And keep the respect. So, we don’t use the word social distancing. How can you do wing chun… we never went down that route of keeping them, you know, oh, just doing [inaudible 00:11:08] and stuff. I’m not having someone tell me how to teach. That’s it.

Yeah, I’d rather close the doors. I fall into that bracket straightaway. Yeah. But I tell my instructors, as always, that it’s their business, they run it, how they feel fit, and free and how they wanted to, but I will never wear masks teaching. That’s just me. Yeah. No one’s going to tell me put mask on and touch hands. And I think that goes with a lot of martial arts. And when I look into it, maybe they’ll, well, yeah… In the old days if you practice religion — you got crucified and stuff. So, you’ve got to look for the good things to move on.

And I think, as we move on in martial arts, we just need to adapt and evolve. Yeah, smaller classes, maybe. And in the UK, we can charge more money, because obviously, we’re way behind the price that we charge compare to [inaudible 00:12:03] do in the United States. So, I mean, I still love my martial arts. And I look forward to teaching the guys and I look forward to my training. I just suffered the weight bits, I need to do a little bit more sweat session this year.

Josh: Yeah, for sure. So, I know, you said that you didn’t want to run, you weren’t interested in running the biggest organization anymore, but I am curious. I don’t know if — I thought you just mentioned how — where you were at a couple years ago, but how many schools do you have, as part of Wing Chun International now, are they all satellite locations?

Andrew: I don’t hold a personal school. I just run the organization. So, I just do the curriculum, and I revalue the curriculum every single month. So, we have 12 months, 12 grades. We’re a 12-grade system. So, I look at taking it deeper. So, I just want to teach the instructors. So, I teach once a month, three days, which is Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the instructors, they just pay me a nominal fee for that. And they can come to all those lessons from there. So, what the lockdown has done is force me to record those lessons and put them online. And that’s probably the good thing that’s come out of it is that we have now 15 or 1,600 videos all aligned.

Now I’ve just got one of my instructors now who’s obviously trying to put it in a format that’s better than just saying, right, it was this week, this month, that month was this training and that, he’s actually categorizing it so people could search what they’re looking for. So, we have hours and hours. So, now if I wanted to franchise out bigger and explode bigger and have loads of schools up there, so the guys that I have in Germany have a big school about, I think in Germany they have between — it was about 400 or 500 students and that for them is perfect because they obviously can’t come and see me every single month but they can come and see me two three times a year. But what they can do is do the lessons online.

So, we’re in a situation now where you know once this all clears up, we will be able to expand and grow quickly. So, other wing chun schools are looking to join us and looking for a step by step system that they really can progress and will be very, very easy. And a system where it’s really fair so it’s not just the top guy that makes money, the school owner can make money [inaudible 00:14:28] organization is they pay too much and they get nothing back for it really.

Josh: Yeah. That’s definitely a big problem. So, I think you kind of touched on my next question was how are those schools run? So, is there a mix of like people who were pre-existing Wing Chun schools and they can come in and then you have ones that were kind of started as part of your organization and they’re managed by…?

Andrew: I’ve never ever recruited out or expanded — I’ve never stolen other people’s students. So, all our instructors have always been produced within. We have a different culture, I don’t have a big organization culture. I’m more decentralized. That’s why you’ll find that crypto suits me so much from there. But I did merge with a big organization, EWTO, which is one of the biggest organizations of Wing Chun organizations, and I was a UK representative. So, my organization joined theirs, and we were the biggest school in the UK. But we took on their culture and their culture wasn’t us.

So, after about 12 years with them, that’s when I decided to have my little sabbatical and away, and then I had to fall in love with my martial arts again, because it became too much about the commercial, became too much about the money. And it was never all about the martial arts. And it’s always been for me about the martial arts first, and the business second. So, how we run our schools, I keep it very simple, yeah. So, I don’t say the technique has to be like this. I’ll give you a concept and you can teach that concept in many different ways. So, we have a very strong structured system that’s easy to — very easy to learn. And it still allows for the instructor to develop.

So, the problem is a lot of big organizations is, I’m the top guy, you’re here. And of course, you’re never going to be better than me. But surely, your job as an instructor is to make your students better than you and to let them go. But the money side gets into it because they’d say, well, you got to pay my instructor, you got — this instructor. So, we keep it very, very simple. Yeah. So, again, I’ve done the old school billing where you charge then for billing, and you keep control of them. So, it’s all about control. So, if they leave you then financially they lose out. So, I took all that away. So, when I really looked at building organization, again, I wanted to take all that control away. So, that’s one of the reasons why I use yourselves. Now, it’s Martial Art Rails is the company I joined. But what’s the new name now?

Josh: Gymdesk.

Andrew: Gymdesk, yes. And I tried a lot of packages. And of course, they just didn’t [inaudible 00:17:11] But yours is really easy and I like the way it was that we kept control, we collected the money. And you just gave us the website that we can do bits and pieces. So, it allowed us to, especially small schools to grow — big school. Because obviously, a lot of billing companies, they take a lot of money and do nothing for it.

Josh: Yeah, I used to teach in a little taekwondo club and I used one of the bigger ones. And it’s like, it was confusing and outdated and slow. And then on top of that, if you want to do anything extra at all; email marketing, any of that kind of stuff, it was like an extra integration you had to pay for every single thing. So, absolutely, I definitely understand that. Have you used the multi-location? Because I know that we have where you can manage multiple locations. [crosstalk] Has that been useful to you?

Andrew: Yeah, basically we actually got bespoke service, I don’t know if you know, with Martial Arts Rail or Gymdesk, we actually have the bespoke service. So, we actually have ours on our own server. So, when it actually comes… our branding, so it comes up as a Wing Chun Group. [inaudible 00:18:25] negotiate a price that again, it’s never been about the price with Arron. Aaron’s always been there, serviced it. So, I’m a raving fan of the company. And that’s why we use it. And I like that we can open up — I can add extra gyms very, very quickly. Yeah. There’s so many things that have happened in the last two years. I have no clue what’s in the back office. But I know from two years ago, when I wanted those things, they were going to come but again, it’s forced Aaron to step his game up. And I know a few of my guys are using it. So, some of my guys have used back office better than myself. And again, it’s really easy.

I mean, the website, I can have a website up and running in five minutes for another school and I put the grading system up in 10 minutes. It doesn’t take long to learn the system. And now some of the other systems I’ve learnt, the learning process is so, so painful. And for most people who are martial artists, it doesn’t get it. But I’ve not had any of my team that’s not been able to learn how to use this really quickly. I think I have the hardest problem setting up an email address and connecting the email address.

And a lot of time if I ever have any issues, I just give Aaron an email and normally, he replies really quickly. And I like that he’s quite happy to take emails off my team rather than just from me. So, again, it all comes down to, if I don’t need to deal with it, it’s even better to set up clubs and have my satellite clubs, they’ve really enjoyed it. The hardest thing for me is literally having to go online and wait for them to give me the code to link it to their Stripe account because we use Stripe, so we don’t do any manual payment. Most of us take the Stripe payments.

Now some of them don’t like the Stripe payments, because obviously there’s a delay of five days payment. I said, well, that’s just part of the system because you’re taking credit card payments, etc. And of course, for me, I’d like to have the, when Stripe will actually do the Euro because at the moment it’s okay because most of my schools are in the UK. But for Germany, Slovakia, when they can do the Euro, it’d be very, very helpful. Because obviously, the more you make it automated, the more you can focus on the martial arts.

Josh: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s the best one I’ve ever seen personally, and it’s designed to be as easy as possible to use. As well as the fact it’s built on more current technology than a lot of the other systems are. They have great websites, but they don’t want you to get on the backend. It’s like oh my goodness, I think I’ve been had.

Andrew: Yeah.The back office is most of them are actually terrible. Or you have to be an IT guy in order to know how to use it. So, on that note, Gymdesk, I would say is definitely, I haven’t checked recently. But in the last two-three years when I started looking at it, I did look — and I’m a researcher so I’m not somebody who says, oh, I’ll just look for five minutes. I’ve tested and met the team spoken to people, used it. And it’s not that I don’t know how to run a successful martial arts school. I had the most successful martial art school for two years in the UK, and all taking serious, serious money back in the old days. I think my top grossing month was 108,000. So, on average, we were doing 56,000 per month, and that’s pounds, not dollars or euros or whatever.

So, now I don’t even do nowhere near that. I don’t even make a living from it now. So, I had time out but [inaudible 00:22:04] just making the money doesn’t make you happy. You got to have the passion for martial arts. And what I see a lot of time when I walk into schools now, and you can see them at dojo ones because it’s not because they don’t like the martial arts. Some of the schools have got so many young kids teaching the kids. And for me when you’re teaching young kids, apart from the life skill, which I think taekwondo do really well, the kids love the grappling. That’s why jiu jitsu and judo do really well.

And when I look at teachers, I look at judo teachers, they still enjoy being on the floor with the kids because they’re rolling with the kids. Whereas I watch a lot of the taekwondo guys, they’re burnt out from maybe doing — chasing the money, doing so many classes and that. But I don’t see the same from judo and jiu jitsu classes for kids [inaudible 00:22:53] because most of the taekwondo, they still enjoy teaching the adult classes on the instructors. So, for me, I only teach my adults. But I’ve got most of my guys saying, look, incorporate more of the ground fighting for kids, because it’s natural for kids to wrestle no punch.

Josh: Absolutely. Yeah. With the taekwondo instructors, I know that because that’s my world, you’re correct there that they get too interested in the money, and then they get disinterested in the training, and then they stop teaching so much. So, they have all these — a lot of them are really they’re very young people running most of the class, and maybe they’ll show up for a piece of — the master will come out with his belly, hanging out or whatever to show a piece of curriculum for five minutes and bark at some of the students, and then he’ll leave and then the younger instructor will take over the rest of the class. And I personally never wanted to be that master. If it gets to the point where I’m only running a martial arts business remotely and I’m only the figurehead, so to speak, and I’m not teaching the students anymore, I think it’s about time for me to retire. Because that’s never why I want to do it and certainly not where I want to find myself in old age.

Andrew: Yeah, we teach — I mean, I teach for the love of it, not for money. So, when we do make money it’s like it’s great. And I always tell people, there’s other ways to make money that fires you, if you’re looking for the money. But again, that’s why people go into multiple things because they have the skill level or the management skill and so they can do these multiple things, but again, they have to have a system in place that also does the quality check. But again, if you got a first technician or first black belt, or first degree black belt, he only needs to be a first or second degree black belt in order to teach so you can have them come through but in order to progress you need to keep moving them up.

But the problem is when you’ve got a system and you’ve got five people coming up, these first degree, they don’t need to have another level, they just need to have another degree in order because of seniority. So, they’re not improving their martial arts, it’s done on their teaching or their service to the game. So, they’re losing that part. But there always has to be someone in martial arts, who’s taking the martial arts to another level. The wake up call was obviously the [inaudible 00:25:25] in the late 80s… But now looking at it — look at jiu jitsu, I mean, in the UFC in it, if you just have jiu jitsu, you’re pretty much — you need to have the [inaudible 00:25:40], you’ve got to be an all-rounder from there.

But again, you’re still got to take that knowledge, there’s still a mortgage missing for the streets. Because obviously you got the pre-fight — you got the dialogue. Because the time someone actually throws a first punch in a UFC fight, the fight is actually over in the streets. The posture and the psychology of fighting is so important. And that’s the element that I think is missing if you just do sports side and that’s where the boxing is. Because I think what I learned from a lot of the taekwondo guys is all these personal development stuff. So, we brought that in over from America, and that was very good to bring in. So, again, you need to keep upgrading your martial arts and everything, you have with the best knowledge. And so the wing chun I teach today is completely different to the wing chun that I learned back in the 80s. And the same as I see from the judo, how I learnt my judo and what they teach today is different.

And so when I see what the jiu jitsu they’re teaching And so we do need this young blood coming through and obviously people take it to another level. And of course, I think martial arts is going through a hard time throughout the world because you know, social distancing you know, lock downs and stuff and people just have enough. Yeah, but again, they’ll never ever stop people who are really martial artists doing it. So, for me we have to make the [inaudible 00:27:02] which means teaching more private lessons, smaller lessons. For my guys, it’s like you guys, my guys know that okay, no matter what the government says call me if you want to…

Josh: There’s a lot of that going on over here too.

Andrew: Yeah, basically. But before I really took the first one seriously, so yeah I will always train. Wh? Because my wellness is so much more important than being mentally strong and I get that through training martial arts. So, for me during lockdown, we were shooting videos and having a laugh. And to be honest, I was sleeping on the gym floor. I can say I loved it. It reminded me back of the old days when I was a youngster and your dream is to build a big martial art school. Of course, we didn’t have any students and the instructors would turn up but we were shooting videos for our business. And we were practicing all the BS rules, of course not. But we just get on with it. Wing Chun is a bit easier is a combat — martial arts is contact. This idea that you can do judo with a mask on, it just makes me laugh. And in putting that fear into the students.

For me, they’re not the real martial artists. Real martial artists would have just continued training. But again, if you’re running a big school and you’ve got five or six people to do a living with, then obviously, they got to do what’s best for them, you know? And of course, the parents say, well, if you’re not going to do this… Well, I always say to people, look, the ones who want to train will train. The ones that are telling you, oh, what’s the social distance, they’re already pissed off and isolating. So, let’s just be a place where people can come and be normal. And so for me the new big is the new small; so private lessons, small groups and offering better service. And just like you’ve done with Martial Arts Rail, Gymdesk, you had to up your grain and that’s no different what we’ve had to do.

So, we’ve put the foundation in upgrading our program and now we’re ready to launch it more once we know that these restrictions go because with the continuous opening and closing, January as you know is that is a month where we can actually sign up a lot of students. However, with Boris threatening lockdown before, thanks to Boris, I didn’t vote for him, would never vote for him. Yeah. And being an idiot, he puts the fear in people so people are already starting to notice you can’t plan your holidays. So, for me, I say sorry, I booked my Easter holiday, I booked my skiing holiday. So, I’ve had to cancel so many times in [inaudible 00:29:48] traveling, it’s becoming more and more. So, you just got to work with it and you have to adapt and change it. That’s what martial art teaches.

So, for me when I walked through my door and I teach I’m just Mr. Positive, and I enjoy being around the guys. And so that’s what’s kept most of us sane from it. So, I mean, as Wing Chun [inaudible 00:30:12] more and more schools, it’s not something we’re looking to do right now, because we’re not getting the new blood coming through. But the standard is coming. So, we had a hard lockdown, I suppose for one year, so where the actual martial arts was going down, but we were doing a lot of the stuff behind the scene, but the guys now started to come back into training. So, the quality’s going. So, I’ve got a young team. But I think if we come out of all this and the world wakes up, then obviously, we’re going to [inaudible 00:30:43] to grow it.

And then if other guys want to get into it, into the Wing Chung, then they can have a look at it. But right now for a career as I did that in a change, I’ve moved over to crypto. And that was because we were told to lock down. I said, no one’s telling me who I can or can’t see. If you want to tell me who I can or can’t see, come arrest me and feed me three days, or thr — give me three meals a day and a roof over my head. But otherwise… Yeah, I have no illness. And so unless I’m ill, I never catch anything. And to be honest, I haven’t caught it. And just so everybody knows I am unvaxxed. I have good immune system. Loads of people have had it randomly. Yeah, I don’t know anybody personally has died from it.

Again, all I care about is the restrictions and the restrictions are BS. So, unless you had — and so I realized two and a half years ago, three years ago that we were coming to a situation is that — because I’m not ruled by money, I’m ruled by lifestyle. So, I mean, I’ll give you an example. I separated from the mother of my children in 2011, and I decided sod it. Yeah, in order to focus on something good, I decided to trek to the North Pole, [inaudible 00:32:00] So, I trekked 400 kilometers to the north pole. So, that took 27 days, and cost me a tooth. They charge you 80 euros to remove a tooth and 1,000 to put one back. I normally don’t go to the dentist.

And then I decided to row across the Atlantic in 2016 to 17. So, I like my little adventure. That took me 53 days, that’s [inaudible 00:32:24] near Tenerife to Antigua. So, I like these challenges and the thing is you have to adapt to the change. So, I realized that just with all these testings that you’re doing, you’re looking at an average person needs another 300 pound just for tests to go abroad now, yeah. And if you’re not vaxxed, you’re going to have to quarantine for 10 days. So, I realized from day one, they’re trying to destroy the middle class. And unless you have money you are going to be really… And I looked at what I was earning in martial arts 10-15 years ago to what I’m earning now and most martial artists I known again, who are coming to my age and older, all of them are not earning what they were earning 10 or 15 years ago. So, the inflation is really really hitting. And we’re going to see more and more that’s hitting more and more people, the inflation. And it wasn’t allowed to see people.

So, a couple of martial artists and myself, we met up and then we started talking about crypto because we got into crypto in 2017 and we did one of these MNL systems back then. And so I put 15 in, built up to 65 and then it all got all lost. But I always believed in crypto which is Bitcoin so I decided that we’d meet together. And from doing that, I’ve just called us the Stray Dogs. Yeah, so it was we meet Wednesday, we still meet every Wednesday, so I’ll be meeting guys tomorrow. We just met up.

And over the years as more and more people ask me and just like from there I just started putting it into a system. And if I think about how we invest, I just had one thing. If you know nothing, just buy bitcoin. Yeah. And where’s the money better on, whose wallet; my wallet, your wallet. So, [inaudible 00:34:14] and that’s the more you know about crypto you need to take control of your money and how you keep control of it. And I started meeting people and start getting more of my instructors in it. And they all started to put money in there, explained to them, telling them which books to read. So, we talked about financial education. And about a year and a half ago we were completely just for crypto.

And then I started building a course and making a white belt to black belt in crypto, basically everything you need to know to get you safe, secure and profitable in crypto in 15 steps. So, we have these steps now. So, white belt is all about Bitcoin, blue belt is all about alt coins. Purple belt is all about DeFi, because there’s no romance without finance. Brown belt is all about mining. And the fifth level is all about black belts trading, and leveraged trading and how you can do that. And everything is about how to keep you safe, secure and profitable. And so it can be taught very, very quickly because, and I realized that most of my guys have teaching skills that are transferable, and all these YouTubers that are on there, and you get to realize these YouTubers are these pump and dump on there because I chased all these points.

And if I realized that back in 2007-10, if I just bought Bitcoin, I would be far, far better off than doing this swapping and changing. So, teaching people how to invest in crypto safely, securely, and profitable is another niche market that we move into. So, most of my guys, I started to realize that they started having some money behind because they were investing in crypto. And so I thought, well, you know what, why don’t we make our money in crypto? And then just keep the martial arts for the soul? Yeah, so we still teach it and we can do it. And it’s only literally last month, we started building the brand and building it out from there. And we start to sign clients up on it.

So, I’m building this course now to offer to other martial artists, whoever has a gym, that they can now have a plugged in system, over a weekend they can learn the whole thing and then they can actually offer it to their clients. Because I don’t want to do this online training stuff. I want to do eyeball to eyeball, so build a community. So, when we teach — because I think the only way you can really learn crypto is to have someone there with a computer there right next to you typing it in with you. So, we have a trainer buddy system. So, now we got a school coming up in Cyprus. We’ve got one in Dunstable. Dunstable has already signed five people up in December.

Now, so what we’re doing is, we mean, I haven’t printed the manual, but basically, [inaudible 00:37:03] we’ve put the course together. So, it’s literally, it’s not going to be a heavy metal, because a lot of it is just 10 tasks that you need to do to tick off with your buddy. So, once we tick it off, you get your belt and you’re ready to go on. It doesn’t mean you’re going to learn everything you need to know in a weekend from doing the course buddy, you get the basics that you need. And you’ll get to know how to search and you get to know what’s a scam, and what isn’t a scam.

And of course, we have regular meetups and of course if people make money, then they have money to invest in their martial arts because they like the crypto they come in, so it’s a secondary income or it’s a system that most school owners can plug into their curriculum already if they’re into Bitcoin. And it allows them the development because it doesn’t have to be my way. So, it’s all decentralized. So, that’s all set up. And of course we’re using, guess which system we’re using to build it on? Martial Arts Rail. So, we’re using Gymdesk to actually set up the schools. Why? Because it doesn’t cost me anything to have those schools set up. [inaudible 00:38:17] the Stripe. Of course you need — IT just to change the domain name because obviously [inaudible 00:38:24] But again, that’s just a minor thing. So, we give them a website, everything, and that’s because we’re using your systems because it doesn’t have to just be martial arts. It does actually [inaudible 00:38:37] and the back office, it’s really, really good. If you’ve not used it, you should try it.

Josh: Yeah, you should absolutely try it. That’s amazing. So, it actually sounds to me like, and that’s a great inventive way to use the membership software for more than just martial arts. But it sounds like the crypto has become a way, almost like a program for your people that already work inside of your organization to help them be able to gain some financial freedom and then kind of just teach Wing Chun mostly out of their passion for the martial art rather than worrying about making most of their income from that. Is that accurate?

Andrew: Yeah. That’s the way I’m going with it because it will bring a different type of clientele, obviously to the game. And of course, for me, I just wanted to work with the instructors and people who have passion for the martial arts side, as opposed to teach the business side of martial arts. I still like it but I don’t want to have to do the phone calls. You know, the Missing in Action calls. I’ve done all that. I’ve been there. It’s not… The crypto means that I can go around and network with people from a different caliber because I do like what the crypto represents. I don’t like the financial world, the property development world and stuff like that. They’re a bit boring in the way [inaudible 00:39:58] Crypto is such a young crowd, and what it represents I’m really interested in. So, from that point of view, it’s very different.

But to give you a perspective is that the money you can make in crypto is completely different to what you can make teaching martial arts. And this program that these school owners coming in is completely different. For example, most of my guys here, I don’t know how it works in the United States, we’re not doing all this paid in full stuff where they pay for a program for two years, three year program. They pay today, I did that, and I got burnt doing that, that’s how I managed to hit the big targets, because then you have that liability to serve. So, I’m not into this. I much prefer what we call account receivable, the monthly fees, but we do do a down payment now. So, I think nowadays, we have to have a combination of down payment, and paid in fulls, because we’re coming to the age where people don’t want to have a commitment of a year or two years. So, therefore, if a new student walks in the door, and goes, “Oh, I want to become a martial artist,” I think we have to take a large payment off them because that’s when they’re most enthusiastic.

So, I never thought I’d go back to that way where we should be looking at larger down payments, and then the monthly. And I always like the monthly because I always like to know I have enough coming in to pay the bills and pay the staff. And I think [inaudible 00:41:18] we should always. But when you go completely paid in full there’s something wrong, if you just go monthly, I don’t think you could survive unless you’re doing down payments. So, I’ve not really talked much in the martial art game to see what other people are doing. But you should be doing a combination of a little bit of paid in full. So, if someone comes in as a basic program, if it’s 300 pounds, or 400 pounds, take three or 400 pounds, and then charge them 50 pounds a month, after they’ve done a certain amount of weeks. This is more….

But again, if you’ve got people that are coming in and out, if you take a year payment off them, and then we shut down for two months, and you just add it onto there two months, but the monthly they cancel the month. So, for example, I use a different system with my school owners and my instructors, I charge just a flat fee, which is for my old guys, it’s 50 pounds a month, but they can come to all my seminars, and it’s all inclusive. So, if they don’t [inaudible 00:42:13], they get all the back office. But if we wanted to buy all that, and if — want to just come from one weekend, and the weekend is about 300 pounds. So, it’s really cost effective, because it’s not about the money now because I have [inaudible 00:42:26]. So, I’m after that long-term residual in the relationship. And I see so many relationships in martial arts are ruined because of the money side. So, there’s not a right or wrong way, but you need to know which type of school you are. And right now I have a combination.

So, now what we’re doing is we have a 5000 pound program for crypto. So, if you’re signing someone up to 5000, and you’re signing a student for 50 pounds, there’s a massive difference. So, if the school gets, for example, if the school signs five people up, they get most of the money. We have a wage split, I just get 20%. So, they would get the 4,000. So, example, school signs five people up, that’s 20,000 that comes into their school. Of course, they have to service that liability because they got to actually put that program together. Yes, they can be taught online. But nothing beats a buddy system and the community that you meet with other crypto guys in a room, they have a desk because they have location, and they work with you. And through that you’ll build a value. It’s not about begin to build it up massively and teach it online and take the big money. There’s too many people do that a lot better themselves.

What we do is the buddy system. And so most of my guys have assigned one or two people up a month, it’s life changing money. So, it’s an opportunity for people that want to get into crypto, or into martial arts and don’t have an income, and they still want to do it, this thing to change their life overnight by using their teaching skills to teach it. So, that’s why we’ve got a white belt to black belt. And of course, if anybody is interested in that wants to add this program, I don’t care if they’re taekwondo-based. All I care is that they have integrity and have integrity. I’m having to teach them of course. And so the — buddy system really really works and that’s where I’m really focused. Plus I’m focusing on my own training more this year. So, not necessary growing the organization but looking to grow the crypto because I see that we’ve got this BS in this world for another two or three years. If you listen to Rich Dad Poor Dad, he says now you should have, what did he say? Gold and silver. There’s four things you should have: gold, silver, Bitcoin and bullets.

Josh: Yes. I read that book. I think the Bitcoin’s newer addition to that list, but yeah. Absolutely. I actually wanted to — That’s excellent points there, really, on how to help your instructors. And that’s an inventive and very creative way to do that. And other ways to find money in your business too to help support yourself, as well as help your students out. I want to switch gears, actually because I’m interested to know what you’re looking for, when you open new locations, or at least when you did in the past? Like, when you’re looking to expand, what are the things that need to be in line? What are you looking for?

Andrew: Well, right now, if I’m looking to new locations, I’m looking for areas that other martial artists have given up. They’ve had enough and ready to close it, because maybe they reached that age where, their retirement age where, oh, sod it, they don’t want to give it up. The young guys don’t want to take it because they don’t want the responsibility. There’s just not enough money in it for them. They have health issues, and maybe they want to close their school down. So, the opportunity is to call up a lot of schools, martial arts schools that maybe only operate, open one or two days a week, but they got [inaudible 00:46:06], and then see if you can get into a full time location, because they’ve lost the desire. That allows opportunity.

Also, if more people closed down, the ones that do stay will make money, because that’s why you’ll see more kids coming, which means that we need to look at — It doesn’t mean we have to charge high, we still have to raise our own… but look for locations, yeah, I would say for a lot of my guys, this is a great time to rather work out of sports halls, and church halls and venues, but to find a full-time location, because now the landlords are desperate to have someone in there, they’d rather have someone in there paying something than nothing. So, there are opportunities. So, you know, the word crisis comes with two things. One is an opportunity. So, they have to look for these opportunities. And if they have not been taught the life skills and the personal development, just taught martial arts, that’s why they give up.

But wing chun teaches you and of course, martial arts in general teaches you perseverance. I mean, you probably got taught that as a taekwondo guy. [crosstalk] [inaudible 00:47:12] we used to have all those things. But why don’t you practice what you preach? So, for me, it’s a great opportunity to just expand. If I was 25 years younger, I’d be looking to open up 20-30 clubs. I’d look to have six months no payments. So, you negotiate. Maybe you’ve got one of your students who’s got a venue. You don’t need a big venue to be successful. You don’t have to have. Yeah, the UFC has a lot of money. So, you’ve got a UFC venue coming. But again, people want to be treated as people. They don’t want to be a number.

All this automated where you can’t even talk to the person we’ve gone through that. There’s enough for big companies, but these micro schools and having smaller schools and being a smaller one, you don’t need the big schools like you had to in the past, because you need to pay the bills. I think we’re going to go smaller, and have a relationship with your students, so know all your students. So, schools that got 100 students, 120 students, 300 students are far far better than schools that got 6, 7, 800 or 1,000 students. I think those ones are going to be harder. I think a school with 100 students can give their instructor a great lifestyle. I always work on 75 students, yeah, can give you a living. And then you back it up with private lessons. So, private lessons is worth like four students. So, it’s how it worked out. And if you are doing over 120, 150, you have a good lifestyle. After 120 to 250, you need a second instructor on the payroll. So, that’s why I’ve always worked it.

So, this is why I think in the old days that you’re always looking at 220 students per location for one master instructor and an assistant. But I think you have to have that relationship where you know your students. You really know their names, you know what they do, and you got to care about them. But as soon as you make them just a number, that’s where I think the issue will come and then you’ve got that massive turnaround. So, for example, I was surprised that in this lockdown and I don’t have that many instructors underneath me. I think I’ve got about 33 or 34 instructors, so I just teach the instructors but I lost two instructors in the two years. So, I get them when they become a black belt. So, normally the instructors train them and then I teach the instructor so I teach the university level. And I enjoy that. That’s why I do it once a month.

So, right now, what I would do is I would look for locations that they’re not operating seven days a week. Yeah. And see if they and see if the instructor wants out or he’ll give you two or three of those days. Because every building is empty. Just get on the phone and see if you can get in there. The high street’s dead anyway, so it has to be somewhere where you can have parking. So, I definitely wouldn’t look for schools on the high street anymore. I always look for somewhere where they can park for free. Because as soon as you go into multistory places where they got to pay two or three pounds for parking, you’re going to put another object in there where people who are tight with money are not going to be bringing their kids along.

Josh: Absolutely. So, with your instructors, you mentioned before that you do like a three-day, once a month, you do like a three day workshop. Are there any other ways that you keep them sharp and keep them continuing to learn? Like, do you have a set instructor curriculum that they have to go to walk through? Like, what does it look like to become an instructor and then to continue to be an instructor with your organization?

Andrew: Yeah, basically, I mean, we have 12 steps to get to your black belt roughly. And then we have a, we call it technician. So, not black belt… technicians [inaudible 00:51:19] master level. There’s five degrees for master level. And obviously, you’ve got time served in. And obviously you have to come to seminars. So, rather than just have programs written online, or just a tick syllabus, I want to see it because I want to have that relationship. So, just as if you went to university, you can do it online, so again that we build that online now. So, we have 1,500 videos, whatever it is online, or 1,500 hours online. So, we have so many videos, you can watch online, plus, you need to come to these weekend seminars, and of course do enough of these seminars to actually pass your curriculum.

So, we have certain things you have — We have five hours a week covering each curriculum, but the testing is more module based. So, it’s about time coming to the seminar, and actually practicing their martial arts. So, not just go, we’ll just merge it online, but they need to come and see me so we can see what their character development, etc. So, we’re still a young organization. Of course, when I give out the [inaudible 00:52:23] title, which is saying I recognize them as a teacher, that one they don’t pay for that is still done to me believing that you are. So, there’s no qualification for that. So, I still think I want to keep that element in there. But for testing, yeah, so for the purpose of anybody who wants to follow our curriculum and go there and who already is a martial artist, then they would pay a monthly fee, they would have access to all the past lessons in the background, all those hours. And then they can also attend the weekend workshop.

And of course, once I produce a master, they will also be able to do their master classes in their area. So, the idea if I was going to build it out [inaudible 00:53:06] there’s one in the UK, there’d be one in Spain, there’d be one in each one of the countries. There’d be one somewhere in the world happening every weekend. And that will be included, you just have to book in because obviously, everybody’s paying a monthly fee. And then I would have someone employed to take those master classes. And we have this idea, I teach you, you teach to other people. So, yeah, so this idea of being selfish, and I never want to see a white belt, two white belts together. I always want to see the black belts running over to take the white belt because you can learn so much by putting back. So, I think it was, I don’t know if you know the taekwondo… Master Bill Clark.

Josh: Yeah, I started in the ATA, yeah, originally.

Andrew: Originally, I went over to see him way back when they had the mass system [inaudible 00:54:05] so this is when the pages versus I was invited to go over. Where was it? Where is he based? He is based on the East Coast.

Josh: Oh, he’s in — I’m fairly certain he’s in North Florida. Yeah, Jacksonville and maybe [crosstalk] Tallahassee.

Andrew: So, I went to his house and I met the guy, he would never remember me but I remember going to watch his master class and I know he’s grading for his black belts. And they took 1.2 million year day. I was like, wow. When I heard some of these stories it’s like wow. But again, when you actually meet him personally, his integrity is very high. I mean, I hear a lot of bad things. [inaudible 00:54:51] meet the actual guy. And one thing I still use from him, it’s rewarding for the student, rewarding for the instructor and profitable. So, when I spend time with this thing, I want to make sure the student enjoys his time with me and he’s learned something from it. But also, rewarding for the instructor, I want to enjoy teaching that lesson. And then profitable was, how do we make money? How do we take money? Do we sign up for this? Did we ask for this program and do that?

And I use the same philosophy in life. Even when I speaking to you, I want you to enjoy speaking to me. I also want to enjoy doing this podcast, but I also want to take something away from it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be financial. But it also can be what do I learn? So, when I go down to the pub with my friends, I can have a great conversation with them and they never laugh, but how did I develop and grow myself? So, I took what Master Bill’s… I don’t just take it for, when I say profitable, profitable in all aspects of your life, not just financial. And that was one of the big lessons I took from it. And I enjoy inspiring the access and coming through because maybe they didn’t have the education to go for it. Or they believe that if you teach martial arts yourself, you know exactly what I’m talking about. So, this is why when I, was it in 2000 — Yeah, 20-odd years ago, I bought a church. So, there’s a big church to build this illusion for the guys that come out and show that you can have this big organization, etc.

So, I don’t want to do that again, by having to go extreme in order to get the other guys motivated. I realized I liked running an organization, I don’t actually run the day-to-day running of a school. So, right now my inspiration, I have plans for June 2023, is I want to be on a catamaran sailing around the world. But can I still come back and jump on a plane to come back and teach my instructors. So, I want to spend two to three years traveling around the world. That’s what I want to do, on a catamaran, but nice boat. That means I need to have some money too, which means that that goes back to the crypto. And of course, Wing Chun is another form of income. But I want to do it in a nice way. So, there is money to be made in martial arts, but you have to be able to change it. I don’t think you can use a system we were doing three or four years ago. And I think venues are there to be negotiated.

So, some of my colleagues that are now in the industry were paying premium rates, and they’ve managed to get them down. But now the landlords are calling them up to get them back to the original money. Well, you can’t do that because if you’re still down by 30-40%, you can’t and you’re pre paying your rent, you cannot go back to that type of money. So, again, they have to have that conversation and be able to say, well, no, sod it, close the school and move somewhere else. And so I don’t know how it works in the States, but that’s how we are in the UK I would say. And, of course, all these lockdowns, yes, you can do Zoom lessons. But I don’t like doing Zoom lessons.

Josh: Most people don’t. Zoom is not for fun. It’s not not fun. It’s fun to teach a person. It’s not fun to teach on Zoom.

Andrew: No. So, I’ve not done it. Actually, no, I taught one when I was in Spain. And [inaudible 00:58:11] Zoom class and I enjoyed it, but that was one. I could not do that every day. So, I have no interest in doing it. So, that’s the same with crypto, I’m not… I like doing YouTube. I’ve got a few YouTube videos out there but I’m not interested, that’s not my — it’s not who I am and how I come across. The guys who do it and do it well, they’re very good at it but it’s not ime.

Josh: Absolutely. Well, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. We’ve been on, I think, about an hour now we’ve been recording. So, before we go, can you let everyone know where they can find you and you can plug your programs, like any of that stuff? Have at it.

Andrew: Okay. If you’re interested in doing wing chun, then of course, look at Obviously, I’m Andrew Cameron or Master Cameron as I’m known… on social media, Instagram and Facebook, you should find me. I’m trying to move away from Facebook. So, I’m not a fan of [inaudible 00:58:09]. But if you’re interested in knowing more about crypto or putting it into your thing, then look at Just drop an email there and you can find me that way.

And if you’re not using Martial Arts Rails, or what’s it called, Gymdesk?

Josh: Gymdesk.

Andrew: If you’re using a paid system now, then you have no idea. The only thing I would like to see is that we can do better websites, but you can do your own website if you know IT. But don’t put that off though; 100% the best system I’ve seen out there. That’s why I use it all the time. People want to go, oh, do this, do that. Once you’ve tried it, and you see how easy it is, especially to bring your team and train your team up, then it’s really really easy and simple.

Josh: Absolutely. We’ve got new task system too.

Andrew: Yeah. I’ve actually enjoyed doing this podcast. So, I’m [inaudible 01:00:01] personalized podcast someday.

Josh: Awesome. Yeah. Podcasts are a lot of fun. I hope we can do this again, maybe talk some more crypto, but awesome. Thank you for coming on.

Andrew: Thank you for inviting me. Okay then. Have a great weekend and good new year.

Josh: You too.

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