Client Spotlight: Mark Russo of Amerikick

We love to see our clients succeed. Whether it’s the local martial arts school in a small town or the largest dojo in a major city, we want to hear your stories: what makes you strive to be a champion, what drives your business and how you use Championsway to improve your business.

As a new series for our company, we’re going to be highlighting some of our clients: celebrating their achievements and giving back to the people who have helped make Championsway what it is today. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Mark Russo of Amerikick. From a small school in Philadelphia to over 25 schools across the United States, Mark’s story is pretty incredible. Here it is, in his own words:
CW: How did you first get into martial arts? What made you turn a love of martial arts into a career?

MR: I started my martial arts training in the early 1980s. I was fascinated with the martial arts movies and, in particular, a series on Sundays called Samurai Sunday that would feature over the top martial arts movies. My favorite movie was the 5 Deadly Venoms. I begged my parents to sign me up for lessons. Eventually, they did enroll me at a traditional Tang Soo Do school with a Korean Instructor. I trained there: earning my black belt at age 16.

I attended a class at American Karate Studios and was completed captivated by the talent and skills. I was invited to train at that school by the owner and my current instructor Sensei Dennis Tosten: one of the best martial arts instructors I have known. I was hired on as an assistant instructor and that was the beginning of my martial arts career! I was hooked and I thank him for that. I managed a school for a few years, before opened my first school in Philadelphia at age 20. That was 23 years ago!
CW: What drives Amerikick? What makes people want to attend the schools? What sets it apart from the rest?

MR: What drives Amerikick is the team leaders. It starts from the top with our executive team: Sharon Tosten, Chris Millares, Dennis Tosten, Bob Leiker, Alex Davydov and Mike Recinto. They are very hard working and dedicated martial artists who believe in what we do. They train in martial arts and also teach every day. They educated themselves constantly in business. They truly are passionate about the industry.

People join Amerikick because of our famous reputation, long history of teaching quality martial arts and producing top champions. Our teachers are the best in motivating and inspiring students. We’re unique in that we are a very open organization and incorporate several styles of martial arts. When we see something that works and is successful we will incorporate it into our systems. We have a very successful team that is first and foremost a group of talented martial artists and teachers. We have top champion trainers in both sport karate and full contact karate. We have some of the best sport karate athletes in the World and also promote one of the biggest tournaments in the country. We have developed the Amerikick teaching philosophy to be family oriented and the Amerikick Curriculum to be an inclusive curriculum that blends the traditional with contemporary martial arts training.
CW: Where would you like to see Amerikick in 5 years?

MR: We have great expansion plans and developments, both on a national and international level. We are also focusing on the next generation of school owners and instructors. We would like to see Amerikick schools in all markets to help develop tomorrow's leaders today. We are also partnering with several companies working towards getting the sport aspect of martial arts on major broadcast television.
CW: What brought you to choose Championsway? What features do you use the most and what do you like best about the platform?

MR: The majority of our schools use the direct billing, planner/scheduler, email automation, dashboard reports, attendance tracking and marketing features like text and broadcast messaging. Some of our tech savvy schools use even more features like the rank progression and the product inventory, auto-order and mobile purchase features.
CW: How has Championsway helped Amerikick grow, over the past few years?

MR: Championsway has really revolutionized how you operate your school. Their product, PerfectMIND, has decreased the amount of time and tasks you had to do by hand and automated so many of them, so we can concentrate on our business and our students. Their program allows you instant access to vital information to help run your business so you know what's going on at all times. You can access this information anytime and anywhere.

All of this has helped the Amerikick schools, by allowing them to focus on the important tasks of getting and keeping students. This in turn has allowed more growth and more locations to open. THANK YOU, CHAMPIONSWAY!