When your product is the shit, you don’t need to market it. When your product is shit, you do need to market it.

The less people want your product, the more you need the tactics, sales, and marketing.

Sukiyabashi Jiro is a three-Michelin-starred Japanese sushi restaurant in Tokyo where diners must place reservations a minimum of 2-months in advance.  A plate of sushi costs $300.  Its success is not in the novelty of its meal being so expensive.  Its recognition stems from its unparalleled product; that the owner has devoted his entire life into the perfection of his craft, and it shows.


On the other end of the spectrum, no one is waiting for more than 15 mins for McDonald’s food because it’s shit.  Jiro Ono, the Tokyo restaurant owner, is considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef.  He does not have to advertise or solicit people for his business to thrive.  He just keeps producing the world’s best sushi.


Huy Fong Foods’ Sriracha is a massively popular hot chili sauce.  Even during the economic recession the company didn’t feel it affect its growth.  In fact each year their sales have reached into the double digits.  Last year they made $60 million dollars selling a relatively inexpensive hot sauce.  That $60 million dollar achievement has been done without spending a single cent on advertising.


On the other hand, McDonald’s spent $963 million in ads last year. That means $1-out-of-every-$6 spent on all restaurant advertising in America is done by McDonald’s.  They have to create goofy characters and bright, gaudy imagery in order to keep their logo, jingle, and catch phrases stuck in people’s head.  They are not #1 because they are the best quality.  They are recognized because they are prevalent.

Can you see the correlation in many of today’s martial arts establishments?


I found Unbridled Martial Arts (UMA) back in 2008. I had looked at some schools online but right away noticed the high price tag. Not only did the schools want high monthly tuition, they also wanted me to sign an annual contract and buy special uniforms. I was discouraged since I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford all that and also I didn’t know how long I’d be staying in Bellingham. Just as I was losing hope of learning MMA, I came across UMA’s website.
I was surprised to see that there was no annual contract to sign nor were there any other hidden fees. I could join the school on month-to-month basis and train three nights a week. If I wanted to stop training, I was able to do so without getting penalized, unlike other schools and gyms that bind you with their annual contract. With UMA’s affordable and reasonable enrollment structure, I must admit I was skeptical of the quality of classes offered but I decided to take a chance.
There were people of all skill levels and all shapes and sizes attending the class. Rob was very organized with his lesson plan. He explained and demonstrated things carefully at a pace that was very easy to follow even for the beginners. When students paired up to work on drills, Rob went around the room giving pointers and assistance where needed.
I am happy that I discovered Unbridled Martial Arts seven years ago. Rob is still expanding the workouts in new and fun ways. UMA is such a comfortable atmosphere where I never feel intimidated by others or out of place. At UMA, students help each other to succeed and progress together instead of beating each other to get ahead of your classmates.
We all take turns cleaning the mats after class instead of expecting our teacher or a janitor to clean them. When I notice my classmates’ progress and my own improvement in class, I’m reminded that when you invest in yourself, your friends, and in the school, everybody gets better. I feel more confident in myself knowing that I have some self-defense knowledge and skills. I know this is a journey that will never end but I sure am glad that I got my start at UMA.

~ Teela Taki, Shipping and Receiving staff at REI

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