Marketing to the Masses
Thank you for the reply and I sincerely congratulate you on your weight loss. The inspiration you received from your instructors is all fine and well; but ultimately I would credit yourself for making the strides you have made. Also, I have no doubt about the legitimacy of Mr. Riccardo as a martial artist. The pictures are right there on the website. He’s trained with BJ Penn, Chuck Liddell, Mr. Hacklemann, Megaton Diaz, Erik Paulson, etc. So he has to know his stuff.
I think many would make the argument that Bruce Lee was the first “mixed” martial artist. I would have to agree. So eliminating the “fluff” as you put it is how you would want it. Now if he eliminated the fluff from his website, I might actually be inclined to take him seriously. I understand you are happy there and it has become a home away from home so to speak. That’s wonderful. I urge you to check out some of the other schools in the area’s websites. Overtime MMA, Jay Valko BJJ, Jack McVickers, MTC, FLO MMA, Carlson Gracie Jr.’s. None of them took me 45 minutes to read, made me laugh or vomit.
Those guys are the real thing. Mr. Riccardo is capitalizing on the MMA craze. Obviously, a martial arts school is a business and one needs to make money. I watched a youtube clip of him giving a marketing class to his minions. He knows what he is doing as far as marketing goes; but read between the lines.
He does what is called guerrilla marketing. His website looks and reads like and infomercial. Plain and simple. I wouldn’t doubt he has a long distance training course. When you have a second take a look at his website, www.schoolownersecrets.com/ tag line: More Students, Make More Profits and Have MORE TIME OFF!!! From a guy I know that trained there for a few months, he saw Mr. Riccardo once.
Team Colon actually has some really good fighters and I’ve seen them in action. Actually have fought in legitimate events. And I’ve watched some of your MMA team in action. I give credit to anyone that competes so I’ll leave that one alone.
I have had the unique opportunity b/c of my postings to train under some great instructors. All of them would shake their heads in disgust at his tactics. Since returning home, I’ve had the chance to hit many schools in the area. Including those mentioned above. While Mr. Riccardo was never mentioned by name, some of the instructors I spoke with had some less than flattering things to say about him.
But to each their own.
I appreciate your level headedness in discusing this Mr. Cerrone. I fully understand where you are coming from as I've read most of Mr. Riccardo's marketing sites on the web. Again, I can see where it can be viewed as over-the top or guerilla marketing. However, that's not what sold me on Victory. As with any school I had to walk in the doors and see it for myself to determine whether or not it was for me.
My first day there (on a 30 day free trial) I finished the work-out and approached Mr. Bounticonti and told him "This is EXACTLY what I'm looking for." It wasn't mind games or slick marketing that made me join the school. It was the level of instruction that was being given, the number of students to train with and the number of options it gave me as a martial artist as far as what I wanted to concentrate on.
At first, like I said, I just wanted to get back in shape. The Forest Park location is less than a mile from my house so the location was and is more than ideal for me. I started off doing classes twice a week with an hour of stand up and an hour of grappling each day. Later I stepped up to 3 days a week and eventually 4 when we were a few months out from my first NAGA tournament. (I'm 40 so training more than that wears me down too much.)
Now I take striking 4 times a week, grappling, 3-4 times a week and JKD/Kali once a week. I am on the grappling team and the cagefighting team as well.
When you start out you might not see Mr. Riccardo that much unless you train at the Orland Park facility. If you are on the cagefighting team you will see him much more often. However, ALL of our training comes directly from Mr. Riccardo. Instructors don't just do their own thing and teach what they want. We have a set curriculum every month that comes directly from Mr. Riccardo. The curriculum is given to the instructors at the end of each month for the following month.(When I say given I don't mean written out on a sheet of paper. It is shown to the instructors by Mr. Riccardo at all instructor meetings every month.) That curriculum is what is taught in every location by every instructor for the following month.
I am fortunate to be able to train directly under Mr. Calderone several times a week. He is our highest ranking black belt under Mr. Riccardo and is one of the finest martial artist I've had the pleasure to train under.
You mention several reputable schools and then say "They are the real thing. Mr. Riccardo is capitalizing on the MMA craze." Yet earlier in your post you admit that you'd agree that Bruce Lee was one of the first mixed martial artists. That doesn't really make much sense to me. Mr. Riccardo uses JKD concepts to train his MMA fighters. What's not "the real deal" about that?
If he has a "long distance training course" I am not aware of it. Considering the amount of marketing he does on the internet if such a thing did exist I'm sure you would find it very easily so I'm not so sure about that.
Again, you raise some points of concern that I completely understand. However, how Mr. Riccardo chooses to market himself and our Academy is up to him. He's "payed his dues" and developed a great system that he's passing down to us. In the end that's all that really matters to me.
What other martial arts instructors think of him about his marketing isn't really my issue. I know there's people that don't like him simply because he's a devout Christian (as evidenced in this thread, not by you Mr. Cerrone which is why I respect your opinion.) Again, that's not an issue for me as I am a Christian as well. But, that is not pushed by any of the instructors and it's certainly not a condition of achieving black belt as some people in here have indicated.
At the end of the day what it boils down to for me is that I get what I am paying for. I sought out quality instruction from a school with competent instructors and was fortunate enough to find one within walking distance of my house. I get to participate in MMA style classes but also get to continue with TMA type of stuff in the JKD/Kali classes. I feel I am becoming a very well rounded martial artist and I have Mr. Riccardo and the rest of the Victory staff to thank for that.
Thank you for not resorting to being insulting or offensive. You seem to be a respectable man and I appreciate being able to discuss this with you in an adult manner. I understand where you are coming from with your main point about his marketing tactics. I can see where that turns some people off to him. But, that still doesn't discredit the overall worth or the Academy imo.
Have a fantastic day sir.
"What other martial arts instructors think of him about his marketing isn't really my issue. I know there's people that don't like him simply because he's a devout Christian..."
I don't like him because he is a scumbag thief. A Christian? You got to be kidding me. I HATE plagiarism... it is SO frustrating and WEAK!
Check out MY website: www.WomenOnlyBootcamp.com/English.htm
Now look at "his" website and skim through the text... www.go4martialarts.com/kickboxing-chicago
Compare the written text to www.WomenOnlyBootcamp.com/English.htm . You can see where he cut and pasted. lol, you can see the empty spaces that used to be our pics.
This is the SECOND time I see him copying my stuff. My lawyer wrote him an email over a year ago and he took down the website and apologized personally via email... then bam, I see it again today. At least he didn't put the pictures of our ladies back on! Last time he had cut and pasted even the pics of our girls training...
Yeah, what a great Christian. He is a disgrace. I don't care what you say, your instructor is a scumbag. Now tell him to take my stuff down and WORK on his own material. If he is such a marketing genius, let him write his own stuff.
And whatever text on there isn't from my website (which isn't much), I'm sure he copied it off someone else. I'm sure even the testimonials are copied.
I just read on Lloyd Irvin's facebook fanpage at www.LloydIrvinFans.com that Dion did the same thing to him a few years back. LOL, he even runs a martial arts marketing website at www.schoolownersecrets.com ..... what do the meetings consist of? How to press CTRL C and then CTRL V? Followed up with a fake prayer afterward?
He took down the page and wrote me an apology. Go ahead and delete my posts, I'll consider this "water under the bridge".