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Meet Bill Taylor’s Bushido School of Karate
For more than 35 years, the Bushido School of Karate has been committed to helping men and women of all ages – from children to grandparents – discover the endless possibilities that come from studying the martial arts. From self-defense, self-discipline and confidence to focus and a high-energy aerobic workout.
As a martial artist, Taylor has trained under the world’s most renowned instructors. He focuses his efforts on running one of the oldest and largest karate schools in Tennessee and has also been an accredited karate instructor for Middle Tennessee State University since 1984.
The school has produced two world ranked fighters, four regional champions, one US champion, one North American champion and five state champions.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Bill Taylor and I’ve lived in Murfreesboro all my life. I started learning karate at the Bushido School of Karate in 1973 when I was 12 years old. The Bushido School of Karate was Murfreesboro’s first martial arts school and one of the first in TN. The original location was 110 E. Vine St. (where the 13 story HCA building is now) and had no air conditioning, 800 square feet and a dungeon-like atmosphere! I bought the school from my teacher in 1980 when I was 18 years old. The school has now grown to two campuses with a student body of around 600! I competed in full contact karate at a professional level from 1980-1988 and was world ranked as a bantamweight and flyweight. I also boxed as a member of Sheriff Fate Thomas’ boxing team in Nashville.
What demographic group are you targeting?
The age range of our students is currently three years to 87! Our average young student is probably around 12 years old and wants to have fun kicking and punching while Mom wants him/her to learn how to follow directions and focus. Our adults often want to get in the best shape of their lives but are bored with the monotony and atmosphere of the gym scene.
What distinguishes you from your competitors?
The Bushido School of Karate is the oldest and largest martial arts institution in Middle Tennessee. We’re not the best because we’re the greatest… we’re the greatest because we’re the best!
Did you start the business by bootstrapping or fundraising?
Originally everything flowed into me. When I took over the school as an 18-year-old, our rent was $250/month. I struggled to make that payment every month. We grew steadily and offered excellent customer service.
How do you define success in this business field? What did you learn during this process that can help Rutherford County’s next aspiring business owner?
Success in the martial arts industry comes from helping a disabled, autistic child participate in something that doesn’t limit them to sitting on the bench, but allows them to learn and progress at their own pace. This could also include an unsportsmanlike adult who needs an activity where they are not compared to others. On the other hand, I also want to be able to cater to the needs of athletic adults and children who want to be physically and mentally pushed beyond what they ever thought possible. Being able to meet the needs of both types of people in Murfreesboro for almost 50 years is my definition of success! Doing this was extremely difficult. It’s fairly easy to meet the needs of both groups, but both are a real challenge.
What I have learned, and this could apply to many companies, is to be flexible in how things are implemented. Also, make sure you see all of your students/clients as individuals and try to work with them in a way that they can connect with. If you can foster a transformative experience in your customers, you will be successful.
North Murfreesboro address: 1820 NW Broad Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
South Murfreesboro Address: 1911 Business Campus Dr., Murfreesboro, TN 37130
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