Colorado Martial Arts News sat down with Master Ramil Abratique from Victory Taekwondo. We picked his brains on his thoughts on the current state of martial arts in Colorado and also his platform. He is running for one of two open Club Director seats on the USA Taekwondo Board of Directors. This is an important position as the board is responsible for overseeing the selection process for various US National and Olympic Teams. Colorado Martial Arts News would be happy to interview any other candidates (including those not from Colorado). Please leave a comment or email [email protected]
COMANews: Give us a little background of your martial arts and business career:
Master Ramil: I started Taekwondo at the age of twelve (12) and began teaching at the age of fourteen (14) under Grand Master Hong’s (Father of the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) ) dojang The Makati Gym and later on renamed Central Gym. I became a National Athlete at the age of eighteen (18) and retired in active competition at the age of twenty five (25). In my competition career, I retired undefeated, have won seven (7) international medals that include silver in the World Championships and received Presidential, Senate and Congress Awards twice for athletic excellence. I have also earned my degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Management.
While in the National Team, I was tapped to represent PTA’s grassroots program. I implemented those programs to my town of Carmona where I got elected as Town Councilor and later on became Sports Coordinator for Makati City, the financial district of the Philippines and second (2nd) largest in the country. I have also implemented this program in various provinces of the country. The grassroots program was so successful that it generated thousands of leads for school owners resulting to success of school owners and Taekwondo being the most popular martial arts in the country.
My wife, Caryl Griffith-Abratique and I started Victory Taekwondo Center here in Colorado back in the fall of 2010, the height of the Great Recession. We subleased in a MMA school and moved to our own location in just four (4) months. We outgrew that location in just ten (10) months and moved to a five thousand sq.ft. (5,000 sq. ft.) facility. We are beginning to outgrow our current facility and are looking for ways to accommodate current and future students.
COMANews: What would you say is lacking the most in the business of the typical martial arts school out there:
Master Ramil: I personally believe that what is lacking is effective marketing strategies and more importantly a strong and solid grassroots program of our NGB.
COMANews: Are USAT clubs fairly typical, or are they different and if so, in what way?
Master Ramil: When it comes to management, each club is different. I strongly believe that the club’s culture reflects the Club Owner’s personality. Some are focused on Life Skills, some are on competitions, some are on traditional Martial Arts and some are a combination of everything.
COMANews:What is the single biggest factor that made your school successful enough to allow you to take on another business endeavor?
Master Ramil: The biggest factor is having a strong family type of relationship between instructors and students.
COMANews: Can a school focus on Olympic style Taekwondo and still be financially successful? If so, what is the secret?
Master Ramil: Yes. The secret is having a balanced program incorporating Life Skills and Leadership programs.
COMANews: Getting Taekwondo taught as part of the regular curriculum in elementary schools is a dream for most US masters. Tell us more about how you accomplished this in the Phillipines.
Master Ramil: It was collaboration between all instructors and the Philippine Taekwondo Association. We focused on private schools first and slowly penetrated the public schools. At the same time, we used the power of the media and created programs for Local, Provincial and National governments as well as the military. It was so successful that we would have Senators as guests of honors in National Championships. As I mentioned on my website: tkdgrowth.com, this is not easy but doable.
COMANews:What differences between the Phillipines and the US would make that more challenging here? (ie, liability, etc)
Master Ramil: Actually, there is not much difference when it comes to liability and etc. It is more of having a strong will to make things happen instead of bickering. We will do the following initially,
- To have the Club Directors communicate and unite all Club Owners and have one common goal of making Taekwondo the strongest and most popular Martial Arts in the country.
- To work together on achieving that goal
- To not have a personal agenda when serving in a position. What I mean with this is that, if the Club Owner sees that the other Club Owner is in a better position to execute a project or a job. He/ She needs to give way for the benefit of Taekwondo
Once this is established we will go straight to work on penetrating all levels of our society.
COMANews: Describe the USAT Board. When is it elected? What roles does it have?
Master Ramil: We are still waiting for the final approval of the bylaws as well as the election date. It should be posted on the USAT website anytime this week or next week.
In essence, the Board of Directors represents the interests of USAT’s membership, the United States Taekwondo community and Taekwondo athletes by providing USAT with policy, guidance and strategic direction. The Board oversees the management of USAT and its affairs, but it does not manage USAT.
COMANews: Let’s cut to the chase. Why should USAT clubs vote for you for club director?
Master Ramil: I am running for the Club Director position not because of the title but because of a great opportunity for me to serve our country through USAT. This is what I did in the Philippines and will be my legacy for Taekwondo.
COMANews:Anything else you want to add…..
Master Ramil: Let’s work together and vote Ramil M. Abratique and Sammy Pejo for Club Director!